Saturday, November 21, 2009

A few good (wo)men!

"All the world's a stage....", said Shakespeare. Very true. We come, play our part and then depart. But we do encounter many a 'co-actors', whose 'acting' would touch us. It creates a special bonding with those people. Nobody is averse to this. It is the same with me as well. Thought of taking this opportunity to record my thoughts on 'A few good people' whom I have come across so far in my life. The list skips the obvious people - Parents. They would top the charts of anybody, even Kasab's for that matter. So here I go -

1. Kasturi Ma'm - She was our Headmistress in School. I have never seen the 'Iron Lady' Indira Gandhi, but without any iota of doubt, I can say, Kasturi Ma'm was just a replica of her. She was headstrong, pouring with wisdom, straight-forward, authoritative but at the same time co-operative, disciplinarian and honest. She was the one who held our School together during it's initial days of inception when we had nothing more than a room, 40 odd students and one peon. From such a relatively paltry situation to 500+ students, one peon to 30 odd faculties today, a mere 2 classes to a full Schooling system and +2 courses, our School has come a long way. Thanks to the foundation of Integrity, Honesty, Values laid down by her. Of course, students feared her, so did their parents, but it has all been for our better tomorrow. Most events that happen with me or around me today, reminds me of her teachings. Someone who made it mandatory to call the 'Care taker' as 'Akka' and not by name, to instill the courtesy in us to "Treat others the way we would want others to treat us". Nothing holds me back from declaring that she is my 'Second mother'. Truly inspiring lady, even my dad would stammer while speaking to her. Now she has retired, but continues to be with 'Future of tomorrow' by way of taking Bhagavad Gita classes at a very small Krishna Mandir.

2. Dinesh Bhat - He is our family priest but more like a family friend. I have been seeing him for around 20 years now and he is still the same as I saw him then. Very down to earth person. Softspoken man and very humble. A self-made man as well. At a time when priesthood has been commercialized, he considers it as a service. Charges a very meagre amount from those who are not financially sound. An ardent philanthropist which only his close mates know. Like they say, your right hand should not know what your left hand does when it comes to charity, he is a live example for that saying. Very polite in speech and action. But very hilarious and has a good sense of humour. All in all, a simple human being.

3. Prakash Kamath - Prakash Kamath aka Pakiya, is a very good and close friend of mine. He is elder to me by some 6 years, but our wavelength matches. Has got a very practical approach about life and relationships. Simple person who lives his life low profile and doesn't interfere into others' life. Though our dads are also good friends, we have become more close than what they are. He has got an affinity towards cuisines and photography. In the last 10 years that I have known, I have got some very good advice from him and have understood that, whatever he means, he means it by heart. I can count on him any time.

4. Vivek Pai - Vivek and me were of the same age-group, knew each other from the time when we both were 12-14 years old. We became good friends very soon, given our common passion towards Cricket and girls! He was an excellent fielder. I had never seen him dropping a catch or missing the stumps. But his drawback was his ANGER, which he could seldom keep under control. He would easily put up fights with strangers and get into squabbles which at times also turned physical and violent. He was a DOER, solid as a ROCK. Though he basically hailed from a small town in Kerala, close to Mangalore, he soon settled down in Mangalore, some time in 2003-04. Life after that changed for us. He, his brothers, me and 2 other friends would always meet in the evening, discuss the day's happenings, discuss about girls as well!! Sundays would be an adventure for us. The noon would be spent playing Cricket and in the evening we would zoom our bikes to the beach where we would enjoy to the core, pulling each other's legs, playing pranks in each others and playing our version of 'Who dares wins!". We were in our teens and all this went on for 2 more years, until tragedy stuck one fine day. It was Holi after an annual festival at a local temple in Mangalore and Vikki got his hands entangled with an electric wire meant for illuminating the temple premises. I saw him struggling with wire in his left hand. My first reaction was LAUGHTER, I do not know why I was doing that, but that is what it was! It took me atleast a minute to realize that what was happening in front of me was something serious. We were surrounded by atleast some ten thousand people who had come to celebrate the conclusion of that grand festival. After a minute or so, the wire was put off his palms and we friends immediately rushed to the nearby hospital carrying him. He was tested by the nurse there and what she uttered next is still fresh in my ears!! "He is Dead on Arrival!!!". It was February 16th 2005. Life changed fully after that. I finished my graduation in April 2005 and got into Wipro in June 2005. There hasn't been much fun and Sundays haven't been so frolicsome ever afer that day. Have got lot many friends now but once a day my mind gets diverted to those days. It's been 4+ years since his departure but the reminiscences still seem fresh like yesterhour. Got lot to speak but he isn't around. I will always miss him dearly!

5. Sheshagiri & Sandeep Shenoy - Both are my first cousins, however, our interactions with each other has always been limited. Got to know Sandeep a bit during my stay in Mysore, otherwise, regretfully, we haven't been like all cousins. One sits in US of A, the other in Mysore and both of them run a website for the promotion of Kannada language and literature - - There is not a single penny income from the site, but only expenses (If asked, Sheshu would surely say "For income, I have a job bro!") In today's busy life, when we hardly have time for our own family and self, here are two brothers who are selflessly thinking of what most of them have forgotten perhaps. 'Kannada'. Mind you, I am writing only facts and this is not a eulogy because they are my cousins!

6. Roshan D'Souza - I have never met Roshan. He works in USA and is basically from Mangalore. Our interactions so far has been only through mails. A gem I must say. Like my cousins, he too runs a website, dedicated to all his fellow Mangaloreans - - The highlight feature of this site is, it's unbiased reporting. Reporting Mangalore incidents aren't as simple as said, where most issues are always communal in nature. Yet, Roshan and his Team have maintained very high standards of journalism. Hats off to him and I hope to meet him personally one day.

7. Susheelakka - Not my sister, not related to me any way. She was a peon in our school and knows me as much as my parents and teachers know me. She has dedicated all her life for selfless service to our school and children studying there. Very dear to all parents and children and is a well respected lady. Someone who has taken good care of us during our childhood days, be it from cleaning our wet shorts to dropping me home when my dad was late to pick me up. She never had any complaints about maintaining the entire school all alone or cleaning the washrooms - she has done it all. A rare case of dedication and committment towards a job, however paltry it might seem to the privileged ones. Will always remember you Susheelakka!
Meanwhile, today is Vivek's birthday. I started typing this piece 3 days back and somehow I could not complete it on time. But as I was typing about Vivek today, it struck to me that it is perhaps his birthday today. I took out the 'Obituary' photograph (which is always in my purse) which had featured in the newspapers a few days after his departure. Yes! It is his birthday. Destiny always has different plans. Wonder why!
Some day I must write about our teenage adventure, I am sure I will have a lot to type with Vivek in the forefront and rest of us playing second fiddle to him. It will also make an interesting read.
What spurred me to write this piece BTW? Last week, I was reminded of a quote made by my one of my favourite Professors - "One can see greatness in every walk of life"

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