Life Journal

Life Journal: Korattur Days – 5

Continued from Part 5

Unpleasant Memories

16. I knew something was wrong that day. Mom was serving me breakfast but she was crying. Dad was busy going in and out of the house. Those were days when even telephones were scarce. And, telegrams were used to send urgent messages. I realized later that my grandmother (mother’s mother) had expired in Trichy. However, I have no recollection of subsequent events – the travel to Trichy, the funeral or other related events.

17. Cricket was the only game played in the area those days. I remember pestering dad to get me a cricket bat. After the pleading, the day finally came when dad promised to get me a bat on his way back home from work. Even after more than 30 years, I remember the wait distinctly. And he came home late in the evening. He didn’t have a cricket bat. He said he couldn’t find one. Instead he bought me a set of TT rackets. The disappointment was too much for me. I wouldn’t be pacified. He finally got me a cricket bat later. While I don’t remember what I did with the bat or how I played with it after that, memories of the ‘evening of disappointment’ have remained with me.

My son is today about the same age that I was during the above incident. That scares me. It means now he has reached a stage where he will be able to record memories of events and replay them. I wish he has more positive memories than negative. I wish he is filled with memories of happiness, joy, satisfaction and love, as opposed to those of anxiety or disappointment. But then, that all depends on me and what environment we bring him up in. Hoping we don’t falter.

18. Remember my school to be located quite a distance from home. It was a long walk to school and back. Or so it appeared to me. Troubled mom some days to carry me on my way back from school. She would struggle while doing that but did that anyway.

To be continued …..

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Life Journal: Korattur Days – 4

Continued from Part 4

Childhood is generally associated with innocence. Some fond memories when you look back. Here are a few funny incidents while I was at Korattur:

13. Like everywhere else in India, Cricket was the most popular sport in our locality too. However, there were not many kids of my age group [and those that were there were also mostly girls!]. That meant I was always playing with guys who were a lot older than me. And that in turn meant I was mostly a ball boy!

14. I used to watch cricket matches with all those older boys. I don’t remember watching any ODIs while at Korattur. It was all mostly Test matches. And all those times, I had a great doubt. I felt embarrassed to even ask anyone about it. I had a feeling that maybe it was a stupid doubt, and I would be made fun of if I asked anyone about it. My doubt was this – when a batsman gets out, he walks out, and a new batsman walks in. That’s it. He alone walks out. Then why is it that when a batsman named ‘All’ gets out [that’s what I understood when everyone said All Out], everyone walks out of the ground? Why is that guy ‘All’ so special? I don’t remember when exactly I figured this out. But glad that I didn’t ask anyone this doubt!

15. There were times when dad used to leave me and mom alone and go on work related out-station trips. I was very young then – around 4-5 years old, and me and mom used to sleep in our neighbouring house for safety. During such times, Mom used to wake up early and head back home. Being young, I used to sleep till the sun was up very brightly, and most times I would be woken up by the servant maid who came to clean the room. She derived some pleasure in teasing me for sleeping late, and I used to head home very angry. And my neighbours used to have a good laugh watching all this!

To be continued …..

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Life Journal: Korattur Days – 3

Continued from Part 3


10. Childhood is rarely complete without a dog-bite. I had my share while at Korattur. Clearly remember going to the Kilpauk periodically, to get the anti-rabies injunction. During one such visit I came across an accident victim. I did not see him, could not see him. He was inside a Pallavan Transport bus, with a huge crowd surrounding the bus. He kept screaming in agony. Must have been 30 years ago, but I still distinctly remember it. Time has erased from my memory the noise of that scream, but not the impressions of pain that it voiced.

11. I also suffered a freakish accident. One day while being taken to school on a cycle, I somehow managed to get my leg between the spokes of the rear wheel. I feel down from the cycle, and was dragged a distance because my leg was still stuck up in the wheel. I remember dad being angry with the guy who was taking me to school. He was staying in our house, but was not related to us. He was probably son or relative of someone known to us, and new to Chennai and so was staying with us. Anyway, that was the last I remember of him.

12. Electric Shock – had that too while at Korattur. And no clue how it happened. I was playing with a few other kids on the terrace of a neighboring house when I strayed and somehow came in contact with a wire close to a Television antenna. I remember spending the rest of the day at home lying on the bed. I became an object of curiosity for the colony people for rest of the day, with everyone I know and even some people whom I didn’t know coming to visit us and enquire about the mishap. But the incident blessed me with a scar that I have been marking for identification purposes in all my records since. 🙂

To be continued …..

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Life Journal: Korattur Days – 2

Continued from Part 2

4. The house that we lived in had 2 portions. One big, one small. The bigger one had access to the terrace. I remember we lived in both. The house had numerous steps at the entrance and there was a huge open space in front. We used to sit outside, on the steps in the evening.

5. As the colony was then being newly developed, there used to be a lot of vacant plots. There would also be many plots where construction activity was ongoing. During rains, the whole area would be flooded and look like a swamp, with a few houses for islands. Exciting setting for children like me – to play with paper boats and other ‘water’ games.

6. I had very few friends there. One name I remember is ‘Poplu’. Sure now that it was his nickname. Never got to know his real name though. Very few friends.

7. I remember my cousins visiting me at Korattur during weekends and vacations.

8. I also remember visiting my relatives at Ambattur. That was by train, and had to walk a bit from Ambattur railway station to their house.

9. Scattered houses in an isolated colony is an attractive invitation to robbers. No surprise then that robbers once targeted a house in our colony. The one at the edge of the colony and close to the railway track. It was sensational then, and valuables were reported stolen. I got to see sniffer dogs live in action for the first time. Don’t know if the robbery was ever solved.

To be continued …..

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Life Journal: Korattur Days – 1

Continued from Part 1

My earliest recollections of my life are the period that I spent in Korattur, Chennai, sometime till 1982 (up to age 6). I believe that prior to Korattur, we had also spent some time at Madurai, Trivandrum, and Trichy, but I have no recollection of them.

At Korattur, we lived in an independent house in a colony close to the railway station. It was a colony still under development, so there were plenty of open plots and one  construction activity or the other was always happening.

Here are a few recollections that I have of my Korattur days:

  1. I studied at the Vivekananda School, from LKG up to 1st standard. I remember the school to be a long walk from home. I also recollect the school to be having thatched sheds sheltering the class rooms.
  2. There was an old house near the school, where we used to have lunch. Mom used to bring lunch for me. The house would be crowded with many students of my age and their mothers feeding them. The house was inhabited, but I don’t remember seeing any member of the house even once.
  3. While I have no recollection of my teachers, the name ‘Vaidehi Miss’ sounds familiar. I do remember that I had a friend. Often during holidays, he would come over to our house, and I would go to his. I vaguely recollect his name to be Venkat, but I am not sure.

To be continued …..

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Life Journal: Introduction

I always view my life before 1991 in 4 phases:

  1. Korattur days
  2. Perambur – 1
  3. Perambur -2
  4. Malk days

Post-1991, life has been too chaotic and hectic for me to organize.

I feel many, mixed emotions looking back at the journey so far. Amazement, happiness, disappointment, sorrow and shame. And it all culminates into a sense of wonder, gratitude and guilt.

The more I look at life, the more I realize that all humans are fundamentally the same. With similar wishes, desires, ambitions and limitations. And that at dying hours, the moments that we would cherish the most are the ones that we would not care to dwell upon in our day to day lives.

I would like to test the above assumptions by sharing my life’s journey with you. In this series, I want to take you through some memorable and unforgettable, few ordinary and ignorable, some happy and some not so happy, moments of my life so far. Some lessons that I learnt, some lessons that I ignored, some rewards that I received, and some penalties that I paid.

I am hopeful that you would be able to connect to some portions of my life, to some events or happenings. May be similar events or happenings in your life, similar set of emotions, similar roller coasters. Or may be not.

And are you most likely, in your death bed, to recollect such similar events from your life, or would be held up wondering about the challenges that are occupying your mind now?

Please let me know. I will be glad to hear.

To be continued …..

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