For thousands of students, he’s the first smiling face from CQUni that they meet – and according to Deenudayal Rajaratnam, he was made for the job. The permanently beaming Senior Marketing Officer in Student Recruitment is proud of his reputation as the Melbourne campus ray of sunshine, and he’s making a difference to lives beyond CQUni, too.
What is your first memory?
At some theme park or carnival, crying to be carried around like other kids. I was a really big child and my mother was a very little woman so she just could not lift her heavy offspring! This apparently happened a lot in my younger years.
What is your favourite book or film of all time?
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne still fascinates me. How a story turns and twists around the globe painting that picture of the world in a child’s imagination. And then Pierce Brosnan acted in a mini-series version of it and put a face to the man who was Phileas Fogg. I still want to be Phileas Fogg; if I can just get over my dislike for aeroplanes and look more like Pierce Brosnan.
What was a recent highlight of your life?
Playing a game of cricket on the centre wicket at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Do not be misled, it was a charity fundraiser not some competitive final. Yet for a cricket enthusiast it is bit of a holy grail in many ways.
Who has made an impact on your life? Why?
A long, long list. In recent times Geoff Surowic, he was my landlord/flatmate in my early years in Sydney as a student. He has passed away now but the man taught me one good lesson besides how to make bourbon cocktails … “irrespective of how life treats you and what people are, you treat people nicely, it might help you sleep better at night”. It works.
What is a motto or phrase that you live by?
If it doesn’t make me happy, it isn’t worth doing.
Who was your childhood hero and why?
Aunty Mani. My math tutor while in high school. She was a special woman, I could write a book about her. She was religious yet liberal, her life was a mystery yet she never stopped talking about herself, she was old yet young at heart and she lived a lonely life but was never not happy. And she made me love math, to an extent where I wanted to be like her till I realised teaching math did not pay that well.
If you had no responsibilities, where would you be right now?
I’m torn … sitting at Lords in July, Galle in August, MCG in December, Wanderers in January or Trinidad in April (or wherever it is summer) watching a test match under the sun close to the bar.