Well built, handsome, man of immense wisdom, knowledge and a gentleman- that was our Pedda Bawa Dr. Ratnam Garu. I was just a few months old when my oldest sister got married to him. After me was my brother Shyam. By the time both of us grew up, my oldest brother Pradhyumna and Bawa were studying at a college in Chennai. Just like my brother Bawa also used to come to our house during vacations. So we always felt that he was one of us, not as someone different.
After some years he went abroad for higher studies. Due to this there was a significant gap before I could get acquainted with him well. My father got transferred to Mangalore (Karnataka). I was 10 years of age then. My sister used to write letters to Bawa. I used to add a few lines of my own in each and every letter. Bawa returned from America when we were there. He brought a pretty doll from there for me. It was very beautiful and attractive. It was the size of a newborn baby. I used to play a lot with that doll.
I stayed with Bawa two or three times when they were at Neyveli . We used to have a good time every time we visited them. Bawa liked sweets. Akka used to make different sweets each day for him. We too feasted on these sweets along with Bawa. I visited them four or five times even after they shifted to Bangalore. I always enjoyed my stay with them. We used to have a wonderful time with them. Once Bawa treated me to a buffet at a big five star hotel. It was a first for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The bond between my sister and her husband was unique and wonderful. We all knew about my sister's condition. She was losing her eyesight. Still Bawa used to insist that she accompanied him everywhere he went. He always respected and treated her with dignity. Though she was reluctant to accompany him in her condition, he would encourage her to go with him saying, “ What are you going to do at home sitting alone”. My sister also used to look after Bawa with a lot of respect and love. She will see to that all his favorite dishes are prepared for him to feast on. Sister due to her lack of sight used to write her lyrics crookedly on white sheets of paper. Bawa used to copy these lyrics properly and also get them edited. They were wonderful made for each other.
Bawa was religious. He always had a string of beads in his hand for chanting. He used to have these beads even while conversing with others. I used to think that he was chanting ‘manthras’ while talking to us also. He had belief in Sanatana Dharma. When I was there his father’s death day came. He called religious priests and performed all the rituals meticulously. Then he fed the poor and gifted stainless-steel plate and stainless glass to all of them. I felt very happy to see this gesture.
Once the train in which he was traveling met with a terrible accident. This happened at mid of a dark night when the bridge collapsed on which the train was moving. Bawa survived that accident without a scratch. It was my sister and our good fortune that he survived.
Our Bawa was a Diamond true to his name. He had stood by and helped many in need. He reached his heavenly abode in peace without giving trouble to anyone. These few lines I submit to him with reverence at his feet our Pedda Bawa Dr.CVS Ratnam Garu whom I respect and admire.