Friday, February 2, 2018

My Dear Appa (Dad)

This post was inspired by my dad's retirement speech which happened in Feb 2017. I try and narrate the story of my dad and why he is still my source of inspiration

My dad comes from a farming family of dry and drought district (Ramanathapuram) of Tamil Nadu. The only hope of farming - depends on water from rain and its catchment areas. If there is no rain in a year, then there is no cultivation that year. He was the last among the 4 male siblings. Among all, he was the only one who showed some interesting in studying/going to school. So, the rest all dropped out to work alongside my grandpa whereas my dad completed his schooling. The village that he was born (Perunali) had only till 11th STD. But, to study more he had to leave his village.  He joined Pudukottai H.H.Rajah's college for his PUC(the now 12th STD). That is some 200 Km from his hometown village. That was the only nearest government college at that time. As the family cannot afford put him in a private college, his only option is government college.

Although he studied well, he had this inferiority complex of coming from a very low background. This was the main reason for his decline in grades. He did all his schooling in Tamil medium(native language) whereas his college all courses were taught English. So, he had faced a lot of hurdles initially. He is very good at mathematics. But, he chooses (or made to choose) to take B.Sc. Chemistry -- someone had said one would get a job immediately if we take B.Sc. Chemistry. Believing that he took it without a second thought. Ideally, he should have taken B.Sc. Maths. Lack of proper career guidance as there were none in our neighbourhood to help out.

In those days wearing a full pant or trousers was a luxurious thing. My dad (along with few others) would go to college in waisty (or dhoti) to college. He could not afford to buy a pant at that time. He had to pay his hostel fees and tuition fees plus other college expenses. One of the person named Mr. G.Kannan who was the warden in some school nearby Pudukottai saw the poor condition of my dad got his first pant. It's from then on he started wearing pants to college. Mr. Kannan is a role model for my dad.  Because he was the first person in my dad's village to get a govt job after studying. Everyone in the village wanted to be like him. He is a good human being likes to help people in need. Dad would always call him Anna (brother in Tamil). He became our close relative thereafter.

Dad completed his degree after some struggles. He applied through employment office. After some time, he got a job offer to join the department of telecommunication (DOT or the now BSNL) as a clerk. He said during his retirement day. He would have got retired as clerk only if has not met a person called V.K.P/V.K.Paramasivam. It was only this person who made them (dad and few others ) aware of Junior Accounts Officer(JAO) exam inside the department. He even took special tution classes for them in the evening/weekend after office work. That, was the main reason for thier success in the exam. Without his efforts, my dad would not have raised to this level. He joined as a clerk; But retired as a chief account officer.

My dad went on to work in different places of the country. DoT is a central government. He worked at Viruthunagar, Bombay, Connor, Vellore, Bhuj. The one good thing about my dad is his helping tendency. After he got the job, he made many others from my relatives join college and supported them financially. This is truly a remarkable character I hardly seen with anyone. In fact, I remember many of my cousins were supported by my parents. They used to go school from our home. But not all were successful. He is known for his patience and clean paperwork. Anything done by him will be very systematic and properly documented claimed one of his friend and colleague during the function.

He is a very good human being. He had made both (my brother and me) to study in an English medium school right from the beginning as he was aware of the nuisance later on. We were put into matriculation school which wasn't easy for their earning but they decided to go. He would buy anything for my studies. Without him, I can imagine myself in this situation. If my dad had not been stepped out of his village for his studies, I could only see myself working in some shops nearby in Perunali village. Maybe.

Next time, I would say my mother story which is more interesting than this. Till then, Tata :-)