Yesterday was Lekha's birthday as per the English calendar and today, it's as per the Malayalam calendar. She'd gone to the temple in the morning along with the maid and was glad to get the 'paayasam', thanks to Preetha's efforts. The customary cake was cut yesterday and today was the ceremonial lunch.........Celebrating birthdays brings enormous happiness and are small, yet significant events in one's life.
May you get all that you wish for in the coming year, Lekha! Take care and may god bless!!
* * *
I'm happy to hear that INS Kalvari - the first of the Scorpene class conventional submarine built in the Mazagon Dock, in Bombay - will join the fleet next month after completing extensive trials. The news took me back to those early days of negotiations that had meandered over days, months and years, taking us through many exasperating times as the Spanish-French team took time to accept a few of our proposals/suggestions while formulating the contract.
It was also at the end of it when I was offered the job of its consultant, in India, by none other than its Vice President after seeing me in action through the negotiations. The package that was on offer seemed to be attractive viz. thrice the pay and emoluments that I was drawing then, an office in Paris and I needed to work for only six months in a year while the remainder was to be a paid holiday which I could spend anywhere around the globe!
I knew that I was being sounded, not because I was good at my job but because of the following:-
(a) I was known to many within the service as well as in the ministry in the decision making
(b) My services could be used for about three to five years to get contracts for the company
because of my 'contacts'.
I shall never forget that look on his face when I gave my answer, encompassing the following three points:-
(a) I've never aspired to be an arms dealer, ever, in my life.
(b) By being your man, I'd to shift my loyalty completely to your company which would, at the
best of times, be against the interests of my country that was unthinkable!
(c) Lastly, I've a very personal reason too. I'm the grandson of a legend called PN Panicker who's
known for his spotless reputation and I'm sure he would have told me the same had he been
I felt light and happy as I walked away from him but could feel his gaze as I made my exit! And I say this now, I've no regrets about that decision of mine!!
Maman had called up to talk about the impediments being put by the 'Grandhasala Sanghom' to prevent the Foundation from celebrating the 'Vaayana Dinam', this year. Sad! But we've not lost hope either!!