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On my 50th, I celebrate my family

My 50th birthday is about you – if you are part of what I will simply call "The Great Family" (some of the folks I mention here are outside my paternal/maternal circle, yet we're all like one big family). Here's why I say it's about you. Firstly, I want to thank you because you probably touched my life in a positive way. Secondly, I want to spotlight and applaud a few of us who've been, in my view, excellent in key areas of life.


Late grandpa Edward was a stubbornly good person. He shared Biblical ethics, illustrating them with his own life experiences. He was also a star in his profession, heading schools and always hunted by competing schools, some run by the Brits. A rare combination of "nice guy" and "winner" in one person. He and folks like late uncle Augustine set up a great foundation based on Judeo-Christian values.


People always sought my late aunt Selina. That's because she genuinely cared for every one – from those of us within the family to strangers on the street. She listened to them, figured out their real need, prayed for them, and often helped them help themselves. Adorned with grace and charisma, she had the wisdom to improve the lives of many. Thanks to her, our Birthday parties were focused around Deuteronomy 28:1-14, our Sundays were spent at her Ebenezer Sunday School, and our Christmases were unforgettable fun with caroling and turkey lunch!


Cousin Gifford is not just a smiling person offering words of encouragement, but an on-the-ground practical person, who gets things done. "Things" span nearly every event and area of life. Thankfully, he is also well equipped in terms of the skills and the connections needed to provide such help. He runs a business. He also runs "The Minstrels," a men's choir that has been singing Gospel songs for over four decades!

Aunt Evangeline is the most compassionate person, desperate to help those who hurt – expecting nothing at all in return. Cousins Shoba, Jaba, Jinta, Elsie, uncle Joseph Stephen, and my late mom have played important roles in my life.


Cousins Ranjan and Santosh are uber-talented! Ranjan is a 12-string acoustic guitarist, and was creative chief at some of the best ad agencies. I still use the writing tips he gave me in the mid-80s. Cousin Santosh is an interior & landscape design professional. But he can explain how a plane flies as easily as he describes how precious stones are cut. These two cousins have such high IQ they will easily break the needle even if you put them on the world's toughest tests.

My late cousin Dr Premkumar David's career was totally committed to scientific research. He was also a bass guitarist, and the lyricist/composer of many Gospel songs.

Late uncle Sam (pun unintended!) was one of "Three Chords,"  a Gospel band whose songs are still loved by many.

Uncle Dr Jayakar Paul's contribution as a physician goes beyond the family – to huge masses of people and spanning many decades. Medical intervention, as you know, always tries to do good for the patient, but may cause negative side effects. Uncle Jayakar is a master in managing this phenomenon. His decisions regarding medical intervention are based on – I believe – sound risk management principles.

And then there is our family's best friend, John Manikam. He is a multi-talented musician. He plays the bass guitar, piano ... and also teaches music.


Aunt Selina's home is where I enjoyed a lot of music in the 60s and 70s. Wooly Bully by "Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs" was my first childhood favorite! Turns out, it was also the first American record to sell a million copies during the "British (Music) Invasion." I loved not just the sound, but interestingly the look and the smell of the vinyl record player on which they played The Seekers, Neil Diamond, The Carpenters, Lobo, George Baker Selection, James Last, and tons more.

Also, every time I visited cousin Santosh's home, I was immediately entertained with Elton John, John Denver, etc on hi-fi music systems that he designed and built himself!

My dad, who is an amateur harmonica player, took us to concerts and operas, and regularly turned on the radio for Western music programs (our names were frequently heard on All India Radio Listener's Choice in the late 70s).

I grew up on music more than anything else ... thanks for giving it to me!


It's not what we possess. It's not where we live. It's how we touch others' lives – with values, with talents. There are such people. I think we should celebrate them!

The Great Family: I'm Proud. I'm Grateful.


  1. Well said! Love it! HAPPY BIRTHDAY to U!

  2. We need a grateful heart to appreciate others' contributions in our lives.You have. God Bless you. Psalm 90/15 ( In fact you have suggested an apt name for my ministry..'.Belivers progress in Christ Ministries' and helped in designing my blog)

    joseph stephen

  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY FELLOW SEPTEMBER 6 BORN!! Have a wonderful day and a blessed year. Pastor Mike and Vinoo

    1. Very nice to hear from you, akka. Hope you have a wonderful day too! - pradeep

  4. Thanks for kindling the happy memories...God bless you on your 50th birthday and in the years to come!!!
    Shoba Akka & Abi

  5. Happy to hear about the words u have said my dear son which was very touching .....may GOD bless you on your special birthday ......
    with love and prayer,
    kuttyma and fly...!

  6. Hi Pradeep,

    I write this wish note with sincere apologies. I totally missed wishing you on your birthday, typically, I always wish I should but somehow missed this time. Would like to Wish You with Belated Wishes for your Birthday and its more important to celebrate the occasion not only for the occasion but also to thank you sincerely for all the thought leadership you have given to me for many years.



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