THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The demise of Governor M O H Farook cast a pall of gloom over his sprawling official residence here on Friday. The staff of Raj Bhavan held a brief memorial function in the morning and offered floral tributes to a portrait of the master of the house kept before a lighted lamp in the portico of the grand mansion.
The employees who shared their fond memories of Farook said he always preferred to keep a low profile. Raj Bhavan PRO Sreevarahom Balakrishnan said the Governor considered the staff as his family members.
"During the first get-together after assuming office, he said that we were all a family and asked us to feel free to apprise him of our grievances,’’ Balakrishnan said.
"Those who attended the meeting would never forget the bright face and beaming voice in which he asked us to ‘grow into a better house together,’’’ he said. "He led a simple life and was less-demanding,’’ recalled V Radhakrishnan, head butler.
"He had very few suggestions and was content with whatever food he was served. It was after several days that we found that he had a liking for the ‘Kerala sadya.’ He enjoyed the taste of the different curries and ‘payasams,’’’ Radhakrishnan said.
'Though he spent only a few months with us, his loving nature captured our hearts. He was less talkative, but a caring person,’’ said N Padmanabhan, a security guard.
Harikuttan Nair, a waiter and one of the few staff members who would interact with the Governor every day, too shared the same feeling. "Whenever I was back after a leave, he would enquire about my family,’’ Nair said. ‘’’Aren’t they all fine?’ he would ask,’’ Nair said.
A majority of the Raj Bhavan employees were clueless till recent times that the Governor was ailing. On Thursday, the Republic Day function was hosted at the Raj Bhavan in the absence of the Governor.
"He went on only a few tours, perhaps owing to his ill health,’’ a staff member said. Around ten members of the Raj Bhavan staff, led by the Governor’s Secretary-in-charge Sanjeev, are in Puducherry to attend the last rites of Farook.