My Memories of Raju
My first memories of Raju are from his Poonal ceremony at Valavanur in 1960. It was my first travel experience alone from Kolkatta to Chennai and we travelled by car along with other relatives. Raju’s father had always been a generous host and the two days went in a blur of meeting relatives and feasting.
We met off and on while I was at IIT Chennai and during my training stint at Automobile Products of India, Mumbai.
My next recollection is during the time he was staying with his family at Green Park Delhi and we were in the same neighbourhood. My father passed away in 1976 and he was around to offer support.
When I joined Godrej at Mumbai I was sent to Delhi in 1977 for a project involving a six-week stay. I stayed with Raju and this is perhaps the time I got to know his family well. We ate out frequently as my allowance gave me the privilege of claiming expenses and it was fun watching Kaushik exercise choices. I performed my father’s shrardam at their house and it was a revelation to see the traditional side of Raju.
I met Usha for the second time at their flat in 1986 which led to our marriage later that year. This is the time we got to know Raji and Kaushik better as well.
When we moved to Defence Colony in 1988, we met a few times and a little less frequently when we shifted to Gurgaon in 1991. Raju took the trouble of driving at night, despite having poor night vision, to inform me of my mother being hospitalized in Chennai.
Our most joyful memories are of Kaushik’s wedding reception and the get together at their flat thereafter.
We met again when Kaushik had an assignment in 2010 which required him to stay at Gurgaon, but our plans for shifting to Mysore where already in motion and we could not really spend more time with Kaushik and Naira.
My memories of Raju are that of a concerned husband, a doting father, an earnest and sincere employee, a warm and sociable person, who managed to retain traditional values while being modern in outlook. Sometimes a dandy but with an endearing naivety. Quirky sense of humour, often bordering on the limits of worst PJs. Guess that what made him special.
[Prem (Prem Subramanian) is a first cousin of Sunder’s].