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In Memoriam:  Sitaram N (22 Jan 1970–2 Apr 2010)

A young man, very soft-spoken, unassuming, modest. When he first offered to build Banjara’s website, I was not sure of his capabilities. Perhaps I took him on board only because I knew both his brother and sister very well, they are both old DCS (Diploma in Counselling Skills) students.

Sitaram literally got “down” to work - he occupied the basement, and would slide in and out of the office without a sound. No one could guess what he was doing until we saw the output. Within days he had transformed all of Banjara’s past, present and future activities into a very simple, straightforward and yet very clear and impressive website. And before we knew it, Banjara had become international. We were getting responses from far away places, and for the first time in over twenty years, our work was getting its due appreciation.

Sitaram had much higher plans for Banjara. He had taken up the challenge of converting the Counselling course into an online program available to anyone in any part of the world. He began in earnest, and there was no doubt that he would have made a tremendous success of it if time had been on his side.

Fate struck a cruel blow to a young, energetic, healthy and balanced man, in the form of stomach cancer. Doctors told him that it was very advanced, and prognosis was very bleak. But Sitaram was made of a soft exterior and a hard determined interior. He fought. He was laid low with chemotherapy sessions, he went into remission more than once, but he never gave up. He did as much work as he could between painful and exhausting bouts of treatment. He smiled through his trauma, even as his wife Sachi smiled through her tears and held his hand through this turbulent journey.

I last met him two days before the battle was won by cancer. He was wearing his favourite Asterix T-shirt presented by his loving sister Bhavani, and waiting for his brother Narayan who was rushing back from Delhi knowing that the end was near. Yet he smiled. He gave a red rose to a lady visitor. He inquired about others. And he slid down with pain and grogginess.

Cancer won the battle, and Sitaram lost. But he proved that the vanquished is at times more praiseworthy than the victorious. He left us with an example, a role model, of how to live every day and every moment of life.
Sitaram lives on …

This website was initially conceived and designed by the late Sitaram N
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