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My Life
The following are three of my articles in VIJAY TIMES, Bangalore in the series entitled MY LIFE on incidents in one’s life which have left an imprint.
Companion For LifePublished on January 22nd, 2006

It was long ago that I set my eyes on her. I was around 25 and my father was contemplating marriage for me. By a process of elimination, we zeroed in on a girl in a small town in Kerala and as is the custom I was expected to have a look at the girl and confirm my acceptance.

When we arrived at the girl’s place at the appointed hour, the girl had gone to her daily typing class. It was a typical style of architecture with a vast compound full of trees around, presenting a cool and lovely sight. We were seated in the open verandah and exchanged pleasantries, waiting for the girl to come home. In time, we saw her walking along the lane that skirted the compound. She was wearing a pure white saree and her hair was done casually in typical Malayalee style. As she entered the verandah, she looked shocked to see the strange people seated there and without turning her gaze towards us she briskly walked in. The interview over, we agreed to solemnize the marriage.

We had a happy married life and loved each other a lot. There was hardly any serious difference of opinion between us. Many years later, an incident that occurred remains etched in my memory to this day.

One morning I had to rush to office earlier than usual and I had told my wife to prepare my breakfast and pack my lunch early. For some reason neither my breakfast nor my lunch box was ready in time. I left home in a huff without breakfast. After reaching the off, I forgot about the incident and got engrossed in my work In the afternoon our office messenger informed me that a lady was waiting for me in the waiting hall. When I went there I was surprised to see my wife sitting on a bench clutching on to a lunch carrier.

It took some time for me to realise what was happening. When I left home in the morning complaining about her carelessness, the poor girl had not uttered a word. She had packed my lunch and brought it to my office, although she hardly knew how to reach my office. There were tears in my eyes. I realized that the only soul that cares for you forever is your spouse.

Political IdolPublished on Sunday April 9th, 2006

April, 21st 1947 was a red letter day in my life. One of the greatest leaders of pre and post Independent India, Sri Jayapraksh Narayan was in town and was scheduled to address a meeting at the Mudalakkulam Maidanam in Kozhikode at 6 P.M. For a number of days prior to the meeting, I was brimming in anticipation of the thrill of seeing the great leader and was bent upon attending the meeting.

The problem, however, was getting my father’s permission. I was only 16 years old preparing for the SSLC Exam due in the first week of May. A strict disciplinarian that he was, my father would never agree for such a diversion. His view was that there was nothing in politics for a youngster who should be focused on his studies.

Two days ahead of the scheduled meeting, I struck a deal with my father after much hesitation. I assured him that I would study non-stop for the next two days and revise all my lessons on the condition that he would permit me a couple of hours in the evening on the day of the meeting. He magnanimously agreed and I was thrilled no end. I was at the venue well before the appointed time and took a vantage seat –a seat at the feet of the great leader. After listening to the hour long speech, I was privileged to shake hands with him and also obtain his autograph. This is still in my possession.

Many years later, after I shifted my base to Bangalore, I was privileged to meet Sri Jayaprakash Narayanan again at a function organized at the “Bal Bhavan” (then known as the “Victory Hall”) in Cubbon Park. He was inaugurating an exhibition of photographs and paintings, depicting famous scenes from our freedom struggle.

I tagged along and when we approached the depiction of the great Hazaribagh jail break of which he was the chief architect, I was thrilled to rub shoulders with the great historical figure at such close range. This was the most unforgettable day in my life.

Missing PaisaPublished on Sunday October 29th, 2006

This is the story of the ubiquitous paisa of the Indian currency system that sparked a tragedy in my life. In the 1970s I was working with a premier Bank known for its strict work ethics.

As a basic requirement of correct accounting of various transactions that go through the day-to-day banking, it is incumbent that all the figures are correct with no room for mistakes, and every paisa transacted, like receipts and payments, is properly accounted for before the end of the day. On certain days the range and type of transactions do not tally. On such days the work is carried over to the next day and a small squad is formed to do so.

It is not unusual that on many occasions the balancing work is carried over for a few days at a time despite putting the maximum efforts to locate the errors. I recall one such instance in early 1977 when the sequence of events affected my life deeply. A difference of one paisa was found in one of the books on a particular day and despite the Herculean efforts put up by the special squad, it proved difficult to locate the error. Days went by and despite doubling the strength of the squad the mistake defied solution.

At this point of time I was working in a mofussil branch and was on orders of transfer to Bangalore where my wife was seriously ill. My persistent requests to relieve me so as to enable me to look after my sick wife fell on deaf ears as the officer identified to take over from me hadn’t been relieved from his branch.

Curiously an officer from the Bangalore Branch was to take charge at a nearby branch and the incumbent there was to join my branch. If this arrangement had taken place in time, I could have handed over my charge to him. But fate played a cruel trick on me.

The officer at the Bangalore branch was heading the special squad to locate the one paisa mentioned earlier and would not be relieved until he solved the mystery.

The mystery of the missing paisa was not solved well after my reliever took over from me a couple of months later. All I can say is that I was ‘fortunate’ to be at the bedside of my wife when she passed away in 1977.

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