I was happy to join with family and friends of Ramesh Ramsumair in celebrating his 65th birth anniversary Wednesday July 26. When he insisted that I should be there, I was looking forward to a casual afternoon that I was accustomed to when the members of the Jawaan Sangh and later the Seva Sangh met for Christmas. But this time I was visiting the newly refurbished Enchanted Garden and it was truly amazing. The hall was decorated with festoons and colored balloons with circular tables and chairs for seating of guests, a kitchen area for the serving of meals and a well-designed bar with a staff in attendance. The music was soft, and the light was dim, adequate to see one another and move around.
Pandit Kumar Boodram, Amar and I were greeted by Ramesh and his wife Denise, and I was happy to see Primnath Gooptar, a long-standing friend of Ramesh and founder member and first secretary of the Jawaan Sangh (1975-79). In his address, Gooptar recalled meeting Ramesh more than 40 years ago in the Jawaan Sangh. Ramesh was then employed in National Petroleum. When few people had cars in those days, Ramesh made available his 120Y vehicle for the day and traveled to work. This was a tremendous help for the Sangh to help put logistics in place for upcoming programs such as Divali Song Festival, Phagwa and Chowtaal or the hosting of students from Guyana in the cultural exchange tour of 1978 or the Caribbean Hindu Youth Conference or seminars and workshops on mandir management.
Ramesh was a product of Hariji’s work at the Rio Claro Government Secondary School. An ardent cricketer, Ramesh identified with the social and cultural work initiated by Hariji in 1972 among the Hindu student body and the many satsanghs he conducted in villages around Rio Claro. When the Jawaan Sangh was born in 1975 Ramesh was on board not holding positions but always available to serve. This was a unique brand of selflessness that I noticed in Ramesh and that quality has persisted over the years.
I was deciding to spend a few days in Tobago when I received a call from Ramesh. He was already holidaying at a resort owned and managed by Deo Seerattansingh, a mutual friend and past worker of the Jawaan Sangh. “Don’t bother to rent a vehicle,” said Ramesh and he was at the airport to transport us.
Every morning Ramesh would knock on my door ready to transport me and my other two friends to a beach. After lunch and a siesta, it was a drive through Tobago with the option to choose any beach we want. Again, in the late evening it was another opportunity to bathe in another beach. Another time Ramesh invited me to accompany him to Tobago to market pineapple and share the science of producing pineapples with his many friends in Tobago and it was an unforgettable experience.
Ramesh has surmounted the ethnic barrier, and this was reflected in the mixed audience at his birthday celebration including his friend Winston Peters, aka Gypsy. As President of the Tableland Pineapple Farmers Association Ramesh has opened his heart to all, even bridging the political divide to win advantages for the farmers of the south-east. The cold storage facility that was erected at Moruga is testimony to the lobbying of Tableland Pineapple Farmers Association led by Ramesh.
Ramesh may be many things but most importantly is that he has a heart of gold. He is the guy who always call around to ‘just keeping in touch” and this was borne out by his sister Parbatie who hosted the program. That patience and ability to reach out to all and ‘keeping at it” is the best description I can give of Ramesh. But I must state that Ramesh’s first love is cricket, and the audience was reminded that it was while playing the game that Ramesh suffered a heart attack. But that has not stopped Ramesh who still plays the game. I recalled him making a trip to Grenada to play cricket a couple years ago.
I am happy to join with friends of the Seva Sangh in wishing Ramesh a happy 65th birthday and may Bhagwan continue to provide him with the courage and conviction to pursue his dreams and ambitions including his love for his wife, children, grandchildren, cricket, and the welfare of farmers especially the pineapple farmers of Tableland. It is this focus on a single interest that makes Ramesh Ramsumair stands out and I salute him. May he continue to have many more birthdays and never forget to invite me, and I am looking forward to joining him in another trip to Tobago to bathe in the many beaches and ‘keep in touch’ with our friend Sadhu who now resides in Tobago.