Obit: P. Ramalingam

On every patriotic occasion, the Manasarovar Building in Abhiramapuram would be the first to hoist the national flag. An initiative spearheaded by its oldest resident P. Ramalingam, a retired Executive Director of the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board, who passed away on Wednesday, Jan.18.

He is survived by his daughter, Indrani Kailas and son R. Parasuram, a serving IAS Officer.

An alumnus of Loyola College and Benares Hindu University, Ramalingam proved that social service can extend well past your retirement. While in Govt. service, he was instrumental in the creation of the High Tension Power System. After hanging up his boots, he slipped into his keds – setting up a community radio station, writing books and creating awareness on power conservation and the NREGS.

As a neighbour, two incidents are fresh in my mind. On Valentine’s Day, a few years ago, I remember featuring Ramalingam on NDTV – 1962: A Different Love Story! Although his wife Kamala passed away many years ago, Ramalingam told me that he still celebrated Valentine’s Day (and even went on to talk about his first kiss!) because “memories don’t die.”

Just before he was hospitalised, he had asked his maid Muniyamma for her Pongal wish, to which she casually retorted: “get me a silk sari!” But guess what, while lying in the ICU, he ensured that the money for that sari reached her before Pongal.

Come Republic Day, we will continue to hoist the tri-colour at Manasarovar. Because memories don’t die.

– Tribute by Sanjay Pinto