10-April-2023 11:43:33

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Ramesh C. Chhabra

He was born on June 6, 1920 in Sialkot, in erstwhile unpartitioned India. The city is now in Pakistan and is famous for sports products manufacturing and exports. My dad's family business was sports goods supplies and running fuel (kerosene oil & petrol) depots. He wanted to become a medical doctor but due to pressure from his stubborn father to join the family business, he left further studies midway after completing Bachelors in Science (B.Sc) from the prestigious DAV College in Lahore with distinction. He witnessed the rioting Sialkot city during India's partition that he fled and came with his young wife and a baby daughter in cradle to settle in New Delhi, India.

It is a tale of human struggle and God-made tragedy but I guess that's not so important as of now. He worked hard - went to work on a bicycle for many years to bring up 4-daughters and a son.

His first job after landing in post-partitioned India was with the Indian Government as an assessment officer and in a few years, he joined the United States Information Service (USIS) at the American Embassy in New Delhi. He worked in the Press Department at the USIS as a journalist for almost 25-years and retired on medical grounds. He bought his first car in the mid-1960s - an Austin of England hatchback. My mother narrates that he used to play the violin and harmonium with verve.

He was honoured with the Golden Eagle medallion by the then US President Richard Nixon in person in 1969 for meritorious service. My father was a contemporary of senior journalist and former Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Kuldip Nayar (kuldipnayar.com), with whom he shared a great rapport and with him, he also worked alongside in the USIS (American Emnbassy), New Delhi, INDIA.

My dad retired on medical grounds

Year 2000

My dad retired on medical grounds and became an American Government annuitant. He passed away after a prolonged illness in the year 2000. Some of his friends remember him for his reading, writing and translations prowess in English, Hindi and Urdu.

I maintain a few jottings by him, an American editing-proofing style-sheet, an 'Author' pipe, a crocodile cigarette case and an old Agfa Gevaert camera that I cherish as his relics.