My association with Ratnam mama is very limited, I always used to call him as Ratnam mama from my childhood. I can remember about him, from 10 years of my age. I visited Neyveli (for the first time) along with my mother Late Sesharatnam in the year 1966 and stayed for few days in Ratnam mama and Sarojini Atta’s house. I still remember his affection and he always used to call me, “Yemayya Murali (ఏమయ్యా మురళి)” and with my mother “Yemma Sesharatnam (ఏమ్మాశేషారత్నం)”. Me and Ravi used to enjoy Ratnam mama’s talk while he is talking on phone. During his phone call he used to say “Aa.. Aa.. Aama (అ... అ...ఆమా)” very frequently. Me and Ravi use to murmur the same while listening to mama’s talk.
He is a very reserved and dignified person, I feared to talk to him, but with me he was always very cheerful and affectionate. I visited Neyveli in 1966 and 1967 (only twice) and stayed with him in their house. In 1967, he took me to the Neyveli Lignite mines and Thermal Power station and explained to me in the language and pace in which I can understand. As I studied in Nellore up to 1973, he used to visit Nellore less frequently and during his visit to Nellore, he used stay for a short duration and used enquire about my studies. Later on, when I joined Engineering, he advised me and my mother in engineering branch selection and asked me to take Electronics and Communication Engineering, which I choose also.
In January, 1978 during my education tour to New Delhi, I visited Ratnam mama’s house in New Delhi. The day I visited his house, he was not there in the house and spent some time with Sarojini atta. I felt bad, as I could not meet him. Surprisingly, next day he came along with atta to visit me at my place of stay and spent some time with me and offered some sweets and snacks. In the years 1978-1980, I stayed in his house for few weeks for my job search, entrance exams, job interviews and used to have a lot of interaction with him. In the years 1985-1987, I stayed in Bangalore as I got a transfer of my job from Srihari Kota to Bengaluru. During these years, I used to interact with him very freely (I lost my fear about him) and used to have useful discussions. During this period, Praneeth was born and both atta and mama used to visit us and we also used to visit them very frequently.
On 11th November, 1986, we performed “Annapraasana” function for Praneeth and we requested him to feed Praneeth with Payasam as he is the eldest person in the family, for which he accepted and fed Praneeth with Payasam. Later on Sarojini atta fed Praneeth with Payasam. Luckily I have those photos, which I am sharing here. Both atta and mama used to spend lot of time with little Praneeth. They also attended Praneeth’s “Kesa Khandana” event and blessed little Praneeth.
Annaprasana for Praneeth , 11th Nov,1986, Bangalore, Ratnam Mama and Sarojini Atta feeding Payasam to Praneeth
In June-July, 1989, both Mama and atta visited us at Nairobi, while on the way to Malawi and stayed with us briefly for 2 days (on both ways) as their connecting flights to Malawi are from Nairobi. By the time, they returned from Malawi, Padma delivered Pradeep and they saw young Pradeep. I still remember, when atta asked me the name of the young Pradeep, I whispered his name in her ears, as the naming function was not performed by that time.
Taken during Praneeth’s “Kesa Khandana” function
Whenever, I visited India, during my job at Nairobi, I made sure to visit atta and mama and used to spend time with them for a day or two. In brief, he has lot of affection towards me and my mother and used to take us out along with him to show various places.
As you know in Telugu, Ratnam means Diamond and indeed he was a Diamond in our family and I am lucky and blessed to be associated with Ratnam mama, who was highly educated and held various very high positions during his career. We miss him a lot. I always remember his simplicity, intelligence and affection. On this Centenary year, I am able to share few of my thoughts and my association with him. My sincere thanks to Shoba Vadina for giving an opportunity to share my feelings.