A few months after our marriage, Girija one day asked me to tell her how a factory functions.
I explained to her the functions of Research& Development, Manufacturing (including purchase, maintenance, and housekeeping), Quality Control, Marketing, Finance and Human Resource Depts. After patiently hearing my narration, she said that the home is also a factory but, added “ in factory you have different people for different functions, but at home, I am the only person who takes care of all functions”! How right she was!
She designed how a home should look like (She gave the main inputs for construction of the flat where we live now ) , she has designed frocks for Sudha and Suba, has designed a no of hand works in small beads . She was always on the lookout for new menus and at various times surprised us with fresh and delicious dishes.
About manufacturing, I need not elaborate on how she managed . But I must mention that the delivery was always on time (The breakfast would be ready on the table by the time I came to the dining table and my lunch box would be ready by the time I put on my shoes ).Productivity was high - she would finish cooking (breakfast and lunch ) in a very short time sometimes even before 7 AM - , Wastage was almost nil and there was hardly any customer( Read relatives/friends) complaint. - All the qualities that Total Quality Management speaks of.
Her housekeeping ability was something I used to admire ( though I did not help her much ! ). She was particular that the house must be neat and tidy always. Everyday, the first thing she would do was to keep the previous day’s newspapers in its place, clean the TV stand, Sofa, Center table etc. Then only she will enter kitchen. And immediately after finishing cooking, the Samaiyal medai will look spic and span. She was very particular that even the daily use clothes like towels, banians, lungies etc are to be folded in a particular manner and kept neatly. There will be orderliness even in her way of hanging clothes in the balcony for drying (all towels together, all banians together etc).
Though she had not undergone any course on 5S* , she was following the concept 100%.
(5S is a Housekeeping concept developed by Japanese. If somebody wants more details on what is 5S, pl let me know)
Quality Control – Yes, she gave great importance to this and whatever she did, be it cooking, or the purchases –groceries to textiles to jewelleries, or the housekeeping, they were all of a very high standard with little to complain about.
She was successful in Marketing also, I suppose. (Marketing is ‘Knowing what the customer wants and fulfilling it ‘ ) . She was very particular in cooking the food we liked. She took extreme care to please all . I have many times admired her determination to help others or resolve their problems.
The day I married her, my financial burden was transferred to her and my responsibility was just limited to earning and handing over the salary to her. It was entirely her ingenuity that helped manage the family, give good education to Sudha and Suba, plan for their marriages, conduct their marriages in a decent manner, buy a flat and a few plots and effect reasonable savings at the time of my retirement to lead a comfortable retired life. She was meticulous in budgeting and spending. She was keeping day today account on expenses to the last pie. And at the end of every month, she used to review with me the actual expenses with budget. And whenever I looked worried whether we would be able to meet the expenses of Sudha, Suba’s higher studies or their marriages, she used to assure me that it would be managed. And how well she managed them!!
She was a perfect Human resource Manager, I would say. Ask Sudha and Suba .She was easy going but at the same time, she ensured discipline. She trained them, developed them, encouraged them to be independent, and increased their self-confidence. She took great pain in their well-being and ensured that they got the best of everything. She will listen to them and give solutions to their problems. She has never let them down anywhere. She groomed them to be women of character and good manners. If Sudha and Suba are today managing well their families, the credit goes entirely to Girija. She was more than a friend, philosopher and guide not only to S&S but to me as well.
This wonderful person who ran this factory so efficiently for more than 30 years, is no more here. The factory however remains, silent and calm , with tears of her memories flowing across the rooms that were charmed by her presence till recently.
Today is Girija’s 52nd birthday.