In August 2022, Dr. Mukund Naware sent me a message informing me that Rajeev Deshmukh, who had worked with the Farmers Organization and Animal Husbandry (FO and AH) Division of the National Dairy Development Board would be visiting Toronto and would like to meet me.
Dr Naware and I had a telephone call after that. When Dr. Naware, who was in the USA at the time, mentioned “Rajeev Deshmukh,” the name didn’t ring a bell. I couldn’t recall anything about Rajeev.
However, I readily agreed to meet Rajeev when I heard that he was a former NDDB employee. I am an old man now with a fading memory, so it doesn’t matter if I remember a “Rajeev Deshmukh” or not. The fact that someone wanted to meet me was a good enough reason to agree to meet!
In fact, Rajeev was visiting his son and daughter-in-law in Toronto. Once phone numbers were exchanged, Rajeev and I started exchanging messages.
I received the following message from Rajeev introducing himself:
“Good Afternoon, Sir. I am Rajeev Deshmukh, ex-NDDB. I was in Anand from 1981 to 1983 in the FO&AH Division. I tried my best in those days to come to the OVOW wing, but Dr. AAC did not allow it to happen.
In this connection, I had met you many times. Currently, I am in Toronto on a 3-month holiday. My son and daughter-in-law work here. They are PR holders of Canada. I am in regular touch with Dr. Naware, and he shared your number with me.
If it’s not inconvenient for you, I would like to talk to you one of these days at your convenience. Kindly let me know. Regards, Rajeev Deshmukh.”
I invited Rajeev and his wife Sharmeeli to visit our daughter’s home and have a meal with us. It worked out very well.
He visited our Toronto home in early August 2022. My friend Behla and his wife Rita were also with us since June 2022.
I had finished my radiation therapy sessions in July 2022, and the after-effects were slowly fading away. I was on a path to recovery, although the three-monthly hormone therapy was not yet complete. I needed a change, and meeting former NDDBians, especially in Toronto, was a bonus. Rajeev and his wife came, and we had a great time.
Rajeev, a postgraduate in Agriculture, worked with the Farmers Organisation and Animal Husbandry (FO & AH ) Division of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) from 1981 to 1988,. He had a deep interest to work with the Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil Wing (OVOW) at NDDB.
Despite his intended role, Rajeev was never posted in OVOW or any Oilseeds Growers Union. After working with the FO & AH Division in Anand from 1981 to 1983, he was assigned to work with Milk Unions in various milk sheds of Maharashtra. He left NDDB in 1988 and went on to hold senior positions with cooperative and private sector organizations that provided products and services to the rural sector. He finally retired in 2018 and is currently based in Hyderabad.
During his posting in Anand, Rajeev didn’t stay at the NDDB campus for long as no sooner that he got a flat in the NDDB campus and got married he was transferred to Aurangabad.
During our conversations, Rajeev reminisced about his time at NDDB, sharing stories about incidents and life at work, as well as his friends and life in general during his days in Anand.
He also revealed his love for Ghazals and Urdu poetry, particularly those sung by late Shri Jagjit Singh.
Rajeev has acted in a short role in a film “Kagaz ki Kashti,” a biopic on the life of the renowned Ghazal singer, Jagjit Singh. I am sharing some short clips from the film Kagaj ki Kishti wherein Rajeev can be seen.
Similarly over time, Rajeev not only became a fan but also developed a friendship with the late Rishi Kapoor, who shared the same passion. Even after Rishi Ji’s passing, Rajeev and his wife Sharmeeli remain in touch with the family. He has shared some pictures with late Shri Rishi Kapoor and Smt. Neetu Kapoor.
Thanks to his knowledge and interest in poetry, literature, and cinema, we had a wonderful evening discussing these topics. Since then, Rajeev has been sharing YouTube links of songs and Ghazals, which my wife Kiran thoroughly enjoys.
I, on the other hand, appreciate the words and meanings more than the accompanying music and lyrical rendition, making me somewhat of an “Aurangzeb” when it comes to music preferences.
After dinner, my daughter drove us to drop Rajeev and his wife at Rajeev’s son’s home. We have remained in touch since then.
I had plans to visit him in Hyderabad in February 2023, but unfortunately, I fell ill with a bout of pneumonia followed by a urinary tract infection (UTI). As a result, I was mostly immobile and bedridden for the majority of February 2023.
After more than a year I found this half ready draft of a blog I started writing sone time in November 2022. I find that I have nearly 100 draft blogs on my website most of which one or two paragraphs. I start writing then give up and forget.
I wish I was more focused and complete tasks that I undertake on time.
My apologies to Rajeev as I think I had promised him that I will write a blog on our meeting.
It has taken a year .. but I am happy that I finally completed this blog.