Hartland was a place for family members to congregate during the vacations.Hema and the girls came every year and so did Aruna & Cho. Hartland was always full of fun and bonhomie when the folks were around. Aruna had a very special way of lighting up the place with fun and laughter. One of the most memorable times was when we all met for Venu’s wedding. Hartland was full to the brim and we spilt out for the night into the out house of Dr ANK Menon’s residence.The official residence of the Dean of Madras Medical College.
Some how the friendship (and kinship) formed during those boyhood days endure all through life. There were really long periods when we didn’t get to meet but the memories of those wonderful days remained warm within our hearts and it seemed as if we never parted when we meet on infrequent occasions. Such was the enduring relationship I had with Cedric & Srini, Mohan & Paul, and Aruna & Cho and off course all the near family members.
Cedric migrated to Melbourne, Australia and I was really fortunate to meet him and his wife Cheryl when I had gone to Melbourne for a short holiday with Bobby & Gillean. It was really a pleasant surprise as I had no idea he was there. Post his graduation in B.E. Mechanical from the College of Engg, Guindy he worked for a fair length of time with Metal Box before I lost touch with him. We met at Melbourne after more than 20 or 25 years!!
He had a fairly hard struggle in the initial days in Australia working as he said at the bottom of the rung in the Transport Department.He gradually rose to become an Inspector and now has moved on to Rockwell International in the Training & Development Department. Much much better I should guess. Now as we are e-mail & mobile phone connected we are more in touch and that’s truly wonderful.
Srini, another old pal from the St Mary’s,Loyola College & Guindy days joined the Atomic Energy Commission and has been with them all through his career starting with BARC, Mumbai and now with IGCAR,Kalpakkam. I didn’t get to meet him for 20 years till I surprised him by attending his daughter’s wedding at Hyderabad.Since then we have been meeting on and off and now that his daughter Vidya and son in law Sankar are based at Gurgaon I’m sure we will meet more often. E-mail and mobile connectivity will make the world smaller for us.
Mohan has gone on to carve out an exceptionally successful career as a diabitologist. He has now gone several notches above the considerable achievements of his father Dr M Vishwanathan and is well recognised in India and internationally .
After a gold medal winning stint at Madras Medical College, he married his classmate Rema and together they founded the Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Hospital and Research Centre. I was fortunate to be able to attend the ceremony in Chennai where his research centre was formally recognised by the Chairperson of ICMR. This is one of very few private institutions to be recognised and supported by the ICMR as a research facility.
I meet Mohan from time to time but infrequently because of his very busy schedule. We do however keep in touch.
Paul, a class mate of Mohan and part of our childhood gang has had a fairly eventful career. He had a strong desire to study medicine and sincerely tried three times,once even working in a leprosy clinic to gain more points, but some how couldn’t get selected. In disgust he turned sharply to a new line and completed a Diploma in Mechanical Engg from Central Polytechnic, Adyar and simultaneously completed a course in Marine Engg. It was a very gruelling four year period for him.Thereafter he joint the Merchant Navy and had the best and most lucrative phase of his career. He got to see the world and made lots of money in the process.
Some where along the line he ran into rough weather and fell foul of some of his ship mates and eventually decided to leave the merchant navy. He now has a shore job but hasn’t been the same ever since and make be a victim of depression. Paul has stayed with us at Delhi on a short vacation but we have been out of touch for a long time now.
Aruna and Cho were also frequent and welcome vacation vistors. They brought a great deal of fun and laughter every time they dropped in which was usually for a period of a week or so during vacation time. Cho is doing very well for himself and is now the CEO of Reitzel India , an export oriented unit for gherkins. He was associated with the site selection and setting up of the plant. I have meet Cho on and off over the years. Now we are more in touch and hopefully will meet more often.
Aruna was the apple of every ones eye !!! There must have been several suitors for her, of them the leader in the pack was her cousin Pradeep. She in turn found him agreeable and the two would have married but for the opposition from her parents.Her Dad was very keen on her marrying a doctor and so she did,to Prabhakar and relocated to Abu Dhabi. I lost touch with her there after and it was only after a period of over twenty years we meet again.Since then we have been in touch more often and Aruna has even come over and stayed with us at Delhi.She even made it to Seema’s wedding . It was very good of her. Her husband went through acute health problems and passed away some years ago. Aruna went through very tough time but to her credit she came through with flying colours and continues to be as cheerful and fun loving as ever.She will be relocating very soon back to India and will base her self at Calicut.