Society

The Fathers and their Sons

Lalji Vora (right) Managing Director, Milan Textile Enterprise Pvt., Ltd., and Amar Vora, Director, Milan Textile Enterprise Pvt., Ltd. Photo: R. Ashok

Lalji Vora (right) Managing Director, Milan Textile Enterprise Pvt., Ltd., and Amar Vora, Director, Milan Textile Enterprise Pvt., Ltd. Photo: R. Ashok   | Photo Credit: R_ASHOK

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A son’s first hero is his father. The bond the duo share is timeless. The father shapes his son’s life and when the son steps into his dad’s shoes, life comes full circle. It is a beautiful journey marked with tears and smiles, hopes, dreams and sacrifices, memorable moments and teachings that last a lifetime and a love that goes beyond any description. Ahead of Father’s Day (June 19), SOMA BASU and A.SHRIKUMAR get some of the well known dad-son duos of Madurai to share their respect, admiration and love for each other.

“My son is a committed and responsible young man. He could have stayed abroad after completing his studies but he chose to return to carry out the responsibilities of our family business. As a father I can see it is not always easy for him to work in a conservative ambience. But he understands that this is his legacy and has imbibed with ease the multiple traditional roles of business, philanthropy and more recently helping with educational institutions started by his grandfather. It makes me proud of him.

We share a relationship where there is a deep respect for each other’s views and ideas. I try not to be over-protective of him and believe that he should learn from his mistakes and experiences. Some of his more modern views and approaches are not always acceptable to me but I give him the space to experiment and also encourage him to take risks. I encourage and support his original thinking. At work he is treated on par with all others. Honesty, integrity and compassion are the values of the Thiagarajar group and he has imbibed them well. We keep our communication channel open and strong. Ever so often I raise the bar. And he rarely disappoints me. I don’t expect him to do things as I would do. – Mr.Karumuttu T.Kannan, Managing Director, Thiagarjar Mills Ltd.

I have learnt a lot from my father. He is not only my father but also my mentor, guide and friend. He has a unique style of management but understands that I do things differently and is very accepting and open to most new ideas. No business school or text book could have taught me what I have learnt working and training under my father. From him I learnt how to balance multiple roles in life.

At times I do feel his standards are very high. But then he has raised me in a manner that has prepared me to take on challenges. And I also know I have his shoulders to fall back upon. My father blends in him the right combination of modernity and conservatism. He has always encouraged me to travel and explore the world which in itself is enriching. We work and have fun together, socialise and travel together. He is very easy to be with and has multiple interests. We both share a common liking for photography, adventure, philosophy, Tamil, reading and chocolates. I am blessed to have a dad like mine. – K.Hari Thiagarajan, Executive Director, Thiagarajar Mills

When my son Sathish was born, I knew I have an heir to follow in my footsteps. I always dreamt of seeing him at the helm of my hospital and by God's grace he is right there and also beside me, always, efficiently looking after the patients and the hospital. My greatest wish was to give him the best education and training in the field of orthopaedics which he got. Initially I was worried that he may stay back abroad. But now when I see him grow in his career and socially every day, I feel I have been successful in making him a good and useful citizen for the society and the country. – Dr.A.Devadoss, Chairman, Devadoss Multispeciality Hospital

While everybody in my family expected me to be an orthopaedic surgeon, it was actually my father who allowed me the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do or become. And when I chose the same discipline as my father, he groomed me immaculately. My father is my orthopaedic guru who has showed and taught me how to make a difference in the life of many who suffer pain. His sincerity, dedication and hard work have shown me a path of success which I wish to emulate. I always look up to him and he is always looking out for me. The relationship is beyond words. – Dr.Sathish Devadoss, Medical Director, Devadoss Multispeciality Hospital

The emotional rush which a new parent experiences during the birth of a child is a feeling unlike any other, and this is exactly how I have felt with all my children, especially my first born, Zaid. Raising a child the right way is essential to survival just as breathing and eating. Many a times I ask myself what a son needs from his father and my answer boils down to some critical yet simple things which every good dad should do. It is built on the framework of guiding, nurturing and providing.

I have always made it clear to my son that he is a priority over all the myriad demands which life throws at us and also that my most important investment lies in him, The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing.

As father, I realise that although nurturing is considered a mother’s territory, the root meaning of nurture is to protect, a role which I am most comfortable with. – Mr.Ismail Omar, Managing Director, Hajeemoosa Pvt.Ltd.

Fathers undoubtedly have a powerful influence on their growing sons and for me it began from the moment of birth. Generations of boys grow up hungering for closeness with a father they barely know, someone who comes home only to eat dinner, look over homework, hear about the day’s misbehaviour and watch a little television. But my dad’s worth can be measured in the close knit family that he has created and the strength of his family business.

A father and son relationship is like an intense equation. Like any other son I too have difference of opinion with my father but I realise that I am subconsciously being the man my father is - talking, feeling and loving just like him.

A father not only gives his son his name but also his personality. My father is my guide, my conscience, strength and support in grooming me into what I am.— Zaid Omar, Joint Managing Director, Hajeemoosa Pvt.Ltd.

Ours was a joint family and my elder brother Dr.G.Venkataswamy, an extremely disciplined man, lived with us. He greatly influenced both my children with his simplicity and a deep desire to be of service to the community. We hail from a middle class family in a small village and that taught us the true value of life. Ours was the first generation in the family that had access to good education.

My son, Aravind, got admission in an engineering college after completing school. Realizing that he didn't belong there at all, the very next month, he shifted to the medical college in Coimbatore. We did not interfere in his choice but supported him in what he wanted to do.

His leadership skills were evident even when he was a kid and on several occasions took the lead among the students. After he finished studying ophthalmology, he wanted to go to the US to study management, his second love. We never objected and after getting his MBA degree he returned to join us at Aravind Eye Hospital.

As a parent, I wanted my children to lead simple, disciplined lives and be of service to the community that we come from. I am proud that Aravind is doing good today and serving the community in his own way while leading a simple life. Now I want him to lead his children to be good world citizens and be of service to society just like their parents. – Mr.G.Srinivasan, President GOVEL Trust that runs the Aravind group of Eye Hospitals

I see my father in three distinct roles – a strict disciplinarian, tough boss to work with and a doting grandfather to his grand kids

When I was a kid, fear ran high as he expected us to be always punctual and despised any kind of waste. He lived frugally and taught us to live that way. But I also got to see the softer side to him when he took us on holidays.

When I began working at the hospital, my father became my boss in the non-clinical area. Our relationship in the hospital has always been strictly professional and he always ensured that every decision taken by me is thoroughly scrutinized before implementation. The relationship has transformed over the years and has now become mature and complementary.

With my children I see a very different aspect of my father. He is the affectionate grandfather who gets bullied by my son. It’s in total contrast with how I saw him as a son.

Looking back, it is fascinating to see how my father has played his part in multifarious roles to the best of his ability. He has imparted his life’s lessons and wisdom to his kids sometimes affectionately and sometimes with fear. And I see that journey continuing as I now take on the role of a father. – Dr.Aravind Srinivasan, Director (Projects), GOVEL Trust

With increasing usage of modern gadgets, we find today’s younger generation is deprived of the charm of friendship, relationship, togetherness and the joy of family life. But I feel happy, that my son Amar, in spite of possessing all the technology knowledge and using the gadgets shows utmost respect and regards for our tradition and culture. We continue to live in a joint family, enjoy life, find time to sit together and talk and occasionally have the pleasure of outings together. My son has a liking for social life and enjoys participating and involving himself in social, academic, business and spiritual organizations and above all he is taking all the interest in our family business. I admire him for that because I never put any pressure on him to do anything against his choice. – Lalji Vora, Managing Director, Milan Textile Enterprise Pvt.Ltd.

There are so many things that I would like to thank my dad for. My father is a patient listener. I am able to share with him my vulnerable self and I feel that is so important for my development. My father knows when to advice and when to simply wipe my tears and make me strong. It is his hard work that provided us a comfortable life. His unconditional support and acceptance of my habits has helped me to understand myself better. There are occasions when he too reveals his softer side and emotions to me and I feel so special and close to him. Seeing him play with my kids, feels so special. His love for gardening, cleanliness and hospitality has taught me to respond to priorities in life.

He is a man of strong character and integrity and that has inspired me to value and honour myself. No matter how old I am, I will always be his little son. – Amar Vora, Director, Milan Textile Enterprise Pvt.Ltd.

The service that the son can render his father is to earn the words from the people, “What penance did his father do to beget this son?”

My grandfather proved this in letter and spirit. My father also had the chance to do the same. I also had the same chance to do it for my father. Now, it is my son’s turn to prove this couplet of Saint Thiruvalluvar.

There are many nostalgic moments in one’s life, especially when it comes to business and work. My grandfather who started his livelihood from a tiny village, Kurandi, at the age of 10, we bought that place in his honour after 100 years and started a small business from there. My father started E.Rm. Erulappa Konar Memorial Library in 1954, to perpetuate the memory of his father. And I started ERmE Rengasamy Educational Society in 1984 for our father.

The respect for your father, the legacy to take forward is passed from one generation to the next. I believe in- “Swami Malai Philosophy” which says “Lend your ears to the younger generation”. I always practice this in my life and am blessed that my son, Karthik is now carrying forward the same values. – Mr.R.Panneerselvam, Founder President, Mahatma group of Schools

My father has always been a cool dad. He gave me enough freedom to do what I wanted to do with my life. Even after I took over the administration of Mahatma group of schools, he has never interfered or told me what to do and what not to. That is because he has raised me in a way that gives me the confidence to do any work meticulously. And if I do not succeed, I know I have to learn my lessons well. My father is like a guide who has always encouraged, supported and helped me to realise my full potential. I can never let him down and hope to prove myself as a worthy son of my father. – Karthik Panneerselvam, Vice-President, Mahatma Schools.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 11:29:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/The-Fathers-and-their-Sons/article14425960.ece

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