22 February 2007
"As I look back on the 50 years that I have spent with Ma and Kakoji, I feel as a family we have been truly blessed. I came into the Birla family as a 10-year-old. In my mother-in-law and father-in-law, Ma and Kakoji, I see a father and mother figure.
"I would like to take this opportunity and mention a few of their super qualities, which one could try and imbibe. With their grit and determination, they have really evolved in body, mind and soul.
"It is amazing to see how physically they can really overstretch themselves even today. For example, they have been to Kedarji, more than 15 times. They have climbed the arduous route of 13 kms of Kedarji at a height of 10-12000 ft. Normally people hesitate to take this journey even once in a lifetime.
"They have a very strong mind. They are fearless come rain, come storm. Nothing can stop them.
"I recall vividly when 15 years ago, Ma had a severe heart attack. She had to undergo an open-heart surgery. But all this did not deter her from carrying on her hectic lifestyle, almost three weeks after the surgery.
"Kakoji, my father-in-law, is now 86 years old. But even today, on holidays, he walks 13km. He has a frozen shoulder and a back problem. Despite this, he continues his hopping trips to factories, taking a flight every day and going on like this for several days. These are just a few examples of their determination.
"Now coming to spirituality, they are an intensely spiritual couple. Their belief and faith in God is unshakable. All through their life they have been hosts to spiritual leaders like Swami Chinmayanandji, Swami Akhandanandji. They have performed about 15 yagnas in various parts of the country. They have looked after thousands of poor at their dharamshalas and the Birla temples.
"Their contribution to society is tremendous. They patronise education, art and culture and charitable institutions. Ma and Kakoji are very humane. They are people-oriented. Wherever they are, they always keep in touch with everybody. They love meeting people and give their appreciation and support to different causes, which have the potential of doing good on a larger canvas.
"Whoever comes in their contact always feels inspired and touched. There is so much to learn from their exemplary lives. I am very fortunate to have parents like them. They are role models for us.
"The book "One Day At A Time" written by Ms. lngrid Albequerque, admirably captures many other facets of Ma and Kakoji's life together, now for over 60 years. For all of us, there are many takeaways from their biography. I am sure, you will all enjoy reading it and imbibe a lot from it."
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