This one didnt make the news. Or, maybe it did, in the little column tucked away in the lower-left corner of the sports page of the Hindu newspaper – the obit column (one good reason to buy ‘The Hindu’….), but I dont recall noticing it…
Heres what happened. My friend, Suresh, called me today, and said “Do you remember my wife’s grandfather, Dr Rajagopal?”…”Well, he passed away last week”, said he, his voice dropping.
Dr Rajagopal was 105 or so, years of age. A man who has lived a century of years needs no words to convey his achievements, and Suresh seldom talked about him. For Suresh, Dr R was like a sacred family treasure, someone to whisper about, look up to, revere.
From odds and ends that Suresh let slip on occasion, here is my feeble attempt to pen a portrait of Dr R.
Dr R lived in the heart of Chennai, with his wife, who, he leaves behind. She is 97.
A man of regular habits, he was ‘early to bed and early to rise’…Up at 4 am every morning, he would walk to the well in the back of his house, and draw fresh water for his bath. For his morning walk, he frequented the college grounds near his house. He was very regular about his walks till a couple of years ago, when an auto-rickshaw ran into him. However, he remained mobile, and was up and about till the end of his life.
He was quite particular about his oil-bath (which he had every Saturday) and he would advise it to those who asked for life tips.
While some of his family stayed nearby, he and his wife resided alone, independently. He was quite particular about that. When he passed away, his family members were with him.
He was a veterinary surgeon. A very spiritual person. (The other day, another friend of mine, talking of his dog, said to me that ‘being with animals’ is a spiritually ‘cleansing’ experience….)….
Dr R was a Rama bhakta….’sadaa raama japa…’ – ever repeating the name of Rama.
He passed away at around 11 am, on Tuesday, 27 March 2007.
It was the Rama Navami day.