Moments of Truth

That every day we face. And being honest about it!

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TeeBee for many, Manthru for some, Sunny for a few, Myna for selected, Suresh for record. Hailing from Thrissur of Kerala and now lives (read survives) in Monroe Twp, NJ with wife and daughter.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Footprints

There were only two people in this earth who had no hesitation to come to my room (308 Brahmaputra hostel, IIT Madras, Chennai) and spend as much time as they wish; to read, to listen to music, to talk about almost everything on this earth, to sleep or to simply sit on chair or lie down and transcend into oblivion. One was Rekesh bhai who is now a successful software engineer and living in California with his wife and beautiful (I haven't seen them, not even photos, but then which daughter of ours is not beautiful born yet to date?) daughters. The other one is Nandhan bhai who was last heard through his blog and must be thinking about his next travel plans now.

What makes these two so special and stand out was the influence of their character and hobbies that made a positive impact on my otherwise ordinary life. Rekesh John is from Alwaye (Aaluva for most Keralites) and Nandakumar Ramavarma hails from Chalakudy. Alwaye and Chalakudy are two well known towns in Kerala and these two will be among the best to talk about the historical significance of the same. It was through Rekesh, who had come back after resigning a prestigious job in US to join as a project associate of my research guide Prof.C.R.Muthukrishnan, I met Nandakumar. Rekesh was a previous disciple of my guide, I learned later. Nandakumar had dropped his interest in doing PhD in physics and was seeking his self (or destiny?) for years before he went on to do MTech in Computer science in Hyderabad. More than MTech, the prospect of learning and experiencing the history and culture of Hyderabad might have attracted this vivid traveller and thinker. There was one thing in common between these two, whom I met during the initial years of my research life in IIT. Both of them dared to meet the pleasure of finding their selves, one leaving a high profile job and other a promising PhD. There won't be many who is willing to take a step back and listen to their heart, in this busy and mad world towards economical wisdom. Before I could know, I had started respecting and admiring these two individuals and my inner self had already started learning from them.

It was Rekesh who introduced me to socket and thread programming and induced life in my research. It was through him that I started my journey into the world of Archies, Asterix, Tintin, Calvin and Hobbes and National Geographic, to name a few. It was his passion and religious beliefs that made me to believe in myself and execute the plans that God has for me. He might not have meant it, but I believe that he was a means by the powers to reach me. Rekesh used to speak less, think more, and mean much. On many occasions he taught me the art of forgiving and the power that brings to our self. Silence had its own language when Rekesh was around. But he talked about Kalki and his experiences and I used to be the listener that I am, occasionally asking questions that my little brain could not digest fast. We travelled on bicycles and he showed me what good chinese food tastes like. We used to have dinner from Waldorf restaurant just outside the IIT gate before moving on to an economical, but still tasty, one on the way to Adyar signal, credit of finding it going to Nandakumar. Time, the busy traveller it is, went past hours to days and then to months and before I knew, Rekesh was saying bye to IIT. By then I had learned to accept the pain of separation.

If Rekesh was the last one who would speak in a company of myself and Nandakumar, it was Nandakumar who used to do most of the talking. That was the contrast, but you appreciate a contrast only with comparable stuff. Nandakumar can talk on anything from Kundalini to Kumbhakonam. (Don't read too much here, its only for the pun). His forte, I believe, is travelling. Now don't misunderstand me. Travelling into anything and probably its best narration too. It could be his journey to Nepal with his mother or a short visit to one of the temple towns of South India. It might be an inspired reading of The Name of the Rose (1981) written by the Italian novelist Umberto Eco. It could be on the absence of a proper word in Malayalam for the English word You. Or even a trip to the local restuarant that probed his observation power. He brought me a present from his Pondichery trip and it was a poster version of the Footprints, on which he has written in his blog. Later, the words and meaning of Footprints turned out to be one of the most important asset in my journey towards finding my own self and the meaning of life. It was a relief for some one like me who had gone through stuggles after struggle and Nandakumar knew it perfectly to present it to me. What he did not know, then and probably now, was the kind of impact it had on me. I followed him to the Theosophical society in Adyar, Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Tharamani, his temperory residence in Thiruvanmiyur, the Steven Spielberg movie Amistad, his advice on not spitting to the sink a final time after I have finished with my wash, his adventures and failures in life and, very rarely, a bottle of beer. He is a wizard with special skills and understanding in mathematics, history and use of language. He himself selected the words to describe the relation between us, as I was short of vocabulary, to fill in the acknowledgement section, which gave importance to private relations than official ones, of my MS thesis. It portrayed him as a fellow traveller and kindred spirit. Truly he is.

During that golden period, anybody visiting 308 Brahmaputra used to read a line fixed on the door that I borrowed from one photo of an old National Geographic magazine: "There is no place just like this place anywhere near this place; so this must be the place". I wish whether I could go back in time!!!

8 Comments:

Blogger R.Nandakumar said...

well, after so many years, we meet again, virtually!

very happy and thrilled to see that you remember everything from those old times, including our watching 'Amistad'.

Regards to Sindhu and Sruthi Lakshmi.

1:18 AM  
Blogger Myna said...

I am also glad to see this happen.

Send me a detailed mail please. I am not sure whether your email id is the same or not.

There is one more incident that I did not include in the original post. That's about the 600 rupees I borrowed from you, believe I had given it back, to buy a birthday present, my first one, to my lady love then, my wife now.

6:30 AM  
Blogger R.Nandakumar said...

my hotmail account has been the same for quite some time: nandakumar100@...

you are always welcome to write there.

i dont remember the 600 bucks. but i do remember the beer we had at thendral apts when you came one holiday morning with injumon :)

yes, those were the days!

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Sunil Warrier; I am from Trichur and presently in UAE. Rakesh was a good friend, a grate guru and hero when I started programming... He only told me about Kalki for the first time. When I came to IIT Madras once, He surprised me with multi-trading and parallel computing. I met him many years back at his house; he told me he is doing some research on eco system :). I have no idea where he is now, (One of our common friends Sibi told me some year’s back he is in Kuwait). If you have any contact details or if Rakesh happen to see this please let me know

Thanks and Regards

Sunil Warrier
warrier at gmail.com

6:14 AM  
Blogger Paul I said...

hmm... glad i found this web site.
I went to school with rekesh at iitm. was trying to locate him and it pointed me to this website.

is nandakumar varma brother of ramavarma ?

4:21 PM  
Blogger Paul I said...

is nandakumar varma brother of ramavarma ?
or was it a classmate of varghese devassy ?
some how nandakumar varma rings a bell.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Myna said...

Rekesh is in California. Nandakumar is in Pune. He is the son of Ramavarma.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rekesh may be found here:

http://godprinciple.com

:)

5:46 PM  

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