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BANG...OH...BANK...!

BANG...OH...BANK...!

Par Easwar

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BANG...OH...BANK...!

Par Easwar

évaluations:
3/5 (1 évaluation)
Longueur:
486 pages
7 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Jun 24, 2015
ISBN:
9789352060900
Format:
Livre

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What were we? What are we?

This is a recapitulation of the story of India from 1956 until 2014. It chronicles one of the most wonderful systems that have ever been developed on earth by an ancient and cultured social group that had been a pioneer in the establishment of welfare measures for both the haves and the have-nots .

The system referred to here is The Indian Banking System which, by its magical philosophy of Save and Prosper , has been the instrument of change. A large group of people have benefitted in one way or the other by this enchanting industry and all that it has had to offer. They chose to pay tributes out of respect for the system and hence, this book.

Bang...oh...Bank...!

But money was not everything. I realized that working in the bank brought with it a certain kind of dignity and social standing which was quite a big deal in those days. Family, future, security, status etc. Yes, those days a bank employee was regarded highly by society. He was a sought-after groom in the marriage market.

The liberalization era brought about important changes in the functioning of banks. The industry was the nerve-centre for all financial operations in the country. In order to meet the emerging need to match International Standards, automation and computerization of all core banking operations became the norm

A Banker s Diary.

When the computerisation wave swept the nation s banks, lakhs and lakhs of precious public money was spent. The importance of Exceptional Reports was understood, and these exceptional reports were implemented by all the banks in all earnestness. But, the follow-up of the reports generated by the system and their consequences was not really done with the same amount of earnestness with which the scheme was implemented

Password Compromise.

Human Resources or HR is perhaps the most valuable asset in any organisation. It is the human resource that exploits and makes use of other resources in the organization so as to achieve organizational objectives. The aim of the Human Resource Department, or by whatever name it is known such as Personnel Department, P& IR and such else, is established to get the best out of the workforce of the organisation. For the achievement of organisational purpose, there are many sub-systems in the Human Resources Department, such as Grievance Handling, Counselling, Performance Appraisals, Career Planning, Training & Development Programs and such else.

A new born baby given new life to a Bank Office.

All promises became true. All performances were spot-on. This is truer than the truth. Banking in India was promising, and encouraged the growth of India into becoming a vibrant and energetic economic power. That dream has now become reality. Now, India has become a force to reckon with in terms of economic development. No other country can afford to ignore India. I will not, for a change, make a conventional call that banks are at a cross-roads. We have crossed all of them, if you wish please, and there are only roads ahead. Rest assured that Indian Banking will survive at all times.

Banking Highway.

.

The Heads of Banks nodded, some applauded

The higher-ups had no knowledge of what this barefoot banker was doing. They had to rely on him. He had the independence, freedom and autonomy necessary for decentralized decision making. He knew the way his Manager in Chennai was exceeding his authority and used to write to the head office to ratify his decisions in the past. He did the same thing with success. But the Regional Manager kept mum, it was his style. Wait for results: if they were positive, well, he could confirm all actions done at grass-roots. If the results were bad the axe could fall on.

A prudent banker should observe how men of prudence, discretion and intelligence manage their own affairs in regard to the permanent disposition of their funds considering probable income, as well as probable safety of the money involved . (1830 Mass
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Jun 24, 2015
ISBN:
9789352060900
Format:
Livre

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BANG...OH...BANK...! - Easwar

do?

Part - I

Chapter - 1

The Dawn 1956 - 1970

I was studying in the third standard. I still remember the incident. One day, one of my aunts on my mother’s side rushed into the classroom crying aloud. She went to the teacher and whispered something to her. The teacher, in a state of shock, looked at me and nodded. My aunt came near me, took my bag and held my hand, weeping. Come. We must go home, she told me, and led me by my hand.

I was hardly seven years old. It was the first scene that had ever been etched in my mind deeply. I could not understand the impact that the scene had created in my mind then and later. On the way back home, my aunt was weeping.

Inimae Mangalam Ennada Pannappora? Anju Kozandhaingada!

(What is Mangalam going to do from now on? She has five children!)

My aunt was not able to control her tears.

Mangalam was my mother.

As a boy of seven, I could not understand the tragedy that had unfolded and the impact that that day was going to have on me. My eldest brother was only twelve, my only sister was nearing ten. I was the third. My younger brother was four. And my youngest brother was just one. Father was a just word to him, it wasn’t much else, until he turned 30 when he had his first child.

Mangalam, my mother, was hardly 35 back then, and already had five children to take care of. Today, all the five children and their families put together are worth in CRORES.

But what were ‘we’?

This is not my story, or our story but the story of India since 1956.

Oct-1956

Shri. Lal Bahadur Sastry, with his famed simple and small demeanour resigned as the Minister of Railways owing to moral responsibilities.

It was a first-of-its-kind occurrence in Indian history and in the history of Indian Railways. The Ariyalur Train accident was another major incident. The magnitude of the disaster left deep scars on many Indian families and brought them to the streets.

It was the time when the Indian democracy was learning to crawl. It had to stand up steadily and walk slowly. Sooner than anticipated.

The Indian democracy was, then, a child left to fend and learn for itself. Compensations for the victims’ families were announced. .

In my view, it was then that India started discovering the inherent strength of women. The ability of women to stand up courageously and to fight against odds in their lives was evident with the emergence of my mother’s life as a widow.

As a young woman of 35, without an educational background or sufficient job experience or even a job on hand and five children to take care of, my mother Mangalam, was reluctant to accept the monetary compensation that was offered. Instead, she demanded that she be given shelter in Madras, where she lived with her husband. She was adamant in making her demand, rejecting money as compensation for her beloved husband’s untimely death.

Perhaps this was a wise decision. But it was only recently that we understood that that decision was why we are what we are today. It was a turning point in all our lives.

A permanent shelter is more important for a decent living rather than temporary cash-asset or any other moveable assets. As a banker, I understood this only at the age of 52. But my mother, a widow so young, seemed to have known this when she was much younger. From that moment, No.10, Sivaraman Street, near Kellette High School, Triplicane, Madras -600 005 became our permanent abode .

The house came our way. Our father paid the cost with his life. -

I was a headache for my family. My mother was always worried about me. I was the one who quarrelled with her the most. I used to pretend as though I was paying keen attention to her advice but she knew that I would do everything in my own way. She never scolded me and never complained to anyone about me, either. She used to advise me, but not in front of others, rather, only when she found me alone. She used to caution me. I was growing eccentric, and turning out to be a disobedient child causing her much agony. She was happy, though, that I was studious and had many friends at a very young age.

Even in the late 1960’s, there was a separate engineering course for students in Classes X and XI ‘The Kellette High School’, which groomed students for technical studies for their future. In the final exams at school, I stood first in the class and hoped that I would get into the Guindy Engineering College. But to my dismay, I learned that my family had no intention of allowing me to pursue my ambitions.

I was the first ranker in school , but couldn’t make it to the college of my choice. Throughout my college days , I was only interested in going to The Connemara Library, the British Council Library and to some extent, to other consular libraries. Very soon, it became clear that I was blessed by some unknown force which kept me from pursuing technical education. It might have turned out to be a big disaster and I could have wound up becoming a big zero. My life would have been a total waste – as I would learn later, that I was not born to be a techie or a scientist. Maths, Physics and Chemistry were subjects I could never have mastered had I opted a course in engineering. Right from when I was 14, I knew that I was inclined towards Literature and Theatre alone. With each passing day, I discovered that I had some talent in writing and storytelling. Slowly, I understood that I was more of an observer, particularly an observer of nature and life, of men, women and children. I was an observer who did a good job of making records of all that he had seen in life.

I learned that my life would be incomplete if I did not go after the one thing I had a flair for, which was writing.

Some unknown force - call it God or Almighty - had been kind to me.

I decided that I would be an author, a playwright and a director.

I would express myself through the written word.

The Hindi Agitation of 1969 affected me as much as it affected others. It made me a vagabond and a wanderer. Perhaps it was my love for Tamil that did that. I began evolving as a story teller from a young age. Even as a boy of 12, I was surrounded by boys and girls in my age group on our terrace at home.

My friend, Jayakumar, who lived on the same street, would enact parts from my stories, and play all the characters himself. In fact, he was to me, what Shri Sivaji Ganesan was to Shri B. R. Bantalu.

It was my aim to become the next Jayakanthan or T. Janakiraman, both of whom were famous Tamil writers. Even before I turned 18, my growing love for their writing had given my mother sleepless nights. I was becoming crazy with my love for storytelling.

Even before my older siblings were married, I asked my mother to find a girl for me so that the ‘pain and agony that was killing me every day would soon be healed.’ As an adolescent boy, I could not bear the burden of the torturous thoughts of that age.

My mother slapped me, something she had been carefully avoiding till then. Immediately after, she began weeping. Between tears, she cajoled me and demanded an assurance from me to the effect that I would never again bring up the topic, nor speak that way to anyone in my own interest, lest I be judged and branded by others not only as an idiot but also as a bad boy.

The Kellett High School, Triplicane was where I came into contact with the name Jesus Christ. The image of Jesus holding, in his caring hands, a Lamp was and is still one of my favourite pictures. It always kindles in me a certain feeling that I always like but cannot explain.

I was a lamp that did not lose its way. I had a good shepherd.

It was in that school that I was introduced to the midday meals scheme under the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Shri K. Kamaraj

Shri Doraiswamy was my teacher then and he was in charge of the scheme. (Or so I presume now) I used to wonder how he came to know about my family background, because one day, he simply ordered me to join the boys’ group for the mid-day meals at the appointed hour everyday. He used to advise me not to hurry to take the first place or plate. ‘Serve the other boys, first, and then eat your food last.’ That was his advice to me.

He used to say that it was the best step to take to go close to God, the Almighty. I didn’t understand it then. But not hurrying for a meal in a ‘Pandhi’, (feast) became a habit since then. In the school, I ranked the first in my class.

But then I could not get into Vivekananda College for my pre-university, despite the best efforts of my uncle on my mother’s side, Shri T. E. Venkatraman. He was an old student in that college and he was sure that he could help me get into the institution. He tried his best but in vain. He tried elsewhere and got me a seat in the PUC course at the New College, Royapettah. I was under the impression that my next destination was Engineering College, Guindy.

At New College, I learned to some extent what Islam was about.

I was put in the first batch, comprising physics, mathematics and chemistry. Soon,

I learned that the subjects were not my forte. For the marks that I secured there, I could only get into the Government Arts College on Mount Road for my undergraduate degree. I came last in both colleges. But in the time between school and college, the most fascinating part of my young days thrived.

When the final exams at school were over, I wanted to go somewhere for a vacation.

When school closed, I was sent to Erode, where my Aunt’s family (father’s sister’s family) lived. Because of my mother’s good efforts in maintaining a strong relationship with all her relatives, I used to go there regularly during all my vacations. On that trip, though, I had to return alone, that too under my own complusion. I was not a small boy any longer and I could travel by myself, anywhere in Tamil Nadu. I wanted to return alone. I was adamant about it, but my relatives were afraid to send me alone. Since I was not one to give up, they had no alternative. I was on the train for the return journey with a ticket in my pocket and about Rs.10 for emergency expenses. In those days, Rs.10 was more than sufficient for an overnight journey. My uncle and cousins had come to the station to send me off. They had a lot of advice to offer, since I was young. The train started on time, but couldn’t go beyond Jolarpet. All trains had stopped there abruptly.

The passengers were informed that the trains would not proceed further as there was a sudden statewide agitation. In its fight against the dominance of Hindi, Tamil Nadu was on fire. Government buses, trains, Central Government Offices and other public places took the impact. Language is an issue that politics can always play with. I was left in the lurch, along with many others.

At that age, I could go alone only upto Mount Road, and to some theatres in and around Mount Road. My cousin’s family would not have allowed me to return to Chennai at any cost, under such circumstances had they known it earlier. It was the first worldly experience for me as an adolescent boy outside of my house. In those days, one simply had to face the hostile world with just a few rupees in his pocket. I did not know that Jolarpet, Katpadi, Arakonam etc.,etc. and a few other places would be mired by such conflict. My uncle warned me against alighting from the train under any circumstance, until I reached the Central Station in Madras. My family was going to take me home from the station. The situation I was in now, though, was strange. I didn’t know what I had to do next. There was no phone connection at home. I had never used a phone either. I did not even know how to dial a number. Though I was a little confused and a little shaky, people around me were kind.

It was then that I slowly learned that the outside world was not so bad or threatening, but was so friendly. The sights and sounds of the world around me now began fascinating me. Bullock carts, rickshaws, cycles, very few private cars and many buses were all the modes of transport that we had at our disposal – and everyone on the train got onto whatever vehicle they found to travel to Madras. Aside of the Rs. 10 in my pocket, I only had the railway ticket.

I could not believe that people on the roads, in tea shops and in hotels were kind enough to understand the situation and help us. No one asked us for money. Many of us were able to reach Madras by late evening.

We traveled from point to point, and we were not allowed to suffer for want of a meal. That marked a turning point in my life.

I realized that it was important to observe the world, for one learns good lessons.

Can you believe this now? With great difficulty, but with heavily lessened sufferings, an adolescent boy travelled from Jolarpet to Madras with people he did not know, at a time when the whole state was burning. On my way back home, I saw cycles, buses, jeeps and so many things burning. There was destruction everywhere. Only at a later stage, I could understand what it implied.

Political Tamil Nadu was different from the kind hearted, chivalrous Tamilians that comprised it.

I was a student of ‘Rashtrabasha’, (the third level in Hindi as administered by the Hindi Prachar Sabha which had a branch in Triplicane) I abruptly stopped going to class despite repeated advice from my mother not to stop. Tamil was my mother-tongue. How could I not resist someone unknown, who was imposing his language on me?

My mother could not force me beyond a point when I decided that I did not want to pursue Hindi.

I was a victim. Many of the family members of the political party that forced the anti-Hindi agitation on the State can now speak in fluent Hindi today. Publicly, though, they would not admit to it.

That is one of the faces of politics in Tamil Nadu.

When I was in the second year of my degree class, I had two very good professors who taught Tamil. During the mid-term exams, for my paper in Tamil, I wanted to do something novel. In an answer for a question on the Kamba Ramayana, my whole answer was in a dialogue form between Rama and Ravana. They were pure dialogues, unlike the answer in the then Konar Notes.

My Tamil Professor appreciated my originality in the answers but warned me against doing it since I may not score enough or get through in the paper if I stuck to those kinds of answers. I thought I would never complete my degree. In the last days of the third year, two others in my family and I wound up with typhoid. I could not attend my final exams. I could not finish my degree.

I was, fortunate enough to be more precise at my work, and was destined to get a job: that too, the most sought-after job of that age. Had typhoid not attaked me then, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the job.

For the simple reason, I was then, the school first .

And , as a Graduate, College-last.

In my family my older brother had to stop his higher education because he had the responsibility of helping our mother to take care of the remaining four of us. He used to pedal about on an old bicycle from Triplicane to Koyambedu everyday for work, earning a meager monthly salary of Rs.175 to Rs.225. After him, my younger brother who on his own got himself a job after school. He was to work near the Chetpet Bridge, in a business-house run by a North Indian businessman. He made it clear to us all that he would only enter into business for his livelihood and that nobody should force him to study further.

I was turning into a vagabond, having no intention to go for a job. I was born to become a famous writer and director. And going for a job would land me nowhere near that dream.

But even while studying at college, I started to earn a few bucks which I kept for myself. At that time, one of my distant relatives was at the helm of affairs at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

It was a time when many foreign countries started developing cultural relations with India in order to promote their countries’ cultural activities, business products and tourist spots. The job for I was engaged in involved carrying banners, promotion literatures, notices and the like to a hall that was famous for promotional activities, and then putting them up there. I used to do this for about three or four days continuously each month, for daily wages. I used to get anywhere between Rs. 75 and Rs. 125 a month, depending on the country that was conducting the exhibition. They used to pay me in dollars. My relative used to get them converted into Indian currency and then pay me the money.

Usually, the cultural secretaries or similar officials, with the help of the ICCR would conduct these exhibitions. It was a boon to me.

My only qualification then was the little courage that I had in talking to them in my ‘Butler – English’.

In those days, English was part of the school curriculum only from Class 6. Till I was in Class 8, I could not even speak simple sentences in English, such as, I am a boy. My name is … My father’s name is …

It was only when I was in Class 10 that I began speaking in English, a few words at a time. This was especially so because the engineering course in school was taught only in English. My family was not in a position to subscribe to any English news daily at that time, nor any Tamil newspapers either, for that matter. Our neighbour, Shri Sankarasubban, was like a father figure to me and my siblings. He taught me how to read the news in English. I had the opportunity to read The Hindu at his house everyday, after he finished reading the paper. This continued for years. By and by, I gathered enough courage to speak in English. That helped me a lot when I joined in my first job.

On one occasion, Miss Ann Drew Brook, a Canadian Cultural Secretary, asked me if I could tell her something about Indian Literature and Indian Gods. It was the first time that I told a story in English. But the story was not mine. It was the Ramayana.

In the evenings, she used to invite me to her room at The Connemara Hotel. She ordered some coffee for me before we started our session. It took me to another world. I could tell a story in English, that too, to a foreigner! How much of it she understood to appreciate it fully remained a million dollar question. When she was leaving, she gave me a letter.

It was short and specific. It was an indirect job offer. It wanted me - directed me, actually - to contact the Cultural Secretary if I was prepared to go to Canada. As she was bound to stay in Delhi for another 10 days, it would be advisable for me to take a decision soon, so that all arrangements would be made under her supervision. On my becoming a graduate it would be all the better.I would soon become a Canadian Citizen.

The letter assured the recipient of happy and prosperous days ahead in Canada. The only condition was that I had to take a decision soon, and contact her at the New Delhi address that was mentioned in the letter.

I did not expect something like this. I only anticipated a letter of appreciation. The letter also told me that I could pursue my literary interests without any hindrance in Canada once I decided to settle there.

When I told my mother the contents of the letter, her immediate reaction was to ask me why I did not tell her all these things, and why, for the past few days I had spent my evenings with her by going to the Connemara Hotel.

I told her that it was part of my job to accompany the boss. She stared at me. It was evident that she did not like it. Forget going to Canada, at the advice of an unknown woman! First, stop going to a hotel with the woman who employs you! I did not understand her fears then, but I knew that she was afraid of my nature and the follies of youth that I was susceptible to. What she did not know was that I was slowly becoming adamant in my stand of not going to work. I was thrilled that my story-telling skills were getting me a job, that too, from a foreigner in Canada!

I could not write my final degree exam and graduate in time because of typhoid. I had to write the exam the next time it was offered, in September. My younger brother who was working with the business firm, brought home a typed letter, one day. It was addressed by me to a post-box number. He requested me to sign the letter. We never used to refuse each other. Reluctantly, I put my signature even without going through the letter. I was not in a position to offend his feelings.

One day, as usual I was playing Golikundu, Bambaram, Bendha and ‘thief and police’ with the children in my street. An Iyyangar Periyavar (old Vaishnavite) who was also a family friend, came to our house. I wondered why he was there. He was from the Venkatachalam Chetty Street, where we lived earlier.

Later on, I came to understand that he was a very good astrologer, although it was not his profession. He never used to take money for his predictions.

Nearly an hour after his arrival, the little boys with whom I was playing were summoned by their mothers. I had to go back home. I wondered why that old man had come.

My mother was looking at him with worry in her face. He was carefully examining a notebook which my mother used to preserve with a lot of care. He gave me a curious look. He was having a small note book handed over to him by my mother.

The ‘Thiruman’ (namam, or caste-mark) that was drawn on his forehead attracted me more than what he was saying.

Mangalam, he said, addressing my mother in the way most others did, You need not worry anymore. Soon, your boy will get a respectable job. He will be where money circulations is high. He will only handle. That is what his job will be. He will earn a good name. Stop worrying about him anymore. In another fifteen days, he will have decent job to attend.

My mother asked him anxiously, Are you sure? He looked at her.

Josiyar poi sollalam, aana, jodhidam poi solladhu, he told her. It meant that astrologers may lie, but astrology itself wouldn’t

After sometime, he left. I saw happiness in my mother’s eyes. It was a strange feeling. To know that some scribbles in an old note book could bring relief to her when interpreted with an old man’s predictions. I never expected something like this.

How nice it would be, if this happiness would continue in her eyes! That was the only thing in my mind.

Periyavarukku inniku verai velai illai pollirukku! I jocularly told my mother, insinuating that the old man had no other work to do. She was not happy.

By that time, I had already submitted a drama to ’Vanoli Nilayam’, or the All India Radio At Chennai.

It was called "’Ethu Sathiyam?’, which meant, ‘Which is the truth?’

It was my first play, and was all set to be broadcast in the next few days.

I was born to be a writer, a playwright, an author and a director!

Me? Going for a job? Ha ha ha! I told my annoyed mother.

‘Edhu Sathiyam‘ went on for a while.

It was written by me and produced by AIR under a youth programme. It was enacted by my friends in Sivaraman Street and around and was broadcast on radio. We were all happy about it.

I thought it was going to be a milestone in my career. After a month, I got a letter, calling me for a written test on a designated date with details of the place and time for the test. This is what we call fate, in India. My mother, with hope in her eyes, advised me and told me to attend the written test as I had been a first ranker in class. I could not refuse her.

Chapter - 2

The Noon (1970-2001)

1.

One of my cousins, who was on his way to office, dropped me at the centre in Parrys to do the exam. It was a big hall. When the exam began, I slowly wrote all the answers I knew, on the sheet that was given to me with a number on it. I wrote the answers in my usual good handwriting, slowly and steadily.

Always I believed in human efforts, and not in fate.

‘Unnal Mudiyum Thambi,’ was a slogan I always cherished – it meant, ‘You can do it, brother!’. With ‘Edhu Sathiyam?’ already on air, I was preparing my next play to be submitted to AIR.

Yes, we can.

Even now, at the age of 65, I tell myself.

Yes, I can’.

But Save for human efforts, perhaps, we would have remained in the Stone Age.

It is only later that we understand how an invisible force guides us. Can we ever take it as a guide?

2. JUNE – 1970.

It must have been the first or second week of June 1970- when I received a letter asking me to appear for an interview. The place, date and time for the interview were mentioned. I was to take all my certificates.

I was in a total dilemma. Without a word, my older brother pedalled on his old bicycle, while he took his everyday route from Triplicane to Koyambedu. With an air of confidence and hope to enter the business world, my younger brother had already secured a job for himself. We knew how much risk he took at times by carrying huge amounts of cash at the instance of his boss, moving from place to place in Madras and also travelling to and from various cities in the country. His job demanded taking such risks. He was the sole reason for my getting this letter. My mother’s anxious face and worried looks, wondering as to whether I might spoil or destroy myself totally by harbouring some unwanted and hitherto unheard of ideas in my mind, all flashed in my thoughts. Was I becoming selfish? Did I not care for my family?

Dreams never come true.

But I was not day-dreaming! I was already recognized by AIR! ‘Edhu Sathiyam?’ had transcended a dream and had become reality.

Murali, don’t get dejected. Put in more efforts and you will definitely succeed

I kept telling myself. (Murali was my pet name.)

‘Curiosity kills the cat.’was a proverb that I used to hear often in those days from my elders.

I went to my mother and demanded the old notebook from her, the one that she showed the astrologer the other day.

Why are you asking for that notebook? After all, you say you don’t believe such nonsense! I fear that you will destroy it!

I promised her that I would not destroy it, but that I was going to copy it and return the original to her. She reluctantly brought the notebook, sat beside me and asked me to copy the one page bearing my name in her presence. I copied it and gave the notebook back to her. She saw the copied paper.

Oh!, What nice handwriting! But what is the use? If the handwriting alone is good, will it feed you tomorrow? Who knows what is written on your hand? Why do you need it, now? I did not answer her.

Now. Tell me. What are your plans? Why did you copy it?

My mother demanded an answer.

Plans are not to be told in advance, I said, giving her the look of an Army General in Command. I moved out.

A good handwriting is an individual effort. Can it guide a man’s destiny?

Was she happy about my handwriting or not? What was she saying? What connection had this had with the job?

Why had this letter come?

I could not make anything out of the goings-on.

3.

There was a man called Shri S. P. Kalyanasundaram, or SPK who lived on Sivaraman Street in Triplicane, back then. By profession, he was a Naadi Astrologer. His voice was a gift for his profession. He used to read the ‘Agasthiyar Vasishtar Naadi’ in the form of songs, in pure Tamil.

The verses he sang kept me spellbound. His voice used to resonate in the air in our street. He used to read the Naadi alone aloud, and would disclose the interpretation to his clients in a soft voice that could be heard only by the ones in his closed room. In those days, many VIPs in the city and the state, including politicians and business people, famous singers and actors, called on him to take advice from him. Ordinary people also visited him. He was Jayakumar’s father – Jayakumar being my childhood friend. He nurtured the ambition of becoming the next Sivaji Ganesan.

His house in our street was like a Dharmashala, where people arrived and sat in batches to eat. When we were children and played on the streets, we would also enter his house and eat. No one said anything. In those days, many households on that street had that habit of feeding many, especially children, but SPK’s house was the most prominent.

I used to take liberties with SPK, as he was my friend’s father. Once, he invited me to accompany him to Malaysia, where he had many clients. All I needed to do was to translate his verses to them in English.

Even now, I remember refusing him bluntly on two counts – firs, was that the verses were in such pure Tamil tha I had to hear them out over and over again to translate them in English, because of my lack of knowledge of both languages, and secondly, because I refused to believe what he used to read and interpret by way of Naadi. I did not understand that I had insulted his professional pride, at that young age. He knew me from when I was ten years old, and he was my friend’s father.

Bluntly, I had refused on two counts.

First, the versus so pure in Tamil and which I used to hear again and again , could not be translated in English by me, for my lack of knowledge in both the languages.

And secondly- which was more important- I refused to believe, what he was professing by way of Naadi.

What sort of insult I was injecting in his professional pride, I could not understand at that young age. He knew me right from age of 10.

He was my friend’s father. One shouldn’t lie to a friend’s father, and that was what I believed in.

It was my idea.

Diplomacy was one thing I never learned in life, both, then and now.

4.

We were alone, SPK and I. He looked at me and the paper on his table, and then laughed.

Easwara, What is this?

I want you to read me my Naadi! I told him.

He looked at his watch.

Good! You have come at the right time. But after all, you don’t believe this. They have no meaning to you. It is only time-pass. Why do you want me to read your Naadi?

I was prepared for this question. I knew how to answer him.

My mother is anxious to know whether my future will be good or not, I said.

He looked at me carefully in disbelief.

I knew by that time that my mother had earned the respect of many families on that street. I also knew that she would never meet him and discuss the matter with him.

However, SPK opened the Naadi bundle and scrutinized the sheet I had handed over.

He gave me a piece of paper and pen and commanded.

Note down what I tell you from the Naadi.

I watched him carefully as he started making some calculations on a separate sheet of paper on his table. His fingers were also dancing while he made his calculations. He turned one leaf after the other in the bundle, and stopped at a particular leaf. His commanding voice then started to recite it in a poetic way. They were some of the most beautiful words I had ever heard in Tamil. For nearly an hour, I was dumbstruck.

I was so astonished that I did not open my mouth till the end.

Easwara, I know your mind. Whether to believe this or not, is the question that is pricking your mind now. That was why I asked you to note down the important points in that sheet. Keep it with you. You are a science student. Science does not accept anything before verifying the results several times over. Watch this, verify the contents before you come here again. Then we will discuss further,

I handed the sheet of paper he gave me back to him. Uncle, please keep this with you. I will take it when I need it.

But you will require it for verifications and your satisfaction of the accuracy! True. But let this be with you. What you have told me had gone deep into my mind. Moreover, if I take it home, I may misplace it

You mother may ask you for it.

I can manage the situation.

His smile made it clear.

He was wise enough not to believe a boy of my age.

5.

Uncle, have you ever read the Naadi for your son, Jayakumar? This sudden question from me was unexpected for him. There was a kind of sadness in his eyes.

Easwara, he said in a chocked voice. Some expert surgeons cannot operate their own kith and kin.

He did not say anything more. I could not understand why his military voice had, at that time, lost its usual control.

But what the Naadi Astrologer had unraveled for me had gone deep into my mind.

He told me I was a student of science, and that science would never accept anything without verification.

I knew that I was unfit for science.

But observation became part of my life since then.

6.

Right from birth, someone or the other guides us. Whether we like it or not,everyone from Amma, Appa, sister and brother to grandfather and grandmother, and from teachers and the police to writers, politicians and the laws. The list goes on.

Scientists as individuals and groups are guided by someone else or by their own principles and then, a follow up of the work that remains doing, is a product of the paths we choose. Can any invisible force, guide us?

Can it ever be taken as a guide?

Or are we missing out on a wonderful science by deliberately avoiding to believe in it in the name of branding them as unscientific ideas or as irrational thinking?

Probably, this opened a new leaf in my life as I grew to become a man.

I started recording major events in my life.

The result was, at the age of 65, ‘BANG..OH..BANK..!’ – was born.

This may seem to be another biography but, it is not.

It throws

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