By Shrirang Arvind Talwalkar
I am lucky to be alive. Credit goes to my parents. After I was born, there was an infection to my left hip which needed treatment by penicillin. The antibiotic was apparently not available in India, but as luck would have it, my father, Dr A. K. Talwalkar was in Liverpool, England, doing MCh (considered as the highest master’s degree in Surgical Science, the Master Chirurgiae is an extremely advanced and selective postgraduate/doctoral degree after Master of Surgery that equips an individual with a technical understanding of complex surgical procedures) and my mother Leela was brave enough to take my brothers and me to England by boat in 1946. I got the antibiotic and excellent orthopaedic treatment. This left a somewhat shortened leg but left me basically intact. This defect was eventually fixed in 2009 by hip replacement in the US.
We had a simple Marathi upbringing, went to a Marathi school (Aryan), and got an excellent education and background in Indian culture. It has been a tremendous source of inspiration and strength in my life. I have always been fascinated that this stanza from the Bhagavad Gita is from thousands of years ago in India.
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन । मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥
(Loosely translated it means: You have control over your actions, you have no control over the outcome. Work hard to achieve your goals but do not be attached to them as that achievement is not in your hands. As somebody famous said, “The harder you work the luckier you get.”)
I was raised in a family with medicine as the language around me. But I decided to go to IIT, Bombay and got a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I was fortunate to be able to go to UC Berkeley for my graduate work and pursued a Masters in Operations Research (A branch of mathematics).
After graduation, I worked at several companies with an increasing level of responsibility in the NY area and retired in Coral Gables, Florida, in 2000. During my career, one of my employers had sponsored me to do an Executive Master Business degree at Columbia University in New York. The financial background from the business degree came in handy and today, as a post-retirement career, I do taxes for people in Florida.
I married Rohini B Saptarshi, daughter of Mr Bhalachandra and Shanta Saptarshi. In 1970. Mr Saptarshi was active in the Indian independence movement and spent several years in jail for that. He was a Chief Presidency Magistrate in Mumbai. Rohini had a successful career in Finance in the US after completing her graduate work at NYU and the University of Connecticut. We moved to Florida for her job as she got a major opportunity to take over a Controller responsibility for a subdivision of a large multinational company. Post-retirement she does voluntary counselling for seniors in Medicare, a medical insurance program in the US.
Our older son Dr Jaideep S. Talwalkar is an Associate Professor at the Yale Medical School (New Haven, CT) and is a doctor in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. His wife Kristen comes from a large close-knit family in upstate NY and is a Midwife. They have three sons Kavi (entering Wesleyan University), Nayan and Dev.
Our younger son Ameet S Talwalkar is an Assistant Professor at the Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA) in Machine Learning and so is his wife Virginia. Virginia’s father is a professor in Statistics and mother is a Mayor of Blacksburg in Virginia. Ameet and Virginia have a daughter named Sejal.