Deepavali @Shenbagam happens to be a great festival to enjoy with a sumptuous lunch served in style in Vazha Ilai!
It was fun watching Enterprising Senior Citizens entertaining with an innovative drama, தேன் கூடு!
My memories go back in time of the Happy days with my adorable Father. As the most important person of Ramnad, scores of students, Teachers and Ramanatha Sethupathi,his student, will come to take his blessings!
But none wd know the great man, their beloved, Teacher, is wearing the old Khadar Veshti!
I came for Deepavali as a IInd year Engg student in 63, noticed this!
I just cdn’t stand this. I tried to go and get a new Khadi Dhoti and kurtha but the only place where you get Khadi Vastralaya was closed on Deepavali eve. Assuming that the Vastralaya manager must definitely be an old student of my father, went to his house.
He was nice enough to come and helped me with a condition “for my master, I wdn’t take money!”
Next day Deepavali day.. I thought I wd surprise him with new Clothes.
He refused to wear it..
I asked him ‘why?’
He said ‘you go to Vivekananda Hostel. All inmates including your classmates Karmegam and Mayalagu, they are just surviving with single meals a day, leave alone new clothes.I just don’t fefeel like wearing this. Go and return this to the Vastralaya! ”
My father had started a Vivekananda Hostel in 1950 where poor students from near by villages cd stay free, grow vegetables in the garden, cook and eat and get free education in Rajah’s High School. (please read my blogs on Karmegam n Mayalagu too)
From that day I never celebrated Deepavali with new clothes. After 74 when my father passed away, me n Sarasa used to visit Udavumkarangal on Deepavali Day!
After a few Years on my return to Chennai from Nigeria, the first thing I did was to build a block in my Father’s Name in Hindu Mission Hospital, Tambaram :
It is very very difficult to forget such a man, who was very powerful to even get a Government order passed, within a few hours, as every CM from Kamaraj, Bakthavatsalam, Annadurai, and Karunanidhi had so much regards for his honesty and untiring efforts for the downtrodden. He used to go only by Train and a Jutka till his last breath..
Thats why even after 41 yrs of his passing away his old students from NASA TO London congregate in Ramnad to pay their respects for him atleast once a year!
God must be thanked that I happen to be the son of such a Great Man!