On Sunday, 20th May 2012, another good friend I was gifted with by Round Table India, was snatched away from us. Yes, Prakash Nair of Coimbatore North RT No.20, who spread cheer among anyone who came in contact with him, is no more.
The last time I visited his house in Coimbatore, he was suffering from multiple disabilities. Surviving with medication and the unstinted support of his wife Latha; who had to manage not only the responsibilities of running a house but also look after a patient`s physical needs single handedly! Prakash was literally a ghost of his former self.
But that is not the Prakash that I want to talk about in this tribute to his memory. I want to recall the dynamic Prakash, ever cheerful, ever helpful, and full of ideas not only for his business but for people and organisations that he was associated with. Coimbatore North RT No.20 and Round Table India were the big beneficiaries of his penchant for service.
I got to know Prakash after I shifted to Madras in 1974 and started visiting Coimbatore on business trips. Along with another common friend Pratap Gokuldas, he roped me into the publicity efforts for his Table`s Vellalore Village Project. That was the beginning of a long friendship which was cemented further by our involvement in several activities of Round Table India, of which he became a President in 1979-80. Round Table India later conferred on him the Distinguished Service Award for his many contributions in helping the Association reach an eminent position it enjoys today!
He also won several other Awards from industry bodies and youth organisations like Jaycee International for his ideas and leadership qualities.
He was one of the many Round Table friends who helped me with business and gave financial support when I decided to venture on my own with Anugrah Marketing & Advertising in 1986. He also helped me find an office space for Anugrah (Coimbatore branch); in the same building where the corporate office of Vivin &Co, the well known consumer durable distribution company was located. He was such a popular Tabler that his office became a must visit destination for any Tabler visiting Coimbatore those days. He was ever helpful to anyone who needed help. Prakash was one of the many Tabler friends from Coimbatore who taught me the value of friendship.
In my earlier years, whenever I visited Coimbatore, he would invite me to stay with him, which brought me close to his whole family; his doting parents, his charming wife Latha and their two loving kids, Raj & Nisha. The family`s hospitality was legendary! In all these years I never missed any of his family functions.
He was a fellowship man all the way. He loved the glass that cheers and thoroughly enjoyed cracking jokes and playing pranks with people, especially the Circlers who used to love to hate him. His role as the ‘Seargent at Arms’ at Round Table India AGMs will always be remembered; so also his ready wit and his ability to make people reel with laughter when he was at the mike!
Later when his family moved to their spacious Dream Home on Thadagam Road, he would organize Chamber music to encourage musicians and other fun get-togethers to celebrate some event or the other which brought hoards of his friends and well wishers into his home. He encouraged Latha to display her enormous talent for singing Carnatic music by extending his full support to her when she went on Concert tours. `UPASANA’ a cultural Association which he started was a sincere effort on his part to encourage Carnatic music in Coimbatore. He was way ahead of his time in terms of ideas or activities.
His troubles started within a couple of years after he moved into his dream home. He was afflicted by severe depression – a problem which some people with hyper energy are known to face in life. The treatment led to other complications finally leading to a massive stroke which took away Prakash`s power of speech, a terrible loss for a person whose very strength was his ability to connect with all kinds of people, with his great communication skills. Best of treatment provided by the family did not stop Prakash gradually losing other faculties leading to his total dependence on Latha to even perform his daily chores. But during all those suffering years; his mind continued to be sharp, as I found during my interactions with him assisted by Latha.
My dear Prakash, while God at last decided to relieve you of the prolonged agony that you suffered for the last two decades. Prabha and I along with hundreds of your friends and other young Round Tablers whom you have inspired and motivated, pray for your soul to rest in peace!