by Ananda Mohan Rakshit
Shri Kalathinkal Krishnanunni was like my elder brother, my guide and my best friend. He was a thorough gentleman, kind and noble hearted person with amicable disposition. He was helpful to everybody and liked by one and all. I knew him since college days from 1959 in Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad. He was one year senior to me. He passed in 1962 and stayed there for one year as a lecturer guiding us in all fields. Then he joined the Atomic minerals Division for sometime. He topped in Geologists Examination, 1964 and joined the Geological Survey of India.
He was deputed to Indian Photo-Interpretation Institute for Photogeological training and topped there also securing Netherland Government Fellowship for advanced training in International Institute of Aerial Surveys and Earth Sciences formerly known as International Training Center (ITC). I followed his footsteps two years later to these institutes. Krishnanunni became very close and dear one to Prof. Pisharoti of Kerala, Dr. Satish Dhawan, chairman ISRO and Mr. V.K.S Varadhan, DG GSI. after his specialization in Remote Sensing. I had the opportunity to work with him either as his co-worker or as his subordinate but I never felt the difference. Since 1975 when I joined PGRS Division, CHQ, Kolkata on transfer from Jaipur. our earlier relations were revived and soon we became closer.
I respected Krishnanunni as Lord Rama and always obeyed him . Besides routine work of the Division he twice asked me to prepare lectures with slides for two DG,GSI Mr. V.K.S. Varadhan and Mr. V.S. Krishnaswami. He also asked me to accompany them and assist them as and when required. I did so. Once he got me released from Training Institute duty by associating me with the collaborative project with ISRO. In 1978 myself and Krishnanunni were assigned the job of supervision of preparation of exhibits for COSPAR (International Committee on Space Research) Conference and Workshop at Bangalore. He asked me to go ahead with four Draftsmen from Kolkata. I did so. He joined me after nineteen days and we together finalised the materials in another ten days. That time our Director was Mr. T.K. Kurien and the job was done at PGRS Division, AMSE with Mr. J.G. Krishnamurthy and his officers. CHQ Draftsmen did wonderful work. The exhibits were highly appreciated at the Workhshop. We both were with our families and enjoyed the stay very much. Our families also became very close from then.
At the end of the sessions of the conference a new International Project was taken as IGCP - 143 on Remote Sensing and Mineral Exploration for which Principal Investigator and co-ordinator was to be nominated . Krishnanunni should have been the automatic choice. But he himself proposed the name of Shri J.G.K.Krishnamurty as Principal Investigator and my name as coordinator.. It shows his greatness. However I was grateful to him and profusely thanked him as it resulted in a visit to Canada for me as an Indian National Delegate under the leadership of Prof. Yashpal in the next COSPAR in 1982.
Krishnanunni became my Boss as Director PGRS Division CHQ. I had an assignment of remote sensing project in collaboration with ISRO in Singbhum area. I planned to go to field. He said that he would also like to come for a few days. I said, 'Yes Sir, you are welcome'. He sharply reacted saying ' Ye Sir, Sir kya hai, aur kabhi mat bolo, mujhe achchha nehi lagta. This was Krishnanunni !! I was camping at Mosabani Mines. One day I stayed in the Guest House. Then they allotted me a large vacant furnished quarter as I was to stay there for fifteen days or more. I was with my family. He also came with family by train to Ghatshila. I picked them up and brought them to Mosabani. I arranged for them a VIP Suite in the Guest House. He asked me in Hindi as ladies and children were also there, 'Tum kahan hai'. I said - in a nearby house allotted by Mines Authority. He immediately reacted saying, ' Isliye mei yahan aaya kya? Hamlog tum longo ke sath rahenge.' I requested Bhabiji to stay for a day there. Next day they were shifted to our quarter. They stayed for five days. Staying together was much more enjoyable and comfortable. Families came much more closer.
On Sunday he said , 'No work today, we will go for Picnic. Where can we go?' I said, ' Best would be by the side of Subarnarekha river down the Moubhandar Guest House so that we can use the facilities there when required. So we went there . Children were happy to play with sand, water and pebbles. We could strolled alongside the river and chitchat. Jaga sing our driver who also liked Krishnanunni very much, brought lunch for us from the nearby market. After lunch, we spent some more time by the riverside. Then I suddenly saw that Krishnanunni was collecting the strewn chappals on a bedsheet and lifting the sheet said chalo. I felt ashamed but I knew that there was no point in telling him anything as he will not listen to any request. We went up to the Guest House, got freshened and some rest. At about 4 o'clock he said, 'Let us go.' He asked the ladies to the front seat, then put the children to the inside seats and told me 'tum bhi chhota hai andar chala jao'. Then he sat on the back door half inside and half outside and told the driver to move. This is what was Krishnanunni, my boss. Hats off to him.
Once I could not fulfil his desire. During formation of RRSSC and NRSA He asked me if I would join there with him. I expressed my difficulties in shifting my family from Kolkata at that stage of my children's education. He said, All right, never mind, I can understand your problems.' During my promotion to Dy.D.G. he called me and asked where I would like to be got posted. I said, 'I have no choice, you can post me anywhere you feel good. Then he told me, ' I have thought of posting you as DDG, OP, AMSE, where you can improve upon the situations in PGRS and outside operational units activities.' I said,' It is all right, I shall try my best.' After two years when he visited Bangalore he met me and discussed about the state of work in details. He expressed his satisfaction and said that DG is also happy about the work done. He also asked me if I am happy there. I said, ' It is all right but recently there are some problems in my family in Kolkata which need proper attention.' He got me transferred to Kolkata during placement of new DDGs before retirement of Dr. S.K.Acharya in 2000. I was posted in Operation, Map-PGRS-Publication-GEODATA. He was so sympathetic and considerate. Soon he became DG,GSI and asked me to improve upon the stagnant situations in compilation and production of maps and publications. His tenure as DG however was short.
When he was in Kolkata socially we had many interactions either in his house, or in my house, or in friends celebrations. Once we stayed in their house for two days in Lake Town.. Bhabiji was an excellent host. We enjoyed the stay very much chitchatting most of the time on various aspects. Children were very happy being together. Once we invited them for lunch in our house at Boral. My wife cooked all vegetarian dishes thinking the day was Janmashtami by mistake. After lunch when we were gossiping the mistake came to light. My wife was repentative and apologetic. Krishnanunni said 'Thank God, it was an inadvertent mistake by God's grace. We like vegetarian food much more than others. Your preparation was excellent. We relished them most, particularly Dahi Bada was wonderful.
They attended the marriage ceremonies of my son and daughter. Bhabiji means his wife Lataji was also a very gracious and noble lady befitting to her husband. They were made for each other. Her humble mixing nature, excellent behavior and soft spoken style with charming smile could win the hearts of everybody. She must be feeling very lonely now. We express our respectful regards to her. Their two sons Nabin and Nitin were very good and modest boys. They are grown up now, well educated and managing their families. They must acquired many of the qualities of their father. I wish them progressive and prosperous life.
When he was posted outside Kolkata and whenever he came to Kolkata he would meet me and Shri D.N.Setti, who was his good friend. We had many sittings with drinks and snacks in the evening in Settisaheb's quarter in Belvedier. Settisaheb was also a good host providing us with food. We used to have discussions on varied subjects, official or non-officials. We enjoyed the meetings. When in Shillong once he met me in the office and discussed with me about his idea of DOVEMAP Project regarding modus operandi, maps to be generated and use of Aerial photographs and other remote sensing data. He successfully implemented the project in NER and it found appreciation and interest in other Regions also. It found very good success in Central Region.
Krishnanunni was very logical, rational, realistic and understanding without any ego, pride and prejudice. He never used any harsh words or had hurt anybody's feelings. at any time. His way of tackling matters was accepted and appreciated by everybody. His behavior par excellence has charmed one and all, seniors and juniors. K. Krishanunni is no more in this world, may be physically, but would remain in our heart and soul for ever. I remember him with gratitude and great respect offering my Pranam to him while paying tribute to this great man.