A Friend Indeed
Wg Cdr Ramadurai
A close friend and associate at MMA (Madras Management Association)
To me MSSR was a friend indeed. A gentleman to the core, impossible to emulate. He was humble at all times even when provoked. And this exemplary quality prevented him to flaunt his extraordinary competence. He lived for high moral principles at all times and never ever gave room for even remote compromise.
I am reminded of one instance, when he was conducting a Seminar at MMA on “Why Computers Fail?” At the end of the Programme a top Executive from the group approached him for conducting this programme for his firm “In House”. MSSR advised him to contact MMA with this request. This shows the brand of loyalty MSSR practiced even when a great opportunity came his way for business prospects. A very rare person to come across.
I always considered my association with him was God-Sent to be cherished forever.
Ms. Revathy Sriram
I consider it a privilege to have known Mr. M.S.S.Ramanujan.
We first met in 1977 or 1978 when he came to Shaw Wallace to discuss the potential of setting up an independent Consultancy outfit in Chennai. He was then in NITIE, Bombay, I think. I shared my views and said that while the potential is good, there will be a gradual build only and we cannot expect to do well immediately. At the end of discussion we decided to meet again.
Looking at me, I think he made out the resemblance to my sister, Dr. Lakshmi Kumari. I invited him to come home with his wife. Both of them came home. He met my father, discussed Prof. Srinivasa Ragavan of Presidency College – Head of the department of Mathematics- who was a common relative of both of us! That was the beginning of our friendship which lasted more than twenty five years.
I have visited his house in Lloyds road many times and met his children who were very young then.
Mr. Ramanujan and I had a great deal of common interests in the profession. We have been members of faculty in many common programmes.
Mr. Ramanujan was always very pleasant. He believed in teaching very complicated things in a simple way and endeared himself to every one. He always had some humorous situations to share and would regale us. When I started Tejas Brainware Systems, we requested him to become a member and he readily agreed. He was on the board till a few years before he passed away.
We have done assignments together for a pharmaceutical company in Tanjavur. Mr. Anand, Mr. Ramanan and myself had enjoyable plane trips to Tanjavur! We all used to feel amused with the airport. All the passengers used to wait in a single room for the solitary plane to arrive or depart. Mr. Ramanujan had so many interesting incidents to share making the waiting time very enjoyable. The plane would be small in size and fly at a low level. It would look like a Maruti van flying. Mr .Anand and myself enjoyed the trips and the company of Mr. Ramanujan. At Tanjavur soon after we landed at the hotel they would serve us breakfast which consisted of Big soft idlis along with very tasty sambar and good curds. As it would be near our lunch time we used to make it our lunch with Idlis and sambar and curds. We had been talking about those idlis for quite sometime. !!!!!
We did, thereafter, many professional assignments together. Our families also became very close together and we used to meet often. We specially cherish the annual meet of the entire team of Tejas during Vijayadasami Pooja at Tejas office. He would never miss it and we looked forward to his coming. It was all happy get together and I am still able to hear the ear piercing laughter the team would have on that occasion after pooja. We still miss him at our annual meet.
He had a repertoire of so many Tamil saying which he would always use at appropriate occasions. I for one would ask him for the meaning and realize how appropriate it was.
He never had a name board for his Office anywhere. I asked him why he did not put up one even after he moved to his own apartment at T. Nagar. He told me there is a saying in Tamil – “oorarinda pappanukku………” . Translated into English it meant that for a well known Brahmin it was not necessary to display the sacred thread. .It was true. He never had to display his name board any where, anytime.
He was always humble and very helpful in nature. I personally have taken two or three boys to be trained and placed in suitable jobs. The boys were totally diffident and despondent. They are now occupying very good positions, thanks to Mr. Ramanujan’s motivation and sincere desire to help the deserving.
I could go on writing. I have many pleasant memories. Mr. Ramanujan is with us all in spirit. Ours is a big universal family. We are all trying to emulate him to the best of our ability.
I am very pleased to have been asked to pen a few thoughts on my association. It is very difficult to do justice in a few pages. I am sure God will bless the family specially and ensure the children stand out as luminaries in their chosen fields. Members of my family join me in wishing them all the best
Shri K. S. Balakrishnan
Income Tax Lawyer and close friend of Mr. MSSR
Somewhere in the early days of my practice as an Advocate in Taxation, I had the great privilege to meet the scholar, Mr. M.S.S.Ramanujan. I cannot exactly remember the date. But I distinctly remember that we met on our first meeting for two consecutive days, on account of his insistence. He opined that any relationship which is of importance should be enduring and it is so. He had just then come from Bombay, after being, I think a faculty of NITIE and a short stint at Air India. He started right away his Computer Software Consultancy at Chennai and was already a celebrity among youngsters. He was very popular among my friends who were his students and many of them from the profession of Chartered Accountancy. He was conducting classes to clear away the apprehensions and taboos about the computer applications and was approached by many big companies for training their staff in computer working environment as well as in the Software requirements. .He always had the intention to create a software programme which would contain the gist of case laws on Income Tax and for easy access to locate and learn Taxation laws of the land. He was very highly principled. But at the same time, he was very friendly and accessible. My father respected him, as much as every member of our family. He was very sensitive to issues but never revealed his personal feelings, probably he thought it would hurt others feelings.
I met him once at Music Academy while he was residing at Gopalapuram. He was wearing a sherwani and white pyjama and was looking great and very impressive. He recognized and appreciated good professional work and by compensating with generous payment of fees. He always believed in simple living and high thinking. He used to frequently say that he was having peaceful sleep at night as he had entrusted his tax matters to responsible hands. I was not sure of such a thing myself and used to be a little worried. But I think my worries have pushed into the habit of reading and trying to understand the issues, advancing step by step. This, my feeling of worry, of course not on account of lack of confidence in myself but because of the complicated provisions of Taxation and it being repeatedly tampered with. He appreciated the quality of being honest and recognized talents and understood ones limitations. Few years back as his turnover increased, I suggested that we should avail the services of an Auditor. He immediately acceded to my suggestion and requested me to locate one, as he believed in teamwork also. He was very friendly and used to invite me and the auditor for lunch/dinner in some decent city restaurant at least once in six months.
He used to appreciate and respect principles of individuals. He also used to respect view point of others. On the individual front, I have heard him once saying that his daughter , Ms. Lavanya stopped wearing silk sarees as they were made by killing silk worms and he respected her views. He believed that available resources are to be shared with every human being. He had consideration for others especially the economically weaker and helped them. . He had friends in all walks of life, right from an under privileged auto rickshaw driver a cab driver to a Chairman or a Managing Director of a big company.
He was very proud of is wife and daughters and after his slight set back in his health he took every effort to make them independent and self reliant. I have heard elders say “ Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are!” I had the opportunity to meet some of his friends and colleagues like Sri . Ramakrishnan, Sri. Parthasarathy, Sri. A.S. Subramaniam and Sri Gowthaman. He had a swarm of philanthropic mind relatives like Mrs. Jayamma. I am proud that a person like Mr. Ramanujan included me in the list of his friends and I feel that the Almighty was kind to me in allowing me to be associated with him. His life, though short, is to be a role model to everybody. He lived a purposeful life till 18-06-2004. I always pray that his soul may rest in Peace. I also note that Mrs. Nirmala Ramanujan is continuing the good work from where he left, taking the able assistance from both her daughters and friends and relatives. I wish her and her family all the very best.
Dr. Chandran Abraham
Mr. Ramanujan and I struck an immediate rapport in the early1980s when he and Mr. Jayaraman helped in the statistical analysis of clinical data related to the eye, using a computer. It was only later that I knew that he was a brother of my close friend Sridhar. Our association continued as I sought his help in creating an electronic medical record.
Throughout, Mr. Ramanujan was a gentleman- soft spoken, polite, and considerate. His comprehension about the electronic medical record was complete, and he was very tolerant to the conceptual and logistic changes that I kept making quite often. He gave me full freedom to express my requirements, always reassuring me that he would take care of the computerisation part. He was a nice person to converse with, and we talked about several subjects other than computers and medicine. He was simple yet forthright, had a strong sense of right and wrong and was compassionate towards those who were not so privileged.
Shri. P. Lakshmanan
Zonal Manager of Japanese Airlines & a friend of MSSR.
“ The Ramanujan – I Know”
Ramanujan – Immediately I remember him, as a fair man, in his color and behavior. He never wanted to take advantage of situations. Even when in the giving end, he was careful not to exploit the situation
I always remember of two instances where I was closely involved.
When our mutual friend Mr.Prasad Kauveri of Dallas,USA requested him through me to handle computer classes for his trainees at Chennai before they were absorbed to Mali Subbaiah’s organization in USA. We could not think of a better person than Mr.Ramanujan for the assignment. He immediately agreed.
A simple man, as he was, he would come from Tambaram to Egmore or Nungambakkam by Electric train and reach Montieth road, Egmore (where the training place was) by an auto and return the same way – three days a week about 3 hours a day.
It lasted for about 3 months. When I asked him how much honorarium we could pay, he smiled and said, “I have not done any job. I have only helped some youngsters to learn. How can I accept money for help given? Again when I said that he had to be compensated at least for the transport expenses he said “ This is also a part of the help – let me have the pleasure don’t try to spoil it”
Another instance is when his daughter Lavanya went to USA for the first time. As a person experienced in the travel industry he wanted me to finalize her travel. After the arrangements, when he asked me how much was to be paid, I told him of the Ticket cost and said that the agent could part with a portion of his commission to the client he said “ The agent earns for his work why should I deprive him of the amount he is entitled. We will pay the full cost of the ticket”. This was not for that ticket alone – same was the case for all future tickets he bought for his family members.
Another fact I remember; he never wanted to go abroad on work or pleasure but all the more, he encouraged his wife and children for their travel abroad. He used to say “Just because I do not like to go abroad I should not discourage their giving. Going to places increases a person’s outlook and knowledge”.
What a fair man he was!
Mr. R. Balasubramaniam (Bala)
Recollections of a close Friend and Colleague at Bombay
I can’t believe years have rolled by since the passing away of Ramanujan. The picture of him is very fresh in my mind. I distinctly recollect his telling me, after his first bout with cancer and the treatment that a porter has rung the bell in the station for the train to leave and it is now waiting for the guard to flash the green light to chug out of the station. Well, how I wish the guard had waited longer and delayed the departure. That was vintage Ramanujan. Always seeing the lighter side, ever cheerful, refusing to let travails of life to get him down. I remember our tough days together in Mumbra during 1974 to 1979. But Ramanujan was always full of smiles, relaxing , cracking jokes and spreading cheer all around. Shifting to NITIE made Ramanujan the Professor and brought out the best in him. He could now read, research, conceptualize, teach, work with people, educate and enlighten them, help them mature and grow, and be consultant to the likes of Tata, TVS etc. He had the vision to see IT’s future in India and shift into the IT field from Industrial Engineering.
As much as he made a wonderful teacher and consultant, he was equally great as a friend, never too busy to spend time with us and share laughs. Even in the midst of busy schedules, he would take time off to drive hours across town to visit and meet friends like me . Of course having interacted with him from the time of his marriage and the birth of his children, I also know personally how attached he was to his family. As an individual, he has left his mark in all our lives, having been associated with him, we feel enriched. In spite of being aware that the Supreme Being controls everything in life, we still cant but regret that he went away so soon only to leave for ever his smiling image in our hearts.