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Friday, 30 January 2009

K. Raghuram remembers...

I do have a poignant memory to share. I chatted briefly with Prof. Bhandari in the Mumbai airport security area that fateful morning 20 years ago, just before the boarding announcements. He was catching the Ahmedabad flight at the same time that I was boarding the Pune one. My old “dry-mouth disease” from his classes promptly returned and we wouldn’t have progressed much beyond the “Hellos” were it not for my colleague, who being unaware of his reputation, waxed eloquent on some marketing topic. All I remember is that grin lighting up Prof. Bhandari’s face as he asked a couple of pointed questions. My colleague was saved by the boarding calls.

Two hours later, I sat stunned in the customer’s office in Pune listening to the news reports. The rest of the day was a blur. I remember getting to the hotel early in the evening to see the TV reports and praying that he had somehow survived, but it was not to be.

The one song that kept playing in my head the next few days was Billy Joel’s 1970s hit “Only the good die young”.

As painful as it may be for his children to know that there was so much to learn from their dad that they missed, they should know that he touched many lives, and that his spirit lives on in his work and the great memories he left behind. He was a Sanskrit scholar and am sure took the following verse from the Gita to heart:

Karmanya evadhikaraste ma phalesu kadacana
Ma karmaphalahetur bhur te sangostva akarmani

(You are entitled only to action, not to the fruits thereof
Think not of yourself as the creator of the fruit, nor attach yourself to inaction)

*Mr. K. Raghuram was a student of LRB at IIMA in 1980-82

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