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The waves

As the Wind Blows

Location: Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

29 January 2004

Sorry, haven’t updated “Waves” for long. Reason: bereavement in the family. My dad. He passed away (on 13th Jan) peacefully in sleep after a brief illness and in ICU for 3 days. He was 88.

Both amma (she passed away three years ago) and appa seldom gave us sermons on life. But they lived as an example for us to follow;

To uphold high values in life. To lead a life of simple living and high thinking; to live a contented life and to take things in our stride as they occur; to be brave; to live independently without hurting anyone; to face the challenges of life with practical approach and not fall into the trap of self pity; to stay in tune with times; to be aware; to adapt to changes;

Honesty and modesty were not just lofty ideals for them. For them it was a way of life.

As a Leprologist working for Tamilnadu government’s Health service as Medical Officer, he pioneered many leprosy units in rural Tamilnadu, in the fifties and sixties. I remember the daily ritual of rural clinics conducted under trees. As a small girl I used to accompany him in the jeep visiting at least four villages everyday during holidays. What remains etched in my memory is the sense of gratitude and satisfaction in the village patients’ – many of them poor – faces. Leprosy was not an eradicated disease then. ( it is not totally even now). And it still had the social stigma. Most patients were grateful that here was someone who said that they didn’t have to shy away from society. That the disease was curable.

Even after his retirement from the government service, he joined a couple of voluntary European Leprosy organizations, the NGOs involved in eradication of leprosy, he has done pioneering work in villages around Chennai. When he finally took retirement at the age of 72, I suggested that he wrote his experiences as a book. He laughed it off saying, “ You have too high opinion about your father. I don’t think I have done anything great to write about my work”. There was no way I could have argued with him further.

Always earnest to live with the times, he wanted to grasp the art of computing and Internet browsing. But somehow the magic of the web remained a “too complicated” mystery for him. He had an amazing sense of direction. One visit was enough for him to remember every detail about the place. He could recall the exact specifications even decades later. Even when his outings, due to old age, were reduced to visits to doctor, close family and family occasions, his recall of the roads and streets were always current. He followed the changes from the newspaper reports and would notice them in his random “outings” and would give us clear directions – be it any city that he visited.

For a person who lived an absolute systematic life - he lead life by the clock – literally – for someone who did everything on the scheduled time on dot, and for someone, who was a stickler for maintaining things in their appropriate places – (“everything has got its place”) the lackadaisical approach of our generation was always a puzzle. But he had a way with his grand and great grand children. He was always proud of every one of them and closely followed the events in their lives.

Perhaps the best tribute I could pay to my parents today is to emulate their sterling qualities - appa’s orderliness in every aspect of life and amma’s warmth towards everyone including distant kith and kin and everyone she came across and her never waning enthusiasm and zest for life - and the will power both of them had, to carry on with life with positive outlook and to remain active and good hearted till end.

02 January 2004

Good News India ??

What’s happening? I am pinching myself to make sure that I am not day dreaming.

$100 billion; over 8% GDP growth in second quarter; textile sector picking up steam with exports looking northwards; all the pink papers and biz magazines falling over to project revival of manufacturing sector; over all exports hovering in high altitude, notwithstanding strong rupee; India, third largest economy in 2040, says Goldman Sach; BPO continues to be on fast track despite threats from several states in the US;

Good news keeps pouring in?

I guess the BJP leaders must be rubbing their hands in absolute glee – with so much good news about a thriving (!!) economy hitting the headlines, and the elections round the corner. (The cynic in me asks, “or you sure these good news are all not the work of BJP’s brand managers?”)

The news keep flooding in on a nation which – to borrow an expression from a pink paper - is already on a high, what with “India Shining” every morning from full page ads.

And now, what amused me was an ad by Kotak Mutual Funds.

“ While you shop for designer labels abroad the designers are busy shopping here”. The ad copy says. And the supporting illustration has a Sardarji in a mall somewhere in the west buying a garment and another illustration shows the same mall owner buying the same garment from an Indian Tailor.

The ad copy ends: “ So, how can you benefit from all this? Introducing Kotak Global India: Unique opportunity fro every Indian to partake of this potential growth.” And the copy goes on to tell you how the fund’s portfolio will have all the “globally Competitive” Indian companies. This is one opportunity you don’t want to miss out on, given the sheer scale of things to come.” The copy concludes.

Well, next I have started looking out for a board outside Triplicane Rathna Café:

“ Don’t miss today’s special “thayir vadai”. Specially prepared for Export market. Come and taste it while the country’s economy is doing so well. Join the thousands of customers who have benefited by tasting our “thayir vadai” and have drawn their foreign friends to Chennai, for sourcing this special product for Seattle.”

Hey, will the dream last?? :-)

01 January 2004

"Waves" wishes Everyone a Very great Year ahead !!

Happy 2004 :-)