Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

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

Muthanna

K.S. Padmanabhan was a close friend of Muthiah’s and an associate in some of his pet projects. His wife, Chandra reminisces about it.

It is with a sad and heavy heart I am reminiscing about Paddu’s and my association with Muthiah, which existed for more than 4 decades. In 1975, my husband and I started the Madras branch of East West Books (Madras) Pvt. Ltd. and shifted base from Delhi. A few years earlier Muthiah also shifted to Chennai from Sri Lanka. Thus began our relationship as Publisher-Author, and above all a great friendship.

He wrote his first book – a thin version of the present edition, titled Madras Discovered, which sold for just Rs 10/-. The residents of the city loved it and Muthanna, as he was fondly known to me, decided to do more research. Madras Rediscovered was born! During the course of our association – East West published several books of his. Most popular among these were Madras Rediscovered, Madras Miscellany and a coffee table book Madras it’s Past and Present. Madras Rediscovered has run into several editions. In spite of his failing health, he brought out a revised edition, which was published last year under the East West imprint!

Sometime in the eighties Paddu and I, decided to bring out a magazine dedicated to reviewing books called The Indian Review of Books. Muthanna was also involved in this project.

In the early nineties both Paddu and Muthanna decided to start the Madras Book Club with the help of Mr. and Mrs. Kumar of the British Council. To this day it still functions!

A few months back my son, Gautam Padmanabhan, his wife and I visited Muthanna since he was ailing. He was full of new ideas for future books and promised Gautam to send manuscripts as soon as they were ready! He was an amazing person with a lot of zest. Despite several changes in the ownership of the publishing company – the author-publisher relationship continued.

Muthanna always said “everybody has a story in him” and encouraged everyone to write. When he started Madras Musings he gave me a cookery column called “Cooking with Chandra”. This led to my becoming a cookbook writer! He was always a source of great encouragement. For me and my family it is a great personal loss. He will always be remembered with love and admiration.

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