Vinoo told me just about an hour ago...Shri.Ram Kalia had passed away. Somehow it doesnt seem possible that he will no longer come to prayer meetings and saturday havans, will not take large (gigantic) strides and tower over us [he was really tall and we were very tiny children], will no longer call us 'his grand children' [somehow he meant that.. :) ]
We considered him a Dictator. He was too. It wasnt possible for anyone to take this person anything other than dead-seriously. He was a man of action, personified Integrity and Pride, patriotism and sacrifice. Mr.Kalia always wanted to help those who needed him. He was always the strong one. Only once I saw him broken in spirit, during the memorial meeting for his son Kamal Kalia, the army hero.
But when he said something, it was the stuff that should be etched in stone. During my interview with him, he pointed to the chart showing the four houses of the school (Pratap, Shivaji, Bharathi, Tagore) and told me and my father, "I see her, leading one of these houses, one day".
Of course, that never happened; you see, our school believed that House Captains should be chosen among those who did their homework, who never argued with teachers and those who were aligned to the code of discipline that the school tried to impose.
But, Nevertheless, the man saw in me the potential for leadership. So I will try, till the end, to see how I can make a difference to the world. [I swear I am not sarcastic]
This occurance, has triggered all the memories of school. The time when we thought we could do whatever we liked and wanted to achieve. like the song:
"Those were the days my friend. we thought they'd never end. we'd sing and dance forever and a day. we'd live the life we choose, we'd fight and never lose. those were the days...oh yes, those were the days"
We came from a school like the one in the movie "Dead Poet's Society". we were told there were only few things we could be after education-Engineer/Businesswoman/Doctor.
We were taught to believe that we could never be failures. We were taught that we are better than most and that its our responsibility to grow to dizzying heights and try to lift up the downtrodden.
True enough, most of us are living up to it. 90% are in the states, researching science and computers, 9.99% are working as Engineers and Doctors , .01% are happy in other pursuits.
Kaliaji, was proud of us, all the Davians, those who he knew and those who he didnt. I know, that if I were to get to do what I really want to, as opposed to what I am doing [no matter, how well] that he'd feel like I lived up to his exceptions. DAV, Gopalapuram will never ever lose his presence.
God rest his soul. Sir, Be at peace.