He is a simpleton to the core. He reminds you of a typical middle class family man who knows virtues of life. Have you ever met Namma Mysurean B S Ramakrishna Mudre of Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement? One should meet him to know what makes a man perfect. Having gone through ups and downs over the years, if Ramakrishna speaks more like a philosopher, don’t be surprised.
After a long-drawn stint at Punjab National Bank, shifting to SVYM has been a different kind of experience for Ramakrishna. He says he will remain grateful to PNB for giving him due recognition and also a chance to go round the country and enjoy different cultures in different states. This, according to Ramakrishna, has given him enough confidence to make a living anywhere. “Experience in SVYM is entirely different. Interacting with the core team in itself is a learning process. Though they are 10 years younger to me, they are spiritually far ahead. Being with SVYM, I believe, will lead to self actualization. Working with community is an expression of social inclusion,” he sets the perfect tone for conversation.
Ramakrishna, who has been with SVYM for a couple of years now, is heading the palliative care programme specially designed to reach out to less privileged individuals suffering from life limiting disorders and diseases. “Services are free of cost for those who lack resources to access medical and nursing services. It is a great opportunity to cover lot of ground. This really helps me remain grounded.”
Ramakrishna knows life is a great leveler which makes it all the more exciting. Certainties and uncertainties that taught him both sides of life, Ramakrishna knows there is so much left and of course, he can’t find a better place than SVYM to know more about humanity and also spirituality.
Could you tell us something about your childhood? How much of it do you remember?
Thoroughly enjoyed my childhood. Very happy with whatever parents provided. Waiting to visit Bengaluru every summer vacation to play with my cousins; varieties of outdoor games. Used to go for long walks with cousins like Lalbagh to Malleswaram.
Schooling and college.
Schooling in different places in Karnataka as dad was in transferable job in a bank. Distinctly remember schooling in Bellary, Channarayapattana, Nanjanagudu, Chikkamagaluru, Kundapura. College days well spent in Mysuru .Coming from rural/semi-urban background, Mysuru was overwhelming. My classmates K Sridhar and PN Krishnamurthy were of great support. While Sridhar introduced me to English language, Krishnamurthy and Ravish Kasaravalli taught me playing mandolin. My favorite lecturers – Lakshminarayan and Hemachandra In Sharadavilas College. Hemachandra looked great in NCC uniform… very adorable.
Something about parents and siblings. What was their impact when you were young?
Doting parents. I being the youngest got the best attention, but not pampered. I was never punished or insulted for my bad academic performance. Dad was a good yogasana teacher. Insisted to be disciplined. Mother was very affectionate. I was of fragile health till almost 19th year with acute bronchitis with severe wheezing. She used to have sleepless nights comforting me all the time. Two elder sisters and two elder brothers. Somehow we could not be together always due to frequent transfers. Job took father and mother to different places and education took children to different places. Both my sisters studied and graduated from Maharani’s College Mysore in 1963. Both are good Carnatic classical musicians. Eldest, Harini had a flair for writing travelogues and poems. Her narrations were very impressive. She passed away last Jan. Second sister Kumudini is soft looking, but highly pragmatic and self-goaded, tough woman who can jump to help others in any kind of circumstances. Capable of taking tough decisions during difficult situations. Eldest brother Sridhar is good a sports person. He was a natural left- hand player. He would excel whether be it cricket, table tennis, weight lifting, snooker and even chess and playing cards. Amazing skill to get the flow of any game. Very aggressive. Second one is a voracious reader but soft and docile. Keeps amassing information through periodicals and magazines. I adore and respect all of them. It appears that I am having all the traits in smaller doses.
Something about SVYM.
A transparent organisation being built with commitment and passion on the premise of compassion ; working toward a society free of strife and deprivation.
Any one person who has impacted you more.
Any one person? Impossible. Different people at different stages of life. Values from home I.e parents, education from teachers, assertive, compassionate superiors and colleagues while in service. Two of my uncles were very dear to me. I used to adore the way they handled their children with lot of zeal and patience. My daughter has played a major role in shaping our lives. Teaching us the value of patience, keeping us fit to face any uncertain conditions and prioritizing issues.
Positive and negative sides of Ramakrishna.
Losing does not deter me. I have found patience pays. Maybe not always at the expected level… does not matter, I can wait. Finding solutions alone internally rather than consulting with others . This needs to be changed.
What has life taught you over the years?
The uncertainty of life is the reality of life. This is what makes our lives exciting. (Six seconds of inadequate oxygen supply to brain can make a person invalid.)
Your comments on Mysuru?
Having lived for considerable length of time in several parts of the country, I can experience relatively better quality of life in Mysuru. One need not wastefully spend time on the road because of heavy traffic.
Are you happy with what you have achieved so far? Do you see scope for improvement?
This question remains same as we travel farther from our date of birth. May be answers keep evolving differently at different phases of life. Achievements are history very soon. What remains to be achieved remains a challenge till we breathe last. On personal count, yes. What has been achieved while working with PNB has given me satisfaction. Being a part of the team in establishing a centre for children affected by cerebral palsy has given me immense satisfaction. Scope for improvement is always available as long as the gap exists. Our reach needs to increase both in palliative care programme at SVYM and at Snehakiran as well.
Do see need for more organizations like SVYM?
As there are many NGOs already existing (almost one NGO per 600 population), I am not sure whether there is a need of more organisations. The existing ones need to draw their deliverable with clarity and work with focus. Persons who are interested may as well lend support to these NGOs to ensure delivery.