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An optimist with a positive attitude towards life
An inspiring story of Shekhar Subramanian (Khyaal Community Member)
“15th July 1975 – My first day at my first job with Scindia Steam Navigation Pvt Ltd Ballard Pier. The first piece of advice from my first boss was: “There is nothing wrong if you don't know anything, but everything is wrong if you don't want to know anything.”
I am Subramanian (known popularly as Shekar), 69 years old. With a 40-year-long thriving career in the shipping industry. Started in Accounts Department and subsequently was heading the HR-Admin department as Senior Manager at the time of my retirement in 2014.
I am a true Mumbaikar at heart and grew up in a huge colony in Andheri. Growing up, I was always surrounded by friends and family. I feel this acted as a foundation for me to become a people person. When I retired in 2014, I said to myself that I will never stay idle and be active all along. I wish to put in the best of my experience in whatever I do.
Post-retirement, I joined an NGO near my house (Access Life ) in Chembur. Their mission was providing food, shelter, and transportation to the hospital and back for children (upto 14 years) suffering from cancer, who had come to Mumbai for treatment mainly at the Tata Memorial Hospital. That is where my journey in community service began. I could understand the difficulties these individuals faced and it awakened my desire to serve in any possible capacity to ensure timely assistance with intention of speedy recovery and bringing back the deserving smiles on their faces.
In 2019, I was representing Access life at one of the functions in a hospital where I happened to meet respected Priya Dutt Madam, (daughter of the veteran actor, Politician, and Social Activist Mr. Sunil Dutt) She was the Chairperson Trustee of the Nargis Dutt Foundation and their core services were in the fields of Health and Education. I was eager to be associated with this NGO and serve them and contribute to their growth and success in their continual focus on providing humans (especially from underprivileged sections) their basic rights to good health & education. I was eager to be associated with the Nargis Dutt Foundation and thus joined them in November 2019.
The Nargis Dutt Foundation also works to create awareness about cancer and provides financial assistance to cancer-affected persons by paying for their treatments (chemotherapy, surgery etc).
On the education front, besides financial assistance (fees) to deserving students in School & Higher education Scholarships, holistically develop various schools in the form of providing additional classrooms, Hygienic Toilet facilities, Libraries, drinking water facilities, Labs, Libraries, etc to ensure turnaround and uninterrupted continuity of education among the children.
These were possible thanks to various individuals, and corporates for their generous donations/sponsorships and I had the pleasure and privilege to liaise with them and get support for our NGO. More than the contacts which I could establish, it gives me immense satisfaction to be able to utilise my experiences and contribute towards the growth of the organisation in such noble causes of service to humanity.
On the personal front, I was many times asked whether growing old is overall beneficial or a burden in life. I am a strong believer in being active and that age is just a number. One is as old or as young as he/she believes. Growing OLD is mandatory but Growing UP is optional. I have never been a bookworm or a voracious reader of novels, fiction, etc…
My interests right from childhood were more in Sports, Puzzles, riddles, Crosswords, Wordplay, etc. This has always helped me in keeping my mind busy. I am a huge fan of sudoku and logical reasoning puzzles. The first thing that I look for in the newspaper is the Sudoku. I love solving different types of Sudoku puzzles with different levels and other logical reasoning riddles. I don't miss a single opportunity of participating in various yearly Sudoku competitions. I love the challenge of solving multifaceted and alpha-numeric Sudoku puzzles and can solve them in quick time. I was fortunate to have got an opportunity to conduct Sudoku teaching sessions for our Khyaal members comprising of lively active senior citizens.
When you fall in a boxing match you are not declared a loser, it is only when you refuse to get up that you are declared a loser. I believe that failure is a stepping stone to success and we should keep trying and learning every single day. I did face obstacles in my journey but I believed in putting in my best efforts and accepting the result. Trying is more important than winning.
For the last 3 years, I have been sending a motivational quote every morning on my WhatsApp. Every Sunday I send a message where I select a particular word, and break it down to explain the meaning and its usage in a sentence. I play cricket and participate in marathons (for more than 8 years).
My advice to all my fellow seniors is that “Be happy, make others happy, and pass on your experience to the next generation.” - Shekhar Subramanian (Khyaal Community Member)