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Vol. XXIX No. 4, June 1-15, 2019

Memories of Muthiah and Madras Musings

(Continued from last fortnight)

Mr. Muthiah asked me to do pictures of an elderly volleyball coach, who was rather unknown in sports circles. His life was dedicated to volleyball coaching for young boys and girls and he had his base at Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium at Egmore. His evenings were spent coaching his wards near the tennis courts and to assist him were his equally elderly friends from his old volleyball days. He wore a white shirt and dhoti and his wards simply doted on him and his coaching methods. After a couple of hours of coaching, his deputies got down to boiling milk in a large cauldron and before his wards left for the day, they each drank a large tumbler of hot milk. His home was a warehouse – seriously filled with smelly sports goods – but it was still home for the senior coach. He told me he was largely ignored for the Dronacharya award for which he felt so let down. He was a Retd.inspector of Police and was a Sheriff at court during the Sarkaria commission trials.

* * *

The first all ladies Police station was inaugurated with much fanfare at Graemes Road police station and Mr. Muthiah asked me to talk to the lady inspector and take some photos. When I visited the Police station, I was shown to her office and the lady had not yet arrived. She soon turned up in a sari and after an exchange of pleasantries, some small talk ensued between the two of us. At some point I could see she was distracted and uneasy, and then half way through a question of mine, she cut me short and told me “Sir, can you please go outside, I have to change into my uniform!

* * *

Some students of a ladies college were embarking on a mountaineering expedition to the Everest base camp. An event was held at the college. Inaugurating the event was a popular Tamil movie star who came with an entourage of henchmen. He embarked on a lengthy speech in Tamil about mountaineering – of which he knew very little – and at the end of his speech, a student asked him for his advice on safety. To which the star most knowledgeably answered “when you girls are climbing up, don’t look down”. Seriously. How anyone did not go into splits with laughter was a mystery but the star was quite serious in his answer. The college Principal then spoke in English and while welcoming the said celebrity, made it clear that “the real celebrities this evening are the students on this dangerous mission”. The movie star did not quite know where to hide his face!

– V.S. Raghavan,

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