Life at Hartland

Our’s was a well knit family.When ever possible we had our meals sitting around the dinning table.More often than not the conversation would get animated with Dad holding on to his views and Jaya & Revi chipping in with their own. Venu was the one who instigated debate and added fuel to the fire to liven things up.Dad liked reading the paper from cover to cover and would grab it as soon as it came and all of us would grit our teeth .
Dad was a wonderful person,much like Deepa’s Dad, and was always ready to provide and meet any thing that any family member wanted.I remember on a wet and rainy day one of us expressing the desire to eat hot samosas and before we knew it Dad slipped out of the house,cycled off to the market and returned with delicious samosas.That was Dad !! He also took to cooking after retirement and really ran the kitchen .Mom would chip in on rare occasions. Dad was also a handy man and could repair , fix or make lots of things. Mom often stopped him from freaking out and so it was, when she went away on holidays that he would spring into action and carry out modifications and changes to the house.Dad was the lovable hen pecked hubby for sure.
We were a liberal household and we lived our lives true to ourselves.If you wanted to drink or smoke(not considered very good things in those puritanical days) you might as well do it at home. Drinks were usually available and every one had a peg or two .Guest and party time always had drinks served.This in those days was not as prevalent as it is now.We also did not receive any formal religious education or training.We had a prayer room at home and mom always lit the lamp just after dusk and we would join her respectfully.All of us were God fearing and correct in our behaviour but none of us took deeply to any religious calling.In later years Jaya participated the most in rituals and I took to prayer in a big way .. my kind of prayers till I joined the Soka Gakkai and was schooled in Buddhist prayer practices. Venu & Gopi didn’t openly show any inclination towards things spiritual,though like me,they may well have been into prayers and thanks givings to the Lord in private. Hema followed mom’s tradition and light the lamp every evening.She also was the best equipped among us when it came to religious practices and rituals.Her daughter Reena, took to prayers and regular visits to the temple and continues to be a very religious person.

Education and food were top priority for our parents. Hema was an MA Literature graduate from Miranda House Delhi. Very few women of that period would have such an education to boast off in India. I went on to graduate in B.E. Electronics and Communication from the College of Engineering,Guindy and then completed PGDM at the prestigious IIM Bangalore,an alumnus of the very first batch of this institute.All of us had decent education at top notch colleges and institutions of learning. Mom & Dad had to really struggle hard to do this for us. Borrowing money from family members and even from neighbours.Terrible as it seems, but they did it for us

.Dad’s financial woes started when he had to leave his job as Jt. Controller of Imports & Exports for reasons I was never privy too. Repaying the loans for the house, financing the families education, and Hema’s marriage all took a heavy tool on Dad’s savings .Our Fiat car,then the pride of the family,had to be sold to partially make ends meet. Eventually Venu, Ravi, Jaya, Gopi & I would start earning and sending back money home and the fortunes of the family revived.

My youth therefore was spent with little or no luxuries although all our needs,good food and reasonably good living were some how or the other managed by Dad & Mom. How they managed is still a huge mystery to me. How many members of the larger family lent a helping hand (or those who refused) I never came to know. I can only silently thank all who did help in those tough dark days.

Venu, Revi ad Jaya were the principle sources of financing for my PGDM. I chipped in as I received a stipend of Rs 500/- for three months during our project term and tossed in what meagre savings I had and a bit of the PF money I received from ITI and some God sent refund of Income Tax!!! .The cost of education was much more reasonable in those days than it is today. I may never have made it at today’s costs.

I sent home,a modest Rs 50/- per month out of the stipend of Rs 500/-pm I  received while working at ITI B’lore, and subsequently increased it to Rs 75/- when my emoluments marginally increased.Dad & Mom passed away long before I could reach a reasonable position of stature in the Corporate world and in society and they never got to see the fruits of all the struggles they went through for all of us.

I have always regretted never being able to look after my parents and giving them a feeling of pride and happiness at my modest achievements in my career.



Author: hari008

Business Leader , Mentor and Executive Coach with a long track record of achievement , developing high performance teams and mentoring team members who now hold responsible positions in several leading companies

One thought on “Life at Hartland”

  1. My dear Hari,I spent a spell bound two hour period reading throughand reminiscing wherever I had been part of thescene…at you blogsite.It is styled in a scholarlyfashion and the contents are absorbing.I feel touched at the affectionate references made tome in your reminiscences….I feel happy to be part ofit.I still have to read the Buddist chapter and thechapter on your professionl life.After a scan,Istarted on the entries pertaining to yourchildhood…..I was startled to find that there was agreat commonality between us that I had not known ofso far.My mother and her parents were also Burmarefugees who fled the country during 1942 after havingsettled to a comfortable life there and having made afortune…My grandparents would have been there amongthe milling crowds at the Warf,trying to get away.Success stories of Venu and Jaya wove a web ofnostalgia…we used to hear of their achievementsduring our school days….Gopi..I remember that herecieved me at Mumbai during my first landing thereand guided me to my destination and then tookleave…so kind of him.I will mail again after I finish..meanwhile thank youvery much for inviting me to share your fascinatingand heart touching notings.With all love,Srini 

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