Wizard

Shared by Vibhav Parghi on April 24, 2013
O captain my captain Is what first comes to mind. The first conscious memory of my grand uncle was being told a story of the era of silent films. Complete with mimicry of the Charlie selling lemon water who also explained parts of the movie while going through the crowd. I was 10 years old I think. He told a story like no other. Quantum physics was also explained with the ease of a consummate wizard. Saying that he will be missed is an understatement. ' there lies Caesar ! Whence comes another ?' Vibhav parghi endocrinologist

You are an inseparable part of my Life, Sir

Shared by Bhaskar Shukla on March 8, 2013

It was 1989-Oct- when we met at VASCSC. You were working as the Director of the Institute.  You were smart looking, and had a influential personality.  I was deeply affected by your mere presence.  I was in the Accounts section.  Gradually, a special bond developed between us and I grew attached to you and your family as a whole.  The beginning of this relationship continued till you breathed your last and even now. 

 

I have been scolded a lot by you, but you were the one who loved me the most as well.  You were very particular in your work.  You would call me in the morning to remind me of a list of ‘To Do Today” tasks, which you had prepared. Once in office, you could never find that list and I started listing the tasks verbally; much to your surprise…You asked me, “How did you know?” I would reply, I know you well enough, sir…”

 

I was always under the impression that if you are an expert in English, no one can beat me in Gujarati language.  But too soon, my thoughts would be challenged, when you recited Late Shri Nimu Majmudar’s creations, I would be taken aback… so difficult were the choice of the poet’s words, that it was difficult for me to even read out, let alone memorize….In spite of being a scientist of such a commendable repute, your supreme command over the mother tongue is something that I still cannot believe.

 

You were the one to motivate me for our first foreign trip. You had personally guided me about very very small details like, how much currency to carry, in what form, where to keep the passport, how to keep the passport in my trouser belt pouch, … you even gave me your suits to be worn in the distant land… you treated me just like a small child, leaving home for hostel under the watchful eyes of the father…. I can never forget such deep affection for me.

 

Often, I was a part of the flavour of routine lives and the relationship you shared with respected Umabahen. I reminisce those days, when there would be a lot of intense interchange between sir and Bahenji, arguments and debates about little and common place things.  I was the sole witness and I simply loved the way you both interacted with each other, something that I learnt from, a lot. 

 

I learnt to deal with the pension related matters with lot of patience and perseverance.  You initiated me to the virtual world of sending mails.  Even at the age of 82 years, you insisted that I, my wife, Bhavna and daughter Pusha should come over to meet you, but not empty handed.  You asked us to bring ice cream and pizza and insisted on paying the cost. Pusha, currently, working as a Senior Engineer at L&T, has flourished under your blessings and guidance.  You made the subject of Physics so very simple for the students and useful in daily life. 

 

Your family shifted to Pune on July 2010.  Your residence is situated on the way from my home to current office, VIKSAT.  I cross your house four times a day and every time, my head bows down, remembering and respecting you.  In every room of my house in Ahmedabad, there are well treasured memoirs of your presence that I live with, day in and day out.  Out of all the valuables, the one that I cherish the most is your old wooden chair which I currently occupy in my bedroom, while watching T.V.  You are an inseparable part of my life and living. You made me what I am today.  My deep reverence for you and Umabahenji and my heartfelt wishes goes for the family members to prosper to the fullest.

 

With loving regards,

Bhaskar Shukla (bshukla252@gmail.com)

My Friend Madhukar..

Shared by Sushrut And Moha Mehta on July 8, 2010

 Remembering, Madhukar

We will miss him, but we will remember him for his ready smile, for his affection for all, and for his optimistic view which could bring sunshine into a conversation. In any situation, he had an anecdote, a story, an observation – and he could draw upon his store of experiences, in Physics, in social interactions, in Indian Science history, in Gujarati Science,with scientists and if you could get him started on the Nagar community you had much to learn. There were three Nagars in experimental nuclear or particle physics after independence –Madhukar, Ajay and I , we shared many a good experiences thru our lives.

We started physics together, though not in the same institutions. He worked with George
on nuclear reactions in Mumbai at TIFR, then he later went to Florida and got a Physics Ph.D. In nuclear physics. He could make machines work, do interesting research with resources at his  disposal. While Ajay went on to build the first large cylcotron in India, Madhukar worked at BARC on Van Der Graaf machines and other accelerators. With his nuclear connections and BARC connections he ended up at Vienna at the IAEA(?) and Uma and he stayed there for quite some years. He acquired the refined Vieneese love for good pastries and good coffee and let me now forget good wine. When during the last two decades, when Uma and Madhukar and Kanwal and I went out to enjoy sunny California and usually ended up taking lunch at some nice cafe or restaurant he really enjoyed it. He loved life and all it had to offer. He was a great host. We most remember the wonderful week with them in Ahmedabad seeing the sights, visiting my relatives,
regaling with Udayan and family. He was one of the pioneers, who put developed nuclear physics in India. He was a quite tall for a Gujarati and stood out in a group. He had a story for all occaisions. It was a real surprise when we came to Irvine to note that his son Shushrut had done his Ph.D in Irvine and also exciting was to find out that we had another connection through Moha – We knew Parikshit from long time ago.
Shushrut and Moha , you are blessed to be close to both parents.
Shared by Ratna Mehta on July 6, 2010

I join the others in paying my humble tribute to Madhukarbahai who passed away last week. Though related to my daughter Ratna (being her fathrer-in-law), he was very cordial  in his relatioinship with my family. His ability to give a practical  advice on any topic was his  great asset. However he was always in his element when ever he discussed his own subject and made the topic not only very interesting, but like mystic he was able to unfold the mystery of it in a very common parlance which could be easily understood by a common man like me. Lastly I cannot forget the support he gave to me and my family when my wife Harsha passed away very recently.Please do accept my heartfelt condolences in your berevment.

Girish Desai

Daddy's birthday 24th September 2009

Shared by Ratna Mehta on July 5, 2010

 This was taken at Daddy's last birthday in Pune. Salil was so excited that it was Dadaji's birthday, he got a cake, birthday caps and whistles..Daddy celebrated his birthday like a child for the first (and the last) time...

KAPILRAI BHUPATRAI'S CHILREN...

Shared by Ankur Mehta on July 5, 2010

 THIS A PHOTO OF MY GREAT GRAND PAA..WITH HIS CHILDREN ..CHILDREN'S WIVES...AND HIS GRAND CHILD MIRA BEN IN CENTER 

My Mentor

Shared by Sushrut And Moha Mehta on July 3, 2010

 Honourable Madhukar Mehta

 

Few men are given the power and the wisdom to guide not only the destiny of a Nation but to nurture a future generation, with education and value system, to continue to build on the foundations he laid.

 

Madhukarbhai Mehta was one such man, a man who defines the word Giant Amongst Men. My first privilege of meeting him was almost forty years ago. I was a young child all of 14 years, beginning to think about his career. My desire was to be a scientist, a prospect that scared the daylight out of my parents. We compromised and decided that we would take my case to the Appeals Court in the form of Madhukarbhai Mehta of BARC and if he approved, I could pursue a career in research.

 

So this young boy of uncertain steps met Madhukarbhai in his flat in Hanging Garden. Madhukarbhai asked me a few questions in physics and checked my understanding. Then, at the end, he held my hand and promised my parents that he would ensure that I would become a successful scientist. He held this hand as long as he needed it and then, when I joined TIFR good 7 years later, he let me go, asked me to find my own bearings and goaded me to do my best. It was an act of greatness I have never known from elsewhere.

 

At the time of my first meeting, I was of course too young to realise how one, 2 hour meeting on a lazySunday morning had changed my life so completely and set it on a path from which  I would not deviate for the rest of my life. What had struck me was  the simplicity and elegance of this Great Man. His simplicity and modesty, while in the highest circles of India’s scientific world was so natural that I accepted it as a norm. It would take me several years to realise that the gentleness that came so naturally to Madhukarbhai, was a rare quality. He did not need to tell me about his standing in the world, and he did not even try. I would find that out on my own much later. At the same time, he attached all the seriousness to the meeting in which he was promising an anxious set of parents that he would take their son under his wings and ensure that he reached his destination. He kept his word in letter and spirit. And yet, he never made me feel obliged to him or made me realise how much I owed him. When in 1979, I cleared both the TIFR and BARC entrance, he discussed the differences between the two institutions and gave me full freedom to join whichever institution I chose. I chose TIFR and he supported me in that whole heartedly. I also know that through his friends in the University and later in TIFR he closely monitored my progress and work to ensure that  I was on the right track though he never let me know about it. When I became a permanent staff in TIFR he expressed his unequivocal joy that made me feel proud of myself. If Madhukarbhai said it was a good thing, it must be a good thing!

 

After that I met him many many times, reporting my progress, taking his guidance and taking the path that he showed. I often sent him my papers and the work I did and always received his encouragement and support.

 

It was only after I was well settled in TIFR that I realised that my Godfather was one of the Greatest Sons of India and at the core of India’s Nuclear Programme. That he received few formal recognitions is not his loss, it only exposes the weakness of our system that rewards showmanship far more than quality and content.

 

If I have added anything to this world, it is thanks to one man, one afternoon and the courage and confidence of one man who provided me a platform from which I could work. That I owe him my life is an understatement. I owe him all the joys of professional success that I have ever experienced and will continue to experience.

 

I want to conclude by renewing my promise to him that I shall do my utmost to reach as high as I can on the path he showed me and continue to serve both, science and students the way he did and the way he would like me to do.

 

Madhukarbhai may have left his body, but he has seeded his sense of responsibility and duty in so many of us that he continues to live in his actions, now performed by people with other names. The Madhu that Madhukarbhai spread in the world, continues to live on.

 

Mayank Vahia

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai

29 June 2010

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