A New Lease of Life - Hammer and Nails

A New Lease of Life - Hammer and Nails

Mr. Rajamani, or Archie as he is called by his friends, lives in Mumbai. He retired from Voltas and spends his time fixing everything at his 54-flat apartment complex and his woodwork. He loves to drive on long-distance travels. He's a regular at the December concert circuit in Chennai. His positive, "no point in being sorry" attitude is something for the youngsters to learn from and follow. He has also been supporting a few girls in Mumbai, Chennai and Kodaikanal, taking care of all their expenses, including education. Here's his story, in his own words:

As I seamlessly slide into my 88th year I recall several peaks and a few troughs also. Hailing from a lower middle class joint family with stress on education, it was fun growing up with 11 cousins and a sister under one roof. Taught the values of sharing, supplementing strengths and bonding with others. My aunt running a music and dance school a few houses away gave us the opportunity to learn these arts. Both my mother and father were proficient in classical music and this trait was carried to my son Rajiv.

Dad and his father studied in the same Engineering College at Chennai where I obtained my Degree in Engineering. I specialised in Thermodynamics & Heat Transfer and spent 28 years with Tatas (Voltas) and a further 12 years in Oman as Head of Engineering & Trading firms. Training people to do the job effectively is my strength. My successors were ready & trained to take over my job years before they actually did.

Rajam, my wife and partner for 55 years was one of the main focal points in my life. Forced to take up a job at 18 years of age as her father was paralysed and bed-ridden, she took up the job of Assistant Lecturer to support her parents and two siblings. But her optimism and indomitable will enabled her to enroll for Master's degree which she obtained at 23 years. At this stage I came into her life. Her oratorical and writing skills were further developed. With my encouragement she distinguished herself in several fields. Articles in newspapers & magazines, tamil copy-writing for advertising, production of radio plays & serials, scripting, acting & directing plays, news reading in All India Radio, researching into the spread of the epic Ramayana in Asia and Far East and finally enrolling as a research scholar at the age of 70 and obtaining the Doctorate degree at 74 years are great milestones -- rarely equalled.

My role was to stand behind and encourage her to stretch the limits. Accompany her to various places of literary interests. But her health deteriorated gradually affecting her kidneys and vision. Contracted Cancer. But for 18 years (from 60 to 78) she bore them patiently and continued her work. For the last 8 years I was her care-giver helping her with the dialysis three times everyday and escorting and guiding her. Our journey starting on 19th May, 1963 ended 55 years later on Christmas eve on 24th December, 2018.

As for myself, I keep busy with some exercises to stretch my spinal cord, do carpentry work and repairs to electric gadgets, play golf, drive my car and practice singing old songs. In the December season I try to be in Chennai to attend music concerts and plays.

  • Deeptha Thattai