When Mumbai was still Bombay; when Sanjay Gandhi was at the height of his mass-sterilization campaign; when Indian hockey had reached its nadir; when Bal Thackeray was better known as a cartooonist; in the dying days of the emergency; I took my first breaths in the world. The year was 1977.
I was named Ravi, meaning the sun in Sanskrit. Since my parents originally hailed from Chennai (nee Madras), custom dictates that this is the only name by which I should be known. But in concession to the customs in the rest of the country and world, I had to be given a surname and first name. Well, Ramamoorthi is my father's name. He goes by S. Ramamoorthi where S for Subramaniam is his father's name. I should be called R. Ravi, but ah well... This becomes even more complex upon the birth of my son, Tejas Ravi and daughter Medha Ravi, who take my name as their surname.
I lived most of my early life in Bombay, except for a brief stint of a few years in New Delhi where I was too young to remember things clearly. After coming to the US for college, I spent four years each in Pasadena and Stanford, after which I spent almost seven years in New York (mostly in Manhattan, spending the last year in New Rochelle in Westchester County). We returned to the bay area in Jan 2009, to take up a position at UC Berkeley. We now live in Montclair, Oakland.
My family residence in Bombay is opposite Mantralaya and close to Marine drive. While my father was Bombay Port Trust commissioner, I lived for 3 years (86-89) in North End, this gigantic bungalow. It was a fun place to live since the house basically functioned as a sports club, with Badminton and hockey outside on the grass, cricket in the space outside the front door, a table tennis table that we used every day, and an empty room that served as a converted squash court. The playground also had a slide and jungle gym. Besides this, we also managed to play some hockey indoors (it often pours outdoors during the monsoon) , and use the cannon for gymnastics exercises. This was interspersed by my mother's excellent preparations of idlis, dosas, and apple juice. I also remember spending a lot of time either playing games on or trying to write games for my ZX Spectrum home computer. I didn't really have any guidance in those days, so the games seem pretty childish now (including the ones I played).
Perhaps the biggest distinction of North End is that part of the movie Gandhi was shot there; it's the house of Jinnah in one of the final scenes. One can clearly see the doors and arches of the living room. But one does need to look for it; I wasn't paying attention recently, and missed it.
My sister Roopa worked at Bayer until recently and lives in Berkeley, California (one of the big motivations for my move to Berkeley). She passed through Caltech as a graduate student in the Chemical Engineering department and received her Ph.D. in March, 1994. She's nearly 9 years older than I [She's old enough to remember the long dark December of 1971 as an extra-long Diwali]. My father is a (now retired) IAS official, while my mother was a housewife, before she passed away in March, 2003.
I was married on April 15, 2004 in Mumbai. Earlier, on
April 19, 2003, I got engaged to Padmini Rangamani. I never realized
that Spring on the East Coast could be such a lovely season.
My son, Tejas Ravi was born in 2007 in New York City. He
weighed in at 7.5 lbs and a tall 21 inches. Tejas means radiance or
brilliance, and Tejas Ravi works out nicely as the brilliance of the
sun. The biggest recent development was the birth of my daugther
Medha Ravi in 2010. Medha means wisdom and intelligence. (Medhavi
and Tejasvi are also adjectival forms).
Maintained by Ravi
Last modified on Oct 19, 2010.