THE RIVER AND THE OCEAN
One of the main reasons why I had been to Mangalore, this time, was to meet my Hero, Prof. B.S. Raman. I had written about my desire to meet him in one my posts in October 2011. Joe, my friend, had met sir and learnt that they would be permanently moving to Ooty in coming April. Joe knew how much I worshipped my sir, how much influence he had left on my life… So, it was Joe that kept the pressure on me. Else, this trip would not have happened.
Prof. Raman is over 75, now. He had retired from active teaching about fifteen years ago. I have told many times before in my writings, and from several platforms, including my classroom, that my life changed because of my sir. I have also told this: he changed me silently. I was shy, desperately shy… I was nervous, pathetically nervous… I was filled with self-doubts… miserably so. I was clueless about my future - What I had to do in life. My handicap about speaking in English and my stage fear had brought in me the chronic disease of Inferiority Complex.
So, in my first year B’Com, when Prof. Raman came to teach me, I found in him my Redeemer, my Messiah. He had taught me for three years – during my entire degree-college life. All that I did was to sit in that 150-something-classroom, completely faceless in that crowd, and admire this man. I burningly desired to become like him. And, I did it day in and day out. And, yes, I did it without speaking to him a single word! I just admired him and desired to become like him. That’s all I did.
It was enough to change me for good!
Just this morning, a parent called me up. She was referred to me by a very respected career counselor. Now, this lady has a young son… and, she says he is lost. She wants me to help him out in some way… that is to find his way in this maze called Life! I have called them this afternoon… and all that I am going to do is: just tell the young man how lost I was when I was like him… and how I found my own way. I will tell him, that he needs to be ‘touched’ by something, by some one. The rest will just happen. I will tell him the way my Hero, Prof. Raman, touched my life… I will tell him what an incredible force inspiration is! And, I am sure, the young man will go back with hope.
We were there at Sir’s place for more than an hour. During this memorable moment, I opened up before him… I told him about my story, the impact he had left on my life just by the touch of his shadow… How much I had longed to tell him about it… and, How blessed I felt now.
Age has made my sir a much mellowed soul. But, it has not shaken him from the ground that he had always stood on. He was outright simple then; he was now, even more. He was painfully hard-working then; he was now, even more. He was passionate about his work then; he was now, even more so. He downplayed his achievements then; he did that even now, and more so.
Some things are going to tell you why it is difficult for us to emulate this soul. He has written a text book on almost every subject of a Commerce student. When I received from him the autographed copy of his latest book, I was amazed: ‘The Constitution of India’! So many books, over so many years… and, Prof. Raman has not touched computer to write them! He has written all of them – and still writes – manually. Every line, every word! When I asked him for his Cell number, I learnt he did not use a mobile! He has stuck to the same publisher who had helped him out when he was a ‘Nobody’. Even at the peak of his popularity, no lucrative offers from any publisher – however great he may be – could tempt my sir away from his loyalty. It is certainly no good business acumen; but, is supremely fine business ethics… At least, I think so. Prof. Raman had lived for all his teaching life in the staff quarters provided by the college. He vacated it on the very day he retired! What is not fair, is not fair! My sir’s life was - and is - as simple and uncomplicated as that!
Joe and I felt extremely blissful after spending time with our sir. His wife was such a sweet soul. So, simple, so gracious. We told her that our sir could not have done so much with out her silent support. She must have stood by him like a rock! His daughter-in-law and two grand children had inherited the same legacy. We told the young ones how fortunate they were… how blessed! Then, I asked the grandson to open that Blog post – ‘Just the touch of that shadow’. My sir stood behind me like a shy child, next to him stood his wife, daughter-in-law, two young grandchildren and Joe. There, I read out to them that post with my tearful eyes. When it ended, I stood up, bent down to sir’s feet and cried.
A pilgrimage had just ended! It was a long-cherished one!
The image used in this Post is by Ashok Ahuja. He is a professional Photographer and a very dear friend of mine. He is also one of the founder members of The Dawn Club, and, along with his gifted-artist wife, Sudha, has been helping me, and the Club, right from its inception.