Volume 7 - Issue 12
December 2009
Other Articles

REMEMBERING A DEAR FRIEND

…A Heartfelt Tribute to Mr. Ramamurthy Ramesh Babu

 

A Poignant Communication from Radio Sai

Sairam. I am Radio Sai. There is something which I have withheld from you for very long; I cannot do it any more. For the last few months, my heart has been heavy.

 
 
Radio Sai Global Harmony

It has been difficult to come to terms with a tragedy which shocked me like never before and moved me into inconsolable grief. It has taken me many weeks to reconcile myself with this terrible adversity. And now, it is time I share with you this stirring story.

I have to do this as it will not only make my heart lighter but also because it concerns not just me alone; in fact, every person who listens to me or knows about me, should be aware of this.

Whatever I am today, it is purely because of chosen and chiseled instruments that He has gifted me with, time and again. And whenever He decided to remove or replace someone (as He knows best always), it has always pained me.

Nevertheless, I have accepted every such instance as His inexplicable Divine decree and carried along calmly with no complaints, and renewed confidence.

Radio Sai’s Rapturous Birth

 
Sai touches and Radio Sai comes alive!
November 23, 2001
 

I remember vividly the day I was born, eight years ago. How sublime was that morning! Sai Kulwant Hall was suffused with sacred vibrations. With ‘Sai Ram, Sai Ram’ pulsating in their hearts, thousands had gathered eagerly to witness the Birthday celebrations of their Dear One.

Once Baba came onto the dais, He softly pressed a button...for a few seconds there was silence… and then a serene song emanated from the speakers which serenaded Swami and the entire multitude for a couple of minutes. The moment this was over, the hall was enveloped with a thunderous applause.

By now, I had already taken my first few breaths. How lucky I am; I share my birthday with my Beloved! Well, the Compassionate One chose it that way. And all my life, right from that beautiful beginning, He has always done everything that was most favourable for me.

The Lord Bestows on Me His Valiant Instrument

 
 
Mr. R. Ramesh Babu - a personality
as heartwarming as his smile

When I was hardly a few days old, I needed extra care and attention, and the Kind Lord blessed me with a couple of His precious ‘properties’ – His Students.

They toiled hard to keep me alive and enlivening. They were absolutely good, dedicated and disciplined no doubt, but were novices in Radio-nurturing.

Some of them had not even touched a computer-mouse before they came to me! I was worried. I prayed. And now came a man, nay, an angel, who was the best brother and mentor these boys could have at the time.

Mr. R. Ramesh Babu then worked for TVS Electronics but his heart was always in Prasanthi Nilayam. He gauged the situation and immediately said, “Boys, we have arranged for all of you to receive professional training.”

‘Sir’ Takes Them on a Unique Video Shoot

 
 
Ramesh Sir always preferred to be in the background, toiling hard silently

I must mention here that actually Swami gifted me these boys and Mr. Ramesh Babu (henceforth I will refer to him as ‘Sir’) even before I was formally born! Thanks to Sir’s enthusiasm and energy, during the Grama Seva programme in October 2001, these boys for the first time had formed a documentation team. And it was Sir’s sedan which took them into interior villages like Bathalapalli, Vengallama Cheruvu, and so on. These villagers were actually so excited seeing such a car, for they had never seen a contraption of that sort!

Sir was never concerned about his car or food or whatever, he always wanted to be with the boys and ensure that they grow to become effective instruments in His hands. And to this end he did everything. The boys actually liked to call him ‘Santa Claus’ because his every visit to me meant carefully-picked new software, additional hardware and a group of experts to train them on new techniques.

The Silent Worker Behind the Scenes

When the Birthday season of 2001 arrived and my ‘delivery date’ was just round the corner, none of these boys had the chance to digest and delight in these celebrations, they were just extremely busy. The first set of programmes had to be physically sent to Melbourne to be loaded onto the Worldspace server located there. Like everything of Swami, my Mother, this too was a miracle, and I was born. And while this was happening, Prof. G. Venkataraman, my director, asked Sai Prakash to learn video shooting and editing.

Again, thanks to Sir and the team of professionals he brought with him, the coverage was done without a glitch. And now Sai Prakash was asked to edit the 76th Birthday function and prepare a 3-hour DVD. The inexperienced but determined young editor went through the processes of capturing, editing, titling, mastering, encoding, etc, and finally did compile a decent video.

He was now about to breathe a sigh of relief when something happened. “Even before I could pat myself on my back, the plans had changed!” Sai Prakash will recall to you. “A few senior devotees now approached Prof. Venkataraman and asked him to write a script for a 6-hr documentary on the Birthday, since a double-sided DVD could now hold 8 GB of data. I was at a loss; it was a huge task…” And now here again Sir came to the rescue.

The next day there were a few professionals to help and the moment the master tape was ready, it was Sir who rushed to Prasad Labs in Chennai to make a master DVD and then literally ran with this DVD in his hand to the airport to send it to Singapore for replication. When the final copies arrived, what joy it brought to everyone! It was the first video production done in Prasanthi Nilayam for Prasanthi Nilayam. And it happened because Sir slogged silently, behind the scenes.

Radio Sai Gets a Home, Thanks to ‘Sir’

 
 
The office of Radio Sai Global Harmony

Even as the boys were savouring the joy of their first major endeavour, Sir returned to Prasanthi and announced, “We are upgrading the systems and the software.”

The new video-editing software AVID installed in DELL computers now adorned the office. Wait a minute! Did I say office? Actually, at this time there was no office or studio!

It was just the old EHV building wherein were placed a few tables and chairs. And now, Sir was determined to build a state-of-the-art studio and workplace for all the boys.

How much he toiled to construct the right interiors? He was the one-man army behind everything, be it the intelligent layout, specialized woodwork, acoustic ceiling, exact-fit lighting, the sound-proof door, elegant flooring, apt cloth and colour of curtains, ACs, UPS, ergonomic chairs, user-friendly desks, spacious cabinets or even the pens and staplers!

Not only this, Sir also flew to Singapore to personally pick the cameras, mikes, mixer, DVD replicator and so on; and in the same vein made several trips to Bangalore too to choose apart from other things, the right variety of sweets to be distributed on the day of the inauguration of Radio Sai studio. No detail was insignificant for Sir, as it was Swami’s work.

Only I know how Sir went even without food for a few nights to save funds to complete the project on time. His only goal was “Work should not stop at any cost; we cannot compromise on anything.” And the biggest tribute he received was when Swami actually walked into the studio climbing on the thoughtfully-made tiny steps.

Swami blesses every corner of Prasanthi Digital Studio by His Divine Touch on the day of its inauguration

In fact, Mother was very pleased with those just 3-inch steps as He walked gladly with great ease into my home. What a day it was! Every inch of my house was sanctified by His divine touch and He stayed for nearly two hours talking and joking with all His boys.

Sir was just happy to be in the background. He had done his job well; his heart was full. But Swami knows if I now have a graceful and admirable home, it was because Sir, without a slight demur, transformed his blood into sweat for days and weeks together. Such a splendid instrument of the Divine he was!

SAI-WAN – A Culmination of ‘Sir’s’ Perseverance

 
 
The Sri Sathya Sai Information Technology
Centre, Prasanthi Nilayam

And he did not rest with this. His vision and dream was always big. The next project taken up by TVS Electronics was to set up an Information Technology Centre and put in place a SAI-WAN (SAI - Wide Area Network) which would provide high-speed internet connectivity to all Sai Institutions in Prasanthi Nilayam and Bangalore.

To present this idea to Swami and the authorities, Sir wanted a small video presentation and he asked Sai Prakash to do this. It was done in just one night and after Swami saw this clip, Sir was so happy that he said to Sai Prakash, “Sai, I am really proud of what you have learnt in one year. The expertise you have acquired here is very unique. It gives me great satisfaction to be a part of this team.”

Soon, the SAI-WAN was up and it really changed the way all the Sai institutions worked. Now, all the Radio Sai content could be easily uploaded to servers in South Africa or Australia without any loss of time, and theoretically, I could now offer people the facility of listening to live streams of events in Prasanthi Nilayam. But we did not want to be content with this. We wanted to do Live TV telecast. We did this on Shivarathri, 2004 on the Hindi Channel ‘Sanskar’ and yet again, it was Sir who silently laboured very hard for this. In fact, he stationed himself at the channel’s office in Mumbai, missing the whole event in Puttaparthi, to ensure that there were no loopholes whatsoever. Needless to say, it was a big success. This was indeed the fruit of weeks and months of tireless effort.

Swami inspects the facility at the Information Technology Centre and watches a
Video Conference during the day of its inauguration

Mind you, setting up the SAI-WAN network was no ordinary task. One among the hundreds of things that had to be done was to lay a 7 km optical fibre cable from Prasanthi Nilayam ashram to the Super Speciality Hospital, and this was done in an incredible 7 days! This was a more complex operation than anyone would imagine because it was not just digging the ground and placing the cable, it involved a host of allied activities, right from surveying the areas, deciding the right course, organizing labour (which is a challenge), negotiating with the owners wherever the cable had to pass through private land, and of course the other regular jobs of purchasing the fibre, connectors, other accessories and so on.

An Example of Sincere Hard Work and Silent Devotion

What touched me the most is that even though Sir was the ‘Head – Research and Development’ of his company who had received the Director’s Award for his ‘Outstanding Contribution’, he was the most down-to-earth executive. During those 7 days, Sir was on the site, sweating it out in the Sun along with a couple of workers, literally every single day to see to it that this connectivity was established.

 
Ramesh Sir was always there to set up new initiatives and ensure that they run smoothly
 

Hanumantha Rao, another Sai student working in IT Centre recalls, “Sir was just like us; we never thought of him as somebody belonging to another organization. His knowledge was tremendous and his passion to work for Swami incredulous.  Without a second thought, I could call him at any time of the day and wherever he may be his answer definitely would be ‘Tell me… Sure…I am coming. Have no worries, we will sort it out.’

What a pillar of strength and support he was! Just think about this: Sir himself marked the lines on the roads for the intercom lines in the Ashram; it did not bother him a bit. Everything we work on now, be it Internet, VoIP, Video Conferencing facility or the Intercom Exchange – each one was his dedicated offering to Swami.”

“He is the kind of project leader who always had the time to go into all the details very meticulously, and a manager with whom everyone liked to work with. Yes, he was an extraordinary perfectionist but at the same time extremely accommodating and loving. It is only after working with him that I understood and experienced the idea of giving back to the community in exchange for a new sense of life, love and spirit. Sir really enriched my life with his passion for learning. His unshakable faith in Swami and endless love for everything truly transformed me,” says Shiva Kumar, another Sai Student serving in SSSIHMS, WF, who worked with him closely during the Sai-WAN project and later.

80th Birthday Coverage, a new Video Studio, Internet Streaming of the 83rd Birthday Proceedings…the list continues

 
The happy studio crew with Ramesh Sir in the small enclosure created to document the 83rd Bday celebrations
 

By early 2006, Sir’s significant contribution to His mission was there for all to see. And after this, he moved from TVS Electronics to ISGN Technologies Ltd., but not from Sai work. In fact, his previous employer missed him so much that they hired him back as a Consultant. And now filled with new vigour, Sir was completely occupied planning and building a new office for me – a modern and well-equipped Video Studio!

How diligently he used every inch of space available in the old Shopping Complex to come up with a fantastic studio layout! Even today the first reaction of anyone who walks into this set-up is “wow!” and when they see the innovative designs of the shelves in the Archives section the inevitable question is “This is something ingenious; who came up with this?...” Sir always loved to be the unsung hero. His only motto was “I do not know what plan Swami has for me, but as long as I am here, let me do His work”. And he did this remarkably well.

Ramesh Sir worked tirelessly to see to it that the new Video Studio in Prasanthi Nilayam is top of the line

It was again because of Sir’s experience and expertise that the huge responsibility of the comprehensive audio-video coverage of Swami’s 80th Birthday was done by these boys seamlessly and successfully. And in 2008, we scaled another peak when we offered Internet Video streaming of the grand Sahasra Chandra Darshanam celebrations on Swami’s 83rd Birthday. Thousands watched this in 146 countries and were simply thrilled! This happened because of the services of a US company ‘Limelight’, and Sir had a laudable relationship with them.

The Video Studio immediately after the completion of construction - this is where beautiful documentaries
are created to disseminate the fragrance of His love throughout the world

From a Radio channel which did not even have a recording studio to a radio service offering 5 audio streams and now video streams, apart from a host of other services – it has been a memorable odyssey. But what has made this journey really possible and wonderful is the gift of Sir to me. Even recently, in the beginning of 2009, when Sir had a meeting with the officials of another network company as he now wanted to upgrade all the network equipment (he never rests!), he started enquiring with them about video streaming wirelessly. You know why? That was his dream for Swami’s 85th Birthday.

A Rare Pearl of a Person

Rarely have I seen anyone who has compromised so much on his personal life, his health (Sir always suffered silently from arthritis), his wealth (he actually was going through great financial stress at many times in his career), his comforts (he never stayed in the room in Prasanthi Nilayam; just slept gladly in the studio itself saying ‘this will help me to get up early and do some serious planning’) and his time and possessions (he would personally cook delicious dishes and serve the workers of his project on many occasions very gladly) absolutely selflessly just for His sake. God definitely loved him dearly and that is why probably He took him away from me so quickly. I just do not want to recall the day when I heard of his shocking and sudden demise. It was a sad road accident.

"I would like to place on record the outstanding service/ contribution done by Mr. Ramesh Babu in setting up audio studio, video studio, MMC, WAN and LAN networks in SSS institutions.  He was a dedicated, committed hard worker with genuine interest to do service. He had acquired intense knowledge about the NW, AV and setting up studio etc. through intense self study. He is loved and respected by customers, vendors and colleagues. I personally had great respect for his dedicated service and always-ready-to-help attitude.  Undoubtedly, he has created a big void in our team which is difficult to fill. May his soul rest in peace" – Mr. Dhruva, TVS Electronics.

That Shocking Morning…

Actually, on that fateful morning (June 19, 2009) he felt he was too tired to drive down, still he chose to take the car and not the public bus as he thought this way he could save half a day and spend more time in Prasanthi. Well, God had other plans; maybe He felt Sir had already done so much in so little time; perhaps, He wanted to confer more peace to his soul; maybe He now wanted him for an altogether new mission; or He just wanted him to rest with Him as he deserved it more than anybody else. God is always right and I am happy for Sir too, for he lived like a true Sai soldier and like every martyr disappeared from the scene while he was busy doing His work. But personally for me, it is a loss that I find it hard to reconcile with. Not every person has a friend who is his best-fit in every conceivable way, and when you have such a gem of a human being and you lose him suddenly, the pain is incalculable and the loss, irreparable.

The Chosen One with His Choicest Lord

Only the Subtlest of Things Stay On…

Sai Prakash’s soul’s anguish took the form of this poem:

 

It is no life that is lived,
To the dictates of one else;
Life it is in full measure,
When your soul is the irrefutable master.

Yet how many do live,
Without forsaking even a little the soul’s subtle voice?
They are indeed kings amongst men,
A joyful conscience does stand them apart.

Yes, you live amongst us,
Giving your strength, warmth and wisdom,
Talking, coaxing and joking,
Yet, teaching us all along.

You joined yourself,
Even before anyone asked,
Yes we were team,
But without you we were lost!

A wave has to merge in the ocean,
In name and form,
But in its fraction of life,
It can thrill and inspire joy.

Even darkest death cannot take away,
A memory so sweet,
Of the fragrance of sacrifice,
Of love, laughter and peace.

It is an impression that will last,
It will linger and grow strong!
In life, it is not always the same,
Only the subtlest of things stay on.

 
     

RRB_GRATITUDE1

Remembrance is the sweetest flower and Gratitude is the sweetest feeling - Watch this poignant video

Sir, I miss you. We all miss you so much. Nevertheless, you are now in the safest place of this universe – in the bosom of my Mother. And this is the only consolation which keeps us going. And we know wherever you are you will be the same affable, easy-going and cheerful self. Sir, thank you so much.

- Radio Sai Global Harmony

Dear Reader, did this article inspire you in any way? Would you like more such stories from devotees who have been touched by His Love? Please write to us at [email protected] mentioning your name and country. Thank you for your time.

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