CHENNAI:Among candidates in suits, crisp shirts and certificates in hand, sat a college dropout, dressed in shorts and shirt for an RJ interview. After presenting a comic show for the panelists, while the others frowned at the monkey behaviour from outside the door, Shyam Renganathan was chosen.
You know him as the youngest Radio Jockey in the city and he completed one year at Fever 104 FM recently. After a cake-cutting celebration, Shyam tells us, “Though they hired me as a producer, they wanted me to try being an RJ too. I remember recording 30-40 links every day for a couple of months. When the channel started, I was given the graveyard shift and the first few times I went live, I stuttered and sounded nervous. I mean people 50km away were also listening to me! It was insane and has been an interesting journey.”
Shyam is also one of the speakers at TEDx, VIT Vellore, where he will talk about (among other things) his struggle as a dropout and being the black sheep in the family that wanted him to get a degree. Talking about the web series, Black Sheep, which was prominently based on his life, how many of those incidents that were shown were true? For those of you who have watched the series, you’ll remember his miserable open mic session. It did happen. “It was a horrible experience and it happened right here in Chennai. It was a nightmare and I just wanted to lock myself in the room and cry,” he recalls.
The shooting was at his place and the most embarrassing part was his father watching him while his character watches adult content on the laptop. We couldn’t help but laugh. “When dad watched it, he said, ‘What? You are drinking, smoking up and watching these kind of movies?’ But they were happy and supportive about how my career has shaped. But still a degree is essential, so, I’m pursuing English Literature via correspondence.”
Coming back to his upcoming TED talk, Shyam says, “I feel the Indian education system is difficult. They make you ask permission for a pee break but they expect us to decide our career path! As a kid, I was confused. I was certain I wanted to be rich and I considered myself smart. How could I study arts? So I took up engineering. I was so wrong. A lot of people still think arts is inferior to science. The mindset has to be changed and every student should be allowed to unbox his mind and follow his heart.”
Tune into Fever 104 to wish Shyam on his successful year and catch up with him at the TED Talk,
VIT Vellore on October 23