Tributes from TA Trainers’ Community

Annie Cariapa, PTSTA (P)

My connection with Saru goes back to the year 2000.  I have known her as a warm, large hearted woman, generous and loving.  I have always experienced her willingness to help, so often enquiring about family and sharing her wisdom.  


She was a person who marched to her own drum and wanted to be ‘relevant’ till the very end.  As Richard Bach says -“our mission in life is not over till our last breath”.  A quote that I draw inspiration from and Saru lived it.


In so many ways Saru’s guidance and spirit is passed on to all of us who knew her and in turn we pass on to others.  I am reminded of the words ‘we stand on the shoulders of giants’ - indeed I do!

Chitra Ravi, TSTA (P)

I had the privilege to train with P.K. Saru who was much more to me than just a trainer and supervisor.  When I first met her at the TA101, 21 years back, I was struck by her tall, graceful demeanour, her warmth and how easily I was drawn to her.


In my advanced TA group, I was initially smitten and shy with Saru, seeking her approval.  I learnt to speak up, disagree, challenge and even confront.  I experienced her care, nurturance and safety, especially when I delved into my long forgotten past.


She readily took on roles for SAATA and the TA community: a Conference Convener, SAATA President and many more, inspiring and encouraging us to follow suit! 


Her house in Coimbatore was a warm, comfortable haven for many of us.  The large dining table would beckon us for hearty and wholesome meals; and a place to sit around with our tea mugs in the evenings, laughing and talking for hours.  Many of us wonder about how it’ll be for us to visit Coimbatore, which has been so synonymous with Saru!


Saru loved shopping, loved giving and receiving gifts.  “you bought this for me, Chitra?” with a broad smile and glint in her eyes.  I have a box full of jewellery and trinkets given by Saru, over the years.  I sat with them and cried for hours, on the day of her demise!  The trips that I had with Saru had us connecting from Child-Child, with fun and glee!  These memories are unforgettable and have their solid place in my heart! 


What was most difficult for me was to hold a position with Saru as an equal.  That journey was the most difficult and yet invaluable; to individuate and still hold love!


It’s no small legacy that Saru has left behind in her work and how she was in the Indian community!  I wondered how many lives and hearts she touched.  The day she died, TA India cried and were joined by many, many in Bangladesh, Iran and the across the world!


I salute you, Saru!

Joy Roshan, PTSTA (P)

When I remember Saru, the first thing that comes to my mind is her generosity and her sense of abundance. She dedicated her life to help others grow. She used to always say: "Use your pain (lessons learnt from our life experiences) to alleviate the pain of others." For her, growth meant multidimensional development and not just certification. I consider myself lucky to have done my CTA in her supervision and absorbed some of her philosophies and values. These last few years she would often say these words: "Pass it on!" I see it as her desire that her successors in the Transactional Analysis community pass on her generosity, abundance with a desire to help those in pain and contribute to overall growth of as many as we can. She once said to me: "When the student is ready, the teacher appears. But when the student is REALLY ready, the teacher disappears." As I remember her parting with grief, I also tell myself that the TA community must really be ready now to pass on her light. Let this way of remembering you be my tribute to you, Saru. I wish you goodbye, with equanimity.

Marina Ranjan, TSTA (E)

I met Saru for the first time in the year 2003 early during my TA training with sister Annie Maria. She was getting ready for her TSTA exam at that point in time. I remember her as an energetic and passionate TA practitioner. She has referred many clients and trainees to me. She has taken medical advice from me sometimes when she needed it. I have received supervision from Saru during my CTA training and TSTA training. I have experienced her as a compassionate yet firm trainer and supervisor. I remember how she used to imbue energy into any group she joins, in many groupworks where I have participated with her being around. The last interaction I remember of her is as my examiner in a mock exam before the TSTA exam when she gave me some good tips and directions. I also remember when she announced that she is slowly retiring from active training. I thank almighty for the life of Saru and the lives she touched in small and big ways. Let us celebrate the goodness she has left behind while moving on to the other side of life!

Prathitha Gangadharan, PTSTA (P)

I look back at seventeen years of my association with Saru with gratitude and love. She has been that generous person who modelled what Berne meant by "staying 2 steps behind the client", by allowing me to come into my own. I remember the initial year of being held and learning to be, feeling acknowledged and seen. Her playful dramatic confrontation "Look at her, she just rejected my stroke!" when I redefined a compliment saying, "ah I know red makes me look bright" is still as fresh in my mind just as her "look" at my smile at a time of sadness. There was no ridicule, just a firm refusal to encourage my racket and it was private, so I did not feel publicly shamed. I still remember a permission as if it was yesterday that she told me, "hear my voice saying, be well" and touch wood, I do stay well. When my trainees start fretting at parenting mistakes, I fall back to Saru’s, "No matter what you do, your child will put you on the chair, so just be yourself yaar". I will also remember the space to disagree in a OK-Ok way. I will miss the animated "happy birthday to you" singing in person or on the phone. Rest in peace and power Saru, I love you!

Haseena Manipal, PTSTA (P)

Saru called her training program "the living, learning training". Everything was grist for the mill. This picture below was during the design and execution of the coffee table book that talks about the Malabar Muslim culture, their lifestyle with particular focus on the jewellery from her family. She happened to be carrying some of the family jewellery and who was more beautiful than Haseena to model it?!! Lunch break that day was a fascinating tour of the pieces and the stories accompanying them like how her mother had a personal jeweller with whom she used to design the pieces. Fiercely proud of her heritage and family history, Saru modelled this for us.

Aruna Gopakumar, PTSTA (P)

I attended the TA 101 with Saru in 2000 and was drawn to her like a moth to a flame. She was also very drawn to me, and referred to it as “love at first sight.”  I remember her trainees presenting at the TA 101. I was very impressed with them too. I thought to myself, “What is this thing called ‘training with Saru’?” It felt incredibly attractive. I imagined a world of self-aware, loving, grounded people. I wanted to belong to that world.  I hoped I would grow to develop the same qualities as her. I joined her training without a full understanding of what I was getting into. I just wanted to “train with Saru”. Later of course, I grew to find the field meaningful.  My wide-eyed, lapping in of the magical world offered by Saru continued for a few years. I was amazed that the existence of a group where personal work of such a sacred nature could be witnessed. The intense self-exploration, the intimacy, the safety, the stimulation, the laughter, the celebrations and the focus on good food, offered me an unbelievable high!


I remember one particular class where I spoke to the group about my sadness of not being able to conceive. I received loving hugs from the group. Miraculously, the next month, I was pregnant. The happiest person in the world was Saru. She took full credit for the “TA baby”.  “What other proof does the world need that TA works?” she said joyfully.


As the years went by, I was not sure if I wanted to be a psychotherapist. So I discontinued my training. But Saru was sure I would come back. I did come back, again because of her. However, my struggle with whether I should write my CTA continued. She however held on to the hope and kept nudging me.  One day in class, I told her that I was not motivated to do the CTA for myself, and if she continued to ask me then I would really be doing it for her. “Then do it for me,” she said instantly. That is Saru for you - relentless in her conviction. There was no further confusion for me after that. I responded to her faith by blossoming into the person and professional she envisaged me as. She was incredibly proud of how once I decided, I acted with focus and determination. She would refer to me as “kuru milagu” – small but potent.


She was standing outside the room, when I stepped out of the CTA exam. “I passed,” I said excitedly. After that I could hear her loud voice, announcing to everyone, “Aruna passed. I am going home to cook.” She had planned an elaborate celebration that evening for Chitra’s TSTA and Hasina’s and my CTA passing. She had no doubt at all that we were going to pass!


"A tree is known by the fruit it bears," she would say proudly every time we achieved a major milestone, "Pass it on."
Today, I have followed her footsteps and have given up all else and have chosen TA training as my full time work. How grateful I am to the moment where she said, “Do it for me.” Much of who I am as a trainer is modelled after her. I have inherited from her generosity and courage to offer myself and my presence as the context in which the other grows. My dedicated, personal investment in my trainees is what I learnt from her. 

Indian TA Traineers