On behalf of SAATA, I want to begin by thanking everyone who has sent their condolences and kept our beloved Saru in thoughts and prayers. Saru passed away on 25th March 2021 at the age of 83. Thank you everyone for your countless emails, messages, and social media posts. They have been comforting to all of us during this difficult time and have been a reminder of the impact Saru had on so many of us.
It is hard to write about Saru, my guru, whom I have known for more than 20 years and she holds a very special place in my heart. I am honored to take this moment and share about the life of my guru, Saru.
Saru was a dynamic, compassionate, and courageous woman who lived life king size and died exactly the way she would have wanted – while fully active and working. God blessed her with a peaceful exit.
Saru was the first President of SAATA. She was the torch bearer and led the way for many of us. She was instrumental in establishing and growing Transactional Analysis in India. Her vision and energy to expand this training was unmatched. She took TA to neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh and Iran too.
The two most important recognitions that Saru received that cannot be missed mentioning are -
1) Saru received “The Muriel James Living Principles Award” in 2009, which was established to recognize members of the ITAA who have advanced the growth of transactional analysis by personal example; as well as by contributions of an exceptional and lasting nature. Saru demonstrated commitment, concern, and care for both individuals and the TA community globally. She had been active in the international advancement of the principles of transactional analysis both professionally and personally.
2) Saru received the “SAATA Professional Excellence Award” in 2016, which is established to recognise individuals who have made a significant contribution to the professional growth of transactional analysis in the South Asian region by personal commitment and contributions of an exceptional and lasting nature to the propagation of the vision and mission of SAATA.
I started my TA journey with her in 2001. Saru was my first trainer and supervisor. Her intuitive style of teaching, along with allowing one to learn at one’s pace, was a highly rewarding experience for me. I learnt many things from her, however what stood out for me is her saying –
“learning happens when the teacher has conviction”. I have often stopped to ask myself this question in my journey as a trainer; and finding that answer has been very significant in my effectiveness in my profession.
The other important message which I learnt from her was about holding a place of abundance in every aspect of life. She role modelled this very beautifully in the way she interacted with everybody around her.
Through the years that followed our relationship was one of colleagues and dear friends. We spent a lot of time together in personal and professional spaces. I was lucky to accompany her to Singapore and Bangladesh for training purposes.
Just as she influenced me, Saru managed to influence and impact hundreds of lives with her warmth, affection and firmness. She was a perfect balance of intelligence and intuition. She had an amazing ability to connect with people to form deep, long lasting relationships.
Saru thrived and enjoyed being with people. She had a large heart and always had something to give to people around her and received with equal joy. She loved the attention and adulations she received from everyone. Her spontaneity and ability to express her feelings allowed people to relax and do the same.
Despite many challenges in life, Saru had an innate capacity to move on! She believed that we can move on in life with an attitude of generosity and gratitude. She therefore loved life and took every opportunity to celebrate every occasion and event. Her favourite line was - “Only what is celebrated is sustained”.
Not Ready to Let You Go
- By Kelly Roper
I wish that I could tell you
I'm not ready to let you go.
But you've already departed,
And my heart is feeling so low.
I miss that little twinkle
That used to light up your eyes.
And I miss the sound of your voice,
Your laughter and your sighs.
But most of all I miss
The way you made me feel,
Like nothing could ever harm me because
Your love was so strong and real.
There are others here who miss you,
And they've gathered here today.
Your life touched so many people,
Who became your friends along the way.
They want you to know they love you, too.
And they're filled with sadness and grief.
No one really wants to say goodbye,
So we'll just wish you eternal peace.
Saru P. K., TSTA (P, C), passed over peacefully four days after celebrating her birthday. She celebrated her birthday doing an online training with her Bangalore group and with calls from family, friends, trainees, and colleagues.
Saru was born on 21 March 1938 into the Palathumveettil family, the third daughter of Kunhamadkutty and Amina Umma. She had a younger sister and brother, the latter of whom was her source of strength. His passing over a few years ago was a blow to her and also started her thinking about death and preparing for it. She was attached to and proud of her roots and extended family. One of the ways she showed this was a coffee table book she put together titled Tribute. This 140-page book is filled with photographs of her mother’s jewelry and descriptions of their design and significance. On the day she gifted the book to me we spent nearly 3 hours with her narrating incidents relating to the jewelry and other pleasant and not so pleasant memories of her childhood. She said that the book had helped in healing many parts of her script.
Saru’s life was no bed of roses. After her divorce and one of her many operations, she got into her nephew’s car to enjoy fresh air as he drove down to ICTA, Kalamaserry, Kochi. This resulted in a chance meeting with Fr. George Kandathil, who invited her to “use your pain to heal the pain of others.” Thus began her journey with transactional analysis. It helped her heal and also touch many lives in different ways.
Saru began her first training group in 1994 at Coimbatore, where she lived in a beautiful home that now has many memories for her trainees and trainers from other countries whom she hosted with love. Soon after, she began a group in Chennai. Four of us passed our CTA in 2000, and by then Saru had begun training in other cities in South India. All her trainees unanimously agree that the person she was and the way she bonded with each of us individually and collectively was what helped us grow and receive many permissions. She used a number of sayings that still ring in our ears, guiding and encouraging us. Many of them were put together as a booklet titled Saruisms. Her commitment to ITAA and professional TA training has led to over 20 certified members in South India, many of whom have moved on to become PTSTAs and TSTAs.
Saru also thought it her duty to uplift people in general and Muslim women in particular. This led her to studying law and also doing training in Iran, the Middle East, and Bang-ladesh, where she began training in June 2003. She was proud of how they were using TA in community work, which was reflected by the Hedges Capers Humanitarian Award going to one of her trainees, Kursheed Erfan Ahmed.
Saru enjoyed her travels to many countries and was skilled at retaining connections with the numerous friends she made. She has four sons—Manzur (firstname.lastname@example.org), Riaz, Arif (email@example.com), and Quasar (firstname.lastname@example.org)—and 7 grandchildren.
This article was originally published in the ITAA newsletter, The Script, Vol. 51, No. 5, p. 5, May 2021. - Written by Susan George, edited for SAATA Newsletter.