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Felicitating A Gentle Soul - Nanaji Saka

Chitra Parayath

Former President of IAGB and a person committed to Community Service, Nanaji Saka is felicitated by friends and acquaintances.


Trent Lott got into heaps of trouble for his comments that he wished Thurmond had been elected Prez all those years ago! I can say for sure that many of Nanaji's friends and colleagues would agree with me when I say that Nanaji was indeed one of the greatest Presidents the Indian Association of Greater Boston (IAGB) ever had! He brought a new dignity and vigor to the IAGB when he was President of that premier New England Organization.

The present president Ram Voruganti is the first to agree. With a fond smile he admits that Nanaji's quest for perfection had everyone on his or her toes, doing the very best they could. Usha Vakil, another long time friend and associate says, "Nannaji's dedication to serve the Indian community is inspiring and legendary. His thoroughness and precise execution of various tasks was amazing. Hiding his gentleness in a tough and gruff manner, we all feel that he needs a 'woman' to mellow him down."

Ranjani Saigal who served on the board of IAGB with Nanaji says that she was always struck by his passion and patriotism for India. He valued the traditional as well as the contemporary aspects of our nation. He astounded us with his knowledge of so many topics…"he knows so much about so many things!"

At the last IAGB committee meeting, I talk to all present about Nanaji. Everyone pipes with a fond anecdote. It is mostly about the exactness and meticulousness that Nanaji brought into various aspects of the IAGB functions. The Brochure was well planned out; he pored over it and honed it to perfection. The programs were always executed with grace and dignity.

I first met Nanaji when I attended a meeting of the IAGB last year. I was a little in awe of the authoritative figure but soon found a kindred spirit who I jabbered away in Telugu with. With his quick dry wit and keen sense of humor, he wins over friends with ease.

Of course while the Indian community knows him as the President of IAGB, he is a Tribologist by profession. "Dr. Nanaji Saka is one of the world's leading Tribologists, who has contributed so much to the field ", said Prof Nam Suh, Professor and former chair of the Mechanical Engineering department and MIT, where Nanaji has worked as a researcher for many years.

Taju Shah, a long time friend of Nanaji is also one of his biggest fans. "He is the kindest soul I know, " she insists." He is the godfather to my children and they dote on him. Let me give you an example. Nanaji hates to go to the beach but a couple of years ago during summer, my kids would ask Nanaji to take them to the seaside and every weekend he would go with them to the beach. He is the most considerate man, always willing to help folks in need."

Nanaji's surprise birthday party that was held at the Cambridge Hyatt was a tribute to his popularity. It was attended by so many friends and well-wishers all of who had nothing but nice things to say about Nanaji.

Nanaji does like to hide his light in the bushel but we hear from insiders that he an accomplished Flute player. Well, next time we meet, we hope to hear him play.

Happy Birthday, Sir, may you have many many more of the same.

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