One day at a time with Birlas
Nishka Ratnam

One Day At A Time
by Ingrid Alberqueque—Solomon
Published by Bearen Bay Media House. Pages 340

S.K. Birla: I wanted to know what people say about me while I am still alive
S.K. Birla: I wanted to know what people say about me while I am still alive

HOW does a corporate journo even attempt to review a piece of work that takes in an entire era in a nation’s history and also gives the reader his own era in his path to the eternal one and the legacy he leaves behind? that is the dilemma faced as one attempts a review of One Day At A time, the biography on the life and times of S K Birla and his wife Sarladevi.

What you do do, is take its leaves between the palms of your hand, take in one verse at a time, One Day At A Time, (ODAAT) and let it take you, one step at a time, in your onward journey. And what is this work? Is it a biography, a corporate chronicle, a prayer book, a piece of meditation? Perhaps it is all of the above and more.

One Day At A Time, penned by Ingrid Alberqueque-Solomon chronicles the life and times of S K Birla and his wife Sarladevi and their bretheren. It also chronicles her own life. Perhaps few biographies give as much space to the author as its protagonists. But thats how the Birlas are, always more time for others than themselves.

For Ingrid, ODAAT, began with her questioning of two beliefs — that business enterprise turns all good men into devils and that only Christians will go up to heaven. She says she "found herself demolishing both."

Also she says "In them Christianity and Hinduism meet and the former stands like a flower on an Indian stem".

For S.K. Birla, ODAAT was the outcome of his need for a "biography that came out while I am alive unlike others written about those gone." Says he in the book "I wanted to know what people say about me while I am still alive".

Says daughter-in-law Rajashree, ODAAT has the best "takeaway anyone can give — an offering of spirituality." Says Kumaramangalam and his wife — "It is my tribute to my grandparents".

Says P.K.D. Lee, Vice President of International Development, Haggai Institute, Atlanta Georgia, who wrote the foreward to the biography, "it is a goldmine into the emotions and passions of a leading business family". ODAAT does not take the Fifth Amendment... it gives to its readers the Fifth Commandment and all the others.

It wishes to, along with the Birlas inculcate in the readers "a need to leave a legacy of spiritual richness in place of material wealth".

For the historian, it chronicles details and data, for the corporate historian it offers business insights, for the ordinary man it offers prayers and words with which to reach your Maker. Singularly, it offers a single parent meaningful interpretations of the Word of God.

One Day At A Time is the culmination of five years of association between t Ingrid and the Birla family. Its a freewheeling, anecdotal biography of the doyen and ‘first lady’ Sarladevi. "They gave me full freedom to be everywhere", she says.

It is embellished with photographs, transcripts of personal letters, verses from The Bible. Its 34O pages have been bound in shades of red and black.

The book jacket describes it as "culling the lives of Ingrid’s subjects S K Birla and his wife under the relentless microscope of God’s Holy Word".

Ingrid, is writer, businessperson, Founder of effective single parenting, and is on the faculty of Haggai Institute.— PTI