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Vol. XXX No. 6, July 1-15, 2020

Our Readers Write

Our website had quite a few comments, which we are publishing below:

P.G. Wodehouse writes to P.G. Sundararajan

(Vol. XXIX No. 24, April 1-15, 2020)

S. Venugopalan says: April 20th is the birthday of our beloved dad Chitti, so I consider this article a birthday gift for his 110th birthday from the magnificent Madras Musings! Nice article by Narasaih, thank you all!

P.V. Raghunathan says: I have closely known one of Chitti’s illustrious sons, S. Govindarajan (Govind to me and many others SG). Govind is as good as PGW in subtle humour and ready wit; now I know the genetic roots.

Meera Murti says: Great to know that Chitti’s finely penned article on Wodehousianhumour in his popular journal Marina earned the tribute ‘Most Excellent’ from the great PGW himself. He seems to have picked up quite a few tips from the hero in the Master’s novel Psmith Journalist – showcasing a talent for elegant language and innovative thinking! Suchitra is keeping the family tradition flourishing.

Maruthachalam K. says: Chitti brought out his amazing sense of humour in KeliyumPoliyum (Imitation is the best form of flattery). I came to know about the sagacious valet Jeeves and the talkative Psmith (characters of P.G.Wodehouse) only after speaking to him in the 1980’s at Besant Nagar.

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90+ and still going strong

(Vol. Vol. XXVII No. 6,July 1-15, 2017)

Greatly impressed by the encomiums paid to Dr. Tiruvengadam by several of the people who associated with him during their medical sojourn. Though I am not associated with him directly, I am totally convinced of his simplicity, methodical patient care and concern for the medical profession in general. I salute him with humility and adorn and emulate him in all respects as a medical professional.

– Dr. P. Jagadish Prasad

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Letters from our readers

Searching for SubramaniaIyer

I have been a regular reader of your newspaper. I am a chemical engineer and retired as the Jt. MD of TCP Ltd., Mylapore, Chennai. I am 82 years old myself, and I am writing to know more about my grandfather S. SubramaniaIyer! There have been many SubramaniaIyers. My grandfather was not the judge. He was junior to Norton. His juniors were V.V. Srinivasa Iyengar and Rajah Iyer. My father knew V.C. Gopalaratnam, V.V. Srinivasa Iyengar’s son in law.

My grandfather lived in 117, 118, 119 Big Street, Triplicane. He had the unique distinction of having a chariot with two pairs of black and white horses. I couldn’t get any further details. I will be thankful if some information is given from the Bar.


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Maya and yathaartham

This is with reference to the ‘Tailpiece’ of MMM’s column ‘Short ‘N’ Snappy in issue dated June 16-30, 2020. It appears MMM is not well acquainted with Indian philosophy, according to which ‘Appearance’ and ‘Reality’ are never the same. The appearance of any scene, which is what the sense organs perceive – the eyes see, ears hear, the nose smells etc. – is shrouded in maya. It is an illusion. The reality or the yathaartham is always different.

What MMM saw in the macrocosm of the office, with everyone wearing a mask and observing social distancing, was an illusion. MMM mistook it for reality as his senses were blinded by maya. Luckily for him, he could see the reality or the yathaartham of the situation, where people throw all caution to winds, in the microcosm of the dining room.

G. Ram Mohan
Flat 2B, Arihant Sri Narayana
Door nos. 33 & 35
Fourth Main Road, RA Puram
Chennai 600 028

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More on Prasanna

Prasanna was arguably the greatest Indian off-spinner. The master craftsman was peerless in his era in terms of flight, loop, aggression, and above all, guile. With Bedi, Chandra, and Venkat – Prasanna forged the famed Indian spin quartet that took shape under Pataudi’s excellent leadership skills which reached the pinnacle of glory under AjitWadekar. Said former Australian off-spinner, Ashley Mallett, “Technically I rate the little Indian off-spinner Prasanna a better bowler than Gibbs.” It is surprising that despite his superlative pedigree, Prasanna played only 49 Tests, in which he picked up 189 wickets.

Ranganathan Sivakumar
‘Kedhar’ Flats
Ground Floor, New No.14
Jothi Ramalingam Street
Madipakkam, Chennai 600 091

Corona & Couch Potato!

‘Stay home, stay safe’ is OK. But for how long? The first few days were experimental, as there was no need to go shopping as the Lady of the House did the task herself, but in these Corona times it has become tricky. As soon as you return with a loaded bag per the shopping list, she will add a few more items like groceries, vegetables or a sachet of milk.

The sarkar running our country has made it clear that if you don’t stay at home with assured safety, the long cane of the policeman will land on your you-know-where, scorching your wanderlust.

Fortunately, vegetables and fruits come calling at your doorstep with the vendor’s cry, powerful to wake up even the dead Corona victim. There is no social outing for weddings or any celebratory occasions, or even to leg it for the payment of bills, thanks to internet banking. Everyone is lying low, even relatives who habitually disturb you like an annoying fly.

But heaven help you if you are past 75, hypertensive, diabetic, or with cardiac complications, having undergone a bypass for triple vessel blocks. Your regimental wife, who takes the doctor’s word as gospel truth, will tower over your cringing figure, for you have to get up and leg it inside the 1,000 sqft flat itself. The walk you enjoyed early in the breezy morning under the canopy of lush green leaves, on which its feathery residents, the cuckoos, sparrows, parrots greet the world with their fluting and chirping calls, is now taboo as the Covid-19 virus could be lurking around. While you can march vigorously like a soldier in a parade ground in the great outdoors, such movement is simply not possible in a matchbox-like dwelling.

Inside the ‘matchbox,’ one cannot commence his walk without preparatory work. The furniture in the hall has to be shifted temporarily, tables and chairs pushed to a corner. Easily said than done. The furniture you took pride in for their heaviness when you bought them will remain rooted like the rock of Gibraltar. Some of them with sharp corners will go for your kneecaps or toes with vengeance, compelling you to scold them with choice abuses in colourful vocabulary, no doubt in sotto voce.

There is indeed one way out, unless you want to be a Harischandra who always spoke the truth, only the truth, and nothing but the truth. When your wife is out of your sight, you can claim to have done that day’s ‘walk’ and exercises. All that you will need will be a straight face. But, you will be cheating yourself.

by J.S. Raghavan

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  1. Ranganathan Sivakumar says:

    The article on ‘Manikodi’ magazine (July 1-15, 2020) by the eminent writer K.R.A. Narasiah made an interesting reading. Tamil literature is indeed deeply entrenched in Kumbakonam, a town that nurtured literary giants such as Thi. Janakiraman, Na. Pichamoorthy, and Ka.Na. Subramaniam. Many were closely associated with ‘Manikodi’, which was based in this town, and which marked the advent of a new chapter in Tamil literature in the 1930s. It soon became a platform for a number of creative writers to express their literary sensibilities. With their rich socio-ethical values, these writers churned out great humanistic works that captivated Tamil readers.

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