(Professor) R Ramakrishnan of Aykudi (Tirunelveli District) is no more.
Son of a late middle-class postmaster, (Professor) R Ramakrishnan grew to be an authority on English language and phonetics. Probably, one of the few experts in English phonetics in the country. He could speak English exactly like a Native American or British in their own accent. A polyglot himself, he could speak chaste Tamil, Malayalam, and Hindi like a native speaker as he could speak English.
A former officer of State Trading Corporation, who could have possibly grown to be the top executive there, relinquished a lucrative job in search of opportunities in areas where his heart was – “teaching English”.
He was a man who could really ‘take coal to new castle.’ He taught Judaism to the Jews, at some point in his life.
Extremely intelligent, he could grasp any issue, look at it dispassionately, and offer his views.
Extremely loving, though sometimes one might be tempted to call it eccentric, he was a benefactor to many in one or other ways.
He impacted my life too very significantly. But for him, probably, I wouldn’t have become a writer, author, and self-publisher of my books. He was my earliest critic too about my writing. He was the one to suggest, for the first time, that I had the innate talent to write and do public speaking in English. I brought him to Tenkasi to give a demonstrative session to a few groups of teachers on Spoken English. He taught me too how I could use his methodology to teach Spoken English and provided free materials to me for my use.
He was the first to meet me from my wife’s side before our marriage (maybe, to find out whether I was worthy of holding his sister’s hand).
Money was never the motivating factor in his life, though he wanted a lot of them. Maybe, he was strongly influenced by his father’s philosophy on money. Yet, before love, money was no issue to him.
Prone to making impulsive decisions, he could surprise many; changing his job several times, moving places of residence, traveling to places to make surprise visits to relatives, offering to take people to eat out or watch movies and what not.
A lover of Carnatic music, philosophic in approach to life, a sharp critic of people and their tendencies, yet very kind and generous at heart – Professor Ramakrishnan is no more.
My only grouse about him was that he was neglecting his health for quite some time and allowed that to deteriorate. He could have lived longer like his parents and be a source of love to many. Long live his Soul! Our condolences to all in his family.
I truly admire his First Lady at home for being his true companion throughout the changes in his life, which many times were quite turbulent. I also admire and appreciate his children for their excellent understanding and love of their father.
It is very rare to find personalities like (Professor) Ramakrishnan.