My life in ChennaiDecember 24, 2006 at 11:15 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
My student days in The Kellett High School were not very eventful and one day was almost like the other, except that I kept being promoted from the 9th Class to the 10th and eventually to the 11th which was the last year of study in a schools then. We had to do a Pre-University Course for one year to get qualified to apply for undergraduate courses.
That was when I tried to get a seat in the Polytechnic for which I was supposed to produce a document called the nativity or community certificate – I don’t remember what it was called -and being very inexperienced and shy, I could not obtain the certificate and so had to think of joining some Arts Course. As it was too late to apply in Chennai Colleges, I applied for and got a seat in The Pachaiappa’s College in Kanchipuram. This was a one-year course then. We boys stayed in an elderly Iyengar couple’s house on the Varadaraja Perumal Sannadi Street, and if I remember correctly, C.N. Annadurai’s house was somewhere nearby.
Again my performance was just average and I got through the examination to be able to apply for undergraduate courses. My days in Kanchipuram are remarkable only for my frequent visits to the Kamakshi Temple, Varadarajaperumal temple, and to movies infrequently. I remember our Tamil Lecturer was Ma. Ki. Dasarathan, who was perhaps an active D.M.K. Party Member, who also held some political office during D.M.K. regime of C.N. Annadurai’s ministry. Dasarathan was a good Tamil scholar and I think he was scripting songs or movie dialogues. or so.
One really lasting habit I picked up during my Pre-University days was smoking which stuck with me throughout my life. My late wife used to call cigarette as my first wife. I shudder to think how callous I had been, and never underastood her misgivings.
I was such a greenhorn that I could not even get someone’s advice to choose the subject I could opt for my graduation and I settled for History. I studied a strange combination of subjects for my graduation. History was my Major paper, Physics and Astronomy were Minor subjects, and Philosophy and Geography were my anciliary subjects. I had some lasting interest in Philosophy, Geography and Astronomy throughout my life.
I had my own bicycle and I rode to College daily. I used to go to the Marina Beach every evening, sit on the sands gazing at the darkening sea and at the stars and the moon. The sea is the eastern border for Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal. Marina Beach is famed to be the second longest beach. My cousin and I sometimes come to the beach together.
Those days, my Madurai friend Sankaranarayanan was living in Washermenpet. Sundays I used to walk from my house along the beach road, traverse the whole length upto the Reserve Bank, cross over to Parry’s Corner, strike out past Custom House, Clive Battery, cross the railway lines and enter Cemetary Road and reach my friend’s house.
I usually spent the whole day in his house, eating lunch and evening snacks with him, and both of us would wend our way back via Chepauk Beach, sit in the beach for sometime and when it starts to get really dark, part company and leave for our respective houses.
Once I, my cousin Ramaswamy and a good friend Gurumoorthy started on our bikes and followed the South Beach Road intending to ride the whole distance to Mahabalipuram. We got tired of pedalling against the wind, and when we came to Thirukazhikunram, we left our bicycles in the Police Station premises there and took a bus to Mahabalipuram, spent sometime there, had something to eat, and returned to take our bikes and rode our tired way back home. That was really tiring, I tell you.