Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Unborn Daughter

The sun was rising in the east
The birds were singing so cute
The mind was thinking very fast
And then came your thought!

We had a gentle neighbour
He had a beautiful daughter
She was so smart and lovely
We wished to see her daily!

Her eyes always twinkling
Her moves, we had no inkling
Whenever we saw her entering
Our heart beats started jumping!

She had such a sweet name
All others looked so tame!
She looked such a great beauty
Her parents had named her Sweetie!

We then made a prayer
Oh! Let us have one such daughter!
She would have all our affection
We would bring her up with such perfection!

Years went fast
The life went on
Our prayers unanswered
The wishes unfulfilled!

Today in the evening of our life
We look back to find something missing
Oh! Our unborn daughter!
You remain always our little darling!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Adventures of Kabir - The Garden Visit

Our grandson Kabir conducted an inspection of our house-garden during his last week-end visit to our place. Here is a pictorial account of how he went round the garden and conducted the inspection in his own style:

The inspection completed successfully with Kabir explaining the methodology he adopted to his mother who was fully impressed! He finally gave a report to his grandmother who rewarded him with a beautiful flower!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Monsoon Arrives

The weather was dry
The mood was low
The mind was roaming
And then came your thought

It was the end of summer
It could not have been harsher
The river was flowing thinner
And then came your thought

Walked out of the home
Had an umbrella for shade
The streets were all empty
And then came your thought

Entered the paddy field
The crop stood fully harvested
There was no greenery around
And then came your thought

The legs were getting tired
Reached the end of the field
Was into the jungle route
And then came your thought

The jungle was indeed deep
But was not all dark
The leaves and shrubs were dry
There were no birds at sight
And then came your thought

Saw the big banyan tree
Sat under the vast shades
Shut the eyes, let the mind free
And then came your thought

Heard the sound of the storms
Coming from the deep jungles
Saw the cloud and the dust
And then came your thought

The skies grew fully dark
The lightning also started
The thundering just followed
And then came your thought

Got up quickly from the floor
The climate turned cold for sure
The prayers were answered and how!
And then came your thought

Heard the sounds of your arrival
The first drops of the season were falling
It was like the sweet melodious singing
With you the Monsoon arriving!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Murari Tholpadi – The Quintessential Professor (Economics)

The Life-Partner Arrives!
It was the year 1965. The Tholpadi family received a matrimonial proposal for Murari. It was from Shri K Sarvottham Hebbar of Kundapura. He was a rich landlord and also owned a printing press in Kundapura. His first daughter Snehaprabha had completed her B.Sc.  In fact she was working as a Demonstrator in the Bhandarkar’s itself. Sneha was also a student of MGM College when Murari was working there temporarily. The proposal was perfect - with a minor hitch though!  While Murari was a six-footer, Sneha was short in height. Both the families gave their consent. It was left to Murari to take the final decision.
Murari was agreeable for the proposal. But he had his own conditions. He told Sneha almost bluntly that he had a commitment to his family. It was to support the education of his younger brothers and sisters. It included the support for the marriage of the sisters also. It was not only the question of extending financial support. Murari told Sneha that the younger lot would stay with them for completion of their High School and College education. According to Murari, the commitment could be almost for a period of 15 years!
It was indeed a challenge for Sneha. Her father was a quite well-off man and she had a comfortable upbringing in her family. While she relished the proposal from one of the most eligible bachelors in Kundapura at that time, the responsibility and the sacrifice post-marriage was just awesome. Which girl of today would like to lose her privacy with her hubby - that too immediately after marriage? How many of them would agree for cooking at the kitchen daily for her husband’s family members on a long-term basis?  How many of them would not mind their husband’s major portion of monthly salary go towards his family maintenance!
The challenge was accepted by Sneha. The marriage of Murari and Sneha was held in Udupi on the 13th of December 1965. The initial days were really tough for Sneha. But she found in Murari the qualities of a most understanding and lovable husband. After some time she found it difficult to hold on to her job and perform her household duties simultaneously. Murari left the decision to her. He knew the available funds for the family would come down. But he did not want her to bear the burden just for money’s sake. Sneha tendered her resignation to the job after about one and a half year.
The size of Murari’s family at Kundapura kept growing.  His sisters Kshama and Sudha and the youngest brother Ravi joined the family over a period of time. Murari’s maternal uncle’s son Raghu also stayed with the family for three years. Many years later, Sudhir, son of Murari’s elder brother, also stayed with the family. He stayed there for eight years to complete his graduation. All of them joined Murari at the High School 1St Year stage. Meanwhile the first daughter of the couple – Kavitha – had arrived. The second sister Veena also stayed with the family for some time. The idea was to find a suitable match for her.
The marriage of Veena was held in the year 1971 with Mr. Ramamurthy of Koteshwara, a hotelier by profession. The marriage of Uma was held in the year 1972 with Mr. M H Rao, who was working with a German multinational company in Mumbai. Murari had to share the financial burden on both the occasions. But the couple definitely had a sense of satisfaction for having contributed to the family’s welfare.
Murari’s burden started reducing after his immediate younger brother Venkatarama completed his M.Sc. and joined Karnataka Bank as an Officer. Meanwhile, another younger brother Rajgopal also completed his B.Sc. and joined the services in Canara Bank. Both of them left Kundapura and started sharing the financial burden. The marriage of Kshama was held in 1977 (with the writer of this article). By the time the marriage of the youngest daughter Sudha came up, the youngest brother Dr. Ravi contributed the lion’s share. All in all, Murari’s goal of educating his younger brothers and sisters and conducting the marriages of younger sisters was achieved within the timeframe he had envisaged and told his wife Sneha.
By this time the couple’s son – Ganesha – had arrived. The couple could now focus on their daughter Kavitha and the newly born son. Murari could also now think of building a house of his own in Kundapura. He started looking for a site. He could build his dream house in Kundapura in the year 1981 – nearly 20 years after he took up his first employment.
The writer of this article was on deputation to inspect certain branches of Canara Bank in South Kanara while working at the Inspection Department in Mumbai. The year was 1978. He fell ill while on duty at a Mangalore branch. Luckily for him, he had also been entrusted with the job of inspecting the Brahmavara and Tekkatte branches near the Kundapura town. He stayed with the couple for more than a month and could recoup his health and energy! He remembers how Sneha took all the trouble to ensure that his health could improve at the earliest. That was more like an elder sister!
The occasion was also an opportunity for him to observe what a disciplined life the couple led. He could see the respect Murari commanded in the small town. Murari is a stickler to time and the family’s daily schedule was more like a school timetable. The concept of ‘healthy food’ had been a norm with this family even in those days. Of course it has become a fashionable statement for the present generation!
Murari was offered the post of Principal of the Bhandarkar’s repeatedly. However, he somehow did not like to take up an administration job. He was quite happy with his job of teaching. Eventually he retired as Professor of Economics and Head of the Department from the Bhandarkar’s in April 1994. He was offered the post of Principal of BB Hegde College of Commerce & Business Management in Kundapura. He worked there for six months; but found the working environment not to his liking and resigned. He is enjoying his retired life peacefully in Kundapura since then.
Many of his students from all over India and across the world remember Murari as their best teacher. He also remembers many of his students who rose to eminent positions in their sphere of life. Among them he cites the names of Shri Annappayya (a rank student) who retired as the General Manager of Canara Bank and Shri K R Kamath – the present Chairman and Managing Director of Punjab National Bank. In fact, Mr. Kamath honoured Murari by making a special mention of him as his best teacher during his visit to Bhandarkar’s two years ago.
The couple’s daughter Kavitha was a brilliant student who completed her MBBS from the Mysore Medical College. Married to an IPS Officer Mr. Mardi immediately thereafter, she completed her House Surgeonship in Simla, Himachal Pradesh. She later completed her MD and DNB at the Indira Gandhi Medical College in Simla. Presently she is working as Professor of Pathology at the same college. Her husband Mr. Mardi is working as the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of the Government of Himachal Pradesh in Simla.
In addition to her culinary skills, Sneha has been an expert in stitching and artwork. She also makes various paper articles. She regularly engages herself in teaching her art to interested women. The purpose is to engage herself in creative work and guide the younger generation. She doesn’t charge any fee for her teaching work.
Ganesha, the only son of the couple, is into business in Kundapura. Over a period of time he has turned out to be a very successful businessman. What is more – he has not shirked from the responsibility to look after his parents by moving away from Kundapura. For the Murari couple it has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Ganesha is married to Suma. The couple’s daughter is Neeta. The young couple is taking full care of Murari and Sneha in the evening of their life. Murari keeps himself updated on current affairs through newspapers and TV media. He has maintained his health in perfect condition through disciplined life and controlled food habits. The couple is leading a peaceful retired life in the coastal town. This writer wishes a long healthy and happy life to the couple.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I Don’t Know, Son! - 80

Congress Party to Fight Back!
Son: The Congress Party is said to be quite serious in its bid to come back to power at least in the next Five-Year elections to Lok Sabha, dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: The party is said to have assigned major roles to three of its important leaders, dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: Ajay Maken, the former Minister, is entrusted with the job of going through the educational qualifications of all the BJP MPs and find out discrepancies, if any, dad!
Father: Go on, son.
Son: He has to particularly see whether the Universities from which they passed out were existent at the time of issuing their degrees, dad!
Father: Interesting. Go on, son.
Son: The irrepressible Kapil Sibal has been asked to review all the scams that happened during Manmohan’s regime, dad.
Father: For what purpose? Go on, son.
Son: He is supposed to prove that the loss incurred in all these scams to the exchequer is ‘Zero’, dad!
Father: Wonderful. Go on, son.
Son: The controversy king Diggy (Digvijay Singh) has been assigned with a more challenging role, dad.
Father: Like what? Go on, son.
Son: He is supposed to review all terror cases that took place during the Manmohan regime, dad.
Father: For what purpose? Go on, son.
Son: He has to somehow prove that majority of the cases were from saffron terror outfits, dad!
Father: I don’t know, son!
Mani Shankar Aiyar Missing!
Son: The Congress Party was seriously thinking of assigning a major role to Mani Shankar Aiyar, dad.
Father: Go on, Son.
Son: But the party could not find the whereabouts of him even after a thorough search, dad.
Father: How come? Go on, son.
Son: But ultimately he was said to have been traced in interior Tamil Nadu, dad.
Father: How come? Go on, son.
Son: He was found operating a small tea stall there, dad.
Father: Interesting. Go on, son.
Son: When the journalists asked for the reasons for opening a tea stall, Mani was said to be quite forthcoming, dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: He told them that his ultimate aim was to become the Prime Minister of the country, dad!
Father: Go on, son.
Son: He explained that he had made a small beginning by following the footsteps of Modi, dad!
Father: I don’t know, son!
Karnataka’s New Facility for IPS Officers!
Son: The Government of Karnataka is said to have launched a new scheme for the benefit of senior IPS Officers in the state, dad.
Father: Like what? Go on, son.
Son: Under the scheme, the officers who are facing allegations can tender their resignation and give live interviews on the Kannada news channels, dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: They can talk to the Home Minister while sitting at the studios of the channels, dad!
Father: Go on, son.
Son: The Home Minister will persuade them to withdraw the resignation through the TV medium itself, dad!
Father: Go on, son.
Son: If they still insist on accepting their resignation, the Chief Minister would ask two or three other ministers and some writers to make them withdraw their resignation, dad!
Father: I don’t know, son!
Vijay Mallya Repents!
Son: The owner of Royal Challengers of Bangalore (RCB) Vijay Mallya is said to be in a state of shock, dad.
Father: How come? Go on, son.
Son: He was a witness to Kolkata Night Riders (KNR) winning the IPL Trophy 2014 in the Chinna Swami Stadium in Bangalore last week, dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: He could make out that Karnataka players played a major role in KNR’s second victory in IPL, dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: Mallya and his son Siddhartha had ensured that not a single player from Karnataka was in their time this year, dad!
Father: True. Go on, son.
Son: Mallya is said to have told somebody that if only he had spent a small amount on Karnataka players instead of Rs14 crore on Yuvaraj who almost turned out to be a dud, dad!
Father: I don’t know, son!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Murari Tholpadi – The Quintessential Professor (Economics) - Part-II

In those days there were very few persons who had completed their post-graduation. But the job opportunities were equally limited. There were very few First Grade Colleges in the State. Murari’s efforts to secure a lecturer’s post did not succeed. Finally he began his career as a journalist in a daily newspaper called ‘Nava Bharatha’ in Mangalore. He took up the job in all its earnestness.
Murari’s job was to edit the news items received and make them readable. He was also required to give suitable headlines (title) to each news item. He soon developed the necessary expertise and started enjoying his job. He even started writing articles in Kannada. The editor of the newspaper was quite pleased. The articles were published in the newspaper.
After sometime, the editor was so pleased with Murari’s work that he offered him promotion as a Sub-Editor. But there was a catch. The Sub-Editor had to work during the night shift! Murari was not ready to work in the night shift. By that time he received an offer from MGM College to work as a Tutor in a leave vacancy. That was the end of Murari’s career in journalism!
So Murari was back at his Alma Mater after a gap of nearly four years. He was asked to take classes in History. Initially he was not happy with the subject. But soon he developed interest in the subject and teaching as well. He started preparing notes on the subject. The students started cherishing his well-drafted notes. They came in handy for them while writing their examinations.
Murari’s popularity among students attracted the attention of the management. He was asked to take up the job of hostel warden in addition to his duty as a lecturer. He was given additional remuneration for the job. What was more – he was given free lodging and boarding facility at the hostel to enable him to discharge his duty as a warden.
As stated earlier, Murari’s posting was in a leave vacancy. He was to vacate it when the person on leave came back. Fortunately for him, he got a regular appointment as a lecturer in Economics at the Saint Philomena College in Puttur. The place was hardly 6 kms away from Murari’s home in the village Shanthigodu. Soon Murari settled down in his job. But there was a minor aberration. Murari was paid Rs20 less salary than the other lecturers of subjects like Science and English. The reason being - the scarcity of Lecturers in those subjects. Needless to say Murari was not comfortable with this sort of discrimination. But he was helpless. The amount of Rs20 was not small in those day standards.
Right from the beginning, Murari had set himself a firm agenda. It was to support the family in the matter of education of his younger siblings. He had five younger sisters and three younger brothers. The first thing he did after his appointment in Puttur was to rent a house and bring his mother and two of his brothers (Venkatarama and Rajgopal) to stay with him. The sister Uma also joined him later. They were studying in High School at that time.

The marriage of Geetha, the first younger sister of Murari, was fixed while he was working in Puttur. He was getting a take home pay of Rs180 at that time. His brother Venkatarama remembers how happy Murari was when he could raise a loan of Rs1,000 and give it to his father as his contribution for the marriage expenses. The amount was more than five times his monthly take home salary at that time!
At this juncture Murari received an offer for the post of a Probationary Officer in a Bank. The job of a Probationary Officer in a bank was a coveted job in those days. The remuneration was also very much attractive. But the job meant frequent transfers to different parts of the country. Murari thought he would not be in a position to support his family if he were to accept the bank job. He declined the offer. He completed service of two years at the Philomena.
The Bhandarkar’s Arts & Science College in Kundapura was set up in the year 1963 by the Academy of Manipal with a major donation of Rs2 lakh by Dr. A S Bhandarkar who was then practicing as a doctor at Bahrain.
Ramdev Shenoy, a friend of Murari, had joined the faculty of the college in the first year. The next year he asked Murari to submit his application for the post of Lecturer in Economics in the available vacancy. Murari was interviewed for the job and was selected straightaway with an offer of additional increment considering his experience. Murari decided to take up the job, as he was fed up with the discrimination policy adopted by the St. Philomena College. He joined the Bhandarkar’s in the year 1964.
It was the beginning of a new chapter in the career of Murari. As the first lecturer to join the college as Lecturer in Economics, he became the Head of the Department. He took a house on rent at the coastal town, which was known for its healthy climate. He shifted his family setup to the town from Puttur. His sister Uma and the two other brothers were with him at this stage.
The young faculty at the newly set up college in Kundapura was in high spirits. Murari, with his MA from the prestigious Benares University and two-year experience at the St. Philomena College, soon became a popular lecturer to the students’ community. He had already made a thorough study of the general attitude of the students towards the lecturers at the MGM College and the St Philomena College. He was aware that the mere command over the subject would not help him in holding the attention of the students. It was important for him to deliver the lectures in an interesting manner to be more effective. He adopted his own methods and over a period of time he molded himself as a model lecturer.
Murari had an additional advantage. His parents had gifted him a very handsome personality. He was a six-footer with fair complexion. He always took extra care to dress up himself well. Among the entire faculty, he was the only lecturer who always attended the College in full suit. He would invariably wear the full suit for the morning session and take up classes in a simple bush shirt in the afternoon session.  All in all, he enjoyed his profession thoroughly. He never had a role model. Rather he became the role model for many of his students.
It was not as if there were no troublesome students at the Bhandarkar’s. Many of the students were from well-off families. They also wanted to enjoy their student life in full. But Murari had developed an art of keeping them under control. The college had good number of girl students in each class. There was an opinion that Murari was stricter with the fairer sex than the boys. According to Murari, the opinion was partly right. He always felt that women had a major role to play in the family and it was essential that they led a disciplined life even as students. He did show some considerations to boys as none of them would like to be insulted in front of the girls!
Murari remembers an occasion when a particular student wanted to play some mischief in the class. As he entered the classroom on that day Murari found a one rupee currency note on the podium. He could make out that somebody had done it intentionally to divert his attention. He picked up the note and placed it on the table. He then told the class -“I had often heard the usage of the idiom - somebody had lost four Annas (25 paise) to convey that the person has gone partially mad (the person has lost his marbles). But here is a case where somebody has lost his entire rupee! “. The class turned totally silent and nobody spoke. Murari then went on with his lecture for the day.
After the class Murari went back to the faculty room. He was immediately followed by a student. At the faculty room, the student started asking Murari how he could insult him like that! Apparently it was he who had kept the note on the podium. He wanted to make some fun by disturbing Murari’s focus on the subject. But as it turned out, he became the butt of jokes of his friends after Murari concluded the class. Murari had to console him and send him back.
------To be Continued------

Monday, June 2, 2014

Murari Tholpadi – The Quintessential Professor (Economics) Part-I

With the Indian families reduced to a unit of three to four members nowadays, the responsibility of elder brothers to help in bringing up the younger ones is no more there. But there was a time when the parents had burdened themselves with a number of children. Generally their resources for family maintenance used to be limited. This situation used to put the onus on the elder son/sons. The elder son had not only the responsibility of completing his education, but also the burden of supporting the education of younger brothers and marriage of his sisters. Very few of the sons could cope up with this huge responsibility. The story of Murari is a shining example of how one elder son of a family could successfully contribute to the upbringing of the younger lot despite his struggle to complete his own education.
Shri Murari was born as the second son to the couple Shankaranarayana Tholpadi and Sulochana on 3rd April 1936. He completed his V Standard examination at the Primary school in Narimoger - a place two kms away from his home in the village Shanthigodu in the Puttur taluk of South Kanara district. His father had sufficient agriculture lands to maintain his family. However, he thought he was not in a position to support further education of his second son. It appeared that the educational career of Murari ended at the Narimoger School itself! The first son Sadashiva had already discontinued his studies.
But Murari definitely had other ideas. He thought higher education would not only help him see greener pastures, but also enable him to play a role in the future of the younger lot. But unable to convince his stubborn father, he simply went into the Gandhian mode! He was on hunger strike for two full days! The third day saw his father approach his close relative (grandfather of Shri Lakshmisha Tholpadi) for some arrangement in Puttur town. So that was it. Murari was admitted to the VI standard in the town with a staying arrangement with the relative. He completed his SSLC in due course.
Now it was a question of going for Intermediate classes (present day PUC).  The MGM College had been set up by then at Udupi by Dr. T M A Pai in the year 1949. It was again a question of finding accommodation and food. Murari somehow managed to get the food facility at the Mutt in Udupi.
Mr. Sundar Rao was the Principal of the college at that time. The faculty included Professor Haridas Bhat (who rose to the position of Principal later) and Dr K B Ramakrishna Rao (KBR). KBR later became the first Principal of Vijaya College in Mulki and JCBM College in Sringeri. Murari was impressed by the lectures of Sundar Rao, Haridas Bhat and KBR. He still remembers the interesting Logic classes taken by KBR.
Murari also remembers some of the troublesome students at the college. There was a notorious gang of 14 students who would create all kinds of nuisance in the classes. Among them was a particular student from a rich family who excelled in the art of displeasing. In those days most of the students used to come to the college with simple dresses. But this student would dress up like a cinema hero. His shirt used to be so white that Tinopal White makers could have used him as a model! He once arrived at the college on a bullock cart! He drove the cart right up to the college gate to create maximum nuisance to the Principal and the other faculty. While it looked definitely funny to his classmates, the Principal was not amused.  He warned the student of dire consequences.
The notoriety of the ‘Gang of Fourteen’ reached a climax on the Annual College Day function. That day the Principal had arrived at the college wearing a pure white shirt. The gang had assembled in full strength and occupied the entire back seats during the function. They started creating hullaballoo to disturb the speakers on the podium. The Principal was forced to go to the backseats and request them personally to allow the function to go on smoothly. The gang appeared to heed his advice and things cooled down.
But when the Principal went back to his seat on the podium somebody told him that the back of his pure white shirt had a large spray of blue ink! Obviously it was the handiwork of the Gang members! He was in a rage. But he kept his cool on the podium in the interest of the function. The annual examinations had approached by then.
Immediately after the annual examinations were over, the Principal summoned the Gang of Fourteen to his office. The gang walked in quite cool. It was as if they knew nothing! When the Principal asked them who exactly had done the mischief during the College Day function, they behaved as if it was news for them. But the Principal was not amused. He straightaway issued the TC (transfer certificate) to the entire team asking them to join some other college. He desisted from suspending/debarring them from the college in order to not to spoil their future career.
The Gang of Fourteen had absolutely no remorse. Almost all of them were from rich families and the incident did not bother them too much! Most of them managed to join some other colleges in Mangalore and other places. Some of them even discontinued their studies. As far as the Tinopal White dressed hero was concerned, he joined the Government College in Mangalore. In due course he completed his BA. He then completed his LLB. Eventually he entered politics and was elected as an MLA of the Karnataka Assembly. He had ended up at the right place!
Murari completed his BA in MGM College in due course. He had an ambition to complete his post-graduation. His maternal uncle (S K Kanthavar) had a very good hotel business in Mysore at that time. He was also running a ready-to-eat food (including Gulab Jamun) business called My Foods in Mysore.  He was an entrepreneur who launched such a successful business long before the Maiya’s even thought about it. He was prepared to help Murari and was ready to accommodate him at his home. But that was not to be. Quite surprisingly, Murari could not get an admission to post-graduate course in the University of Mysore. The University had very few seats for PG in those days. There was some politics involved in the allotment of seats. Murari was forced to discontinue his studies for one year.
Murari did not give up. In the next academic year, he sent an application to the prestigious Benares Hindu University seeking an admission to MA course in Economics. He received a prompt allotment of seat under the Other States’ quota. He then approached his cousin Shri Krishnaraja Tholpadi who was then a lecturer at the University. The cousin straightaway asked him to come to Benares and stay at his home! Murari then moved to the ancient city with assurance of finance from his maternal uncle. He joined the MA in Economics PG course at the prestigious University founded by the legendary Madan Mohan Malaviya.
Murari regularly received money for his expenses from his maternal uncle as assured. However, on one particular occasion he was shocked to receive a ‘huge amount’ from the uncle. The amount was Rs750/=. That was more than his annual expenses at that time! But Murari was a man who would not take advantage of such things. He remitted back Rs500 to his uncle immediately.
During his next visit to Shanthigodu, Murari enquired his uncle about the reasons for the huge remittance. As per the uncle, he had a dream that he was on his deathbed! On getting up, he thought that if something happens to him, Murari’s education may suffer. In order to insure Murari from such an eventuality, he had remitted the huge amount to cover his expenses for the full PG course! That was the type of commitment the gentleman had for a cause. Of course, the dream failed to materialize! The uncle lived long to see Murari come up in his life. Murari completed his MA in Benares eventually and returned to South Kanara.
----To be Continued---