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Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Journal-5: Death of Shri RR

Today morning I was reading an article entitled, "You only live twice!" by Vinita Dawra Nangia from Time Life of Feb.5, 2012.  The title reminded of Ian Fleming's James Bond novel of the same title. I had not only read the book and but also had seen the movie. So I became interested in the article and started reading it.  It was a good article.  Reading the first few lines, I was reminded of the death of Shri RR, who passed away last month. Let me first excerpt those few lines:

"The untimely death of a colleague, someone with whom you interacted, exchanged pleasantries and indulged in healthy competition, is bound to leave you regretful and reflective about the uncertainty of life. ... you wonder what went through the person's mind in the days and weeks before the end."

Well, I cannot call the death of Shri RR as untimely.  He should have been at least 75 and obviously was ailing for sometime.  He was my boss and I was his steno for a few years.  He was heading the Engg Services Division. He was widely read and some at our institution would call him a genius. His advice was much sought after not on just engineering matters but also on a wide range of subjects by the different Directors who were heading the institution from time to time.  Then I got transferred to some other division.  But as both of us were living in Kottaiyur and I had to pass his house daily on my way to and back from office, I was in touch with him.  His daughters were studying in the same school with my sisters.  So he knew all about my family background.  He would lend me books and ask me to read. He himself was a voracious reader and knew that I was a booklover and book-collector.  When he weeded out books from his house, he presented some very good books.  When a new Director came, he was entrusted with many responsibilities (some 7 sections came under him); he met the Director and asked for a good PA as his work load had increased suddenly.  I was his choice;  it was a little flattering and moved back to his division as his PA.

After a few years, the Director who elevated him retired and a new Director from outside came. Probably he did not think much of Shri RR or was influenced by others. Many felt that he had unnecessarily got a bad name in taking decisions on civil engg matters, of which, according to them, he was not an expert.  So when anything went wrong with regard to buildings, he was blamed.  Shri RR was relieved of some of his  responsibilities.  I was shifted to the Head of Administration's office.  Still I did not lose his contact.  Then he retired from service.  If remember correct, he went on voluntary retirement.  All his children were well-placed and he sold his house and moved to Coimbatore.  After that I did not see him for a long time.

When the person who was his deputy in the Engg Services Division, became Director, he made a courtesy call on him at his office.  By then I was PA to Director and while he was waiting for his appointment, we were exchanging pleasantries and he was happy that I was occupying an important position.  While leaving, he casually invited me to visit him at his house in Coimbatore, if I happen to visit that place.  That was the last time I saw him.

I voluntarily retired from service in 2007.  During January 2012, one of my friends who is still in service, told me that Shri RR was unwell and wanted to talk to me.  Unfortunately, I did not have Shri RR's phone number and requested my friend to get it.  My friend promised to get it.  When I met him next time, he told me again that Shri RR expressed a desire to talk to me.  But again my friend was not able to provide me Shri RR's phone number and I must admit, I also did not make any other effort to get it.  

In February, one day my friend informed that Shri RR had passed away.  A communication to that effect had been received in the office from the bereaved family.  That night I remembered many events involving Shri RR.  I felt sorry and was wondering what he wanted to talk to me:  something in general or something specific he had on his mind.  Well, I would never know now.  It makes one feel very sad that a small desire of a dying man could not be fulfilled.

Now I can only pray for him.  Let Shri RR's soul rest in peace! 

Grateful thanks to Vinita Dawra Nangia and The Times of India. 

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