Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXIX No. 2, May 1-15, 2019
My parents Murthy and Balam, wife Usha, and work colleagues Shankar and Gomathy join me in penning these few words in fond remembrance of Mr. Muthiah.
Mr. Muthiah took me under his wing in 1992 when my dad introduced us to each other for possible typesetting work for my DTP business. His allergy for new-tech was legendary even then, so I didn’t expect my computer-based solutions to cut much ice with him; but while Mr. Muthiah never trusted new-fangled machines, he trusted people.
It was my good fortune that, deserving or not, he found me worthy of his trust. Thus began my 25+ year journey in his service. Over this quarter of a century, he was guru and mentor to me personally, and well-wisher to my business and my family.
At work, he put us through our paces. There was no satisfying his quest for perfection. Year after year, he put us through the wringer, drove us up the wall and made us tear our hair in despair… achieving impossible deadlines while at least in major part meeting his high expectations on the typesetting of his books and the laying out of Madras Musings every fortnight.
That was his way. To first find potential in anyone he worked with… and once found, push, prod and guide, until the potential reflected in the delivery.
We are proud to say that we are what we are today because of his relentless efforts… and his unrelenting belief that we had something in us that even we were not aware of.
I am sure most of his proteges feel the same way about their interactions with Mr. Muthiah.
On the personal front, Mr. Muthiah was always there for us. Despite all his engagements, he made it a point to be with us at every celebration, be it my son’s upanayanam, the launch of my daughter’s maiden book by his own hands, or their weddings. He was always kind, caring, affectionate and endearing. He made it clear that his blessings were always with us.
We too were always extended the famous hospitality of the Muthiahs at all their celebrations, not to mention his unfailing “Amma, coffee kondaa,” whenever any of us met him at home, surrounded by his books and papers, and usually the ominous proofs with which he was going to roast us over the coffee.
Mr. Muthiah’s passing is yet to sink in. At work, Shankar will feel it when the next issue of Musings comes up and there is no “sir’s handwriting” to decipher, though Mr. Muthiah himself told us, “You must now tell me,” when we once asked him what he had written. And at home, the next time Usha says by force of habit, “Romba naal aachu, one of these days let’s drop by and meet Mr. Muthiah,” it will dawn on us that we have left it too late.
Adieu, Sir. We are going to miss you sorely.