Yesterday, I told you of my first love - my Miss Universe who has been at my side for 44 years and as my partner for 41 years.
But alas, man is weak, and there have been several women, besides my wife, who have shaped my life.
My latest love affair is just 9 days old, and is a girl who has not yet got a name. She is a great bundle of joy. I call her "Kochmol", which means "Little Girl".
She is the latest addition to our family, born on Sunday, the 20th of January (9 days ago) here in Oulu.
till her parents decide on a name for her!
She joins a beautiful young lady, Asha, who has been a great joy in my life for the last 10 and a half years.
Asha entered my life 10 and a half years ago, and there is not a day when I do not think of this beautiful baby who has grown to be a poised young and highly talented lady and, above all, a loving granddaughter.
When I think of my grandchildren, I must say that the two ladies, my gorgeous daughters, who have "ruled" my life started as similar beautiful babies:
Although one of them describes me as an "anarchist hippie" and the other as a "workaholic", I still love both of them dearly. If they love me even 10% of how much I love them, they remain the apples in my eyes. (Fact: I have not ever been and am not an anarchist, hippie or a workaholic!)
at the Opening of the new wing YMCA in Fitzroy Square, London,
just a few months before her demise.
Another lady, who has by her very absence, been a lasting influence on my life is my late elder sister, Nalini, who died after childbirth in 1960. I know her spirit in my heart has been watching and looking after me all through these last 48 years.
The lady who has most influenced my life was one so simple and kind and yet so powerful that no one realised her shrewdness. An only daughter and the only sister to 8 brothers who loved their sister dearly, she held them together to control them to build the huge family publishing and industrial empire from the time her parents passed away in the early 1950s till her own demise in 2000.
the Women's Christian College, Madras.
after returning to Bangalore.
My mother, Ammachi, inherited her kindness and gentleness from her mother, Valliammachi, my grandmother, and her shrewdness and business acumen were from her father, the late K. C. Mammen Mappillai.
One personal example will show you the nature of my maternal grandmother.
In 1950, when we were visiting Kottayam, the family of uncles and cousins, several tens of us, decided to go on a trip to Periyar, the Elephant Sanctuary. The day before, I ate too many jackfruit causing me severe colic pains. I was really ill. It was decided by the powers at the top that I should be left behind as it would be too dangerous to take me on such a long trip.
I was heartbroken as only a child of 7 could be. I was left in the custody of Vallammachi. I was feeling as fine, but was really feeling emotionally upset. Valliammachi had been instructed to keep me on a total light liquids diet.
In Kottayam, in her home, such an atrocity was just not possible.
Within minutes of the family members leaving for the elephant sanctuary, I was treated like a little Prince and given every delicacy she could summon, including a healthy dose of the offending jackfruit which had caused the colic problem initially.
I could not have had a better day in my life than that in the company of such a grand lady!
And this remained a secret between us till today!
The last lady who played an immense effect on my life was my paternal grandmother. A tiny woman, no one would have suspected the powerhouse that she was.
She brought up her 10 children, 5 boys and 5 girls with a whip hand to make all of them outstanding students and the 5 boys became top professionals during their life time. (One was a senior administrator in the Mysore Government, the second headed Tata Consultancy Engineering Services, another worked for the Shri Ram Group as their senior Administrator, one headed various sections of Indian Railways and also the Intergral Coach Factory in Perambur, and the last ended his career as the Chairman of the Life Insurance Corporation of India!
As the wife of one of the Mysore Maharaja's senior administrative officers, she was formal enough to run her household in accordance to all the rules laid down by the aristocracy. She ruled her dining table with such firmness that children knew they were children to be seen and not heard.
Yet she was a mellow as a lamb outside of her hours of duty. In her later years she was a loving character who could not have enough of the company of her grandchildren. She outlived her famous husband, Dewan Bahadur Mysore Matthan by over 20 years.
During that time she was respected and adored by all her grandchildren.
My love affairs with these 9 women are what made me what I am TODAY:
They say that behind every man is a woman.
I am proud to say that behind this poor human being there have been 9 outstandingly great ladies.