Samba Murthy – 2 years
It has been 2 years to the day, since our father left us. We believe he left to don a new avatara with the gods. After all, he had literally been an “avatara purusha” in his life here.
He used to be a spirited story teller. He used to regale everybody with instances from his rich experiences over the years. At the bookshop he used to run, kids and elders alike, used to stand for hours together and listen to him in rapt attention.
I’ll try to record some anecdotes, experiences, stories we’ve heard from him, learnt from him or observed about him.
Becoming a librarian wasn’t his first choice of profession. He was nudged into becoming one after he lost a few successive opportunities in statistics related academics due to politics, favouritism, etc. But, he took to the library profession as a duck would into water and became a passionate librarian until his final breath.
He verily believed a librarian’s true job was not just maintaining a catalog of books, but act as a guide and advisor to people finding information and strive to help them find it whatever the circumstances. Whether it was in an academic library, or his bookshop or his business circles. Whether it were for a nursery kid, or for a PG Researcher or for government officials seeking information from across the world to solve local problems; he had built a vast network of sources – from publishers, libraries, fellow professionals, etc whom he tapped occasionally to obtain books, journals, or just some plain information.
His penchant to poke people into sharing their problems, so that he could help them with pointers ended up kickstarting my career in internet technologies.
BSNL had recently launched a nationwide project to build internet backbone in various cities. The regional head of that effort – my father didn’t know that – was in our bookstore browsing various Unix related books. My father asked him what was he specifically looking for, he replied he wanted some Solaris related books as they wanted to build a web server at their center to cater to the city. My father who by then knew quite a bit about Linux and the budding ecosystem around Linux, pulled me into the discussion and asked if I could help them. I indeed had a solution and that helped launch my career.
If you happen to know any such anecdotes related to Shri N Samba Murthy, please do drop in a mail at ns*@in*.in