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Vol. XXIX No. 2, May 1-15, 2019

A father figure and mentor

– V.V. Ramanan - Deputy Sports Editor (The Hindu) and Madras Musings quiz master since 1993

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Mr. Muthiah along with Sriram V and Ramanan during one of the Madras Week Celebrations.

I was introduced to Mr. Muthiah, in the latter half of 1980s, by my father Vembu Iyer, when the former had to come visiting at my dad’s workplace (he was the head of OUP in Chennai/South India). After getting to know about my passion for quizzing, he asked some questions on geography, sports and Madras. Needless to say, I answered more of the questions in the first two categories than the one on the wonderful southern metropolis. But it kick-started a great hero-worship of him and the urge to learn more about the city which continues to the day. Years later as his student at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, he was always a positive critic of my writing efforts and was taken aback when I chose to be on The Hindu Sports Desk rather than be on the field. Always a regular at many quizzes that I attended (or conducted), he asked me to take the baton from Dr. Navin Jayakumar in 1993 and pen the quiz column in Madras Musings….an assignment that I do with enthusiasm to this day! Initially he used to correct (and gently admonish) me if I got some Madras funda wrong or asked too trivial a question but never did he once get angry. ‘Muthu’ (as appa knew him) was a family well-wisher till the end…I will surely miss the genial yet strict father-figure, guide and mentor and a quiz fan!

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