Remembering “Subbu” – A legend of his era. [ 3.9.1920 – 7.12.2007 ]

Life has indeed been tough. Coping with the loss. The loss of my beloved grandpa. I miss the pat I gave on his back everytime I saw him. I miss his fond questions on my well being. I miss the blessings he used to shower on me for each of my achievements. A man of grit and determination, he used to really head the big family, much like a sarpanch for a village. One year has passed, time has passed quickly and many things have progressed further as though his existence or his non existence did not really matter.

He had many children, grand children (like me) and even great grandchildren (like my son). He was the trunk of the large banyan tree that spread far and wide providing shade, and shelter and care to everyone under it. He yearned for all of his children to do well in life and be well settled too. While most of his sons would silently admire him, without speaking out much, I was surprised to get this email from my uncle (his youngest son) a while ago. In his own words he described his father thus:

A year has passed, too soon, since the legend ‘my father’ left for his heavenly abode.A man who reigned through “sheer courage” and “will power” till his end, fought all ‘odds’that challenged him, through ‘determination’. Attached to him, in and out of my life span so far, I cry in silence, on this day, when we all miss him so much.Nostalgically speaking, I like to recall my younger days, when he groomed all of us by giving us the best affordable education in the most difficult days, to see us grow in our respective disciplines.His love as a father, knew no bounds, since he would always share with me, that he lost his father when he was only three, hence would see his father in us.

I personally learnt from him many management principles and skills, which no ‘B’ schools would teach today, that “experience” alone could make one learn for oneself.He shared with me his style of ‘deft handling of situations while serving under his British bosses’ who are known for their “arrogant culture” and “abusive behaviour”.His way of handling them, got him a ‘pat on his back’, that made even the last British boss whom he reported, give him an “exemplary” conduct certificate, which he treasured till his last breath. I owe my gratitude to him even today, for having given me the best early education in a ‘Convent school’ at KGF even with his meager monthly salary of Rs. 400 p/month. [I’m sure his kith and kin would agree today that with Rs. 400 in hand, they can’t even step into a ‘ Mall’.]This educational background has made and moulded me into what I am today, to be of some use to the society and my family.His mastery over mental arithmetic always fascinated me and made me believe that experience and expertise is the ‘Mantra’ for success.

Spreading a huge size ‘ muster roll’ ledger of those days, he would simply work out the salary details of nearly 10K labour work force under his control as a “PAYMASTER” of his organisation, within a few hours. Dashing his pencil up and down to do the magic total of an entire month’s salary calculation. [Today I wonder what we’re up to using “Excel” worksheets and fighting with all types of noisy printers! ] . On dot, the 7th of each month, his promptness in distributing the entire salary for his work force would be over without any ” cash difference” at the end of the day, tallying so neatly up to the last pie.[ Ironically, even the Almighty decided to call him to his Abode on the date he loved-the 7th].”Subbu”, as he was fondly called by his pals in his office, used to admire him for his qualities and abilities as a “Crisis Consultant” and a helping friend in need and deed.

He almost spent his last decade being sightless after losing both his vision after a “GLAUCOMA” surgery in his eyes. His sheer ” Memory power” helped him to cope up even with a lost vision till the last. He selflessly managed his daily chores by himself much to the astonishment of everybody.As a loving and caring husband to his wife, loving father to his sons and daughters, loving grandpa to his grandsons, granddaughters and great-grandchildren, he had the rare distinction of participating and witnessing every ceremonial event including the naming ceremony of little Ved, his great grandson who had the golden oppurtunity to listen to his last swansong, lying on his lap.

This great occasion also marked his “Kanakabishekam” which he could fulfill in his lifetime. Today, as a year passes by, let us all pray for his soul to rest in peace and pray that he continues to live with us and be a guiding beacon to all of us in our lives. Tears roll down my eyes each day and moment when I miss him so dearly.

The fact that my uncle who wrote this is the most silent of all sons, surprised me even further upon reading this mail. All I can say is – HE STOLE MY THOUGHTS & WORDS about my grandpa.

Dear Gran, You will continue to live in my eyes, and in all those people whom you fondly brought up as your own. And someday when my son grows up, I shall show him this mail and the only photo of you holding him in your lap to tell him more about you and your life.

This is a private and personal blog post. If you share similar sentiments on people you love and care within your family, I would like to hear about it, please use the comments section to give your thoughts.

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