While my academic credentials probably did not mean anything to amma, she appreciated more tangible forms of success.

The financial performance of my business was quite mediocre in the 2011-2020 period, but I was able to make amma proud in a few other ways.

In 2012, my company assisted the state of Tamil Nadu to host a very large renewable energy summit, RENERGY 2012. 107 In what is perhaps a record that stands to this day for attendance for a renewable energy conference in India, we had almost 2000 delegates attending the conference.  As I led all the efforts for the conference, the state bureaucrat in charge of the event asked me to give the curtain-raiser remarks for the conference. While I had been speaking at renewable energy conferences worldwide for a couple of years by then, it was awesome to see, right in my city, two thousand faces sitting in front. And given that some of the most senior bureaucrats in the country and the state’s minister for power were also on the dais, it felt really good. I had invited amma and appa for the event, and amma felt awesome proud to see me kick off the conference. Appa was a bit less effusive and felt I needed to learn how to smile –  according to him, my face on the large TV screen seemed to suggest that I was quite annoyed with most of humanity. Given my personality, that casual remark is perhaps far closer to the truth than he realized!

Over the next few years, as I worked extensively in the Indian solar power sector, I was interviewed by a number of prominent TV channels, magazines, newspapers and other mainstream media. Every time I was on any major media, I would tell amma about it. She was indeed proud. After she watched a detailed interview I gave to a popular vernacular TV channel, she called me and demanded to know how I looked so fair on TV. I told her the TV crew had applied powder on my face – something I hated – in spite of my objections.

I was also invited by industry and government organizations to speak on cleantech and clean energy in conferences and workshops held around the world – Singapore, USA, UK, Mexico, Italy…At times, she would ask innocently what these folks saw in me to invite me to such prestigious events in far off places – a question that puzzled me too at times.

She definitely would have been extremely pleased had I succeeded financially in my business, but I’m confident that she was proud of seeing her son do things that the world appreciated.

At times, I would show her some of the reports and white papers we published. She would gently flip through the pages and wonder aloud if it was indeed me who wrote the reports, and was quite keen to know when I had learnt such complex things. To amma, I was still the child whom she had dragged to the kindergarten school over 40 years earlier. The realization that the child had grown into someone who did many things that she could not fathom was a wonderful feeling for her.

I feel proud. And feel really happy that she felt proud.

Of academic interest <= Pride => I am her friend



107. The event was organized by the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA), which is the nodal arm for the development of renewable energy in the state.


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