A Tribute to Raman (Ray) Ranchhod (18.2.1938 to 06.06.2017)
The world has turned over billions of men and women over thousands of years but there are a few whose departure continues to be unbearable and irreplaceable. Time does not impact on memories and it is almost impossible to reconcile to harsh realities.
Raman (Ray) Ranchhod was not just my friend; he was an older brother and a man with who I would relate a great many things.
He left me- us on June 6, 2017, when he was 79 years; age does not matter when it comes to people of endearment and in the case of Mr Ranchhod, he was young and boisterous even on the face of adverse health. He had learnt the art of endurance. Somehow, I have not.
He was a resident of New Zealand for about 65 years.
Commencing his working life when he was 16 years old as fruits and vegetable vendor in Wellington, Mr Ranchhod launched into car business 16 years later, and over the next 35 years, expanded it to account for four dealerships with rental and finance divisions in the greater Wellington region.
He launched into property business with his son Mahesh, who obtained a graduate degree in Property. Success in the sector encouraged him to sell his car business and invest in properties across New Zealand and Australia. He established the Ranchhod Group to manage various properties and businesses.
Commitment to people
Mr Ranchhod was a philanthropist with a deep commitment to community welfare. The Wellington Indian Association, which his late father Rama Ranchhod established with his peers, had the benefit of his services for several years. His commitment and support were central to the purchase of a community hall, now called, ‘Bharat Bhavan,’ a major venue for Indian festivals and programmes.
Over the years, he helped scores of new and young migrants from India to resettle with emotional and financial support.
Deeply religious, Mr Ranchhod had a sound knowledge of the rites and rituals.
He conducted several Hindu weddings in New Zealand. A Justice of the Peace, he made his services available to everyone at all times.
The Ranchhod Foundation
The most outstanding attribute of Mr Ranchhod was the establishment of the Ranchhod Foundation along with his son Mahesh in 2011, which works towards the betterment of humankind, undertake charity work, and offers solace and comfort to those in need in New Zealand and India.
The Foundation constructed the ‘Laduben Ranchhod Urban Hospital’ in Navsari, Gujarat, the birthplace of Mr Ranchhod. The Medical Centre provides several medical services free of cost to people in rural areas.
Among the other beneficiaries is the Starship Children’s Hospital, At Heart New Zealand, CBM Foundation of New Zealand, a rural hospital in Tanzania and a number of villages in India.
Recognising his great work to the community, Queen Elizabeth II decorated him with a Queen’s Service Medal in 2015 recognising his services to the community.
The following are tributes from some members of his family.
One can never fully recover from a loved one passing, but I understand the reality of life that we all have to face one day. I was fortunate enough to live and work aside Dad for over 33 years.
The last 16 years were spent in Auckland. Although dad had retired, he kept busy within the business to keep active. I miss being able to go to him for advice. He was a true inspiration and was a great mentor to me. He taught me how to live a balanced life between the spiritual and material worlds – a task that is easy to say but not easy to achieve.
Humility and Passion
He taught us to be humble and to follow our passion. He was a man of deep understanding and spiritual awareness which was the foundation of our childhood. This carries on with me and will be handed down the next generation, to my own children. My father set the bar very high, all we can do is to aspire to that. We both had a passion to help others and as a partnership force collectively we achieved that, and we continue to do so. The legacy lives on.
I know he is still here in spirit as a guiding force, but we still miss his physical presence every day. He wasn’t just my father, but my best friend.
Advice to Children
My advice to others is to love your parents and spend time with them, as one day that chair will be empty, and you can’t turn back time. I was one of the lucky ones that did this.
Having the blessing of your parents is fundamental which may be old fashioned by today’s generation, but the principle still remains intact today. I owe him my success along with my ancestors.
June 6 is now a date embedded in our minds with the most intense emotions.
Not a day has gone by in the past two years where Dad’s memory has not entered our family’s thoughts.
We still yearn for Dad’s massive smile as we enter the door, being greeted by an affectionate “Hello Princess” or my children’s longing for a gentle “Dada Hug” that not even a mother’s hug can replace.
The memories are raw but so too is his energy that we still experience. The feeling that he is still watching over us, guiding us, protecting us. He may have separated from us physically, but our spiritual connection with each other is far deeper and indestructible.
Deeper connection of understanding
I am eternally grateful to have called him Dad… our bond was not by blood but a deeper connection of understanding and respect.
We miss him every day and respect him eternally. Dad knew how to live life and enjoy life. He knew the value of hard work and was always ready to embrace any situation at hand.
His attitude was the same until his last breath. It is this attitude we wish to live by and teach our children to live by… To never be deterred by hindrances, to embrace life and to always remember to smile.
As the second anniversary of Dad’s death draws closer, we are still a family healing from a huge void in our lives; one that is strong but torn by emotions; one that draws on memories of the past for comfort and one that looks for hope in the future that we can lead by his example for our future generations.
Two years on, the memory of Dad continues stronger.
Life changed forever on June 6, 2017. Until you experience the passing of a loved one, it is difficult to know the true meaning of death. It is also a reminder of how precious life is which we take for granted sometimes.
Not a single hour goes by that I don’t think of my Dad. Not only was he my father but also my friend who has been there my whole life. I now have the memories to cherish and so proud to have been the daughter of an exceptional Man.
Dad has left a Legacy which we will continue to honour in his memory, as he guides us in spirit. For now, my dad is an Angel, guiding me until we meet again.
Jai Siya Ram