Mark Twain once mentioned that ‘when he was a boy of 14 he was so ignorant that he couldn’t believe how foolish his father was, and when he got to be 21 he was astonished at how much his father had learned in the short course of seven years’. Even though I didn’t have the deep intellectual ability to perceive anything similar at that age about my father, I could very well sense that I learned intense, deep seated, and enduring lessons from my father. I wish to cite here three aspects :
1. Bringing up Children – ‘His forte’ : My father was a strong believer in strengthening the powers of body and mind through training, good practices, and education/teaching. He used to relish his amour propre elevating whenever he got an opportunity to quote or draw from Kanchi Mahaswamigal Paramacharya. I vividly recall this incident : Reading aloud while walking in the terrace at home has been my study routine during my preliminary school days. Learning by rote was fulfilled and so also getting my neighbours know that I am studying. For other term exercises like drawing, and writing, a small desk on a mat spread on the floor constituted the infrastructure. Once I was marking the names of the countries in a world map uttering the names loudly. The moment I uttered the names of Russia and Bharath/India, my father who listened to it accidentally interrupted me immediately and queried – ” Raja, cite the origin and similarities if any among the two countries ? ” I couldn’t answer him. Then, he continued : ” Russia is on the northern side of Himalayas, and Bharath/India is on its southern part. Northern part of Himalayas where religious hearted ‘RISHIS’ ( sages, saints or priests ) were engaged in reciting holy verses and scriptures in praise of Lord in a sanctimonious and sacred environment. With time, the term ‘RISHIS’ got transmuted to RUSSIA. Southern part of the Himalayas was ruled by “Bharathan”, and from this name originated ‘Bharath/India’. This explanation stands credited to Kanchi Mahaswamigal Paramacharya.” My father then added : ” Understand the meaning and read; you will never forget.”
My father shaped the future of his children through the values he cherished : (a) eldest son has been a wholly professional Engineer holding the pride of directing and guiding a Navarathna Public Sector Organization specially during the globally tumultuous financial period of 2007 – 2010; (b) the next, a unique perfectionist and idealist focusing on solutions to problems based on Commonsense, logical reasoning, and intuition; (c) the next, a Career Banker who is still on his course to making his bank a ‘special place’ to work in India; and (d) the last, ( holding multiple degrees ) a physicist, engineer, management specialist, and a doctorate engaged in the task of making semiconductor components/chips, the Central Nervous System, for devices connecting the world.
” Honor Father – He planted roses in our lives ! “
2. Relationship Building – ‘His Craft’ : My father had the habit of keeping a thorough pulse on the interests, hobbies, talents, side activities, and passions of his fellow associates at work and he had the uncanny knack of tapping in to it when there is an opportune moment for improving efficiency and effectiveness. He always would inquire about what they will do on a holiday to keep up the relations with them. Management training was not any commodity, nor was he formally qualified in any related specialization. He was an Arts Graduate. It was his natural and instinctive behavior to nurture relationships. Due to his amiable nature, his associates will oblige and volunteer for any extra or emergency work whenever required. It was his simplicity and humility that made him a ‘conventionally commanding’ individual.
He would say : ” Always be soft on Relationship.” That was his mantra. He was a perfect Human Relations Practitioner of his times. I still learn.
All through my father’s tasks, my mother has been the central pillar taking chief care of the home besides being the dispenser of hospitality, true of an ideal ‘hausfrau’.
3. Accommodationist par excellence – ‘His Wisdom’ : My father will read the newspaper in the morning. After returning from work in the evening he will offer prayers to the Lord for 30 minutes ( reciting Sahasranamam ); After dinner at night he will tell us some stories/events at work and relate it to learning. He is a pure accommodationist believing in adopting the best of tradition and modernity. He demonstrated this in action while attending events in his office be it with ‘dhoti’ clad groups or with groups attired in long trousers/suit. His emphasis was more on the good deeds of his fellow associates of varied faiths even while his thoughts are filled through a traditional Hindu upbringing. He easily amalgamated in to the society of diverse faiths.
His simple advice : ” Do not ignore any one, adapt yourselves to all beliefs, and do not succumb to any sentiments favoring a particular individual or a group.”
He was, in essence, a source of inspiration for his children, specially.
It is from his life of cherished values, principles, and practices at home and at work that we ( His children ) imbibed and decorated our demeanor with IT ( not just Information Technology but ‘Integrity & Truth’ ); IS ( not just Information Systems but ‘Incurruptible Service’ ) and HP ( not just Hewlett & Packard but ‘Honesty in Public domain’ ), without at any time succumbing to the fantasies of life till this day.
To Conclude : My father’s example touched all aspects of our lives. In his 40 + years of work life he always had self sufficiency as key objective, which is a scarce resource in today’s materialistic world. This is not to say that he was perfect in everything. But his ” Common Wisdom ” could not be found and matched easily among his peers – a compliment that he received from his Chief during the function honoring him after superannuation. All his children accorded the honor and respect that he duly deserved till he reached the Lord’s abode at the age of 73. Salutations to his inspiring soul and the mental & sensory impressions he made in our lives.
” Dieu avec nous “
Tuesday, June 9, 2015 – 11. 59 a.m. ( IST )
Tidbit : ” You have a task, you do it to utmost perfection, that is just important to achieve excellence.” – V Srinivasan, My father.