Good to meet you Eldo. For our readers, let us start with an update on your journey after MACE
It has been a really long journey since our graduation from MACE. I have been fortunate in most of the cases to have smooth transitions and an easy life. The journey started in April 1992 with joining in MRF Ltd. Medak near Hyderabad (now in Telugana, during that time in AP). MRF was a great place for young engineers to learn the practical aspects of the theory we learned during MACE days. There I have been lucky with the friendship of Ex MACE team, Kurian Mathew (‘86-‘90) & Pradeep Mathew (‘85-‘89). In MRF, I also worked with Joseph P J (EA) for about 2+ years. Weekend trips to Hyderabad and other weekend activities made my life interesting there. Life was challenging there but I enjoyed those days. I had a chance to meet and host Seby M Isaac (EB) and Dileep SS (EB) a few times during my MRF days. I also met Pandya Rajan during one of my visit to Chennai.
So that was before you moved overseas?
Yes. In 1997 May, I joined Quantum Peripherals, Batam, Indonesia. It was totally different industry compared to MRF. It had a full clean room electronics manufacturing environment, individual computers available at desk, and internet access were free and somewhat unlimited. Batam is a beautiful island part of Indonesia and about 30 minutes of ferry ride from Singapore. There I have also been lucky as there were few Indians working in that island and I got accommodation with two other north Indian families. They always used to cook food for me. A lot of issues like the South East Asian financial crisis, the SARS, H1N1 outbreak etc. happened during that time but I have been lucky to stay unaffected.
Later the factory was taken over by National-Panasonic group from Japan. I used to go to Singapore during most of the weekend to have good south Indian lunch and to shop. During a such weekend visit, met Jojo Varghese (EA) and started a new habit of staying in Singapore during the weekend with Jojo & his friends. The weekend travel started to become bit boring and time consuming so I started looking for a job in Singapore.
Let us know about your move to Singapore. How was life there?
In Oct. 1999, I joined Micron Singapore, a semiconductor manufacturing company based in USA. Life in Singapore was very easy and convenient compared to all the places I have been. Jojo also moved with me. Everything was available and I could reach back home in Kerala to have dinner after work. A lot of great things happened to me during that period including my marriage. In 2005 I completed my Master’s Degree from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Even though attending late evening classes without sleeping and completing the assignments were difficult, I managed to gain the Master’s degree in Control Systems within the shortest possible time. As the job & place started to become boring and bit routine, I started looking for other options. Met John Emmanuel (Civil) during my UAE visit and also he visited us during his Singapore trip.
In 2008 June, I moved to the USA, in the Washington DC region. It was a totally different experience due to moving with my young family. There we were also blessed with friends and managed to settle without major issues. Life in US is more interesting due to many reasons such as big country like India with few people and a lot of natural beauty to experience. Almost everything (good & bad) is available and affordable. We actually live in Virginia, where America was first colonized. There are several historic sites close to our homes. Joseph P J (EA) and his family visited us during his US trip.
You have been through multiple international cities and cultures. How did you manage to adjust with local culture in each of these places?
I have been very lucky during those transition as mentioned as part of my journey. In Hyderabad we had local friends and the language was manageable.
In Indonesia there was a bit of challenge due to language and I ended up learning Bahasa Indonesia. Indonesia was the only place I have been to, where local people respect Indians. BL Theraja is famous there too.
Singapore mostly used the Singapore version of English (so called singlish laa.) and I learned some Malay language also. Integration there was not as much of an issue as there were a lot of Indians and other nationalities.
Moving to USA was bit tough as it was the first time I moved with family. The language, accent, and culture difference also was challenging. Now it is a practice as it is required to deal with people from different countries as part of the job.
You said you married while in Singapore. Tell us about your family
In 2000, I married Jisha Paul from Pothanicad, near Kothamangalam. In 2003 Joel came to our life, followed by Ethan in 2006. We are a happy and easy going family. We enjoy travel, time with friends, etc. The kids enjoy the game time the most. Jisha is a software professional working for a biomedical research organization. Joel studies in 8th grade and Ethan in 4th. Joel likes books. Ethan likes wrestling.
You have been in touch with many batch-mates during all these years and all these places. I am sure you will be looking forward to meet more of them at Throwback
I feel very excited to see everybody after a long, long time. I am also bit nervous as I may not be able to recognize everyone due to my fading memory or the shape, size and other chronological related changes. I am very bad at remembering people. Poor memory, 1970 model. Please say “hi” even if I look at you like a stranger.
Thats exactly why we are having these Viva sessions and Assignments and Series Tests! Just to prepare all of us with some background to break the ice!
If you happen to meet the younger Eldo when we visit MACE on Aug 13, I am sure you will recognize him for sure! What will you tell him?
Enjoy your life without losing the focus.
People talk about chasing their dreams. Did the young Eldo have a dream?
I don’t remember any specific dream or chasing any dream. I went with the flow of life and tried to make it better each time.
Did anything during MACE life contribute to your success in later life?
Yes, Other than just the academics, the hostel life and friendship helped a lot during the initial days in my life. Just a fun fact to share, during the winter of 2014, I did all electrical wiring of my home basement floor. It was a hands on electrical challenge I took up after the adventures electrical lab activities in MACE. Jisha was sceptical but it worked great.
Are you and family involved in any community activities or charity programs?
Church community is part of our routine life. I volunteer my electrical expertise when required. The gains we have from being a part of community activities are tremendous, especially when you live away from your close family. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the religion based organizations / communities lead in that category.
Getting back to MACE life, did you have a role model while studying in MACE ?
Not really- “Always look in self to see the role model”
But when I looked for individual qualities, there were certain people I wished that I could be like. Joseph, Seby, Mohan, Jojo, etc were in that category.
What is the most memorable event from MACE that you may like to share?
The argument over the inauguration of electrical lab tests by turning on the knife switch for testing the wiring works in electrical lab. Our team had routine argument over this issue as based on the past history the fuse used to blow like fireworks during the inauguration function.
We have gone through 25 years of life as Engineers. Any regrets on any decisions?
No major regrets but a lot of small, small happy moments. Nothing very specific.
Thank you Eldo for your time. It was nice talking to you and hope this will help all of us Rewind, Rebond and Rekindle! Do you have a note of advice to the new engineers coming out of MACE?
Life is beyond our imagination. Enjoy your time, stay focused and hard work always will reward. The basics you learn will be always useful in your life.