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Saturday, June 15, 2013

FATHER'S DAY: A dad beyond compare

Other Father's Day specials in: World Pundit, Photo Pundit, Video Pundit and Poem Pundit. And for those like me, grieving their beloved dad.

How is it that one can even write a memoir and wish others on Father's day without a few tears in solitude? Around end of this month in 2011, a family lost its most precious gift to the unforgiving sands of time. Not a day of this month passes in that family's haunting memories without the conscious fear of that dreaded day and moment. That wonderful man who departed from his earthly home to his eternal home was my dad, P. Krishnaswamy. He was a father like any other, and quite unlike any other as well.

He was a gem of many facets. But what I would like to cherish most about his fond memories and share with everyone, was his selfless act of risking his life to save those of the Chennai residents during the 1978 floods. He was the city's special flood officer directly deputed for the task by the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu at that time, Bharat Ratna M. G. Ramachandran. My dad was then the Assistant Director of Fisheries in charge of the Chengalpattu district. Through the entire night that Chembarambakkam Lake bund was predicted to give in and flood the entire city, my dad was camping near that bund in the continuous downpour. He was later called to the thottam and commended by MGR for his astute handling of the flood situation, the daring rescue/food distribution operations and due diligence. My mom was then an announcer at AIR Chennai and was also on special flood duty. It is indeed a pity that there are neither photos of 1st floor level flooding in Kotturpuram, nor any archived articles even from The Hindu on-line newspaper, available on the web.

As a government servant, he was also an inventor. He did a novel research sponsored by Shriram Fibers Limited to strengthen twine fishing nets using chemical treatment so they would be stronger than even nylon nets. He has also done pioneering work with fiberglass boats fitted with Evinrude/Yamaha outboard motors as a low cost option for fishermen wishing to switch from the more dangerous catamaran. He was a subject matter expert in fishing nets/gears/boat building. In addition, he was also a certified diver and navigator. Many a Tourism and Industrial Fair would have been lackluster for his department, save for his creativity and management skill. I still treasure my three gifts to him, a book on Ichthyology, a Seiko watch he lost because of a crafty relative, and Galileo binoculars to substitute for the Yamaha brand he received as a complimentary, but gifted it to his assistant instead.

At the personal front, he was a polyglot and an engaging speaker on many subjects. He was paradoxically orthodox and heterodox simultaneously. But all of his maverick thinking was firmly rooted in impeccable convincing logic and rare intuition. An astrologer, astronomer, stage actor/director, sportsman, philatelist, philosopher, mentor, singer, musicologist, outspoken political critic, self taught mechanic, he was generous, sociable, scathingly humorous but with a quicksilver temper. An avid diary writer for life and a tech savvy blogger in his later years, he and my mom were voted the oldest blogging couple in Chennai. At least for us brothers, he was a father beyond any compare, who we miss everyday in our unspriteful lives. Each father's day will be yet another day of solemn remembrance. Of the many friends and relatives who love my dad so dearly unto this day and join in this tribute are my mom, my cousin Mrs. Rangam, my extended family who were my dad's pallbearers, my wife his doting daughter-in-law and most fondly my son who was my dad's best buddy.

The video below is a snippet of his eventful life. I dedicate it to those that are mourning, remembering or celebrating their fathers, on this Father's Day:


SVK said...

Excellent, genuine and loving expression of a son about his father. Words will fail me because my heart is full of feelings. Every word tells a real story and experience by an affectionate scion. I am sure no other son could have expressed his affection to his father and sorrowful feeling of separation.

pun-o-rama said...

My mom is greater and I plan to write about her stellar achievements soon. Please await the special, since all days are special days for a mom.
- Editor KD