The book would not have happened if not for Covid times. Like all other Sodhi family milestone Birthdays, we were also looking forward to host family and friends for a celebration over drinks and dinner – reminiscing moments from his life. After having been cheated five years before on his 70th Birthday because Chikungunya struck both the parents together as soon as they shifted from Banaras to Delhi-NCR, we never thought that the bad luck will befall upon the festivities again and thereby, robbing us of the opportunity to toast him on his 75th Birthday.
In this digital age, there would be calls and messages galore wishing him on his special day. But we wanted to gift him something even more special – something he will cherish and treasure not just on this day but for years to come. And not a digital version either, but something physical that he could pick up whenever he would want to travel back in Time. Thus the idea of this book germinated, with stories and messages from family, friends and his beloved students.
It is a labour of love – and not been easy to keep it a secret from him especially when I had to reach out to people whose contact details I did not have access to and had to surreptitiously get them from his mobile phone or remind everyone to not divulge the plan in a slip of tongue.
He has been a pillar of strength for all of us, through good and bad times. Both Anooja and I have inherited many of his personality traits – most notable amongst them is his stubbornness and straightforwardness with no tolerance for untruthfulness and political manoeuvres – tendencies which have also resulted in troubles in our own lives. He is known in the academia world and the scientific community to be a man of principles, a quality very rare in the modern world of deceit which has led to difficult situations in his professional career, but he has never compromised on them to achieve greatness.
He has been a man ahead of his times – assisting in family chores when it was looked down upon in the society for the man to do so, or making all of us well versed to tackle digital technology by having a computer and internet connection at home in early 1990s. His ability to tinker with electrical appliances came with the domain of having a scientific bend of mind – the gene having skipped my sister and me, but it has led to many annoyed moments for my Mother whenever they listened to music!!
I can voice many more adjectives describing him as a father or a husband, a family man or a friend, a teacher or a guide – but it is all there in the pages for you to read.
These are just a cross-section of people who have crossed his path in these 75 years. There are people whom I do not know about or do not have means to contact them, who were equally important in his life like the ones part of the book. And there are others whose absence in our world we are missing on this joyous occasion – they would have loved to write and we would have loved them to be part of this collection – we miss you today more than ever.
Wishing you a healthy and happy days ahead – and many more Birthdays to celebrate together, Papa!
Kindle Edition: https://www.amazon.in/Celebration-Life-Ajit-Sodhi-ebook/dp/B09DQ6TCRP/
Kindle Edition: https://www.amazon.com/Celebration-Life-Ajit-Sodhi-ebook/dp/B09DQ6TCRP/
The Book is also available on other Amazon sites worldwide. Some contributions which came at a later date will be added in the second edition with more pictures.