Chronicles of Baby Baisa: Diary Three

The All-Rounder Katoch

After one call to Tika Ambikeshwar Katoch, I get a prompt reply to meet up at his residence in Greater Kailash. As I saunter into his house, I can only imagine his childhood amid hectic political activities of his grandmother, Maharani Chandresh Kumari of Kangra – Lambagraon, in Himachal Pradesh.

As I enter, I see a huge portrait of Raja Saheb of Mandi, wearing his traditional attire, adorning the wall. The interview begins with Ambikeshwar describing himself as a responsible and focused leader. I also learn about his unfaltering inclination towards shooting and cricket. He reminisces his childhood days in Kangra where the festival of Holi was played on a lavish scale with 600 people.

Furthermore, he chats about finishing his first year at Loughborough University in United Kingdom where he is currently studying Politics with Economics so that he can ultimately fulfil his dream to work in the United Nations. Having to move from an environment where someone does your work to doing all your work, like cooking and cleaning, he says that he has learnt to be independent. According to him, the studies are tough but his experience in the UK has been good. Tika Ambikeshwar Katoch says that not only did he enjoy his first year at university but it was also productive as he became the Treasurer of the Model United Nation (MUN) society and the Secretary of the Loughborough University Clay Pigeon Shooting Team.

A happy Ambikeshwar also tells me that he was selected in the Indian Clay Pigeon Shooting Team. He considers shooting as a prescriptive hobby, taking after his ancestors. He has also represented Rajasthan in under 14,16 and 18 cricket teams.

Dwelling into the conversation, he says that his family history goes back to Mahabharat and he is vociferous to promote the Katoch name just like his father, Tikaraj Ashwarya Singh of Kangra, who has opened a museum in the Kangra fort.

Alumni of Delhi Public School, Saket, Ambikeshwar says that he has always “stayed on track”. It was an awakening for him when he shifted from his mother, Tikarani Shailaja Katoch’s school in Dharamshala to a posh international school in New Delhi. He believes in the mantra – Ignorance Is Bliss – so when he felt the modern societal pressures that any student in New Delhi feels, in terms of how many shoes one has or how many cars one owns, he was able to stride comfortably, adapt and overcome these pressures. Ambikeshwar amusingly compares this transition from Himachal Pradesh to New Delhi to a one car and three car requirement where a car is needed for every occasion in New Delhi.

When I steered the conversation towards heritage and lineage of his roots, he promptly replied saying that it is a great responsibility and is one second to lose and a hundred years to make. Therefore, he has taken the opportunity to go to United Kingdom very seriously. He proclaims that he wants to concentrate on clay pigeon shooting and counter cricket in the UK. He also states that it was a worthwhile effort to apply overseas for a bachelor’s degree and spend sleepless nights researching which got him admission into six universities in the United Kingdom, providing him with a number of great options.

We digress the conversation to fitness where he proudly says that he has given up on eating pizza in order to become fit. All-rounder, Ambikeshwar also shares his liking for fishing, trekking and driving.