The Real Life Hero
AUETAA NEWS I JULY 2020
The Real Life Hero Mr V. R. Mahadevan, 81- E&E, MD of BGR Energy interviews Mr S. Ramkumar, 81-E&E
Generally, an individual's success is meas-ured by the people around hint, the measur-ing rod being his professional achievements or the possession he has amassed in his life. Little do we know if that has given the individ-ual a sense of satisfaction or happiness. But there are people who, by the uniqueness of their choice. shine by contrast in the society and make it a better place to live in.
Here, I want to bring to your attention one such person whose indomitable spirit refused to be limited or fettered by these definitions. He decided to traverse a path dictated by his soul which brimmed with care and compas-sion for his fellow-beings.
Now I ant sure it is not a big challenge for you all to put on your thinking cap and figure out who that person is. The answer is quite obvious. Yes, I am talking about our dear friend and our college mate Mr. S. Ramku-mar. 1981 batch. E&E.
Ramkumar was born in Bombay and was brought up in a joint family background in the first few years of his life. His grandfather played a major role in shaping him into the person that he is today. Even as a young boy. human being. On his walks with his grandfa-ther, when he saw the homeless poor people near Matunga Station. he would worry about how they will get their daily food and where they would live.
He then moved to Chennai for his schooling and he is an alumnus of VidyaMandir. He did his Engineering from Annamalai University, and as you all know, he was one of the bright-est in our group. He claims modestly that he was an average student. The modesty again comes to the fore when he claims that he was a very average cricketer even though he played in the Cricket league in Chennai and his friends includeTest Cricketers like Mr.W.V.Ramanand Mr.L.Sivaramakrishnan. On completing graduation, he initially had dif-ficulty in getting a job. Not one to waste time, he got hold of a Philips Amplifier handbook and started making one himself. He even sold a few. He also dabbled into making Mos-quito repellents and hearing aids.
But then, he took up a job at Grindwell North-ern factory in Limn, Maharashtra as a Main-tenance Engineer. Even though he did not know Hindi (which was a major disadvantage he was a very kind-hearted and empathetic for a shop floor job), he still became well spected for his capabilities. There was an occasion when his worker requested that they are provided with shoes because of shop floor hazards. He took it up the issue with the Management multiple times but un-successfully. He finally decided to buy them the shoes at his own cost. His compassion caused him to lose his job. The Management could not tolerate a young engineer making his own decision.
He joined Genelec, an MNC, and got post-ed to their Project site in Visakhapatnam Steel Plant for a Plant lighting project. Here he learnt the basics of electrical work like lighting, etc., but beyond a point the job did not challenge him. His grandfather's passing away triggered him to quit the job and move back to Chennai. His search for a new job in Chennai was futile and the family pressure on him to earn a living was mounting. One day he went into deep thought on what his goals were and decided that he should earn enough to own a bungalow with a swimming pool, have a farmhouse and marry a girl from Tirunelveli (his native). Little did he realise at that time that all his ambitions will be real-ised and he will move much ahead.
His uncle asked him to talk to Mr.Ramakr-ishnan of Vadyar Boats, who wanted meggar test for his new switchboard. Even though he did not have a meggar with him, he man aged to hire it and did the job. His first billing was Rs. 250 only. Mr.Ramakrishnan happy with the prompt response, then offered him Lighting assignment. This gave hint the con-fidence and his positive attitude and "Never Say No" principle led him to new areas and customers. In an interesting twist he also started doing interior decor. The trigger was when a friend he had introduced to his cli-ent for the job did not complete the work and Ramkumar had to step in and do it by himself to save his credibility.
After this there was no looking back. Comput-erisation in Banks brought in a lot of oppor-tunities for interior and electrical works. He still remembers his first assignment at Indian Bank for this type of work with gratefulness. Between the late 1980s and 2010, he has done Construction, Interior, Electrical works in all areas of Chennai for all types of Busi-nesses. Bank Interiors, Car Showrooms, Top Airlines, Blue chip companies like Siemens. DHL, SOTC were all his clients. His focus was always on customer satisfaction and this brought him more and more opportunities. He was always particular to follow ethical norms in business and paid his taxes on time and in full. His relationship with his employ-ees was always special and he treated them with respect. Once, on 1st January 2000 he took all his employees to Ranganathan Street in T.Nagar and bought them gold chains. How many businessmen of today would do that? One of the reasons for his success is that he always looked for a win-win situation for him-self as well as his clients. Moreover, whenev-er faced with difficult issues, he put himself in the other man's shoes to find a good solu-tion.
By 2010, at a young age of 52, he realised that he was no more getting the ' kick' of run-ning the business. He employed profession-als to carry out the job paying very good sal-aries at that time but however, he could not motivate himself in business any further. One cannot believe it but he closed down his busi-ness in pursuit of Social Servia and Spiritual-ity. His concept of spirituality was "Service to the Needy". His aspiration drove hint to start understand-ing his inner self better and also to work on how to mitigate poverty. He also devoted a lot of time to meditation.
He took up an Honorary assignment at "The Theosophical Society, Chennai" where he was instrumental in upgrading the facilities, started a Personality Development School for 450 people who were later provided with job placement and also managed the visit of the President of India to the Campus in 2017. His close interactions with Ms.RadhaBurnier and several other personalities of the inter-national forum was a great learning experi-ence.
His contribution to Ramakrishna Mutt is commendable. He dida 3-D Cinema The-atre for them to screen the story of Swami Vivekananda, made a Book Bank, a Library and a Dehumidification Plant, all on honor-ary basis. He was so trusted and appreci-ated by the Swamijis at the Mutt, that they treated him as one among them. He also visited the Belur Math to enrich his learning. His acquaintance with SwamijiGautamanan-da, Vice President of Belur Math and Head of Chennai Math is particularly noteworthy. He has also done a lot of infrastructure and interior works for Infinitheeism and Mahatria remains his friend till this day.
No less praise worthy is his service during the recent coronavirus lockdown. He provid-ed 14,000 free food pockets to the poor and policemen on duty, etc. His effort to person-ally distribute these pockets is exemplary. Mr.Ramkumar is a prolific writer and his contributions to the Infinitheeism journals, AUETAA newsletters,blogs in our Whatsapp group etc. reveal yet another facet of this multi-talented person.
He never hesitates to help or assist friends but prefers not to talk about it. Ramkumar is God-loving and attributes his success to the almighty.
He religiously follows Swami Gautamanan-da'sphilosophy of a good human being viz. adhering to moral values, truthfulness, de-tachment towards the world, honesty in earning wealth, duty towards others, sincere prayers to realise Atma, charity, and spirit-uality.
A contented man, who has scaled great heights of success, cherishes the value of the "Pleasure of Giving" and continues his selfless service till date. Contentment that springs out of benevolence never diminishes and Ramkumar is a true example. His wife, Mrs.Swathy Ramkumar, a home-maker has stood by him in all his endeav-ours and deserves credit for her unflinching support.
His Son Prasanth.... was a former TN state and south zone University Cricketer and now he is in his own Business, and Daughter is in a key position in an MNC in Singapore. I join all of youin wishing this "Real Life Hero" and his family a very happy and peaceful life.