Raju As We Knew Him
Mala and I were extremely shocked to hear about the sudden demise of Raju as we fondly called Sunder Rajan. I recall that he was always full of humour and passionate about everything in life. He was always very thorough in whatever he did, with a great eye for detail, and this trait extended to everything that he touched. My association with him started in the days when he worked under my father when my father was Accountant General of Tamil Nadu in the 70 ‘s. Then again he was posted in Washington when we were in New York during 1979-81. During this time we had the opportunity to interact and take a trip with him and his son Kaushik. With me were Mala and Tarun and we went on a trip from Washington DC to Carolina’s, Atlanta, Florida and New Orleans. It was a memorable trip when we visited Disney World and other locations. I remember during this trip Raju with his high energy levels drove fast and got a ticket for speeding. Being a diplomat he could get away with it, but someone with a ‘Govt’ upbringing this was unthinkable. But one always learns from these experiences and I am sure he did. Apart from this, I recall the carefree leisurely drive and relaxed family atmosphere we enjoyed. Raju used to call Tarun ‘podi payale’ meaning a small boy. In New Orleans we saw the city and learnt of its French influence, enjoyed the Jazz scene and we met and stayed with his brother Sekhar who is a doctor in the city.
Since then we continuously kept in touch and met regularly, if we could not meet face to face we connected over the phone. Whether we met or spoke, connecting with him always energized all of us, he always gave a new meaning to life, one that was full of happiness and one where the future was always full of hope. He always wanted to move ahead, he was very fond of Raji and Kaushik, his wife and son, and always used to talk about their achievements and how proud he was of them.
For me personally and as a family, we feel his loss strongly. We have lost a relative, a great friend, a well-wisher. His contribution in terms of work with the Government along with his honesty is something we can all be proud of. My only regret is that we could not spend more time as a family and take any more trips together. May God bless his soul.
[Ramadorai and Mala, and their son Tarun, were family as well as close friends. Ram and Sunder both made a conscious effort to stay in touch, even when they lived in different places, over the period of forty years or so that they knew each other.]