Monday, June 25, 2012

Baoji


Sri V.S. Murthy - expired 8 June 2012, at 73 years.

I think I should have done this like ET Balu – he chronicles his memoirs of persons associated with him – relatives, friends, business – when they are still there, and shares these with all, but it's too late now. I’m sure Baoji would have been happy to see what my thoughts are about him.

It would not be incorrect to say that after Aji, he was the pillar uniting our family. Known for his energy, discipline, affection and service, he was liked by all around him and no function was complete without his presence. He always attracted everyone with his ability to keep people of any age group engaged in good conversation on a topic of their choice and liking. He would keep Damu busy with conversing in Madras-Tamil, Vasanthi with his comparative experience in dealing with different banks and my father-in-law with pension related topics, all with the same level of interest and enthusiasm. No wonder everyone liked him so much.

What I narrate could be viewed as my angle, but I think the main reason he was so popular (may be unpopular with some too!), was because he was honest, well-meaning, straight-forward and open-speaking. He might have had disagreements and difference of opinion, but I don’t think he ever disliked or hated any person. If you needed counsel, he was always by your side, guiding you the right way.

He was very calculative, which is understandable if you could take note of the fact that he had come up the hard way in life, born in a big family of eight siblings, and had to shoulder major responsibility right from the days he started earning. He took care of his sisters so well. Being a railway man with a transferable job, he worked at many places and made a mark wherever he was posted. Because of his transfers, we have had the privilege and oppourtunity of seeing places by visiting him during vacation. I can never forget my visit to Gadag when he took us to the famous heritage site at Hampi and to Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur. Nor could I forget my visit to Guntakal when he gave his scooter for me to learn riding.

He disliked over-spending on anything. He would allocate a budget and operate within that. He would plan ahead and execute on time, every time. He hated lethargy, and would not sit idle for a moment. He would always be doing something, and there would always be something for him to do!

He would keep us mesmerized with stories of his work experience – working day and night in remote inaccessible areas, helping install a statue in a township, taming a union bully, and many such stories. But the most interesting of them all was his own narration of how he kept his steam locomotive ready in prime condition during a top-level inspection. While others had chosen to lavishly decorate their engines and do all sorts of unnecessary things to attract (rather distract) the bosses’ attention, he had kept the steam loco perfectly cleaned, oiled, lubricated, filled up with coal and water, steel parts shining and other parts clean and tidy, ready with full-charge steam to haul a full length of 80 freight wagons. The moment the Board member who was doing the inspection boarded the engine, all Baoji needed to do was to tug the wire to hoot the whistle and start the engine, and explain in his own high-decibel high-enthu style the functioning of the shed and the statistics of its capabilities. The Board member, needless to say, was impressed beyond bounds and awarded the first prize to Baoji’s shed. A steam-loco replica honoring his service at the shed still rests in his house.

He was a man known for his deeds. After retirement and settling in Ambattur, he devoted time to religious activities. His leadership style was very evident when he was elected to head the managing committee of the Sri Raghavendra Swamy mutt. He regularly visited all relatives and kept in good contact with us all. He regularly participated in the Vishnu Sahasranama recitals. During the early stages of his retirement, when Aji was alive, he would visit Kakkalur Anjaneyaswamy temple every Saturday and would bring the prasadam to her, without fail. After her demise, the frequency of his visit to Kakkalur started to decline, but he was without fail making it to the Laksharchana prior to Hanumath Jayanthi. To compensate the declining visits to Kakkalur, he started visiting the Santhana Srinivasan temple every Saturday. I know how genuinely he prayed for the well-being of Preethi and for the safe delivery of Jeevthi. I was so happy that he was there at the hospital when they brought the child out to show her to the world.

We have never seen him unwell, not even suffering a head-ache or fever. For such an energetic and compassionate man to leave us all suddenly without any indication was certainly cruel fate, but everybody who knows him will have a consolation that he died the way he wanted to die – just like that in sleep, without giving any trouble to anyone even in death.

The void created by his departure cannot be filled. He will be missed very dearly by all who knew him and have been with him even for a short span of time. I don’t think there is any necessity for the usual prayer for a soul to rest in peace - for the kind of person he was, for the service he did to his family, his country, his relatives and friends and finally to the society, I am sure his soul will find the most comfortable seat in heaven and start thinking of how to improve that place.

6 comments:

  1. raghu,

    what more can one say. You have complied the thoughts so nicely. i just recall the rabindranath tagore poem WHERE THE MIND IS WITHOUT FEAR AND THE HEAD IS HELD HIGH . I am proud to be born his son and realy am blessed to be with him together post retirement. what more can one demand. What one meets in life is destiny and how one meets it is self effort is what baba used to say . He was a live wire raghu.

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  2. opt words to express everybodys feeling I carry my memories of my visits to places with him.I am digonally opposite to him in spending principle.Yet we combined to enjoy Thiruvattaru,sringeri,Horanadu&many otherplaces.Fond memories ofHot&cold discssionns to end up in free flow of appresiation. Thankyou for the oppertunity

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  3. the abovecomments were from c.r.purushothaman

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  4. Very true, Raghu. Each word of yours brings back loads of memories of the past. Bapa always radiated energy and enthusiasm. He did make a difference to all those whom he came across – be it the vegetable vendor or the banker. Yes ! the best lesson that I always learnt from him was the proper utilization of resources . I still remember he would say “why don’t you take bath and wash clothes early in the morning without wasting the solar energy …(oon waste oth aahe) “. His mission was always to plan and execute the plan…never to waste a single moment. Probably that’s the reason he has accomplished everything whatever he has been assigned and departed to the other world with more duties waiting to be executed from the heavenly bodies.
    His greatest strength was that he always had a clear goal and a clear path to attain the goal. I am sure there have been many rescued during the train accidents because of his quick action plan. But behind all this stood my mother as a strong pillar of support handling his boundless energy and giving him the right support at the right time. Having them as parents is definitely a blessing.

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  5. So true...and even more touching...this article was exactly his self, not by body, but by words. During his previous visits, he strived not to make himself comfortable, but to make others happy, and he altered his own restrictions, budget and even character to see a smile light up on someone else's face. His energy was endless, and although a railway man by nature, he preferred to use buses or walk miles and stations, than take an auto or a train. He made anyone around him feel at bliss, and socialized with even random strangers in local trains and buses! He had a enthusiastic passion for cricket, and watching a match with his commentary would make things so much more fun. He was extremely religious, and performed any function with as much devotion and fervor as repairing a steam locomotive. He adapted towards us younger generation, be it using a mobile phone or driving an Activa instead of a Bajaj Chetak. Indeed, the hard-working, trustworthy, dynamic and energetic mechanic had aged gracefully.

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  6. Thanks Gopi, Purush, Shoba and Arvind - for reading my blog, for your response.

    Shoba - I appreciate your mention of your mom, and I agree she has been a solid support to him. I have also forgotten to mention how many people he helped by encouraging to write internal exams and enhance their career prospects.
    Arvind - Yes, reaching out to others is one lesson we all could learn from him.

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