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Vol. XXVII No. 3, May 16-31, 2017

Our Readers Write

Memories stirred

Was pleased to read that “Cooum now has a good guide that none of our other rivers have!” (MM, March 16th, 2017).

‘Chitti’ Sundararajan and T. Janakiraman’s Nadandai Vazhi Kaveri, a brilliant bit of Tamil non-fiction crossed my mind, and I remembered having feverishly read it as a high-school student in Madras several years ago.

This book excited me by its brilliant notes on the sociocultural aspects of Kaveri and the civilisation(s) it nurtured from Thalai-k-Kaveri to Kaveri-poom-pattinam over millennia.

– A. Raman

IIT green canopy

I used to cycle on the roads of IIT-M in 1979. I zipped through the winding, curving roads with glee on my Blue BSA-SLR. One day, I came upon a side-path, past Gajendra Circle; and, following an adventurous instinct, came upon an ancient Shiva temple. Therein resided a picturesque character – an intense forceful, lithe man called Ranganathan Yogi. His devil-may-care attitude and trait of speaking his mind attracted me. I began to materially support him – within my limited means.

The Shiva temple had a 3-plus feet tall cylindrical stone lingam. Its name, Adipureeshwarar, was on the lintel. There was a living Vilva tree (Aegle marmelos) at the back. Provision for water from a tap was made years later. Adjacent to the main deity was a 5-armed elephant-trunked Pillaiyar. There was an asbestos roof overhead.

Sometimes, when I went early, I saw a plenty of Avifauna in this area: Forest Wagtail, Paradise Flycatchers, White-breasted Waterhen, Ruddy Crake, Purple Moorhen and so on. I could also hear the call of a Magpie Robin pair, a Pied Bushchat, and, rarely, a lone Golden Oriole. I once, many years later, saw a large mongoose on the ground. There used to be an eerie aura of silence and stillness most of the time, in the temple precincts.

I began to regularly visit the IIT campus during the early 1980s – basically for the exercise, but sometimes to see the Yogi and converse.

The priest claimed that the temple to the Mother Goddess Durga Peeli Amman, originated as a spontaneous amorphous stone idol, 500-plus years ago.

The temple has been developed now, with mosaic tiling and priced tickets for each ritual. However, may be due to the passing of time and increasing number of people or the campus, or because I have matured differently, I no longer have the feeling of sanctity when I visit this spot within the IIT campus.

– K. Karunanidhi

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