The first time I met him was at a MILT alumni meeting where he was responsible for dinner and he was wearing a lungi with a towel tied off on his head. It was the first time I ate curd rice with black grapes …. and the rest of the food was delicious too. I was thus warmly welcomed to the world of Radhakrishnan Nair.
We were regulars at Sudha and his house and I have eaten so many appams and idiappams made by him that I have lost count. Then we left Chennai, under a financial hole … Nair made the visit to Hyderabad, just to pep us up. He came wearing bunny teeth to make us laugh. I don’t know when I had given him Kokka’s address, but he found that address and came over. Then in 1997 we moved to Delhi and lost contact. The only person who met us in Delhi from the Chennai MILT chapter was SethuMadhavan and from him we heard about Nair and about his son’s marriage etc.
The era of cellphones brought Nair back in touch with us. Again SethuMadhavan gave me his number when we met him at Saify’s place in March 2015. Then Sethu Madhavan passed away suddenly, in March last year.
In June last year we did the Kerala trip and met Nair at his home near Angamally. Then Subbu went over and stayed a couple of days with Sudha and Nair. We are grateful for the ShikshaDaan Yatra because its letting us meet our friends who are in different parts of the country …. The June trip is very special now, because Nair passed away today. Three Miltonians who were part of the early days of my marriage are gone in quick succession – KRS, SethuMadhavan and now Nair. When we met Nair at Angamally, he told us how he refused to get a heart surgery done by telling the doctor that nobody in his family has lived beyond 65, so why waste money to live just a year ! But Nair, we are so glad that you broke your family tradition and you lived well beyond 65. Thank you for showing us how to live life – with happiness, with simplicity and with a zest for doing things.
Thank you Nair, for special memories too, the mango morkhuzambu that I would have never tasted if it had been made by anyone else but you, the details about the Indian cow, tips on how to make the Appams and of course the pineapple from your garden. We will meet Sudha and remember you. The day just feels heavy and slow … but your twinkling eyes seem to tell us that you are fine. This is just the way you would have wanted to go. God bless your soul … you were a blessing as a friend to so many of us and our thoughts are with you. Om Shanthi.
These verses from the Bhagvad Gita are apt for you, Nair –
न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचि- न्नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः ।
अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो- न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ॥
“The soul never takes birth and never dies at any time nor does it come into being again when the body is created. The soul is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless and is never terminated when the body is terminated.”