Thursday, March 23, 2017



WEDNESDAY, 22-03-2017

Vijaya and I left house by 3-45 PM in an UBER taxi for the koil. We reached there by 4-15 PM (Rs 145.00).

There was not any crowd and we had a good darshan of the Perumal at a close distance. After worshipping here, Thayar Vedavalli Sannidhi, Yoga Narasimhar, and Aandal Sannidhis, we came out. We walked to Bharatiyar Memorial, Sri Raghavendra Mutt on the TP Koil Street nearby.

Then we walked about 1/2 km on Thiruvallikkeni High Road, reached Rathna Café, and had their famous hot and tasty idlis with sambhar. 

Booked another Uber and returned home by 7 PM. (Rs 140.00).

A good outing, enjoyable.

Our previous visit to this temple was on 05 Jan 2015 with Arun and his family.



Sunday, November 6, 2016




A small obit advt in today’s (6th Nov) paper caught my eyes and took me back 15 years, to the time when my wife and I landed in Chennai in December 2001. That obit note was the remembrance of Haji Madharsha the owner and founder of a great cloth store. The name kindled many sweet memories of Purasaiwakkam, a beautiful locality.

We lived in Kilpauk first, halfway between Anna Nagar, and Purasaiwakkam. On the third side was the Poonamalee High road, another fabulous road. Also, Vepery was nearby. Having never been to this part of Chennai earlier, I was pleasantly surprised to see many roads named after English gentry.

Landons’ Road, Harleys Rd, Ormes Rd, Taylors’ Rd, Halls Rd, Strahans Rd, Waddle’s Rd, Kellys’ Rd, Barnaby Rd, Flowers’ Rd, Millers’ Rd, Balfour Rd, … the list continues.

Starting from our house at Aspiran Gardens, we come to Rajaji Vidhyashram, then proceed along Balfour road, come to the Kellys corner; the road on the left is the Purasaiwakkam High Road. with hundreds of shops on both sides including Abhirami multiplex and Abhirami Mall, it was a pleasurable window-shopping time.

Opposite this mall, there is Millers’ road that leads to Poonamalee High road near KMC hospital. Millers road cutting across the Purasaiwakkam high road leads to Perambur (29 C bus route).

Madharsha, the famous cloth store was at the other end of PH road. Our first purchase [and 70% purchases for my son’s marriage] was from this Madharsha only. An excellent cloth shop.

Next to Madharsha is the Welcome Hotel, one of the busiest restaurants in Chennai. Opposite to Madharsha, there is Vellala Street. RK Narayan and RK Laxman spent their life here in this road. The trimurthys of Tamil writing – Raa ki Rangarajan, Ja Raa Sundaresan, and PV Parthasarathy lived here. At the other end of Vellala St is an ancient, beautiful Sri Srinivasa Perumal  Koil.


Just opposite to Madharsha, there is a road leading to PH road at Dasaprakash. On this road is the famous Sri Gangadeeswarar Koil. The river Ganga flows from the head of Shiva here. The Amman Sri Pankajakshi is extremely divine beautiful. You will be going on seeing Her, forever, you won’t have a mind to take away your eyes from Her! காண கண் கோடி வேண்டும்.

If you go further away from Welcome Hotel, on your left is the busiest road – TANA Street, leading to Perambur. Tana Street, oh my, you get “a to z” traditional and modern things on this street. Right from vetrilai, paakku to 52” Samsung TV, from a Mouse Trap (I purchased one here) to the very latest iPhones – you name it, you will get it. A veritable shopping heaven.

Do not turn left to Tana St but go straight – you get the Doveton flyover and then after the flyover, VEPERY, and beyond that Poonamalee High Road, and Central Station.

We lived at Kilpauk for over 5 years and during this period we explored the whole of Kilpauk, Poonamalee High road, Purasaiwakkam, Kellys, Vepery, Chintamani, and Annanagar. We visited tens of dozens of koils here.

I LOVE Purasaiwakkam.

One small word in one small corner has triggered these nostalgic emotions.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Savithri - A tribute

SAVITHRI Srinivasan.

05-05-1943 --- 11-10-2016

SAVITHRI was born at Salem, Tamilnadu on 5th May 1943 as the seventh child of our parents’ Sri GR Subramania Iyer and Smt Sampoornam Ammal.

சுபானு வருஷம் சித்திரை மாசம், 22-ஆம் தேதி, 5 May 1943, புதன் கிழமை, சேலத்தில், பகல் 12:30க்கு, கிருத்திகை (2) நக்ஷத்திரத்தில் பிறப்பு.

After a few years there, our parents shifted to Pudupalayam, Cuddalore, where she started her schooling. She completed SSLC course (11th standard) from the Government Girls’ High School, Tirupapuliyur, in 1958-59. Then she learnt type writing and tailoring as a hobby.

She was married on 24 April 1966 at Tirupapuliyur to Sri SRINIVASAN. He was employed in a private firm at Salem and Savithri went to Salem. Their first son lived for just a few hours. Then her son RAMESH (Balakrishnan) was born on 3-9-1968 at Tirupapuliyur. When she conceived their second son, her husband Srinivasan suddenly died on 10 June 1970 of a heart attack at the age of 31!!

After this irreparable loss in her young age – she was just 27 then – she came to Tirupapuliyur to live with our parents. On 1st of October 1970, the child was born. A son, he was named as Ganesh.

Savithri, and her two young children started living under the great care of our parents. Their every need was duly met by our parents in spite of their own economic hardship. The two children were brilliant in their studies, and Ramesh completed his Engineering Diploma course from Ramakrishna Mission, Chennai. Ganesh completed his BE (computer science) degree from Annamalai University. It is humanly impossible to fathom the hardships Savithri had faced and endured in those years. Our parents’ deep affection to Savithri and the kids, the unselfish financial support of our brothers and sisters made it possible and truly I am proud of our parents and my brothers, sisters. Both Ramesh and Ganesh secured good jobs and the wheel of fortune turned for better days for Savithri.

During the final few years of life, our mother became bed-ridden and it was Savithri who took the highest care of our mother. Our mother passed away on 3rd July 1983, at the age of 74. Our father then started having health problems and it was Savithri again who took utmost care of him. He passed away on 15th September 1986, at the age of 88. From 1980 to 1988, for nearly nine years, Savithri served them unselfishly and untiringly.

When she started living with our parents in 1970, Anna (GS Ramachandran) also lived there and anna’s children Rama was 13, Vasu 10, Sridhar 7, Usha 5, Srikanth 3, Ravi and Bama just 1, Sundaresan’s son Suresh was 4, Sudhakar 1. For every one of them, Savithri was THE Aththai. The affection and love between them was mutual and solid. Prakash was just 2, Uma was 7 and Bala 5. My marriage was in 1971 and those of Mangalam, Sugavanam, and Jayaraman were much later. So, Srividya, Arun, Satya, Sudhan, Ashok, Sudha, Balan, Arvind, Vijay, Subha, Priya, Poornima joined much later to call Savithri their Aththai or Chithi or Periyamma. Then came Santosh and others to call her Paati. To each and every one she was a beloved Aththai / Chiththi / Periyamma / Paati. They loved her and she loved them.

After our parents passed away, we decided to sell off our house and we did it in 1993.

House Sale, 17 Babu Rao St, 1993

That time Ramesh had got a job at Hosur, and Savithri left Cuddalore after 50 odd years and started her Hosur life. Ganesh had a job at Delhi. In 1996, Ramesh got married and in 1998 Ganesh got married. Ramesh purchased a house at Hosur and a few years later he changed job and went to Indore and Lucknow. Ganesh also changed job and went to US. Savithri thus started living alone in Hosur.

While in Hosur, she engaged and immersed herself in aanmikam, doing Seva in koils, parayanams of Sri Vishnu Sahasra namam, Srimad Bhagavatam, Narayaneeyam,  and many others. She visited hundreds of temples in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra, Kerala. She joined many Sath Sangams in Hosur and she used to prepare Prasadams in bulk for these Poojas. Her house, B 44/5, TNHB quarters, Bagalur Road, Hosur became a hub for such aanmikam functions and was a bee-hive of activities. Every day of the year, she used to participate in these activities.

Ramesh was blessed with a son (Karthik) on 21 Sep 1997 and the 2nd son (Vasanth) on 08 Sep 2003.

On 4th May 2003, she celebrated her 60th birthday at Chennai. She came to Jayaraman’s house at Vadapalani and all of us in Chennai joined her. Food was brought from Saravana Bhavan. We, brothers gifted her a nice sari. In the evening we went to the Murugan koil, and pulled the Golden Chariot.

On 5th May 2004, she went to US and stayed with Ganesh and Sridevi. It was the only time she had been abroad. And, she returned from US all alone!

She and her mandali friends used to celebrate the Sri Rama Navami for 9 days every year, with Pooja, bhajan etc. We two attended on year, on 27 March 2007.

On 21st Jan 2008, she went to Hyderabad with Mangalam and Gopi and visited many koils in AP.

She had a highly wonderful helping nature and she visited our many relatives for helping them during need.

Then in the month of April 2008, the illness struck: 21 April to 12 July 2008.

On Monday, 21st April 2008, we got a call from Savithri that she has a white patch inside her mouth and as per Ganesh advice, she underwent a biopsy at Jayanagar, Bangalore on 29th April. Dr Kumaraswamy performed it. Ashok collected the repost on 3rd May – “suggestive of verrucous carcinoma” (in other words, suspected cancer!” All of us were scared. On 7th May, we two went to Saveetha Hospital near Poonamalee, Chennai with the biopsy report and met Dr Muthu Sekar there. After discussions, the doctors opined that it may not be carcinoma at all. To apply Candid cream for Candidiasis; Savithri applied cream; she, Ramesh came to Chennai and we went to Saveetha hosp to show Savithri; the doctors there have almost ruled out carcinoma, “maybe a fungal problem.” We were all relieved.

On 19th May we all went to Saveetha (4th visit) and met Dr Muthu Sekar who asked us to continue the ointment. We went again on 23 May (5th visit) – just to continue the ointment. Relieved, Savithri returned to Hosur and came back on 8th June 2008. We three went to Saveetha (6th) on 9th June and met Dr Muthu Sekar. He found no improvement and he suggested surgery. Prelim tests like blood, ECG were taken and the surgery fixed for 12th June. Tests like X-ray were done on 10th June (7th visit). We went again on 11th June (8th visit) but the doctor told her BP is too high and the surgery is to be postponed to 16th. On 16th also it remained high, and the surgery was postponed to 27th June. Savithri went back to Hosur and returned on 26th June.

We went to Saveetha on 27th (10th visit) with Savithri, ECHO was taken at Sri Ramachandra Hosp and later she was admitted in Saveetha at 2-15PM. Room No 303. We two stayed for the night at Saveetha. The surgery was posted for 1st July. We two went home, and Jayaraman, Ramesh, and Sugavanam looked after her one after the other. We two returned on Monday June 30th with food and remained with Savithri. Moulds were taken. Tuesday 1st July was THE day for the surgery and God, how it turned out to be!

Savithri was taken to the Operation Theatre at 8-45. Saroja and Athimber came with lunch. As the operation was in progress, suddenly at 10 AM, the situation became tense, Savithri’s pulse was getting lower and by 11.30 it was as low as 30. At 12-45, she was rushed in an ambulance to Sri Ramachandra for first aid and we all followed. SRMC is about 4 km from Saveetha. I called for Sugavanam and Jayaraman. Savithri’s condition improved slowly and by 6-45 PM she was stable and transferred to ICU. Mangalam, Gopi, Lalita, Kumar, Ganesh (from Bangalore), and Ashok came. By night she was shifted to another ICU. What was thought to be a simple 30 minutes’ procedure, turned out to be a shocker! God’s grace.

Savithri was in SRMC for 10 days; Ramesh, Ganesh, Sridevi took care of her. Savithri was discharged at 6-30 PM on 9th July 2008 and we took her to our home (Karpagam Avenue). Viji, Karthik, Vasanth came from Lucknow.

Savithri and Ganesh left our house and Chennai on the night of Saturday, 12 July 2008 by Bangalore Mail. Viji and children left for Lucknow on 15 July.

Thus, ended her first battle with cancer. Then she resumed her normal life with no hint of earlier sufferings.

On 10 February 2010, she went to Guruvayur temple with two of her friends. She had written the entire NARAYANEEYAM (1034 slokas in all) in a notebook, along with meanings. She had written over 400 pages. What an epic work!

She had a small Poojas at her house in Hosur on 23 November 2010. For Puttabarti Sri Satya Saibaba. Over 35 women were invited. She arranged everything single handedly for the Poojas, and prepared prasadams all by herself. 93 laddus, 108 Milagu Vadais, Sakkarai Pongal were prepared by her. About 10 persons ate lunch after the poojai – we two attended it.
Poojai at Savithri's House, Hosur, 23 Nov 2010

She had planned for the celebration of Upanayanam for both Karthik and Vasanth, sons of Ramesh. She started the activities by Nov 2010, arranged everything, purchases made, people invited. The function was grandly celebrated for two days on 12th and 13th February 2011, at Chennai. It was another feather in her cap.
Upanayanam, Chennai, 13 Feb 2011

Upanayanam, Karthik and Vasanth, 13 Feb 2011

Velukkudi Sri Krishnan Swamigal visited Hosur in 2011 for his upanyaasam; Savithri and her friends wished to invite him to their Bhakta Mandali. Not sure if he would accept their invite, they started their preparations. It was a hectic job and Savithri had a major share in the arduous work. They approached him hesitantly and invited him. He accepted! More work followed. She used to work for 5 – 6 hours nonstop at the place. On the appointed day, he came and blessed them. When requested to speak a few words, he said he preferred listening to their chanting of Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam. They chanted and he listened attentively. That was on 26 March 2011, a memorable day for Savithri.

Savithri went along with 40 of her bhajan group to Mathura, in UP on 19 February 2012 and stayed there twenty days till 10 March.

Then she went to Puttabarthi Sri Saibaba koil on 14 April 2012.

During January 2013, I expressed a desire to visit Pathakota, a small village 40 km from Hosur, where a very ancient Sri Rama koil is located on the banks of river Pennaiyaru. She took us there on 26 January 2013. Later we and Savithri have visited this beautiful place three more times.
At Pathakota Sri Rama Temple

She celebrated her 70th birthday at Hosur with a religious fervor on 11 May 2013. I and my family attended; it was a grand celebration. Mangalam and family, Sudhakar and 30 friends of Savithri attended it.

70th Birthday at HOSUR 11 May 2013

On 12 June 2013, she came to Salem to join me and Vijaya and attended the marriage of Subhashni, d/o Ramesh and Yoga.
Salem Marriage 12 June 2013

On 25th February 2014, Sita w/o Sundaram anna expired and Savithri joined us and Mangalam and we went to Gavarapattu on the 10th day to pay our espects.
At Gavarapattu 25 Feb 2014

On 27 Nov 2014, she vacated her own house and shifted to a rented house,
 a more comfortable living space. She lived in this house for just one and half years.
 At the New House, 27 November 2014

On 1 May 2015, she came to Coimbatore and attended the marriage of Satish - Aparnah Sree (son of Rama)
At Coimbatore, Satish marriage, 1 May 2015

She vacated the rented house on 3 May 2016 and shifted to Nolambur, Chennai.

In the middle of this, the dreaded disease showed its ugly face again for the second time after nearly 7 years.

On 31st October 2015, she found a sore in her mouth and she came to Chennai for a biopsy. It was taken at Kauvery hospital, Alwarpet on 18th  Nov, and a CT scan on 28th and was diagnosed as CARCINOMA on 11th December 2015. Meanwhile Ganesh arrived on 7th Dec from US. Doctors told CHEMO therapy and Radiation therapy would be done for Savithri.

On December 18, 2015, the first sitting of Chemo started at Kumaran hospital, Poonamalee High Road, and the first Radiation started on December 21 at Billroth hospital on the Southern end of PH road. Six sittings of Radiation and three of chemo were completed by end of 2015.

2016 broke, and on 5th January Ganesh and Sridevi returned to US. Chemo and Radiation continued. On 18th January, Sridhar, Usha, Gopal, Bama went to Nolambur and saw Savithri. On 20th January, Ashok, Neeraja, Arun, Gayathri went. On 22nd January, Vasu, Raji went. We two visited her at the hospital every week.

On 3rd February 2016, the final sitting of Chemo was done at Kumaran hospital, but six Radiation was pending. On 12th February, she became very ill, was admitted in Kumaran and treated for two days.

From 16th to 22nd February, Pattu Manni was at Savithri’s house, Nolambur.

Despite Chemo and Radiation, the mouth sores grew and grew, it was reviewed at Kumaran hospital on 6th March 2016. The doctors opined “surgery” is the only recourse. But her advanced age and poor health will not bear surgery.

On 30th March, she consulted a Naturopath and continued his treatment till June 2016. No improvement. During June – September, the mouth sores increased. Her condition became worse slowly – no speaking, just liquid diet only.

Ganesh came again in August; a care-taker woman was appointed,

After the death of our brother Sugavanam on 27th August, she became more critical. She came to our house on 7th August, and that was the last and final visit. We two and Pattu Manni visited her on 11th September and this was our final visit.

AND, on Tuesday, 11th October 2016, at 1-15 PM, our sister SAVITHRI passed away.

துர்முகி வருஷம்   புரட்டாசி மாதம் 25-ஆம் தேதி, செவ்வாய்க்கிழமை,   (11-10-2016)   தக்ஷிணாயனம்,  வருஷ ருது, பாத்ரபத மாசம், சுக்ல தஸமி, திருவோண நக்ஷத்திரம் பகல் 1-15க்கு சென்னையில் மரணம்.

We went to Nolambur immediately and stayed there till the cremation. Ganesh and

Sridevi came on the early hours of 13th October from US, and the cremation was done at Villiwakkam at 12:20 noon on 13-10-2016. Besides Ramesh, Ganesh and their families, we two, Mangalam, Gopi, Jayaraman, Ashok, Prakash went to the crematorium.

Saroja had returned from London that morning and she came, Kalyani, Poornima,, Sudhan, Yogameenakshi, Arvind, Krithika, Gayathri, Sudha, Vijayaraghavan, Sarada mami, Priya, and many relatives of Srinivasan came on 13th [ Subha, Magesh, Rajesh, Priya came on 11th itself ]

Ramesh and Ganesh started the Karyams from 9th day (19th October) at Savithri theertham at Ambattur. The 10th day karyam and 11th and 12th days karyam were performed here.

The Grekkiam (Subasyam) was done on 23rd October 2016 at the Nolambur house.

------------------------------ #### ------------------------------