Darshan Lal Sharma,72, the managing director of Vardhman Yarns and Threads Limited, died of Covid-19 at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMC&H) in Ludhiana on September 10, 2020. (HT file photo)
Darshan Lal Sharma,72, the managing director of Vardhman Yarns and Threads Limited, died of Covid-19 at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMC&H) in Ludhiana on September 10, 2020. (HT file photo)

Generous in spirit, caring to the core, he defined success

SPICE OF LIFE: An axis of rotation for the whole family, everyone used to hover around him. He set higher goals, dreams and aspirations for us
By Ajay Kumar Sharma
UPDATED ON SEP 07, 2021 07:28 PM IST

It was the first week of June in 1983. The results of the Class 10 exams of the Haryana board were out a few days ago and I had done well. Schools were closed for the summer break and I along with my friends, though nervous about our future, were singing and dancing with gay abandon under a neem tree behind our ramshackle kutcha house at a village in Ambala district. Suddenly, a green Fiat car came to a halt near us. As we gaped in awe, a man in his thirties stepped out of its rear door and walked towards my house with a confident gait. As soon as I realised that my youngest maternal uncle, DL Sharma, had come calling, I rushed home.

Also read: Vardhman MD Sharma dies of Covid-19

After exchanging pleasantries with the elders, his eyes fell on me. “Which class are you studying in?” I told him about my matriculation exams and added in a trembling voice that I had scored 73%. A rapid round of questions followed. I was getting uncomfortable with every question but in hindsight I think he was preparing me for the UPSC interview!

Having lost my father at six, it was after a long time that someone was trying to take control of my life. My mother asked him to get me employed as a patwari in the state government but by that time he had made up his mind to send me for higher studies. He suggested that I take the non-medical stream and go for engineering. Having studied in a Hindi medium government school at a nearby village, I shuddered at the thought of having to read science in English. The thought of travelling to college in the city made me nervous. My mother and maternal grandparents resisted, but my uncle’s decision prevailed.

His faith wasn’t misplaced for the village boy topped the BSc I (equivalent to 10+2) exam of Kurukshetra University and went on to become an engineer and then a civil servant.

I observed that my uncle was cool and composed while handling professional challenges and family matters. An axis of rotation for the whole family, everyone used to hover around him. He set higher goals, dreams and aspirations for us. He was a sincere, altruistic person with no attachment to the material world.

An epitome of discipline and compassion, he was like a Godfather for me and like a banyan tree providing shade and comfort to everyone, including the extended family. Helping everyone with patience and a smile, he changed the definition and sense of every relationship. With the passage of time, he became more of a friend, philosopher and guide. Anyone from the family could call him at any time and he always had a solution for their problems.

A true karma yogi, he put duty before self. As a pillar of the textile industry in Punjab and as managing director of Vardhman Yarns & Threads Ltd, Ludhiana, he never missed his official duties even during the peak of the first Covid wave.

I often ponder what makes us successful. Is it wealth, professional status or power? To me, the real measure of success of a man is how much he loves his family and those around him; how selflessly he shares his resources to help others; and how consistently he offers a kind word or lends a humble ear.

Since the day Covid snatched him away from us a year ago, life has turned upside down. Hardly a day goes by without remembering him. I still feel my hero is around and see him in the clouds blessing us all. During poignant moments, I go back to Richard Bach’s lines from his book, The Bridge Across Forever: “That’s why love stories don’t have endings! They don’t have endings because love doesn’t end.”

Some relationships have cosmic connections; they help us grow and change the course of our lives forever. sharmaajay25@yahoo.co.in

The writer is an IRS officer in Mumbai

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