Monday, October 11, 2004

A Tribute

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.



Anonymous said...

It is really sad to note DAV (and DAVians all over the world )are going miss the physical presence of a great personality Shri.Ram Kaliaji.

Although i have been in DAV, Gopalapuram for only two years and that too it was about six years ago, my thoughts about him are still fresh. I could never forget his commanding personality and voice. He has put in great efforts in many ways to help us out, to move us ahead in life.

And today, we are all proud to say that we are infact in a better world. My complete salute and tribute to one of the wonderful person i have seen, the person who has touched all our lives and made a difference...

Thank you Sir, May your soul rest in peace...God bless...

-Nisha Soundararajan

Sethu said...

Its really shocking to hear this news.May his soul rest in peace.No doubt he was the man behind the brand "DAV Gopalapuram".

We all are proud of you sir!!!..We can never get back your sweet words during morning prayers.

Thanks a lot Sir!!!

Sethuraman J
Fellow student,
IIM Calcutta
(Class of 1997)

Anonymous said...

A great leader and towering personality. He moulded many lives and unfortunately the great soul did not get the due recognition for his contribution to the education. He should have been awarded the national awaard for best teacher

Venks said...

Hey man an awesome post....from a fellow DAVian..he certainly could inspire you to do a lot......

Hmm seems like I was in School so long agoooo....

Ash said...

It feels weird not being in school anymore. Not being able to do a number of things in fact. A beautiful piece. Made me think of good ol' days. :)

A tribute well-penned.

May his soul rest in peace.