Thursday, 6 March 2014

Happy Birthday COLONY AMMA ......

Have you ever met a person who has                               
  • Never got angry
  • Never shouted at anyone
  • Never let anything perturb her
  • Never felt depressed
  • Never worried
  • Never was and never looked or acted greedy
  • Never felt jealous of anyone
  • Never cried
  • Never was over-sensitive or
  • Never was overtly emotional......
I can see the sceptic look on my readers' face.Don't think there can exist such a person? If you think so then you have not met this person. जानोगे तो मानोगे ना !  I am sure everybody except from my family would reply in negative. I am fortunate to have a Mother-in-Law who is all above and much more.

I have known and have been interacting with this lady -  my MIL Smt.Narmada Bai, wife of late N.Ananthachar - for more than a quarter of a century now and I am not exaggerating, but I have never seen her expressing any of the above mentioned emotions. If we all consider Late sri N.Ananthachar as a Daivamsha Sambhuta for his immense strength and achievements during his lifetime, an equal , if not more credit should be given to his wife and life partner for standing by him in his struggles and for her splendid and enviable personality.

As we are about to celebrate my MIL's 100 th birthday this Sunday, I have been thinking about her and her life. The more I think, the more and more I am marveling at the wonderful lady. Thinking that I might have overlooked or not witnessed something, I discussed with my husband whether anytime he has seen any of the above emotions in his mother. He tried to recall, recollect but ended up grinning and admiring his mother all the more.

And it makes all the more exemplary, if I narrate what she has been through and how her life had been one of innumerable struggles,sacrifices and ultimately achievements and triumphs. Many don't know much about her as she has always led low profile life and never aspired to hog the limelight. Although I may not be the right and competent person to tell about her, I feel that at this moment of celebration, we all family and friends should share, celebrate and try to imbibe at least some of her finest qualities.

Having been born in a rich family of an Amaldar from Arsikere, she has always been well read, well informed and extremely well behaved. In fact she can give a tip or two in management, handling the pressure, financial management and delegation of work. With hardly one or two children, with so much of awareness and amenities, we struggle to create, build and maintain that perfect rapport in the family. But she is a mother of twelve, MIL of twelve and without ever raising her voice one decibel or without twitching a single muscle on her face or without ever losing her composure, she has brought up her children and has seen to it that her family has always stood for principles, human values and has always remained bonded together.

But then was she very strict? No. Was she very lenient and indulgent? Never! In fact she saw to it that the principles laid out by her and her husband were always respected and followed by all the family members. I think she has that management skill and the art of delegation and she has such a beautiful art of communication, that even without uttering many words and without talking much, she lets it be known that she is the authority, and she has been showing and following the right path and without slightest hesitation and resistance everybody in the family would willingly toe her lines.

Did she imbibe these qualities from her parents or did her association with Sri.Ananthachar instilled such confidence in her? She must have been barely 14 when she got married and moved to her husband's place at Mysore. Did her in-laws influenced her or was it her husband's character rubbing on her? Whatever it was, she stood shoulder to shoulder with her husband in both his social life, his building of the educational institutions or looking after her family.
Late Sri. N.Ananthachar moved to Bangalore from Mysore after marriage with her in search of job. Sri Ananthachar's father was a teacher and financially was not very well off. On arriving at Bangalore,Sri Ananthachar did some odd jobs at Government offices, taught at some private schools, and gave tuition to children before losing hope of finding a suitable teaching job. However he didn't lose his spirit and started selling vegetables  which needed very little capital, at a shop by the side of the present day Vidyarthi Bhavan in Gandhi Bazaar. But even in this work his systematic approach and sincerity were evident. Even today one hardly sees a board at a vegetable shop, whereas he had put up a board as shown below outside his shop even at that time – may be in 1932-33!

                                                                          ACHARYA & CO

Dealer, Suppliers and Contractors of High Class Fruits and Vegetables and Commission Agents, IV CROSS ROAD, Basavanagudi – Bangalore City.

                                                                           Fresh suppliers                        
                                                                          Weight accurate
                                                                          Charges Moderate
                                                                          Proper Attention

                                      Prop.                          N.Ananthachar M.A.

And in all these endeavors smt. Narmada Bai stood by him, accepting the life as it came. But as destiny would have it, Sri. N.Ananthachar had some distinguishing customers at his vegetable shop. Prominent among them being Divan Madhava Rao, Sir.M.Vishweshwaraiah, Sri.Garudachar, Sri.P.Kodanda Rao, Sri.N.S.Subbarao , Sri.B.P.Wadia, Sri.Thathachar and Sri.Navarathna Ramarao. They were all immensely impressed by the literary knowledge, intelligence, diligence  and sincerity of Sri.N.Ananthachar.

Though they respected his approach towards his work, they always felt that he should use his knowledge in a better way like teaching children. Even Ananthachar and his father had always dreamt of him being a professor, getting a government job and imparting knowledge to children.

Sri. N.S.Subbarao and Sri.Navarathna Ramarao, impressed by Sri.Ananthachar, introduced him to Sri.M.N.Krishnarao who, equally impressed, offered a gift of Rs.100 to upgrade his vegetable market.

APS School first batch
But Sri.Ananthachar had other plans. With this money and his own little savings he started a small school Acharya Pathshala at EAT street in Gandhi Bazaar with just three students. From then both husband and wife struggled day and night, spending every minute and every penny they had on this school. Later he shifted the school to the first floor of Basavanagudi Co-Operative society in Gandhi Bazaar. And finally with a lot of struggle he got the land from the Government in N.R.Colony to build a school. But there was a catch. The site was filled with big boulders and stones and trust Sri.Ananthachar to overcome every hurdle with ease and convert it to his advantage. The boulders were cut and dressed and were used to build the massive building and rest, as they say, is history. But it is commendable that in all his struggles and strifes, Narmada Bai stood by him, never ever complaining. In fact she considered all the employees and students of the schools as her own children and there were times when she gave away all here gold and jewelry to raise  funds to pay salary to the teachers!

Sri.Narasinga Rao once offered 5000 sft of land at Jayanagar, ( present Nanda theatre ) at just Rs. 1 per sft and Sri.Ananthachar was aghast at the very thought of making property for himself. Had he wished, he could have made a fortune for himself and his family with his hard earned money. But every penny he had was utilised for the noble cause of giving education to more and more children. And here Smt. Narmada Bai stands apart from the ordinary mortals because unlike a normal woman, she never craved for riches or property but worked shoulder to shoulder in building these mammoth educational institutions.

She stood by him when Sri.Ananthachar carved the stones to build the solid school building and accompanied him to Somanahalli, then almost a jungle, travelling with him everyday with small kids in her lap,cooked there and fed the family while her husband built the rural school, Polytechnic college. She was by his side when he built Sri Anantha Padmanabha temple in the campus. It is no mean achievement that all this was achieved in just about 40 years before she lost her husband, her pillar of strength.

Whereas one finds it extremely difficult to build a structure on a 30x40 site with all the money at one's disposal, it is no less than a miracle that from scratch late. Sri. N. Ananthachar and smt.Narmada Bai could achieve so much in life, gave their everything  to the society. A big salute to the great souls.

I would be happy if you share this with your friends and family as it can be a great motivation to the youngsters, who can see that if one has the determination, sincerity and the will power nothing can stop him and it is high time we told the society how these two selfless individuals strived to educate more and more children, sacrificing their personal pleasure and lived for the society.