coverpage-1 | Tamil Nadu | Railway


Biography of an Octogenarian by R SANTHANAKRISHNAN
w i th co n tr ib u tions fr om fri ends an d fa mi ly


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Introduction ................................................................................................................... 4 A look at his life .............................................................................................................. 5
Birth & Parentage ........................................................................................................................... 5 Education ....................................................................................................................................... 5 Early Career & Marriage ................................................................................................................... 6 Life with the Railways ...................................................................................................................... 8 Retirement and Last days .............................................................................................................. 12

Our memories ...............................................................................................................14
As a Husband ............................................................................................................................... 14 As a Father ................................................................................................................................... 15 As an Uncle .................................................................................................................................. 27 As a Grandfather ........................................................................................................................... 35 As a Friend and Well-wisher.............................................................................................................38

A leaf from his diary .....................................................................................................44

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The quest to express love and gratitude to one‟s own father & mother for having given birth to us, brought us up and made us what we are today, is always there in most of us. It is more so when the parents are no longer with us especially when we had failed to express it to them when they were alive. In the same lines, I was languishing quietly for many years with deep sorrowful thoughts of my inability to offer them help with anything significant. It is immeasurable to think of how much our parents had suffered and sacrificed in bringing us up in this world, educated us, got us married, helped us settle down in comfort with our own life and inculcated high moral, spiritual and intellectual values of life. This unique bringing up of all 9 children and most of the 20 grand

children and perhaps a couple of great grand children, during his life span of 86 years is really admirable and adorable. T.R.Nair was born in 1909 and 2009 was the year when he would have been 100 years - his Birth Centenary Year. It was then I had a deep desire of bringing out a Biography of my father T.R.Nair. I tried to collect information from all my siblings, relatives, friends, admirers & people with whom he had connections in some way or other. I have put in the best possible effort to recollect various places and contact distant relatives and friends for their share of memories. I humbly dedicate this biography to my beloved mother, sisters, brothers, cousins, nephews and nieces who expressed their joy and approval at this idea of my bringing out this biography and for their contributions of sweet memories of him. I hope they get a glimpse of the selfless living style of my father and the values of the life with which he lived. Any shortfall or mistakes, omissions and commissions in this biography may kindly be forgiven but pointed out to me to correct in a second edition if necessary. If any further interesting episodes or contributions on him are available, they are welcome and shall be acknowledged with gratitude. I pray that my father TR Nair remains in our memory all the time and guides all of us in the righteous way throughout our life. My humble Pranams to my beloved father and to my mother Srimathi Bhargavi Amma. -

R Santhanakrishnan

Contact +91 98422 50422 E-mail:

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Birth & Parentage
Sri T. R. Nair (Thottankara Ramanathan Nair) was born in Kerala in the year 1909, more than a century ago. It was in 1909 when Morley-Minto Reforms or the Indian Councils Act of 1909 began, which effectively allowed the election of Indians to the various legislative councils in India for the first time and paved way for the Independence of the country in 1947. His parents were Sri P.A.Subramania Iyer (also called Sri Doraisami Iyer) and Kalyanikutty Amma. He had one elder brother, Sri Damodharan Nair, and one younger brother, Sri Sundaram Nair. He also had three elder sisters Visalakshi Amma, Rasam Amma and Dakshayini, a younger sister. His father was a priest in Ceylon (present Sri Lanka) in the famous Kathir Kamam Murugan Temple. We learn that on returning from Ceylon, Mr. Subrmania Iyer married Kalyanikutty Amma and started their family.. The whole family was living in Pallasena, a village near Palakkad, Kerala in a house called “South Madam” somewhere near Puthan Kavu and Pazhaya Kavu - both famous for their beautiful temples and big temple tanks. They have great annual temple festivals and night long plays like “Kanniyar Kali”, a native dance and music in front of the deity, mostly depicting God‟s various stories. During these festivals those people who have gone away from the village for work and settled elsewhere come and participate in the festival and the dance. This is only allowed for the “Desakkar” or the people born in Pallasena.

“Chinnappan”, as he was called in his younger days, had his schooling in Raja‟s High School, Kollengode, in Palakkad District. The school belonged to the Maharaja of Kollengode and was considered prestigious since many stalwarts of those days had studied and went on to become great people. They later occupied very important positions in the Government and private sectors. Since his father Mr. Subramania Iyer was going to the Maharaja‟s Palace quite often, he requested the Maharaja for a scholarship or waiver of the school fees for his son which he could not pay. It was granted and T.R. Nair could pursue the studies.

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He finished his schooling by passing the S.S.L.C. Examination (Secondary Schooling Leaving Certificate) with very good marks at a very early age. He was very strong in English &

Mathematics. As college education was a dream those days, he could not pursue his further college studies. He learnt typewriting and shorthand and passed both the Lower and Higher

Examinations, which were some of the basic qualifications in those days next to a BA degree in History, English or Mathematics.

Early Career & Marriage
On observing T.R.Nair‟s smartness and proficiency in English, the Kollengode Maharaja Shri Vasudevaraja, who was living in Kovilagam, a big beautiful palace, asked him to give tuition to his daughter Gowry Amma. He became the active, dynamic lovable boy of Kovilagam among the Maharaja, Maharani, their family and other staff. He had his apprenticeship as Stenographer and worked as a Personal Assistant with Raja Sir Vasudeva Raja Kt., C.I.E who was member of the Privy Council of British India in Delhi back then. In those days Vasudeva Raja‟s brother Sri Unni Thamban was working in South Indian Railways. Subsequently, Sri T.R.Nair was recommended to a clerk‟s post (a very great boon on those days) in the South Indian Railways. He joined as a „Camp Clerk‟ to a Divisional Operating Superintendent (DOS), a British Officer in the pre independence period for a salary of Rs.25/- per month (Just Rupees Twenty Five only). He has often narrated how he suffered and struggled to understand the English language spoken by those British Officers especially when the officer was giving a dictation and he was expected to take notes in shorthand, type the letters in a typewriter and show it to the officer for correction and signature. Initially, when he did not understand the words of the dictation due to the British Pronunciation, he used to say “Beg your pardon”, “Excuse me Sir” or “Sorry, I couldn‟t get it”. Though the British Officer was willing to repeat the words or sentences that he couldn‟t understand, it was repeated again with the same accent and the understanding did not get any better. Further when a stage came that his boss would get annoyed of repeating the same words again and again, he started using a technique of substituting his own words as per the situations, but very carefully. To meet these challenges, he needed to do a lot of preparation of learning a great deal of English words, their meaning, and of course sharpening his grammar which he always loved. An English Dictionary was his constant companion.

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Soon he picked up the knack of the British style and pronunciation of English and with the help of the dictionary he developed a good vocabulary, the correct pronunciation with all the detonation and punches of the language. Yet, whenever he could not understand the dictated words or sentences, he substituted suitable words of his own depending on the situations and submitted the letters for signature. Many times, the boss was surprised and astonished to find that some of the words and sentences of the typed letters were not dictated by him but still conveyed the essence and meaning of the matter, and sometimes even worded in a better way. Naturally, he got words of appreciation and soon earned a good name, ”Smart camp clerk”, and he was one to be always asked to go with the boss during camps, or the official tours. When he was giving Tuition to Vasudeva Raja‟s daughter, Sri Padmanabha Menon (of

Puthanveedu) who was working there as Vasudeva Raja‟s Driver, (who later became the Manager – Karyasthan of the Themmala forest lands) considered him an eligible bachelor and proposed his sister Bhargavi (Kalyani Amma‟s daughter) for marriage. And thus the marriage or Shri T.R.Nair and Smt. Bhargavi Amma took place in December 1935. The first daughter Saroja was born in the year 1937 and they had totally 10 children (one lived only for short while), six girls and four boys born in various places. i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii. viii. ix. x. Saroja Sreedharan Dr.Sundari G Gopinath Sakunthala Prabakaran Vasantha (lived only short while) R.Santhanakrishnan Saraswathi YRK Menon R.Swaminathan Sethulakshmi Unni R.Sivakumar R.Sadasivan

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Life with the Railways
At Shoranur, & Tiruchirapalli
He was working in Shoranur as Station Master when he introduced the procedure of displaying the Trains‟ arrival and departure through Notice Boards in the Railway Stations, for the first time in the Railways. From there he was transferred to Tiruchirapalli. The first three daughters Saroja, Sundari and Sakunthala were born at Kollengode Pazhaya Tharavattu Veedu. The fourth child was also a girl Vasantha who died when she was a year and a half. The fifth child was a boy, Santhanakrishnan, born in Tiruchirapalli. It was at this place that the children had lot of ailments and often suffered from illnesses.

At Thanjavur
Father was then transferred to Thanjavur and we had a big house with a large compound where there was a lovely vegetable and flower garden. At Thanjavur, Saroja and Sundari learnt dance and music and even performed at the Malyalee Club at Trichirapalli. When we were living at Thanjavur, Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead and his ashes were taken in a special train to Rameswaram. Father took the family to the Railway station and my sisters witnessed it. I had the start of my schooling at Thanjavur in an elementary school near the Railway station (“Thinnai Pallikoodam” in Tamil). One of those days, Swami Sivananda Saraswathi Maharishi had come from Rishikesh, Himalayas and father accompanied him to Sethu Samudhram

(Rameshwaram). It was during then that Sethulakshmi was born and that is how she got that name. We had a cow called Lakshmi who gave milk for our daily use. Father used to teach Malayalam to Saroja and Sundari to enable them to read “Ramyanam” every day night before they sleep. Thula Kaveri (during Thulam Month) was very famous and auspicious and the whole family often went to the Kaveri River and took bath there. The famous actors and dancers, Lalitha & Padmini came to Thanjavur for a dance programme and we all went to watch.. Father‟s mother (grandmother) was also with us. Together we used to go to the Kaveri River to take bath and then go to the Thanjavur Bragatheeswarar temple (the famous Siva temple with biggest Nandhi) to offer our prayers. We recollect seeing Sarawathi Mahal and Raja‟s palace. My sister Saroja remembers seeing Darbar Hall and the writings and paintings on the Darbar hall ceiling. It had also inscriptions about many historical events, like Tippu Sultan‟s coming and escape of the king‟s family through tunnel, war predictions and several other details like torture & capital punishments.

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At Mayavaram
From Thanjavur he was transferred to Mayavaram, (present Mayilaudurai). My second brother Sivakumar was born here. The Railway bungalow was very large and had very big compound. There were two big Maramalli trees with thousands of while long lily-like flower. During fall season, all the flowers would fall down and the whole ground would give an appearance of a white carpet. Once there was a big storm and heavy rain and the big Maramalli tree and another big Vaga tree fell down. Many of the house tiles flew away and the whole house except the central hall was leaking. Sri Padmanabha Menon (Papamama) and Kunju kutty Amma arrived there on the stormy day and we all huddled together in a small room which was not leaking. The Railway Bungalow was in front of the Railway Station and we had to cross a few railway lines to go to our house. On any children‟s birthdays, we would have crackers on the Railway lines. These crackers were of a special type. They were tied down to the rails and small steam engines were made to run over them bursting the crackers and making a loud noise, thus entertaining us, which no one can imagine these days. These were called Rail Crackers.

At Shencottah
From Mayavaram father was transferred to Shencottah, near Thenkasi and Courtallam. My last brother Sadasivan was born there. Every Sunday, mother and I used to go to Courtallam which was a few kilometers away. The bus fare was just 4 Annas. We would take a small bottle of Gingili oil, go there apply the whole thing on the head and stand below the great Courtallam Falls. When we come out of the falls we would be really refreshed and the whole hair would be dry without any trace of oil. We also go to the Eintharuvi (Five Falls) nearby. We would visit the temples and then return home. My two elder sisters Saroja and Sundari passed their SSLC examination at Shencottah. Father bought two big Rose wood trees purchased on Auction (that was all mountain and forest areas) and made a number of furniture like a dining table, cots, almirahs, double reading desks and Double Chairs. All these furniture are still in good condition at Sivasadan, Chandra Nagar, Palakkad in good condition even after 55 years. We also used to go to the nearby Aryankavu station where a famous Ayyaappa Temple is situated. There is a long Railway tunnel almost one KM long on the Shencottah-Punalur Section, and near Punalur there was also an old famous Hanging Bridge.

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At Pollachi

From Shencottach, father was transferred to Pollachi. Sundari was admitted in the at Visalakshi Womens‟ college Udumalpet and put in the hostel there and I had my schooling from Third Form to Sixth Form i.e equivalent to the present 8th, 9th, 10th & 11th Std. and I passed the SSLC examination. Till then there was an Exam called ESSLC, at the Third Form (8th Std). Later the ESSLC exam was removed. During the school days I received presents from Thiru Kamaraj and Thiru Mahalingam for Tamil literature competitions. At Pollachi, there was a big Market (Pollachi Chandhai) on every Thursday. The first marriage in the family, of my eldest sister Saroja was conducted with Mr.Sreedharan, s/o Sri Padmanabha Menon at Kollengode in very grand manner. Father had his Railway Jurisdiction from Salem to Madurai and Shoranur, which included Palani also. We often went to Palani with father in his Railway Saloon (a small separate compartment) attached at the end of the regular passenger train. In all the stations, the Station master and other station officials would come there to wish him, arrange for food and fruits among other things. It was a great moment of pride for all children.

At Madras (present Chennai)
Mr. T.R.Nair was promoted as ATS - Assistant Traffic Superintendent and transferred to Madras (present Chennai) as the Class I officer grade in 1960. I remember him telling that it was when he first reached the four digit salary of 1000 Rupees and above. We had our Railway quarters by the side of the Railway Flyover bridge at the end of the Police Office commissioner‟s office road. It was a big house. Later we shifted to another house in the Railway colony called Gopal Swamy Nagar in Chetput. In 1960, accompanied by my father I attended an interview for admission to the Guindy Engineering College, after my Pre University course at Govt. Victoria College, Palghat. We were asked to go to Kerala as they found from my father‟s name that we were Malayalees. Those days there was animosity against Malyalees in Tamil Nadu, especially in Madras. In the same manner for the same reason my sister Sundari was also denied a Medical college seat in Madras. These days they welcome people from Kerala for all the Engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu.

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At Rajmundry, Guntakkal
He served as a Divisional Safety Officer in Rajmundry & Guntakkal for short periods. Once in Rajmundry, he was conducting an enquiry in a Railway court and on that day there was no one available to type the proceedings in the typewriter (No computers yet!). As he had to finish the case the same day, he asked for the typewriter to be brought to him and started to type out the whole proceedings without even seeing the keys and that too very fast. People surrounded him and were astonished to see his immediate decision and the fast manner in which he typed out and finished the whole case.

At Mysore
He was promoted as Divisional Operating Superintendent and posted at Mysore. There he lived only in the Railway Saloon parked near the Railway Station denying the very big bungalow offered to him. The family was then living in Palghat at Chandranagar. It was a very big opportunity and challenge for him as a Senior Divisional Manager. The Divisional Office at Mysore, was a very big office and he had a large room royally furnished in the older British style. Even Bangalore Station then was in the Mysore division, under his control. The very first day when father took charge was an interesting experience and it was one of his memorable days, as he described. When he went there punctually at 9 a.m., he was surprised that there were very few people in the office at that time. He went round the various departments and other office rooms. As he already knew the various offices and their staff strengths, he expected most of them to be in the office around that 9 a.m. Even by 9.30 a.m. he saw only one quarter of the strength and even those who had come, were reading news papers and chatting with others. He immediately called all the Heads of departments and warned them that all their staff should be there at their seats at the start of the office time or else they would be issued with memos followed by further actions if needed. Things began to improve slightly though not very well. Then father learnt that in Karnataka, people are normally lazy and very slow in their action and much improvement cannot be achieved. Here I would like to recall my experience way back in 1970-72 in West Germany (present Germany) of watching the employees in companies like Siemens, Philips, HP etc. Five minutes before the start of the office, everyone would occupy their seats and sit calmly and start the work exactly at the start time 8 a.m. on the office clock. Once, mother and I had the opportunity to go Mysore on holidays and stay with him. We lived in the Railway Saloon where father stayed. It is a great experience to live and travel in such a saloon,

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perhaps better than some of the present day Rajdhani Express compartments. It had a beautifully decorated hall with soft couches with tea tables and colourful chandeliers, a carpet, a good double bed room, a dining hall, a room for PA- Personal Assistant, a kitchen, servants room, posh toilets, fans etc(no AC - Air Conditioning on those days). Needless to say there were half a dozen people to serve us any time at our beck and call.

At Olavakkot (present Palakkad)
He was last transferred to his Home town Olavakkode and served as Divisional Commercial Superintendent till his retirement in June 1967. He started as a Camp Clerk to the Divisional Operating superintendent at the start of his career and was promoted as Divisional Operating Superintendent (DOS) and occupied the same position of his first British Boss; a real achievement on those days. He retired from Olavakkode where two marriages were conducted for my sisters Sakunthala with Mr. Prabhakaran and Dr. Sundari with Dr. Gopinath Menon.

Retirement and Last days
After retirement from Railways, he worked at FACT, Cochin for two years and at Travancore Titanium Products, Trivandrum. Every weekend he traveled to Palghat by bus and returned to Trivandrum by Sunday evening. It is amazing to think of the hard work, struggles and sacrifices he had suffered alone, after retirement, to get the young children educated, married and settled. After retirement he was very active as President of the Railway Pensioners‟ organizations and was instrumental in bringing out the concept of “Senior Citizen”, which was later used everywhere. He was the Editor of the Railway Pensioners National Digest for four years and was awarded the title of “Pensioners‟ Bandhu” at the Constitution Club, New Delhi in 1988. His two passions were Commitment to each action and Hospitality- Love & Affection towards guests. Through his life and all his activities people looked at him with great pride and respect. He maintained these two passions throughout his life. Perfection was his byword and he insisted this with everybody he worked with.

Travels around the world
To Malaysia & Singapore

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Father and mother took their maiden flight abroad to Malaysia and to Singapore in 1981. Mr. C.P.N.Menon was there to receive him and they visited many places there. He also made some good friends there. To West Germany, United States & Canada: In 1988 father and mother made their visit to the West, to West Germany (present Germany) where Sarasu and family live and saw many places there. From there they went to the United States of America. There they stayed with my cousins and visited many places. They also went to Canada and visited Swami Vishnu Devananda and his Ashramam. Vasu had taken a video of

Chinnamama and Ammaye (how they call my parents) and recorded a conversation about his visits and how they enjoyed the US trip. (Links to this video can be found in the internet version).

His Love for Gardening
He always loved to give and share mangos from our garden with our guests, children and grand children whenever they come to Sivasadan at Chandranagar. There was no time of the year when there were no mangoes in Sivasadan. During the mango season, there were many varieties and he sorted cleaned and ripened them by covering them in hay & gunny bags. Once they are ripe he would distribute them to everyone. It was a great sight to see him peeling the mangos artistically, peeling with a pen knife from the top of the mango to the bottom, spirally, at one stretch in one stroke. It was a mastery of art that he enjoyed every time. He would then cut them into pieces and make everyone taste and give their opinion on it. There were Banganapalli, Salem, Neduchala and a few other types and he could recognize them by tasting a single piece through experience, interest and a fairly good knowledge about the variety.

Final Days
He had a minor fall at Coimbatore at the Saibaba temple and sustained a fracture neck at the hip. He was hospitalized and prosthetic surgery was done and he was brought home. He hallucinated for a few days, developed urinary tract infection and expired on the 5th week of his accident. Except Sadhu all of his 9 children were by his side. He had a peaceful death on 13th May 1995. Every year all his children gather at Sivasadan and celebrate his death anniversary.

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As a Husband
Smt. Bhargavi Amma, as his wife, is not alive to comment on him. However, their first and second daughter Smt. Saroja Sreedharan and Dr.Sundari G Menon were ready to give this account as their mother felt. TR Nair and Smt. Bhargavi Amma were married in 1935, lived a life of love, affection and spirituality. They helped every one, feeding many, were warm benevolent hosts to friends, guests, Swamijis and many other visitors. They were a loving couple and celebrated their 25th Wedding anniversary in 1960 and 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1985. They were often praised by learned Swamijis as “Karmayogis”. He would sometimes get angry and shout at mother but soon the anger would melt away. They always discussed things together. They would always go together to social functions like marriages, house warming ceremonies, birthdays and other religious functions. As children we still do remember, that on those days, whenever they attend any marriages, they would bless the couple with one Gold Sovereign coin (8 Gms) as their marriage present. When he retired and he was getting a pension of only Rs 2200, there was a great earthquake in Latur, Maharashtra and thousands of people perished under the buildings and damages. There was an appeal for help and father immediately sent his full one month‟s pension amount of Rs. 2,200 to the PM‟s Earth Quake Fund as his contribution. At that time he still had children who had not completed their education. Mother was of a very adjustable type, a very patient life partner for all of father‟s activities. He was always humorous, kind and helping. There were always guests in the house in addition to the 9 children. Anyone coming to our house was fed and no one would return without having some food. Sometimes it was difficult for mother to manage cooking and household duties as a housewife especially when there was no cook or servant for help. Father used to get angry at her for minor setbacks and she started complaining to the children towards the end. As a mother, she was very loving and affectionate with all children. Apart from feeding all the children, we recall that white Mill cloth was sometimes bought in bulk. The tailor would be summoned to the house and the dresses were stitched for all children. All children were made to take oil bath twice a week on Wednesday and Saturday. Once a year all the children were given a laxative (Kadukka – a bitter country medicine seed powdered and mixed in curd with some

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jaggery for sweetening the tongue). She would even check and keep an account who many time each one us would empty our bowls to confirm its effectiveness. Invariably every day morning breakfast was Idly and Chutney- the famous South Indian delicacy. As children we got bored of this every day and would anxiously look for some change - Dosa or Poori Masal. Once in a way she would make Mysore Pak, one of her specialties and we all would enjoy it. Father also would at times joins mother in the kitchen especially when making ”Uppuma” (as children we called it –Salt Mango Tree-) or Pal Payasam during Birthdays or functions.

As a Father
From Dr Sundari G . Menon
“Unity is strength, if divided fall is certain” “DIN- Do It Now” Dad‟s words from our Gurudev Swami Sivandanda.

I always respect and follow these two rules of life from my Dad. I could feel our parents‟ love throughout my childhood in several ways. When I was 11 years old at Tanjore, there was a cow called “Lakshmi” in our Railway Quarters and we used to get plenty of cow‟s milk which we would all drink. Mr. Padmanabhan (a Railway employee & his family) lived in our “Out House”. He taught us Basic Malayalam as our second language in school was Tamil. Because of this strong foundation, we could all speak good Malayalam, our Mathrubasha, even in a public meeting. In 1948- when I was 9 years old, I remember the train carrying the ashes of our great Mahatma Gandhi. In 1950 – Swami Sivananda was brought to Tanjore in the train when our Dad was the Traffic Inspector. But due to his ill health Swamiji could not get out of the train. Dad took all of us to the First Class and I still remember that I could touch the lotus feet of Swami Sivananda who gave us the Japamala and a fruit. Mother was full term with her 8th pregnancy and delivered my last sister after her Rameswaram visit. And hence her name “Sethulakshmi” signifying the Sethu Samudhram dip and the goddess.

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At Mayavaram, Dad used to cultivate a variety of vegetables at our Railway Quarters courtyard. We used to pluck different vegetables and distribute to our neighbours, showing the magnanimity of our dad. One day we had heavy rain and storm and the tile roof of our quarters had flown away. We the children had to huddle together in a small room “Aripathayam” (a store room) as the entire house was full of water. Saroja Chechi recalls that on that day Pappamama and Kunjikutty Ammayee came from Kollengode and we all had a tough time together with leaking house and heavy rain. Another day when we were going to school on the opposite side of the road, we saw an old lady tied to a pillar and barking like a dog. Out of curiosity we too crossed the road and saw the lady‟s pathetic condition as she was bitten by a mad dog. It was a case of “Hydrophobia” in medical terminology. Till date, when they develop symptoms like this, they usually die and there is no treatment for this. It is this incident that provoked me to become a doctor in the future. Our dad loved all his children and took all of us to several temples and festivals in South India. He used to conduct Bhajans with a Harmonium at our Pooja Room whenever he was at home and all of us had to sing together. He purchased a big Rosewood log and made useful furniture like Cots, Dressing Table, Almerrah, Chairs, Study Tables, stools. When father was a Traffic Inspector at Shoranur, his fourth girl child Vasantha died of double Pneumonia when she was 1 ½ years. I can still remember the dead body of a girl put in a box and taken to the cemetery in a cycle. Mother used to say that when I was 1 ½ years old, I had 3 boils in my head, neck and upper chest. When father returned from the office, he consulted with an astrologer, who said that out of the three daughters, the 2nd one (myself) was in danger. He was extremely upset and took me to a doctor. Luckily it was an abscess which was incised and drained completely and bandaged around my neck, upper chest and head. By God‟s grace, I could survive those things at that age. Father purchased 25 cents of land for Rs.15/cent at Chandra Nagar, Palghat (present Palakkad) in 1956. Taking a loan of Rs.12,000/- from bank, he constructed the present “Sivasadan”,18, Chandra Nagar in 1959. The house warming was celebrated in March 1959 end. I had just finished my B.Sc. Zoology final exam from Victoria College, Palghat and I invited all my classmates for that function. There was no electricity and water at that time. While staying at that house, I got two admission cards- one for MBBS Course and the other for M.Sc. Zoology. Dad asked me which one I preferred. I chose MBBS only, reminded of the goal made during my school days. There wasn‟t any doctor in

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our family or among our relatives. That decision made me a Doctor, a Professor in Medicine and even now after retirement I am still working in hospitals and serving the needy. Our neighbour Late Capt. Balagangadhara Menon, who was the Municipal Commissioner at Calicut, was very close to us and was helpful in getting my admission even though I was in the merit list. I also got married when I was in the 4th year to my teacher in Opthalmology Dr.T.Gopinatha Menon in 1963 May 24th at Guruvayur temple. Later my husband told me that the proposal was brought through Mr. Balagangadhara Menon. It was love at first sight. He had made enquiries about me- whether I was Brahmin girl, about my family, character, etc, through my hostel warden Dr. Essi D Saroon, a Jewish Girl. She gave him a positive reply and showed him the green signal. Dad was in a very tight financial state as he had just conducted his 3rd daughter‟s marriage, Sakunthala with Mr. Prabhakaran on 19th Feb 1963. Yet, within three months my marriage took place at Guruvayur temple. He left everything to Lord Guruvayurappan. I had 10 soverigns of gold with me for which money was borrowed from his friends. Soon after my marriage to my own teacher, I had to shift to his house from the hostel. He was an RMO (Residential Medical Officer) at that time. We both used to go in a Cycle Riksha to the hospital at 7.50 a.m. every day. We had a happy married life. He was not only my husband, he was my mentor, philosopher, guide and my guru in all respects. I delivered my first son Sethu at Calicut Medical College on 25th May 1964. Dr. Gopi was promoted as Asst. Professor and transferred to Kottayam Medical College. I too joined him as Tutor in Infectious Diseases. Parents used to visit Kottayam and stay with us for a few days. We used to take them to several temples in and around Kottayam. Dad was very proud of my husband as he was liked by everybody because of his loving nature and sincere character and the fact that a lot of patients would consult him for treatment. Dad lost his 5th son-in-law Mr. Unni in 1991 due to an advanced pancreatic cancer. In 1994 the biggest shock for him was the death of my husband Dr. Gopinathan due to a heart attack. He could not tolerate these two separations. What to do? Death always follows everybody as a Shadow. One or the other hand , each one of us has to face it. When I became Professor & Head of Department of Medicines and transferred back to Kottayam, I was little bit nervous. Father had given me good advice about how to carry out my routine work, how to organize a meeting and how to talk in meetings. As per his advice, the matter of the subject should be minimum and there should be a lot of stories connected to it with one or two slokaas from Bhagavatham or Bhagavath Geetha.

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This practice always clicked in my career. Now I can boldly talk on the stage and keep the audience spell bound during my lectures. He retired as a DCS (Divisional Commercial Superintendent) from Olavakkot at his 58th year and for a few months he was in a depressed state. Then he was appointed as a Superintendent of Transportation at FACT Ambalamedu by one of his close friends Mr. Pius Joseph,in the Railways. He had to arrange and coordinate transporting big machineries from Calcutta to Cochin by the meter guage train, which he could do very easily. After that he had been appointed as a Liason Officer in Tranvancore Titanium Products, at Trivandrum. He used to stay there in a hostel, and once in 2/3 weeks he travelled by the Fast passenger train from Trivandrum to Palghat through Kottayam. I had the pleasure of carrying his noon lunch in a tiffin box which he loved to eat. Last year 8 of us had a pilgrimage to various temple at Tamil Nadu where we used to live with our loving parents. Dad was very active till his 86th year. I always remember our parents and get their blessings before doing any work. My Pranams to my Dad.

From Santhanakrishnan
Father was somewhat a Terror but he was always very busy and highly disciplined. He would scold us if we did mischief, did not study well, got poor marks or did not obeying him. When we were in school, a cane was always kept ready for punishing the children. This cane was called “Chural” and the beating with that was called “Chural Pazham” – as the beaten place in the body would swell and turn red in colour. We were also ready to show our hands to get the beatings when we did some mischief or get poor marks in the school exams. Every evening we had Bhajans at home by 6- 6.30pm for atleast one hour. All children had to join and sing bajan songs in the Pooja Room. After the bhajan, we had to study and were asked to read loud. He loved all children and educated everyone. He took all of us to many places and visited many temples in South India. Those days there were no other places for visiting or for entertainment for common man. He was a great disciplinarian and commanded great respect in the office and with friends. On those days, he used to wear a British Pith Hat and go to office (perhaps copied from the Britishers). He would walk very briskly and fast with his head raised. Everyone in the railway station would salute him with great respect. On seeing this we used to wonder and were very proud of our

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father. We always had the great opportunity of travelling in First Class by Railway train anywhere in India. During our School Holidays, we would often go to our native place Kollengode and Pallasena or other temple towns like Trichirapally, Tanjore, Tiruchendur, Kumbakonam etc.. It was always interesting to travel with all brothers and sisters as a small crowd and railway porters used to help in carrying our luggage and sometimes even the smaller children.. They would also do all the odd jobs in our Railway quarters, watering the garden, taking the small children to school, getting vegetables, etc - some of the privileges in those days. He used to motivate us and test our knowledge in mathematics, general observation, and alertness. He would suddenly ask us questions like the height of a building you saw in front of you, the height of a mountain nearby, size of a room, the approximate number of people gathered in a function, the temperature, the capacity of a water tank, the speed of a train, the length of time you hear the sound of a steam engine when it passes you or when it approaches you from a distance, or how you would manage two trains crossing in a railway station coming in opposite directions. In those days there were no double track; but still there were no head on collisions. The general knowledge he inculcated in us was never taught in the schools and neither did we, as children, care to think of it. Once when we were in Mayavaram (present Mayiladudurai), I was studying in the 2nd class (standard), he was doing some office work at home. As usual my first sister Saroja was assisting him for all his requirements. Whenever he summoned her, she would bring the odd things he needed like the pen, pencil, his spectacles etc., at times without even asking for it. As a small boy of 4 or 5, I would watch this and wonder how she knew what exactly father wanted without him telling her. I went to father and asked him how she knew and brought him exactly what he wanted. Immediately he told me secretly in my ears without her hearing “Bring a glass of water and let us test if she can do that”. I ran at once to the kitchen to fetch a glass of water for him. But by then, my sister learnt it (God knows how!) and she also hurried to kitchen and brought it before I reached with my glass of water, much to my disappointment. Well that was the intelligence and shrewdness my sister had even in those days. Another time, after we finished our evening prayer and bhajan, we dispersed. On seeing the fire or the light in the “Nilavilakku” (a brass oil lamp with naked flame kept on the floor), I was a bit fascinated and had a desire for a small adventure. I wanted to test how a paper would burn and see if it would catch fire. There was no one there. So I picked some courage, took a piece of paper and showed to the Nilavilakku fire. It caught fire immediately and of course due to the intense heat

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I dropped it. Just below the table where the light and photos were kept, all the old newspapers were stacked. Immediately, the bundle of newspapers also caught fire and I got scared and ran out shouting. My sisters and parents came and dowsed the fire with buckets of water and the investigation was conducted and I told the truth. When father came to beat me, my sister Saroja protected me from our father‟s wrath. These things at my 5th year are still green in my memory.

From Swaminathan
His helping nature: During his long career in Railways, he helped many people in different ways- in getting confirmed hard-to-get Railway seat reservations (No internet booking), getting jobs in Railways for deserving people and even settling some personal problems. One such person is Mr. Rajan (who recently celebrated his Sashtiapthapurthi, the 80th year). He was so much attached to our family. He was given a job in the Railways and in gratitude for he named his children also Santhanakrishnan and Sakunthala like us. His son Santhanakrishnan was helped in getting a job in IIT, Madras by my brother Santhanakrishnan and now he is the Assistant Security Officer there. Even today his family members maintain the relationship and show their gratitude. His Straightforwardness: During our stay in the Railway quarters at Olavakkot, once father returned from the usual tour. Late in the evening two persons came to meet him carrying a big basket full of fruits. They wanted to show their gratitude for the help they received from him. Father told them to take back the fruits and leave the place. Some other day when we all were travelling in a train and reached home, we found another basket full of fruits at home brought by the porters, obviously left by some such people who did not dare to handover the fruits directly to father. His Friends: Father had a number of friends in his circle not only from Railways from all quarters. When he visited Madras (present Chennai) every year, the main agenda would be only “visiting his friends”. He would never fail to send a variety of mangoes nicely packed in a basket to me and ask me to distribute them among his close friends. He would not get satisfied until he got their acknowledgement or some feedback from them after the receipt of the mangoes. Once he asked my brother to send two dozen mangoes to Seoul, in Korea to one his friends who was the Indian Ambassador there. My brother had a very tough time in getting the various formalities from the Government, Customs, necessary certificate for the concerned authorities, air worthy suitable packing and sending them by air. After a great struggle this mango basket was sent and was received by the recipient though a few mangoes got over ripe and damaged.

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Anxious Moments: On one of their visits to Madras, both father and mother went out to visit some friends and returned by bus. It was late in the evening, almost dark and they had to cut across a few streets to reach my flat at Besant Nagar, Chennai. Father in his usual style walked fast and mother was trailing behind him walking slowly. He reached home without mother. Mother did not know the house address or the correct way back home. Obviously she missed father and panicked, walking in different directions. When I didn‟t see mother back home with father, I took my scooter and was heading to the bus stand looking for her. She had lost the way and was strolling in some streets nearby asking everyone on the way “Sami anoo da?” meaning “Are you Sami!”. I heard the mother‟s voice feebly, drove towards her and jumped out of my scooter and embraced her. I had to console her a lot for the grief of being left alone. From then onwards father was more careful whenever he travelled with mother. Onnu Parayada Achanodu!; During our vacation days, mother told me that father was shouting at her unnecessarily for no reasons. She was telling me “Nee Onnu Parayada Achanodu – Ennodu Veruthe Deshiapadaruthe Ennu”. Picking a little bit of courage, I asked father about this. He said that it was only just gimmicks; “Athokke Oru Thamashayanu Ennu”. After that there were no complaints from her. His stay in the Hospital: Father was admitted for a Hip joint surgery. During the Post surgery, a lot of visitors would come to the hospital to see him. He was very particular to note the number of visitors and their details every day. As I was not aware of this, he instructed me to do the same. The next day onwards, a visitors‟ book was maintained. Even for weddings, he prepared a clear list of all family members, friends and relatives with details of children, sex and age for sending the invitation and would predict the exact total number of guests coming for the marriage. After the marriage ceremony, he would patiently check the list and to our surprise, the difference in the number predicted and actually come would be just one or two and that was his meticulous preparation and nature of working on all matters throughout his life. Forethought of the End: One day father fell unconscious. Mother immediately phoned up Kittamama and CPN uncle who rushed in. When he regained his consciousness after some time, he pointed his finger towards the phone stand where a sealed cover was kept. He asked them to get the cover and open it. Inside there was his photograph, his profile in brief and a sum of about Rs. 3000/-. He said that after his death, the money could be used for his cremation and this was narrated by mother. His foresightedness: We were very fortunate to celebrate his 86th birthday in a quiet way as he was already bedridden on a Friday and the very next day evening his soul departed. Lots of people

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had gathered to bid him the final farewell. Some of our family members told us later that on Friday, the previous day, father had told them that “by tomorrow this time I might not be there”. Later we noticed that the good old pendulum clock had struck and stopped at the same time of his final departure around 9.30 pm. For the subsequent years the mango trees did not yield any fruits, perhaps grieving in his absence. Towards his end he often repeated that he had a full Life and was ready to go to Lord Guruvayurappa any time.

From Sivakumar
I am glad to pen few lines for the biography of Mr.T.R.Nair. I recall my fond memories of him with reverence and with a sense of pride that I am born to him. I have great respect and admiration for what he was and for the family values he instilled in me to be a good human being. I would not have been what I am today, had it not been for his influence in every phase of my life. My mother used to say, our father would not give a hug or sing a lullaby for his children when they were small, and thereby I missed the wonderful experience of the warmth and joy of one‟s own father‟s caring. It was left to my beloved mother, Bhargavi Amma, to care for me and express all parental love that I deserved as toddler and growing child. Still, as I grew up, I began to love him and adore him as my father as his character had such an influence on me. I soon learnt that his very principled life was really shaping my own life pattern and his devotion to one of the greatest saints and holy guru, Shri Swami Sivananda had left a beneficial influence and guidance in my own life. My father would gather all family members every evening for spiritual satsang at least for an hour and conduct bhajans and sing holy songs. No doubt this had created a spiritual fervor in each of the children. His rendering of popular compositions in carnatic and bhajan style created a spiritual atmosphere in the evening for the entire family that we felt the Gods and Godesses lived with us in our house. He did this unfailingly every day. And what better way than this to guide our minds to the righteous path! His unfailing devotion to Sivananda Swamiji enabled us, the children to learn and understand Swamiji and his teachings and practice it in life. Our father was very active in the working for the “Divine Life Society” founded by Swami Sivanandaji, to guide all human beings towards an

enlightened life. Father had shared with us his personal enriching experiences with Swamiji and his greatest disciple Shri Vishnudevananda, the village boy and his classmate from Kollengode. He

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had preserved many a letter personally written by Swami Sivananda to him and had proudly shown them to me. I recall my father as a self made man. After completing his school education, through his association with the Raja‟s Palace in Kollengode, he joined the Railways under the British at the very young age of 18. He went on to serve for the next forty years and reached the top echelon of Railway administration at division level and made a mark of his own. Beginning as camp clerk to the British officials, father himself had narrated how difficult it was to work with English bosses, taking dictations from them, whose pronunciation of words could not be heard or grasped properly most of the time and how he was worried and embarrassed to take the typed letters to the bosses! However it turned to be his greatest learning experiences that he soon mastered the language from the very masters and I could see it reflected in the very many letters he had written to me . As a straight forward officer with great responsibility shouldered on him, TR was popular amongst his colleagues and subordinates. TR was also short tempered by nature! He was known to be a tough task master in office. However his immediate subordinates had only good words to say of him. His work had taken him and family to places, so much so we all started loving to travel. Even with a big family, our father cared to give each of us a very good life and I for one, grew up in such secured comfortable environs those times as he was holding important positions of authority that entitled him to many central government benefits. I loved Railways and for long did not think of life beyond Railways! What lovely Railway bungalows we lived in, at various locations and Railway divisions my father had worked in! How can I forget the large bungalow in Madras beneath the Egmore bridge in the City, where I started my primary schooling and the palatial bungalow in Olavakkod, with its beautiful rose gardens and lovely tendered lawns! Nor can I forget the most enjoyable journey with father and a few other family members in his beautiful railway saloon coach to Mysore some time in 60‟s. He took us for the famous Mysore Dusserah celebrations, with himself adorning the royal dress and getting seated close to the Maharajah to witness the celebrations that were being staged. It was a wonderful experience and a lovely sight of the illuminated palace, an experience to behold! Even with a large family, my father was very conscious of his responsibility and took care in giving education to each of his children within his means. And when I got admission to Regional Engineering College at Trichy, a top class institution, my securing a scholarship which would pay for my tuition fees as well as my hostel & mess fees continuously for five years of course duration, gave him the much needed relief, financially. I felt glad that I for one need not be a burden on his hard earned income.

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Our father was farsighted, when he decided to build a house of our own, as early as mid fifties, as he wanted to make us all secure and comfortable in our own home, in anticipation of his retirement from services few years down the line. His association and involvement with few well known public figures of Palakkad helped to form first co-operative Housing Society in Chandranagar. By luck, the choicest plot of land was bagged by him, where his dream took shape, in the form of a lovely „tharavad‟ house “Siva Sadan” some time in 1959, and the family moved in as the first resident in the new colony of Chandranagar. Siva Sadan had since blossomed into the full fledged tharavad of TR family with children, grand children and great grand children gathering for every family occasion or marriage, Golden jubilee wedding anniversary of beloved parents, birthdays, onam or vishu festivals or simple family get togethers. All visitors and guests were personally shown around the house by my father with a sense of pride and achievement. They would be led to the house courtyard to show the huge mango trees and other saplings he had planted and grown in the compound. It is a sense of great satisfaction to me that his long felt desire (as well as of my loving mother) to expand and modify SivaSadan with construction of upstairs rooms, was fulfilled by me, well in time to enable greater convenience and comfort for all future family gatherings . And our father was there as the great Karanavar of this tharavad, ensuring the togetherness and happiness of a large family giving a feeling of joint family to each of us. Only TR could do it, maybe to the envy of even the small nuclear families with just one or two children. Such was his love and sphere of influence with everyone in the family that there was the strongest bond of love and affection between each of his children and the beloved parents. His commitment and responsibility towards giving good education to the last of his children saw him take up new jobs even after retirement from Railway services of 40 long years! He felt he needed to support his children‟s complete graduation and he went on working for a few more years. He shouldered his responsibility admirably well until he was forced by his family to retire. He was always proud of his children and wanted them to be achievers in life. He was always a source of strength to me.

From Saraswathi Menon
Matha Pitha Guru Deivam“ - just as the saying goes, for me my mother, father and teacher are my Gods.

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Our father Sri. T. R. Nair (Thottankara Ramanathan Nair) was born in 1909 in Pallasena, Kerala. His childhood was not very rosy. He had to do his homework and study for his exams under street lights, he told us, since they didn‟t have electricity in their houses at that time. In spite of these constraining circumstances, dad successfully finished his School Finals (SSLC) sometime between 1920 and 1925 and managed to secure a good job in the Indian Railways, which was then under British Rule, at the age of 18. Though he started his job as an assistant to a Railway officer, in his 40 years career, which was characterized by hard work, discipline and perseverance, he was promoted to Divisional Commercial Superintendent of Southern Railways in Olavakkod Division. We are nine children to our parents, composed of five daughters and four sons. In Tamil there is a saying that if you have five daughters then even a King becomes bankrupt. But our dad raised us girls all in a decent manner and gave us very good education with his nominal pay from the railways. All four brothers are well settled in their life as well. Our dad got all the five girls married into good families. Due to our dad‟s railway job our whole family could travel first class on all the train journeys. I vividly remember all our holidays to Coonoor, Ooty and our Mysore trip with dad‟s separate saloon wagon. We always had a lot of fun, and not only our mum and siblings but also our house maid, dad‟s personal assistant & his peon were part of these trips. I really have to admire my dad‟s command of English and the proficiency with which he spoke this language in spite of him not being exposed to any higher education. After 40 years of Railway services, he retired as the Divisional Commercial Superintendant. He then joined FACT Ambalamedu as Transportation Superintendant. At that time my marriage proposal arrived. In his characteristic witty manner, my dad came and told me that I was getting a scholarship to go to Germany. During our stay in Ambalamedu our dad bought an Ambassador car and learned driving at the age of approximately 59. I remember with profound nostalgia how he drove us to Tripunithara temple in our car. Looking back, I can say with pride that it was only for my marriage that we owned a car. After my wedding, I accompanied my husband to Germany. When, for the first time, we visited India with our daughter Manju (she was about 20 months old), she spoke a little bit Malayalam. Our dad was so glad to hear her Malayalam and told everyone very proudly that his granddaughter, who was born and brought up in Germany, spoke fluent Malayalam which not even the children and grandchildren who lived in Bombay or Delhi did. (Of course that was the advice I got from my mum before I left India, no matter where I lived I had to teach my children our mother tongue first.) Both my husband and I were very proud to invite our parents to Germany (Europe) & then to the US. On the 3rd of August 1988, we were so happy to receive our mum and dad at Frankfurt International Airport. They stayed with us for more than 5 to 6 weeks and celebrated Onam with us.

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Our children Manju & Sanju showed them around in Frankfurt after school. And during weekends, we took them on outings by ship on the rivers Main and Rhine and by ICE (Intercity Express) to various cities in Germany. Dad was so fascinated by the architecture of these buildings that he truly admired them and took notes for his travel diary which he kept throughout their Europe/US trip. We felt very sorry that mum at the age of 69 and dad at the age of 79 had to climb 4 floors (82 steps) to reach our apartment. As active as he was, dad was climbing without any trouble though mum needed a break in between. After 6 weeks stay with us they left for the US and flew to New York. In the US, his nephews, nieces and families took care of them and arranged for their travel and accommodation. They were taken to Montreal, Val Morin where Swami Vishnudevananda had his Ashram. Let me once again thank my cousins Ravi, late Padmam, Vasudevan, Samietten, Bhaskaran and their families for taking care of our parents during their US trip. Our parents visited New York, Houston, New Orleans and Miami. After their visit to the US, they returned to Frankfurt and were with us for another two weeks before going back to India. This wonderful and unforgettable visit of our parents, we will always cherish and fondly remember. Our dad would have been very, very proud to know that many of his grand children, through their own hard work and effort have gone to the US and are well settled there. Likewise he would be happy to hear that his granddaughter is a Vice President of an international Investment Bank and his grandson is the first medical doctor in the Sivasadan family after more than four decades. Not only his grand children, but also his great grand children are well settled as CA and ICWA. My late husband and I were really happy to be with our dad during the last days of his life and when our dad breathed his last. I conclude my writing by submitting full Pranams to our beloved dad and let us all get His blessings and guidance from Heaven.

From Sadasivan
About Father: Mostly enjoyed & eaten Fruits Most used words when angry Mostly chanted Mantra -- Bananas & Mangoes -- Damn It! -- Om thrayambakam Yajamahe....

Mostly read English Newspaper -- The Hindu Most liked evening snack -- 'Moriyan Dosa or Adai spread with

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Butter and sprinkled with Podi. Most liked out door activity Most liked Bhajan Song -- Gardening, Watering Plants, Nurturing Plants & Trees. --„' Krishna Nee Begane Baaro...'

Favourite Carnatic Musicians --Semmangudi Sreenivasa Iyer, Madurai Mani Iyer, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, Santhanam, Pattammal,

Sivananda Vijayalakshmi, Lalgudi Jayaraman and K.J.Yesudas. Favourite 'Raga' Most liked instrumental Music -- 'Kalyani', 'Shanmugapriya'. -- Violin & Flute.

An advice 'Mantra' given always --„'D I N' (Do It Now) Favourite 'kara' snacks Favourite Sweets Favourite Pickles -- Murukku, Cheeda, Homapodi -- MysorePak, SoanPapdi, Palakkadan Halwa. -- Veppilakatti, Kannimaanga, Gooseberry, Maagali Achaar.

As an Uncle
From Sri T. Chandrasekharan
(son of Sri P. Sankara Menon, and Nephew of Sri T.R.Nair – they both married each other’s sister in an exchange marriage: Sri P.Sankara Menon with Smt. Rasam Amma and Sri T.R.Nair with Smt. Bhargavi Amma) He was my role model during my younger days, and I wanted to be employed in the Railways in any capacity so that I too can enjoy the „free‟ rides that came as „perks‟ those days and, I

believe, still continues. Sometimes, he would put questions that were really stunning and I was afraid of facing him but later that fear gave way to respect towards him that continued till the last. I remember him as a persevering personality throughout his life. He would not stop and did not bother about any obstruction that came between him and his objectives. As a young kid, I still remember him saying that every family should have at least one child who is a doctor, engineer and lawyer, and he was really blessed to see that his children accomplished what he dreamed of. I had also nourished the same desire, and if alive, he would have been happy as I am also blessed

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in all the three categories by our children. In spite of his daily routine and busy schedules, he found time towards “bhakthi” maarg and visited Sivananda Swamy at Rishikesh. He also had published Hari Naama keerthanam by Thunjath Ezhuthachan in English version with brief notes for those who cannot read Malayalam and I hold a copy of that with me till today. I do not remember his other works and I am sure he has to his credit some other publications as well. He was sincere in all his attempts and would not bother about the failures that came in his ways. One day he asked me if I clean between the toes because that was not done by many while taking bath. Every time I take a bath I remember him and clean the space between the toes of my two feet. Feet are to be cleaned and protected well as they are the main source of sickness due to their contact with earth. During my early Muscat days, he asked me to invest in Chandra Nagar housing project. I jokingly told him then that it will discredit him. He asked me „How?‟ I replied that then it would become my (Chandra) Nagar. He laughed at my reply. Well, there are some things one wants and I guess I did not want a house after all since I do not have one even now. His visit to USA during 1988 was really full of events. That year Sudhir joined Ravi as a freshman in his college, staying with him and attending college. Sudhir still remembers his trips to the Ashramam of our Parakkum Swamikal (Swamy Vishnu Devananda) where they visited. I will try to remember from my memory (only hearsay – not facts) about his education, involvement with Vasudeva Raja of Kollengode Palace, his joining the Railways, etc. While he was working with Vasudeva our relationship materialized due to valiachan Padmanabha Menon‟s initiative. The following is from hear-say and I cannot vouch for its authenticity. Thottankara Tharavaad was old but they were dependant on others. They had no farming land derived from their ancestors. Our grandmother Late Kalyani Amma was fortunate to be the wife of Late Doraiswamy Aiyer or Subramania Aiyer from West Gramam. He initially purchased a land in Karimkulam near Elevenchery, but I was told that it was sold. When Chinnamama and Sundaramama were employed in Railways, they assisted grandfather to regain and repossess the same land by late 1930‟s. That property was given to a “Kudiyaan” named Kunchu Rowther and he regularly gave the “Pattam” as was contracted. Early 40‟s both Grandfather and Valiachan (Ammu Valiamma‟s husband Kutta Panickar) passed away, when I was around 5 years old. It will be appropriate to say a few glorious words about my valiachan and your “Pappa mama”. He was the cynosure of the entire family at Kottayambalam Puthan Veedu tharavadu, and held all members under one umbrella till his end. He was short tempered and was not liked by many

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because of this but kind hearted at the same time. Kunjukutty Valiamma gave him ample support in maintaining his own and the others‟ families. Valiachan used to visit Guruvayoor 6 times an year going on the last day of Malayala maasam and returning on the first day of the next month. Thus he was content of seeing Guruvayoorappan on all the 12 months. He helped all members of the family for expenses such as marriage, educating children etc. Elayachan, K.P.Krishnan, was the first graduate of the family and all his college expenses were met by him. I faintly remember the days in Calicut (now Kozhikode) where my father (Sri P.Sankara Menon) worked in District office and our neighbors were Kunhikavu Valiamma a distant relative of our father and later, her daughter Devi Edathy and her husband Late R.P.Menon who was my science teacher during my 5th and 6th form in R.H.S Kollengode. He later retired as the Head master at Dhathri Valia Rani school for girls. R.P.Menon was known to both uncle and father as they went to school in the same years. In 1941 I started schooling at Pallassana where I studied until I was promoted to 4th grade in 1943. Father took us to Calicut and I was admitted to 3rd grade again at Ganapathi High School, Chalappuram but that was discontinued as father opted for a job as Executive officer in Panchayat Board at Velur near Namakkal, then part of the Madras province. Chinnamama was the Station Master at Shoranur. He then got a transfer-cum-promotion as Traffic Inspector to Trichy. During 1945 midsummer vacation days I remember we enjoyed a nice vacation at Trichy visiting nearby places like Sreerangapatnam, Mayavaram, Chithambaram, etc. which I enjoyed as a youngster. Perhaps you know that I was sent away to Pallassana to continue my education at R.H.S Kollengode, staying occasionally at Kollengode too. I had the benefit of experiencing the love and affection of both mother‟s and father‟s relatives very closely during those days. I had a special place as being Sankaran‟s son because our father was loved and respected by everyone in that circle. It will not be inappropriate to mention about father‟s father Late Sekharan Menon. That may be the reason why my middle name became Sekharan though Ammu Valiamma wanted me to be named as Natarajan but finally settled for Chandrasekharan and now I am known here as Chandra Sekharan Menon. Our Grandfather Late Sekharan Menon was a righteous person and he questioned some irregularities with the Kottayambalam management (who were cousins of Late Vasudeva Rajah of Kollengode) and they murdered him. Taking pity on the family, Vasudeva Raja offered an employment to Padmanabha Valiachan (your Paappa mama) and provided some relief to the grieved family. Valiachan took care of the entire family well throughout his life. In the meantime, Chinnamama was noticed as a bright student by Vasudeva Raja and he took him as his Personal Assistant and introduced to the Railways. Thus Paappamama met him and had a

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desire in him to create a relationship between the families. Initially the proposal came in 1933 but the time was not appropriate. Two years later the same was approved and culminated in the exchange marriage that also saw a strong bond between both Chinnamama and our father throughout their life journey. I was an average or slightly above average student during my R.H.S days and was assisted with timely advices by our Elayachan (Sri K.P.Krishnan) who by then became the first graduate of the family. On completion of my schooling and Intermediate examination at Coimbatore, I spent that vacation in 1955 at Thenkasi where Chinamama was posted. He asked me to compete for Special Class Railway Apprentice Examination conducted by UPSC, which was my very first public examination experience. I was taken by him to Trivandrum Library three or four times during those days to study and prepare for that examination. I did not qualify in that examination which I took in Madras staying at our Kaimal‟s house. Chinnamama wanted not only his children but also nephews to go forward in their life. After Intermediate my dream of attending a college was not fulfilled, but I have no regrets. I went to Bombay on my mother‟s insistence that I should seek some employment so that when father retires, I would be a bread winner. My final destination was Nadiad, where Raghava Elayachan had promised an apprentice job similar to one that Visvettan (Padmanabha Menon‟s second son) was doing. But by the time I reached Bombay, Elayachan (Sri K.P.Krishnan) was informed that, that program was shelved and Elayachan gave me not only protection but assisted in developing my career. The rest is all known to you also so I am not dwelling on that. Thus I was always and am still surrounded by loving people. I am immensely happy to be what I am. This passage may be more of my personal life but if you look deeply you can see and feel the part others played in developing my own life. I noticed something special, that you (Santhanakrishnan) and Uncle share one common thing i.e. "5th" in the order of sibling. If you further analyze, "5" are the basic elements that constitute the „life‟ itself. „Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth‟ and truly Chinnamama was "the life" of the family. (Chandrettan perhaps saw the reflections of the man in his son. I recall that Father used to introduce me to important guests and visitors that I was the “Chip off the Old Block !”.Santhanakrishnan) A few lines about my father may add a glittering side to my uncle too. Both had been blessed by their mother‟s common name as Kalyani Amma. My father was quiet and very calm with his approach with the rest that made him a special person in his family and was liked by all. He joined Government sector as a lower division clerk in Palakkad Taluk office, and later was transferred to

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District office in Calicut. During this period his marriage took place. His calm nature had won everyone‟s confidence and was liked in both families. Mother was short tempered (my opinion only), loving and faithfully adjusted her life style according to their living means. We also are 9 children (until their demise) but mother had some abortions and did not suffer the pain of losing a living child that Chinnamama and Ammayi did. He was of the firm opinion that children should be educated and any money spent towards that is an investment. He also joined the services as a clerk and retired as a Divisional Panchayat Officer in 1961. Samy had just begun his Engineering college studies at Coimbatore then. He had firm faith in God and led an ascetic life after retirement. I never saw my father shed tears till we lost our brother-in-law Ramachandran in 1968. That was the biggest shock not only to him but to the entire family. God did not leave him and He provided him everything that was needed for a retired person. After retirement he spent some time with Raghava Elayachan in Nadiad and at his request he started his work of translating Swamy Sivananda‟s book „What become of the soul after death” soon after the demise of Swamiji in Rishikesh. He too saw his children turn into engineers a Doctor in his lifetime. He saw that Gopi‟s wedding was performed along with his own Shadaabdhi celebration in 1987 and thus completed all his responsibilities as a human. He left his physical body on 4 January 1988 for his permanent Home and merged in Him. My father was the eldest, Parameswara Menon (left this world earlier) Bharghavi Amma, Narayani kutty (aka Kavu) and Krishnan were the other siblings. I heard our grandmother say that grand father (Sekhara Menon) told her that they were worth 5 Lakhs. In those days that amount can only be dreamed off ! Now when we see they are (were) worth more than that. Grand mother became a widow at a young age, but she also enjoyed a full life, and was looked after by Chinnamama and Ammayi at 18 Siva Sadan. The number 18 is important in our faith. There are 18 steps at Sabharimala and so on. So Siva sadan is a blessed place and you all are blessed by our parents and their forefathers. Om Namo Narayanaya

From Ravi Nair
Uncle Chinna mama, the legendary fatherly /grand-great- fatherly everlasting giant of our time, one and only, T.R as friends called him and T.R. Nair to all. While growing up in Pallassana, we were all thrilled to receive our loving uncle TR NAIR during Vishu-Vela, Kanyar Kali- April 14th -28th-significant events to all. Pallasanites, small or big, wherever we all are, would make a point to visit and surrender ourselves in front of the Lord Kiratha Moorthy.

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Equally thrilling, he took personal interest in us as it was an uncle‟s undisputed right to give "Vishu Kai Nettam"- a token of Goodwill sharing on the 1st of Medom i.e. April 14th. He was actively involved in Pallassana Vettakkaruman Devasom Kali, activities and always extended helping hand and guidance for the benevolent of the natives there. Nowadays, that kind of uncle-nephew relationships, which we all aspire to have, both mental and emotional, is no longer prevalent amidst the younger generations. He was really an inspirational force and kept up to the duties of an uncle, Desa and Kudumba snehi too. In the 4th day kali main event - he used to enjoy and play- the legendary-master porattu „Thottichi‟- the female character and his esteemed friend Velloor Veettil late Chami Nair would enact "Thottiyan‟. Our mother, Rajalakshmi Amma, his youngest sister (3 brothers and 4 sisters), always used to remind us that her favorite brother- "Chinnappetta" as he was called, always wanted her to become a medical doctor and he tried to motivate her- during "Seva Sadhanam" days in Madras. Even their wedding, an exchange marriage of brother-sister marrying a brother sister- between Thottankara & Puthanveedu, shows how brotherly-sisterly feelings prevailed even during that time. Not only that, each of these two families brought out nine children. With God‟s blessing, they witnessed among their children at least one fulfilling their dream of becoming a medical graduate, Sundary Chechi and Bhaskerettan. We used to approach Chinna mama with high respect and love, and for any matter, he would be there to support our cause. I still remember that getting a ticket reservation on Indian Railways was a nightmare back in late 70s and even though he was retired as the Commercial Superintendent of the Southern Division, just one phone call would make a big difference. I was fortunate and availed his personal help to get the dreaded Railway reservation done so smoothly back in May 1978 from Palakkad to Bombay-on my first ever flight trip from Bombay to JFK airport in New York, USA. He was well known among his Railway colleagues, IAS officers and Managing Directors (MDs) and had a lot of friends and associates.

From Surendra Menon
For me, the whole Puthanveedu Tharvadu is historic starting from our late beloved Pappamama and Ammai. Pappamama was a personality by himself and if I recall correctly, we children looked u at him with equal fear and respect. Sankarmama, Valiachan (TR), Madhavmama and Kittamama along with my Dad (UR) played a big role in my life too. Of course, it goes without saying we can't ignore the roles and tremendous sacrifice made by our beloved great aunts. They each had their own character and strong points and were a big influence on all of us.

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I remember Valiachan (TR) as a short, extremely energetic man with a very sharp mind, A sharp tongue, that could be loud but was very clear and commanded great respect. He was a very hard working gentleman and had tremendous responsibility besides 'running' the Southern Railway and the family. He said “Baba, Sports and Games are not going to get you anywhere” (since that was my weakness)!! “Study man and achieve something concrete in life”. With a growing large family, he tolerated no nonsense and set the example of what discipline was. Anytime and every time that I visited him (during my school vacations) whether in Madras or Olavakkot or Palghat, he always wanted me around him. I remember going to his office in Madras once and it was with great pride he introduced me to his bosses and colleagues as „my nephew from North India and studying in an Irish Catholic Boarding School'. Of course he never let me forget at the end of almost each introduction that it was very important to study very hard and that I should plan my career. Kittamama and Sankaramama were totally the opposite to some extent. Their advice to me was to enjoy my childhood but not sacrifice studies due to it, and always love and respect your parents, family members and fellow human beings. Those were the days when we all

Puthanveedu members could get together in Kollengode for any and all functions and it was marvelous. All the sweet memories are still there even though it‟s gradually fading now. Once when visitng the great TR and Valiaamma, I was honoured and asked to be the "driver" as I was on leave and visiting them. Valiachan (when he was working in Ambalamedu), I believe, bought his first 2nd or 3rd hand car - a Morris or Ambassador (I am not sure any more). I remember taking Sarasu, YRK Ettan and Valiachan to Mavelikara to visit some relatives. Boy - was he

impressed with the performance of his newly procured toy and the "young N. Indian driver" After we returned, he told me "Baba, you teach me how to drive my car! Make sure you teach me well and I want to hear no excuses!”. “Yes Sir Valiacha!” I said and then he gave me his cute sly smile with a spark in his eyes! When I mentioned it to my Dad, he was not a happy camper at all. I was asked to cut short my visit to TR and return before I was offered a permanent job! Dad and Valiachan had strong minds and argued many times and simply addressed one another as „TR‟ or „UR‟. The following evening after a quick tea we got ready for the first test drive. Man, what an experience! Going up and down the street and in the manner the great TR was driving we

certainly got a lot of attention. My stomach and guts almost spilled out with all the jerk starts, thumping rides and the sudden braking. We repeated the routine two or three more times and then I said “Valiacha I don't think you are cut out to drive! You can own the car and keep a driver and then drive in style instead of causing all this suffering”. He was not happy at all but quietly did acknowledge it and said "When did you say you wanted to get your ticket confirmed?”. Dad (UR) used to always make fun of Valiacha and said “that man and his Southern Railways. Never on time and so unreliable” and that would set off a trigger and they would continue their arguments. All

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said and done, Valiachan was a noble man and I learnt a lot from him. His memories will always be cherished and I sincerely hope we all can keep up the Puthanveedu flame burning and stay united as long as possible.

From Jayanthi Prakash
(niece of Mrs Prasanna Krishnan and grand-daughter of TR Nair’s close friend EV Appukuttan Nair) Going to Palakkad during our holidays did not happen too often. But some of the few memories I have are of my grandfather's house No. 40 Chandranagar and TRN Uncle's house at No. 18 Chandranagar. The greatest interest to go to No. 18 was the big swing tied to the huge tree by the side of the house. We would have to enter the house first to greet TRN Uncle and Aunty and would be itching to go out and get on to the swing, but our gracious host would be sitting most often on an 'easy chair' right in front, on the veranda and will have a long list of questions for us, all about school and how well we are doing and how long is our stay etc. In between the questioning, TRN Uncle would in a loud voice call out to Aunty 'Bhargavi, aa maanga konduvaru, kuttiyal vanitinde'. At that point you can see a bit of irritation in Aunty because she would have to go into the store room and pick out the mangoes that are ripe and either keep them on the dining table for Uncle to cut for us or make mango juice. I remember how our mouths would water expectantly waiting to lay our hands on the mangoes and later go on to get to the swing. At times when we used to visit, we would see uncle already in his place in the dining room, wearing his 'mundu' and sleeveless 'banian' with a whole lot of mangoes in front of him, cutting and cutting. As soon as we got there, he'd encourage us to start eating the mangoes as he is cutting them. What a treat that used to be. So, for us, going to No. 18 became a place to eat mangoes all because of the generosity of TRN Uncle. The last time we visited No.18, I remember seeing Uncle lying down in bed, too sick to move and that was the saddest thing to see. But it is the mangoes so lovingly offered to us that will always remain in my memory.

From Meera Achuthankutty
(sister-in-law of R.Swaminathan) The picture that comes to my mind, as I remember him, is of a man of youthful enthusiasm and inspiringly dynamic personality. I have always admired his keen interest in every detail of life and concern for the people around him. The warmth of love and tenderness received from him and his

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family, when after the sudden loss of my husband, I along with my children came to stay with my parents at Palakkad, still remains vivid in my memory. I appreciate that he could instill his spirit of dynamism in to his whole family.

As a Grandfather
From Padmini (Alli)
I am the first granddaughter of Sri T. Nair & Puthan Veettil Bhargavi Amma. It is only by God‟s grace that I was born into their family. We call him as “Thatha” because when my brothers were born, he was working in Southern Railways and was mostly in Tamil Nadu and hence the Tamil Name “Thatha” for “Muthacha”. Whenever we think of our grandfather we feel very proud. If he thought of doing something, he would somehow finish it and only then would he relax. I lived with my grandparents during my 5th standard of schooling at Olavakkode. Even during my pre-degree course, I lived with them at Sivasadan, Chandranagar. Many nice memories of that time come to my mind even now. After retirement, he worked at Trivandrum and used to come to Palghat once in two or three weeks. Every time he came, he would bring some eatables for us. Even when he went to town and returned home, he would bring something and enter home calling grandmother as “Barg!” Whenever he received letters from his sons who were working abroad, he would read the English letters and translate them to Malayalam for grandma and we would listen to him with great interest. He is always evergreen in our minds. My other grandfather i.e., father‟s father lived only till I was 4 years old and we don‟t remember much about him. But thatha was remembered as very strict, well disciplined and loving. Due to the military type of living, on just one call by him we would come running from anywhere. Whenever we did some mistake or mischief he would immediately give a knock on our head – „chottu‟. But with all that, we never had any aversion towards him. We only had high respect, regard and affection for him. When I was in 5th or 6th std, I had the luck of going to Mysore along with my aunts and uncle during my school vacation. My grandfather was working as a senior Railway Officer there and was living in a Railway Saloon. We all went to many places of interest including Chamundeswari

Temple. On our way back in two cars, I was enjoying the road side trees and also the monkeys playing around. Suddenly the first car, in which thatha was riding in, stopped and our second car also stopped behind it. Thatha came directly to our car and gave a big knock- „chottu‟ on my

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head and I shouted out in pain. He then simply went back without telling anything. Only later my aunts and uncle who travelled in the same car asked me to put my head inside and not to extend my neck out of a running car. Even then, he was giving us some work for the brain to think and realize the mistakes ourselves. He never told us why he was blessing us with the „chottu‟. I still narrate this incident to many of our friends and relatives and laugh. I also share these interesting episodes to my children and teach them the values and aspects of a safe life. On his compulsion I used to work as a teacher here in the school. Every day we used to go and see him from our rented house nearby and one day when we visited he breathed his last.

From Hari Krishnan
Sometime in late 1989, I had taken 3 friends to Sivasadan. Then, we guys used to have a headstrong feeling that we were Pulis (Tigers) in English (language), being schooled in Carmel Garden, Coimbatore. (I no longer have this feeling! These days other cousins like Manju and Sandhya, my own nephew Nitin have far better command over the lingo than I ever had!) Just before lunch, Thaatha took my friends around the home and started explaining the history behind each tree that he had planted himself. Pointing to one particular mango tree he remarked “She bears fruit only once in 7 or 8 years; She is a shy-yielder”. All of us were zapped by this coinage that we had never heard in our lives before! Another time, a friend working in South Africa came to visit me, while I was on a holiday at Sivasadan. Again, Thaatha surprised us by saying -Oh! So you are from the „Land of yellow metal‟!.

From Praveen Krishnan
My earliest recollections of Thatha are from when I visited him during my holiday breaks from school. I was in boarding school in the Niligiris at the time so twice a year I would come down to Palakkad to visit my grandparents. I was fortunate to have both my maternal and paternal grandparents living in the same neighborhood, a few kilometers from each other so I was able to spend time with both of them. Thatha was always kind and despite his fearsome reputation, I don't recall being scolded by him. Maybe it was because we only spent time together a few times a year. Mangoes were plentiful in Sivasadan in the summer. I loved to visit during mango season. Thatha would stash away mangoes in different parts of the house: in the pooja room, under the bed, in the

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store room. There would be hundreds of mangoes in different states of ripening around the house but he would still ask us grandkids to go pick up the mangoes that were nibbled on by squirrels and fallen on the ground. When I asked him why I should pick those up when there we had good, uneaten mangoes in storage, he replied that the squirrels always nibble on the most delicious mangoes. These days there is one thing that always reminds me of him - the National Geographic magazine. When Thatha came back from the U.S., he brought back with him a subscription to the National Geographic magazine. On one of my visits to Sivasadan, I leafed through one and was instantly hooked. I had never seen such amazing photography. I voraciously read through all the magazines he had in his shelf and to this day I'm an avid fan. It is little things like this that sometimes connect you to someone for a long time.

From Sandhya Krishnan
I remember him as a towering personality, even though he was hardly five feet three inches. Then again, I was barely 7 when our visits to Palakkad became more regular. Thaatha would sit in the kolaayi on the brown oak 'easy' chair occasionally glancing up to greet passersby. He emanated a strong feeling of discipline and power. Though he was never the kind who would play with us or tell us many stories, he inspired awe and respect. Even though stories of his temper were legendary, I do not have many memories of it. If it had not been replicated in my father, his son, I might not have even believed it existed. On Vishu every year, we would line up to get our kaineetom and he would give us little ones a sum of Rs 2. In those days, and considering how many of us congregated at his home, it was a handsome amount. The lucky ones would even get crisp and freshly minted notes that we often hesitated to spend. Of the few incidents that are clear in my memory, one particular summer stands out. It was thatha's birthday and some of us, his grandchildren, decided to lay out a flower carpet or pookalam before he got back from his walk. I remember pictures of a smiling thatha and ammooma posing with the beaming grandkids and a sparse pookalam. It was also a proud moment when he released his books in front of an august audience at the Guruvayoor Temple. He appreciated intellect and academic excellence. Mediocrity was often chastened with a quick knock on our heads. Like every ambitious middle class grandfather, he blessed us all to become doctors and engineers.

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It took a person like him to pull the huge family together, to keep them regularly visiting and thus, giving us grandchildren summer vacations we would remember all our lives.

As a Friend and Well-wisher
From Sri K. Sivasankara Nair
-maternal uncle of Mrs. Prasanna Krishnan. (Interviewed by Santhanakrishnan) Sivamama, as he was called, was always in the company of his brother-in –law Mr. E.V.Appukuttan Nair who had married his first sister Thangam. Sri Appukuttan Nair was a close friend of Sri TR Nair. On those days in the 40s, Sri Appukuttan Nair had a Ford Car, one of the very few who owned a car. Sri Sivasankara Nair‟s mother‟s uncle was Kunjhi Nair from Kozhikode; he was a magician and was close to Kollengode Vasudeva Raja. The Raja brought Sri Kunjhi Menon to Kollengode and got him a good house called “Kattayat House” near Ootra – Kollengode Railway station. Sri Appukuttan Nair was working in the Registrar Office at Kodumudi. One of his friends was Pazhaniappa Mudaliar. Mr Mudaliar started a company called „India Life and Benefit Insurance company‟ and started a few branches. Mr. EV Appukuttan Nair was made the manager of this company in Coimbatore. Later, LIC –Life Insurance Company bought this company and Mr. Appukuttan Nair was made the Manger of LIC branch office at Coimbatore. He did very good business by making many people to join LIC and thus had a great circle of friends. At that time Sri TR Nair was in Pothanur and helped his brother Sri. Sundaram get into the Railways. He also helped Sri Siva Sankaran Nair to get a job with the Railways but was dissuaded by his own sister Mrs. Appukutan Nair. Sri TR Nair then worked in Madurai and gained a lot of friends. He loved mangoes and mango trees. Maybe that is why he formed the first Cooperative House Building Society- Chandra Nagar- at Palghat in a mango grove and planted many kinds of mangos trees in his house “Sivasadan”. While he was in Railways, he gave jobs as Fireman, Points man, Gate man, Guard etc., to a large number of people. Sri Sivasankara Menon (87) also recalled Sri TR Nair‟s disciplinary action taken on the driver and the Guard of a train who failed to put a small board “LV” –indicating the Last Van at the back of the last compartment of a train, which was mandatory practice. Pallasena Road Railway station was bought by Sri TR Nair as his contribution to help the people of his native place. This is similar to the

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new railway station „Bharatha Puzha‟, next to Ottapalam just before Shoranur, that came up later at the behest of our former President Sri K.R.Narayanan who belonged to Ottappalam. Mr. Parameswaran Pillai and Mr. Balakrishnan Nair were collectors of Palghat at different times and were close to Sri TR Nair. With their help, he formed the Chandra Nagar Colony in 1956 and was opened by the Municipal Chairman Mr. Chandran and named after him. Initially the colony had only 40 houses and the last house No. 40 was Mr. E.V. Appukuttan Nair‟s House. Later when the colony expanded and the number of houses increased, the plot No. 276 was allotted to Mr. Sivasankaran Nair, who transferred the plot to his younger sister Mrs. Somasundari ( w/o of Sri CPN Menon), mother of Mrs. Prasanna Krishnan. When Sri TR Nair was working at Pollachi, EV Appukutan Nair and Sivasankaran Nair used to drive from Karur to Kollengode and back through Pollachi. They would halt at Pollachi, go to Palani and spend a day or two with Sri TR Nair & family. At Palani, from the railway station to the temple they travel by horse cart. In 1960. E.V. Appukuttan Nair‟s daughter Radha got married to Mr. Sankaran Nayar, from Mangara Kapiath. This was a huge bungalow called „Sri Krisha Vilasam‟ with a big garden and two separate tanks (Kulams), one for men and another for women. This had earlier belonged to Mr. S.K.Chettur I.C.S., the Trichy Collector who was also Sri TR Nair‟s friend. On the wedding day, the bride groom, Mr. Sankarankutty‟s arrival from Mankara was delayed as his car got stuck up in the closed Parali Railway gate. We learn that situation was eased by the intervention of Sri TR Nair as he was working in the Railways and the groom could reach in time for the Muhoortham ! Though it was a very small thing, it is still gratefully remembered by the people connected with the marriage. T.R. Nair called E.V. Apppukuttan Nair as EVANS. His wife was Mrs. Thangam Amma and daughter Mrs.Radha. Incidentally, there was another Mr.M.Appukuttan Nair in the Sales Tax, Palghat, whose wife was Mrs. Thangam Amma and daughter Mrs. Radha. His house is plot No. 19, just opposite to No.18 of Sri TR Nair. The adjacent Plot No 17 was taken by the then Municipal Commissioner of Calicut, Capt. Balagangadhara Menon, I.A.S. We also learn that the corner plot No. 18 was sought after by all these three people and a paper Ballot (Narukku Eduppu) was conducted and Sri T.R.Nair got the No. 18, the corner plot. It was a coveted plot as it was a corner one, had roads on all the three sides and was facing west. On the northern side it had a view of the beautiful Western Ghats. But later, when the present Club building was built, father was disappointed as the view was obstructed and everything happened without his knowledge when he was on tour. However all these four people were close friends and along with the First Cooperative Society Secretary, Mr. Nambiar, worked together to develop

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the Society. It has now grown to be a prestigious housing colony in Kerala with more than 1000 houses. Mr. Sivasankaran Nair recalls that Sri TR Nair was always jovial but helpful to each and every one. He was very disciplined and straightforward in his work. He helped many people get housing plots in Chandra Nagar and helped them in building houses of their own.

From Mr. C.P.Sundareswaran
-uncle of Mrs Prasanna Krishnan Sri T R Nair, who is no more with us, was a dedicated Southern Railway Officer and a responsible father. He would always be remembered for the efficient work he carried out as one of the pillars of the present Chandra Nagar Cooperative Housing Society, Coimbatore Road, Palakkad. My family members and I have high regards for him and his family.

From Advocate Sri Gowri Shankar
Sri T.R.Nair means so many things to me. We had very long relationship that began from the days of my schooling. As my father & mother were interested with Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, Sri TR

Nair used to come and have long discussions with my parents, sometime for one or even two hours. I was only a school boy and hence could not participate in the discussions he had with my mother. But later we had the opportunity to come closer when Swami Vishnu Devanda (famous Parakkum Swami) wanted an Ashram. I started an Old Age Home at Pothundi. Swamiji & I became very close because of this. It was then when I became closer to Sri TR Nair. He used to visit often as we gave the old people free food, clothing etc. He was very happy to visit often and participate in all activities and functions. In fact he even planted a banyan sapling in front of the old age home and said that it should be in his memory. On each visit, he would ask about the various details of the working of the Ashram. Since then the banyan tree has grown very big. Unfortunately the Ashram ceased to exist and was demolished due to various reasons. Around that time, a few people who were running the Ashram created a misunderstanding between the Swamiji and Gowri Shankar, even though Swamiji had known Sri Gowri Shankar very well. That was when Sri TR Nair became very close with our family and he understood the whole misunderstanding created by those short sighted people. He took up the matter with Swamiji and even accused him

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of misunderstanding Sri Gowri Shankar without knowing the facts. Swamiji called Sri Gowrishankar and said „TR Nair has enlightened me on the various activities and services you had rendered to the Ashram. Kindly bear with me. It was my mistake to believe hearsay‟. Thus TR Nair was the root cause of clearing the air with Swamiji who became very close to me after that. Thereafter whenever Swamiji came to Palakkad Sri TR Nair would also visit and we three became closer. Even after the demise of Swamiji, our strong relationship with TR Nair continued. Sri TR Nair would often invite me to No. 18, Chandranagar and we three used to sit under the mango tree at Sivasadan. Sri TR Nair would give us mangoes telling that they were grown at his house. On those days I had a farm house of about 24 Acres at Menon Para. Sri TR Nair used to come to the farm house with me with a bent walking stick for a change. Though his wife used to tell me that he cannot stand or walk, he used to come with me as he always loved to walk outside. He would walk at least one or two kilometers. He really enjoyed walking in the coconut farm and loved tender coconut juice. He was a man with love and affection for everybody. He always used to appreciate anything that is good. Though I was much younger to him, he used to enjoy my company. He is an unforgettable personality in my opinion. And through Sri TR Nair, his family and friends are very well known to me and they are a good set of people with whom an association will always exist.

From Sri P. Suryan
He was an excellent man; I should say an excellent gentleman- he would stick to his commitments, always went by what he promised to deliver and was a very good friend to real friends. He always expected his associates, friends and others to maintain the same standards. He was always a very helpful friend and ready to help anybody at any moment. I was close to him and found that his family had both respect and affection to him. By family, I mean everyone right from one two generations above to two or three generations down the line. He was very peculiar, a man with many principles and one who did what he assured, unlike others.

From R. Jayaprakash
All the learning I had, throughout my more than five decades of life so far, came not only from my own experiences, but also from those of others with whom I had to good fortune to interact with.

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And T R Nairji has surely been a major source of inspiration for me, particularly since I was then in a crucial cross-road in my career, deciding between continuing with employment or taking up entrepreneurship. What is more, Nairji has impacted every aspect of my personality – consultant, entrepreneur, percussionist, trainer, and also an event manager! It was mid-„80s, I was heading the computer division of LGB-Coimbatore, when my immediate boss – Mr. MRV Subramaniam - told me about a Palakkad-based NRI being interested in getting into the IT business. Having got back after a long assignment in the Middle-East – he wanted us to provide turnkey consultancy support to establish and manage the business. This proposal got me introduced to my now-long-time friend and well-wisher, Mr. Santhana Krishnan, Santhan as I call him, the eldest son of Nairji. And things started rolling out fast, CompuTech Data Corporation (CDC) was born. A decent office was established in Chandra Nagar- Palakkad, the erstwhile IT equipment supplier DCM Data Products got the initial computer contracts and my wife and I participated in the formal inauguration. My LGB colleague Chandrasekhar was deputed as the first Center Head and the time-tested training programs at LGB aided a jump-start for similar programs at CDC. All Kanjikodebased corporates like ITI, IL, Tata Keltron, Malabar Cements, etc., were lined up as prospective clients. What‟s more, CDC, even as a private small time computer center, very soon became a fail-safe employer as well, with Jai Shankar joining as full-time Center Head, leaving his corporate job at Tata Keltron. Such a remarkable growth was, no doubt, made possible only by the active participation in day to day management of CDC by Nairji. Having retired from Railways after an illustrious career, with all his children well-settled, with all post-retirement benefits more than taking care of him and his dear wife, Nairji could have sat back and relaxed. But that was not his style - he not only participated in the apex body of his Railway Pensioners Association at the national level, but also got inquisitive as to what his son Santhan has ventured into at CDC. And in fact, his availability at CDC for regular administrative functions made Santhan relax on operations and focus more on strategies. I used to see Nairji sitting through a full-fledged computer class along with students who were much younger than his grand-children. And he used to participate too! Yes, be it Boolean Algebra, or binary arithmetic or COBOL programming, he used to ask very meaningful questions not only for his better understanding, but also for the benefit of regular students who were rather shy of asking doubts.

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When CDC ventured into software development, Nairji used to join the professional team visiting client locations such as ITI, MCL, IL, etc., where he would be part of in-depth systems discussions with the user personnel. Be it payroll services, materials management, financial accounting, or any such domain being discussed, he would surely add value with his occasional inputs based on his rich experience in Railways. Despite his ripe age, he easily mixed with much younger groups during these discussions; no one would ever feel the age difference while interacting with him. I also had a good deal of personal interactions with Nairji. He liked music in general, Carnatic in particular, and when he knew that I play the South Indian percussion, Mridangam, he coordinated a concert in a local temple at Palakkad. I vividly remember him sitting prominently in the first row, requesting for his favorite numbers to be presented, nodding his head in enjoyment, and most importantly, coming to the dais at the end of the concert to personally honor the artists. In 1986, when the Computer Society of India organized its national event – Business and Industry Group (BIG) conference – at Coimbatore, I, as the event manager for the culturals, thought of providing the visitors from all over India, a mixed flavor of Tamilnadu and Kerala arts. Nairji was my natural choice to advise me, and he got a popular team – Kala Mandapam – to perform Kathakali, Mohini Aattam, Koodiattam, Ottanthullal, etc., a permanent memory for every delegate who attended the conference. I can keep writing longer and longer about Nairji, but the best tribute I wanted to share is that from my dear father, Dr AVR Moorthi, who lives in Coimbatore today, 88 years YOUNG. When I told him that Santhan has requested me to prepare this small write-up about Nairji, he said spontaneously, “Honest, upright person”, paused a while, and continued “He was sincere in his love and affection for people”. Very true words, in this dog-eat-dog world of today, where peer pressures and our work-n-live environments have compelled even the kind-hearted to become selfish, it has become next-toimpossible to find a T R Nair in our midst. God bless us.

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Life of an octogenarian senior citizen
Born on 23-4-1909 at village Pallasena, Palghat Taluk, Kerala. Had Apprenticeship as Stenographer and Personal Assistant with Rajah Sir Vasudeva Rajah Kt.C.I.E. of Kollengode, Ex-Member of the Viceroys‟ council for two years April 1926 to April 1928. Joined Service of South Indian Railway on 10-5-1928 as a Clerk on Rs. 25/-a month. Retired as Divisional Commercial Supdt., Southern Railway on 15-6-1967; got a monthly pension of Rs. 2,200/- till the end.

During Service in the Railways for nearly 4 decades, worked as Clerk for 2 years Head Clerk for about 12 years Station Master for 2 years Traffic Inspector for 14 years Station Superintendent for 1 year Asst. Traffic Supdt. For 3 years Divisional Officer for 4 years Senior Divisional Officer for 1 year Presented a Paper on “Safety on Trains” at the All India Railway Safety Conference held at Seccunderabad in 1966. EXTRANEOUS SERVICES: Founded the Kerala Club, at TRICHY in 1938, which is still going strong with a Prestigious English Medium school. Was awarded the title “Star of Divine Life Society ” by H.H. SWAMI SIVANANDA”.

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Printed and Published the book “SIVANANDA YOGASAMANVAYAM” in Malayalam in 1957. Founded Divine Life Society Branches at Shencottai, Tenkasi, Pollachi, Pallasena and Olavakkot in 1962. Was Founder Director of Chandranagar Cooperative House Building Society and director for 3 further terms. Convener – Silver Jubilee Celebration of Chandranagar Co-operative House Building Society in 1981, which was presided by the Chief Minister of Kerala Mr.E.K.Nayanar. Was the President of Maha Ganapathi Temple Committee for 6 years. Worked in two Public Sector concerns for a total period of 7 years after Retirement from the Railway. (FACT/ COCHIN and TRANVANCORE TITANIUM/ TRIVANDRUM)

Worked for the Railway Pensioners‟ Organisations for 10 years as: 1) Chairman, Railway Pensioners‟ Sangh, Olavakkot. 2) Editor of Malayalam Tri-monthly „Rail Pensioner‟. 3) working President- National Federation of Railway Pensioners-, Palghat. 4) Chief Editor of the English All India Monthly “Railway Pensioners National Digest” for 4 years. 5) Attended Pensioners‟ Conference at several places like Patna, Delhi, Madras, Bangalore, Vilupuram, Tanjore, Erode, Coimbatore, Podanur and was adorned with “Ponnada” at several Places. 6) Conducted All India Conference of Railway Pensioners at Palghat in 1984 and Governor of Kerala Sri K. Ramachandran inaugurated the same. 7) Had discussions with Fourth Central Pay commission at New Delhi in 1986 pinpointing some important aspects of old pensioners and tackling of housing problems for Railway employees by forming co-operative Housing bodies. 8) Was awarded the title of “Pensioners‟ Bandhu” at the Constitution Club, New Delhi in 1988. Had the Graceful Dharsan of and Personal contact with; 1. 2. Ramana Maharshi (1933) Paramacharya of Kumbakonam (1947)

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3. 4.

Swami Sivananda Maharaj (from 1950) Had opportunity to meet personally Mahatma Gandhiji, Dr.Rajendra Parasad, Rajaji,

Dr.Radhakrishnan. Countries Visited: Malaysia, Singapore (1981), West Germany, America and Canada (1988)

Places visited in India: North: Rishikesh, Bhadrinath, Banares, Gaya, Dakshineswaram (Calcutta), Puri, Somnath, Dwaraka and Simhachalam in the North. South: Thiruvanakkoil (Trichy), Srirangam, Tirupati,, Kalahasti, Thiruvottiyur(Madras), Thirukkadayur,





Thiruvidaimaruthur, Chidambaram, Thanjore, Vaitheeswarankoil, Shiyali, Thala Kaveri(Coorg), Thula Kaveri (Mayavaram), Thirukalukunram, Mahabalipuram, Thiruvarur, Thiruthani, Palani, Madura, Thirupparankunram,, Thiruchendur, Kanyakumari, Sucheendram, Sreevalliputhur,

Sankaranayanarkoil, Varkala, Guruvayur, Thiruvilwamalai, Vaikom, Ettumannur, Kaduthuruthi, Kodungallur, Sabarimalai, Chottanikkara, Vadalur Temple, (Ramalingeswara Mookambika, Temple), Udupi, Koodalmanickam, Sri




Pandaripuram, Gokarnam, Kanaka Durga Temple at Bezwada, Mahalakshmi Temple at Bombay, Bhavanikudal, Seringapatnam, Trivandrum Padmanabha Swami Temple & Rameswaram. Had the fortune of partaking in THREE MAHAMAGHAMS in KUMBAKONAM. Celebrated the Sadapdhi at Guruvayur in 1992. Printed and Published 2 books. 1) 2) “Harinama Keerthanam” in English. “Abirami Andhadi “ in Malayalam.

Happily married in December 1935; had 9 children (4 sons and 5 daughters) of whom 3 Engineers and 1 Doctor in Medicine; 19 Grand Children and 11 Great Grand children. (as on October 1992) Hobbies: Taken active part in “Nattuppura Kaligal”- Kannyarkali ( a Kerala Art ), from his 9th year, Attending Satsangs, doing Swadhyaya. Helping the Needy to the extent possible.

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Towards the later stage spending 2 hours (4 to 6 a.m.) in Pranayama, Japa, Namocharana (vishnusahasranama), Meditation and Swadhyaya in the Puja Room at home and spends time with family, children and relations.

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