S: Ajay's 60th Birthday
BC: Here's to Many More | Wonderful Years!
1: Happy 60th Birthday!
2: Perennial First, I said describe his eyes Then watched her eyes soften as she described them Sparkling light, mischievous and smiling, tender, she said Now tell me about the garden, the perennials and flowering trees Dogwood, lilac, magnolia, weeping cherry, bamboo and evergreens Tell me how the tulips and lilies close How they come back to you and open Tell me about your children’s father That he read to them softly so often That he clutched your arm as the living air, at last Welcomed your daughter What does he love? Tell me A boy learning billiards from the marker A spark in his eye that devours puzzles and pleasure | And he treasures what? Say wine Tell me about the California reds, how He respects that it’s not so much about outlasting the rest But seizing an exact moment, a ripened note, knowing when to unfold Tell me how he knows And about the slow heat Of carrots, milk, and sugar on the stove How it once simmered beneath your mother’s loving hands For hours, until enough hours passed that It became his Tender task Say each day, he packs your lunch bag with vegetables, apples, and love notes And when you’re angry how he holds you close and won’t let you Until you give, falling into peace like a thousand petals
3: Dear Ajay, For your 60th birthday I wanted to write you a poem that could adequately describe you and what you have meant to me for the last 43 years. However, I am no poet.... So, I sat down with my dear friend, Kelsi, and described you to her. She asked me lots of questions, took extensive notes, and came up with this beautiful poem. Hope you like it. With love, Manjul | And then I need you to begin again by describing his eyes Yes, say just once more that there is love like this Tell me again The story of your lives Your flowering trees Your perennial garden
4: All of our love! Swati,
6: Ajay, you have so many great qualities. You have enormous talent. You think clearly and deeply. You can analyze complex quantitative problems and explain your analysis in eloquent prose. No one at Equinox has a better grasp of quantitative finance than you, and you are our clearest and best writer. | You are curious, industrious and persevering. You strive to grow as a person and are dedicated to helping your colleagues and our organization grow in meaningful ways. You are enthusiastic, cheerful and a delight to work with. I thoroughly enjoy working with you; whenever you travel, I miss your gentle spirit, wit and humor. You are incredibly thoughtful and kind. You deeply care about so many people, from Friends School students and their parents to coworkers and their families to your own family and those who touch their lives. Clever and talented, curious and persevering, enthusiastic and cheerful, and incredibly thoughtful and kind – wow!
7: Buckminster Fuller once said that “integrity is the essence of everything successful.” For a human being to have integrity, his intentions and actions must be grounded in values that give structure to how he lives his life. Your values clearly provide a beautiful structure to your life. You are clearly a happy person. You have the serenity and strength to be a model husband, nurturing father anda magnificent colleague and friend to me. Happy Birthday! With Deepest Respect and Warmest of Wishes, John | Having any one of these qualities to the depth that you possess them is rare. Having all of them is awe inspiring. But you are more than a collection of these great qualities.
8: Colleague, coach, quick-witted humorist, mentor, statesman, whiz-kid and all-around great-guy are all accurate ways that I could describe Dr. Ajay Dravid. My favorite, and the most meaningful to me, is simply: trusted friend. I consider it a true privilege to have the opportunity to engage in both serious and fun conversation with the good doctor. He is a truly remarkable man that I value immensely. We all know that Ajay possesses an intellect that leaves most of us in the dust, however, his incredibly generous personal qualities are the virtues I respect most. He is a caring, reliable and modest sage who commands respect from all who have gained the benefit of getting to know him well. | Ajay consistently enlightens the people around him with thoughtful and serious insight when needed. Moreover, he is able to bridge the gap to insert humor and clever anecdotes into spirited business discussions. He has an uncanny ability to weave into conversation quotes and references from inspiring characters ranging from William Sharpe to Voltaire and from George Castanza to the Amazing Spider Man. With his vast comprehension of complex issues Ajay possesses an incredible power of influence and exudes great trust as a consequence.
9: I remember dealing with an all-powerful regulator who questioned the calculation methodology we used for a complicated subject. When challenged; I confidently shared that "If you are asking me to compare your result with the result of Ajay, the Stanford Ph.D. who taught derivatives at The Wharton Business School, I am going with Ajay every day of the week." At many levels, this experience reminds me of a quote I have heard repeated by Ajay: "With great power comes great responsibility." | Ajay is a model of great and graceful influence combined with inspired responsibility. It is with humble enthusiasm that I am able to call him my friend. Bob Enck
10: Happy Birthday to Ajay, man of many parts - a 21st century Renaissance man! May you enjoy to the fullest all your other future careers: curator tennis analyst oenologist novelist poet grammarian & syntactician botanist horticulturist koipondologist. | And may you recognize fully and bask inall those other remarkable qualities about you, out of which you probably would not make a career but which we treasure deeply - your fierce and astute capacity as a player of games such as bridge, Rummicube, cryptic puzzles, Snooker, Quiddler your passion for learning - about anything that intrigues your imagination - Indian classical music, the Beatles, orchids, jazz, butterflies, comics, koi, your extraordinary graciousness and generosity toward all who cross your path your infectious laugh and sense of humor your willingness to articulate your deepest feelings, whether grief or joy or admonishmentor praise. As birthdays call us to do, we celebrate with delight your 60th birthday and the wonderful fact that you are very present in our lives! With great affection, Nancy andGeorge
12: A: Action man: his actions speak louder then words. J: Jovial: always happy to be doing, seeing and being. A: Accomplished: A man who has reached his goals in life and more! Y: Young forever..in heart, mind, body and spirit. A true romantic! All our love and admiration for the man we all wish to be like, Anu & Kalpana Mehta
13: What does one say of a friendship that goes back half a century? That we caught butterflies together? That we planned a tree house That I had rabbits as pets That we drifted apart , on change of class division That the friendship endured That I was not part of the charmed circle always around Ajay That we share several interests, not least being the reading habit That we have been fortunate in our school/teachers That we have despite several obstacles, tried to keep in touch That we have fond memories of days gone by That we will continue to be friends...... Dear Ajay, Welcome to the Senior Citizen's Club !! And may your days and years going forward be contented, healthy and fun!!!! Best, Ash
15: Ajay has always been a revered figure first for Vijay and then for me. we have always heard stories about his childhood from dada and kama-aunty and from vijay's mother his sharp bent of mind was evident from an early age ( mulache pay palnyat distat tase).his story about how he could tell the storybook from pictures and turn the page at the correct word even if he didn't know how to read is legendary. the history of his scholastic exploits has been told to me many times over by many a different relative. | today after so many years the sharpness still remains the same but it has now acquired a dimention of maturity and equipoise. to me ajay is like the stitapradnya in bhagwadgita. he has seen life thro many ups and downs and has maintained his equanimity. he is like a lake with still waters hiding the turbulance of yesteryears and painting a very tranquil picture. i also see a desire to remain connected with the roots and maintain the family ties. it has been great being associated with him all these years. this is to wish him a very happy 60th birthday and many more to come --happy and healthy. Sanjay
16: Much as I would try, study, work hard, I could never come anywhere close to him. He had a great confidence in his abilities and would do things out of the box, even if it meant taking tough decisions. When he could have walked into IIT, he chose to do basic sciences. When he could have stayed back in the US after his studies, he decided to come back to India and give it a shot. Ajay continues to amaze, even today. | “When I think of the times that Ajay, me and all the cousins spent together, it seems as though 50 odd years have simply whizzed by. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been in great awe of Ajay. What stands out very clearly and what I admired most was his fantastic brain, a photographic memory along with a terrific and quick grasp of any subject. The subjects would vary from maths to music, from physics to cooking, from reading to playing. His interest in reading impressed me the most, be it classics or comics- Superman and the Legion of Superheroes, Archie and his friend Jughead.
17: As I see him today, I see a little of all the people he holds dear in his heart. His achievements in his work in finance have made Papa so proud. His expertise in the kitchen reminds me of Aai’s cooking. Dada would have loved his interests in classical music and films. The way Ajay treats Manjul, with so much love and affection, reminds me of the way my father treated Mummy and I’m sure, he would be proud of his nephew. Ajay’s love for gardening probably come from his association with Avniel and Tashi’s Naani. The way he has opened his arms and his house to my daughters and all his other nieces, makes him a terrific Mama and he now holds the promise of being an even amazing ‘Ajay Mama Ajoba’ to all the grandchildren. | I would like to conclude by remembering fondly all our childhood days when we 5 cousins were thick as thieves. Ajay never made any distinction between me and his sisters and that meant a lot to me then and even now. For his 60th Birthday, I wish him all the good fortune and a long and healthy life.” Lots of love, Vija
18: Dearest Ajay Mama, Happy 60th Birthday! My very first memories of you are probably when I was about 8 years old. I remember being excited to meet you and my cousins and wondering how far America really was! I remember waiting eagerly for the annual family calendar that you religiously made [something which I wish to start again]. It made me feel connected with every one when I saw all the photographs, Tashi’s poems and of course all the birthdays! I love how the fact that you made Janu one year older has become a private joke that you and I share! | Over the years, your visits and occasions like Minoo’s engagement, wedding gave me the opportunity to get to know you better. It is because of your [and Manjul Mami’s] encouragement that I decided to do my Masters in the US. Knowing that you were nearby gave me the confidence I needed. I knew that I could be independent and yet rely on you. In those two-and-a-half years, I never remember feeling homesick. I just had to hop on the NJ Transit, and I would be home! During that time I got to know you even better. It amazed me when I realized how passionate you are, about so many things, be it reading, wine, yoga, politics, history, photography, cooking, etc! I don’t know of anyone else who can juggle so many hats, all at once.
19: I have so many fond memories from my stay in the US, that I hold close to my heart. My first Halloween, my first Thanksgiving, Mahjong evenings in the summer, all the long weekends and other weekends that I spent at “Casa de Dravid”, and I owe it all to you! | So for your 60th Birthday, I want to wish you all good things [and lots of good wine] in life! May you have many more such joyous occasions to celebrate! lots of love, Radix
20: To our dear friend Ajay as you celebrate your 60th year: What a joy it has been to spend time with you and Manjul - playing bridge, talking politics, sharing our lives through happy and challenging times and of course sailing. You are truly a Renaissance man with knowledge and interests covering a broad range of topics. There is never a dull moment when you are around. Your competitive spirit is tempered with kindness and consideration as we play bridge, Words with Friends and the recently added hypermiling. Here’s to 60 more years and perhaps wheelchair racing! | With love, Bonnie & Maury
22: Dear Ajay, Happy Birthday!!!!!. Perhaps you are the youngest amongst us or may be is it Nikhil. Even though you are one of the youngest, the maturity you have been displaying over the years has been remarkable. What I remember about our school days is the variety of interests and hobbies you had besides studies. Academically brilliant, fond of sports, music, reading, movies and girls!!!. “Man for all Seasons”. You displayed your maturity by balancing all these things and not losing sight of academics. | This balance and focus you continued to display all throughout your life. It has been a tough journey for you and you had to make important choices. I admire your courage in switching from Nuclear Physics to MBA. Thereafter you opted to work in India, even though you had a choice to take up a job in America. But I think the India experience gave you a lot of clarity, as to what you wanted to do in future. Your decision to do a PhD in Stanford after being some years away from academics was one very few would have taken.
23: Thereafter you taught at Wharton, took up a job at Wall Street and then took a one year sabbatical to write a book. Amazing!!!! What’s next? Perhaps you will go in to wine making or become a Spiritual Guru?!!. You will be excellent in whatever you choose to do. What has definitely helped you in making these tough decisions is your life partner Manjul. She has been your soul mate in every sense. She has also given you two wonderful children, Avniel and Natasha. We very much wanted to come for Natasha’s wedding. But last year was extremely challenging year for business and I just could not leave office. | Having reached the age of 60, we now perhaps feel that, this is the time to take it easy and enjoy the grand children!!! This is the time when we need old friends. You have been instrumental in us schoolmates meeting regularly. You were always very humble and this quality endeared you to everyone. With your remarkable memory you are able to recall the smallest of the details regarding everyone, some which even we may want to forgot! There is always a different level of comfort with old friends as one does not have to say too much to be understood. Perhaps the most exciting part is yet to come. I have prepared my “Bucket List” and it does include a lot of travelling. So hopefully we will be able to meet more often and spend more time either in Princeton or Pune. All the best, Affectionately, Pradeep
24: Some Random Thoughts After sifting and distilling young and old memories what impresses me is Ajay’s ability to always effortlessly find time for so many diverse activities – academics, hobbies, travel, teaching, games, gym, while at the same time staying involved with his family, friends, relatives, teachers etc.etc. | This time management requires a different level of skills, mental and physical and it’s not as simple to achieve all this as Ajay makes it seem to be. (I would love to borrow these skills). | Ajay has been instrumental in keeping our small group of school friends meeting more or less regularly in Pune, and has kept the friendship fresh and alive with his emails. The School Reunion which we recently held was another of his great ideas to bring many friends together.
25: When I stayed over at his house in the US a couple of years ago with Amruta, Aditya and Amruta Jr.and Sneha, the warmth with which Manjul and Ajay welcomed us demonstrated the genuine friendship which has been nurtured essentially due to Ajay’s efforts to always keep in touch and find time for all his friends. This is what makes him a VERY SPECIAL FRIEND. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DOST Hemant Joshi P.S. Ajay, the only thing I have more than you is my thick wavy HAIR.
26: Ajay 60 years with many more to savor. In the way you do with everything in life. A path of discovery, leaning, curiosity and more often than not, mastery. Life is not a discrete canvas of your dreams | You have shown it to be an unending gallery. With lecture halls,and amphitheaters, clinics to mend sore hearts and body a hearth to gather around for comforts and meals of friendly wisdom. You have hewn your own set of temple steps with your gentle approach that allows the ordinary to be nourished by your dana-paramita 60 years of stellar dust in human form you chose to stay on the path of your incandescent siblings Leading an ever-expansive life which we aspire to emulate Love, Avniel & Saara
28: To Ajay Happy 60th birthday and here is to many more ahead! Love, Leena, Shirish, Nupur, Kalyan, Minoti, Alark, Karthik, and Aadit
29: Family Bottles for Dad on Sept 19, 2013 My father crouches near sun-rinsed grape vines, his mind a cigar-box of struck matches, wet stones; an expert on aging, on noble rot. He cups his hands to hold his golden wine. He’s learned to love the ink in the glass, to write til the pages are supple and spritzy, a bouquet of barley sugar and fig. Evenings, we sit and sip stories old oak, young pear drops, mellow and green. My father says abbocatto means lightly sweet. Love Natasha and Brom
30: You have an excellent memory, but I will try to re-collect some parts of the most invaluable history of our association over the years – We began together at St Helena’s-was all ‘fun school’ for me-among other things, where in IInd std after lunch we had a ‘nap’ session; then I moved to Vincent’s in std III, where I lost sleep for a while,making up the academic gap.You were lucky to continue with the ‘green’ lambs and I am sure Manjul knows some were ‘greener’ than others -J.Have always found Manjul pleasant,smiling and sporting-‘never to have got green with envy’-we are lucky to have wives who stuck with us through all our idiosyncrasies. | My dear Ajay, Welcome to the club 60! Here’s wishing you a very happy, prosperous and healthy 60th birthday. I am sure it is a very happy and joyous occasion for not only your family but all those who have been fortunate to know you;especially me for the last 55 years! Cricket has been our common interest and you have been a true “all-rounder” – a brilliant student,great friend,husband, father and a ‘guru’ to many. You have been the ‘prime mover’ in initiating,developing and maintaining relationships with friends, teachers and all you meet.It is the thought and consideration for others that I will always appreciate.Be it the ‘potluck’ when you were in Pune,the 26th re-union and the recent 44th !
31: I can still vividly remember your grandfather dropping you and Leena daily to school in the immaculate Vauxhall.I am sure you appreciate the significant impact your grandparents had-Your grandfather with all the interest and guidance in academics and the soft, loving demeanour of your aajimust say I can still remember the tastefully ‘burnt’ sabjis that I could not help noticing during our lunch sessions -in fact, once in a while I do coax Vaishali to replicate the sabji similarly. I will not elaborate your academic brilliance but greatly appreciate your approach to excel, which stood as a good example for me. Behind the fantastic academic results was a lot of effort,which fortunately I noticed soon enough, to translate later in my professional career.It was not only in academics,but that quality to excel, showed also in sport-be it cricket or the ‘sports’ practical tests which Harold Sir conducted, the marks which still were a part of the total results. You were also keen to cheer any inter-school sporting activity eg. Football - we would come over to each other’s houses, even after school, to attend to the matches played on grounds close by.It was likewise seen in all the languages-English,German and even Marathi, where few of us were selected to represent the school for some Government(or similar?) competitive essay writing. I was literally ‘forced’ to join Wadia College by some professors, who knew my father;but fortunately we remained in touch through the great ‘crazy’(yeda Parsee) Mr. Moogat.Then ofcourse was your short stint of working in Pune,which again got all of us together. However the short stay we had with you at your fabulous home, on our completing 50 years of friendship, will always be cherished with great warmth by Vaishali and myself.It is only a lucky few,who can share such a bond of friendship and I am privileged to have shared this bond with you.
32: Above all you have been a true student of life – ready to listen, learn and practice.As you rightly said most of us have fewer years left ahead of us-let us enjoy them to the fullest but with perhaps a better understanding of true and everlasting happiness.In one of your visits to India,I mentioned to you Swami Parthsarthy’s Vedanta Treatise - I was amazed to find it among your prized collections during our stay in May 2008- so you too are wisely taking up spirituality(truly understanding and enjoying the spirits to keep you in high spirits -J ) I am very much looking forward to a good ‘spiritual’ exchange the next occasion we stay together –hopefully at our ‘garibkhana’, when Vaishali can cook the overdue fish curry! Ajay - you have had a fantastic innings – Here’s once again wishing you a most enjoyable birthday and many more years of health and happiness. Yours affectionately, Vilas