The venue is MG University Youth Festival at Thiruvalla, Kerala, in early 2000s. A second-year BA Political Science student Ramesh Pisharody is surrounded by lensmen after he emerged first in the mimicry competition. Basking in the limelight, a woman walks towards him, asks about his college and course, and begins to introduce herself. “I have four hours a week in your class. Haven’t seen you there so far.” She was Pisharody’s Hindi teacher at Devaswom Board College in Thalayolaparambu in Kottayam! A busy-bee flitting from one venue to other with mimicry shows, Pisharody may be able to count the number of hours he spent for classes and this was the first time he was meeting his teacher. “Only after hearing the mike announcement about my college and course after the win did my teacher know that I was in her class. So it took a university youth festival for us to meet, that too in another district,” he laughs.
Pisharody made his presence felt through a television comedy show Bluff Masters. Handling a number of roles in Malayalam movies, he played the lead in Kappalu Muthalali (2009). Known for his quick wit and great sense of humour, he now co-hosts Badayi Bungalow aired on Asianet channel with actor Mukesh and team, which earned him the moniker ‘Pishu’.
Initially Pishu joined a private tutorial college for BCom and later quit following his busy programme schedule and opted for Political Science. A back-bencher, he was seated alongside four ‘happy’ people in the degree classes. “All my fellows bore the synonyms of happiness as their names — Ullas, Vinod, Santhosh and Joy. I was the odd man out. Their characters went well with what their names meant.”
Other than programmes, film-watching was another habit that kept Pishu engaged, for he managed free tickets from a nearby petty shop owner. “One movie a year was the norm in my family. All those years during the degree, I had not asked my father to take me to the cinemas and one day he exclaimed to me, ‘Son, you have not seen a single film in three years!’ He was not aware of my theatre-going preoccupation that resulted in my missing half of my classes.”
After finding fame, he once was a guest at the golden jubilee celebrations of his college when he had a strange encounter with a past classmate. “Almost all our classmates have kept in touch with each other even after all these years of having left college, but one of them, Suresh, was missing from the network. Seeing me at the function, he rushed towards me and bombarded me with all sort of questions about where I had been all these years, what I was doing, why I had not been in touch with him and so on. I was dumbstruck,” he says, and was left wondering if he was being mocked at.
The once-in-a-blue-moon appearance in college meant he was never considered one of the romeos. “Girls seemed to value attendance as an important factor when it came to wooing. They never wanted to romance someone who was not regular in classes,” he quips.