I was fortunate that I have lived during her time and was lucky enough to take her blessings. Mrs YGP was like a giant pizza. Name your favourite topping and you would find a generous portion of it in her and you get to have a memorable slice to relish and cherish.
While feminism today is whittled down to mere freedom of choice….”I’ll wear what I want to I’ll drink and party as I wish”, she was a true embodiment of feminism. Her life was a saga of empowerment. The scores of lives she had touched and transformed, the countless awards and achievements under her belt are further reaffirmation of that.
If I look up for couple goals it would be Mr and Mrs YGP. What a partnership it was! When she once saw me working behind the scene during the first convocation of our public speaking course at PSBB, she called me on stage and was all praise for my work and remarked that Sanjay and I make a great team and that I was “Sanjay’s life support”. To say that those words were an honour would be such an understatement.
The ‘Research Science Intitative’ – a month long annual summer camp for select school students at IIT Madras, to understand and explore what science has in store for them, was her brainchild. To lessen the academic rigour during those days, she introduced extra mural lectures in the evenings. I was privileged to be invited to address the students for the last five years. And she has attended three out of the five without fail….once even during inclement weather when I was wondering if I should venture out. Listening to what I had to share with childlike enthusiasm and appreciating my lecture from the bottom of her heart would be my intangible prized possession.
Have you heard of schools running Movie Appreciation courses? Another novel idea of hers that I was lucky to be part of at PSBB. With her younger son Mr YG Rajendraa steering the course, the students got to watch classics during school hours and were encouraged to write reviews after each movie that was screened. In her nineties, she would read all the reviews and send back her admiration for the students’ understanding of the film. When I read those handwritten notings from her I used to wonder if she had more than 24 hours in a day.
Last year my twins were part of a programme for the 1st and 2nd standard students. Dressed as Russians, my kids were looking forward to perform before their beloved Dean. When people give lame excuses to ration their public appearances and choose to attend only absolutely important events, Mrs YGP not just came there on time but stayed for the entire show, addressed the kids, jocularly asked them if they knew who she was and happily posed for selfies and a group photo after the programme. The kids were lucky to have had their slice of her too.