Wednesday, January 26, 2011


While settling down on retirement in the middle of the year in 2000, the one thing I wanted to do was to try and contact my old college mates of the late 50s and early 60s.I had my graduatioon at Malabar Christian College, Calicut during 1957-60 and post graduation at Guruvayurappan College, Calicut, during 1960-62. But, to my great disappointment, I found the gap of about 4 decades too lengthy a period to pick-up the broken threads and to catch up.Immediately after the college days we all had gone out in different directions in pursit of our careers . Letters being the one and almost the only means of communication we soon lost track of each other. I envy the present generation who can now be in contact with each other any time anywhere.

Well, all my efforts to know the whereabouts of my classmates were not fruitful except for getting vague and obsolete information about some of them which did not serve the purpose. I tried some of the friendship sites like Orkut,Facebook, Alumni, Classmates etc.but without fruitful results as I found details of students of years before 1980 are rare. My sense of disappointment was deepening with newspaper reports of local colleges and my own former colleges where old students of different batches of graduates and post graduates were conducting 'get together,' for them and their families. It was then that Sundaram my old family friend, schoolmate, collegemate and classmate in the post graduate course in Economics at Guruvayurappan College, Calicut (1960-62)suddenly called me over telephone from Chennai after more than 25 years without any contact with each other.It was a great feeling to talk to him on the new year eve and to revive memories especially about our college days, friends and old life at Calicut, the long rides on our bicycles and the long walks on the beach road and the long hours spent on the beach with other friends, and so on and so on. Sundaram who had been in the advertising field continues to be so as director of an advertising firm. He and his family including grandchildren are all well settled in Chennai.

Sundaram had recently got the telephone number of Pushpa (P.K.Pushpa, now Mrs. Pushpa Natraj) another of our classmates at Guruvayurappan College. She and her family are settled down at Hyderabad. I surprised her with a call to Hyderabad as it was for the first time, 48 years after our college days, that we were talking to each other. Myself, Sundaram, Pushpa and a couple of others were close classmates with Sundaram and Pushpa planning and taking the lead in all our extra-curricular activities.In those days the post graduate students of the college were considered to be a serious no nonsense type of fellows who spent their time only in the class room or in the library and they always carried huge volumes of books.(many presumed, they seldom read those books!) They never wasted time on the atheletic fields or on games. They never mingled with the students of the graduate and undergraduate classes. But our group of about 20 students wanted to be different from the old much to the discomfort of the Head of the Department.While we spent sometime regularly in the library we were never burdened with books! We could mingle with other students and thoroughly enjoyed the crowded bus ride to the college, situated on a hilltop, on the special college trips of V.N.P.Motors and Rajalakshmi Motor Service. For the first time a student from the post graduate class ,viz.,Henry Manohar, our classmate, was elected as the college chairman, with all of us actively participating in the election campaign. Padmanabhan played for the college football team and was considered for selection to the University team. Kunhi kannan was inin the college Volley ball team and, if I remember correctly, was in the University team also.Pushpa and Sundaram were very popular in the college and known to all. We organised several 'get together ' functions and picnics for all of us.The college had a beautiful sprawling campus in picuresque surroundings where we could roam about freely. The college has since changed its name to Zamorin's Guruvayurappan College. I am told that the old buildings are all still in tact. The administrative building where we had our classes and the library where we had spent a lot of time are still there. A few statues have also been erected on the campus.To me the two years at the Guruvayurappan College were the best years in my college life! When the M.A. results were announced we were happy that our batch did not suffer in comparison with the past results.

When I contacted Pushpa over telephone it was revealed that she was planning a visit to this place with her family as her husband hailed from here.Sundaram also decided to make a trip to this side as his wife is from North Malabar. Pushpa, her husband and son arrived in the first week of January and I met them along with my wife. We had a long chat with them. His son, who was with her, is working in USA. Her 2nd son,who had not accompanied her, is working in Gurgaon. We spent a long time reviving memories of our college days. The beauty was that we could remember even small and trivial but joyful moments inspite of the lapse of 48 years. The regret was our failure to contact each other eventhough she had spent a few years at Calicut itself in the late 60s where I too worked till the beginning of 1970,and that in the late 90s I was not aware of her presence in Hyderabad eventhough I visited Hyderabad at least twice a month!! In Hyderabad I used to visit an old friend of mine in Vivekananda Colony. And it is now known that Pushpa is staying nearby and the families met regularly!!

Sundarams arrived on the 10th January but a get together of the three families did not materialise owing to the death of Sri Natraj's sister in between.. But we all could meet and could pick up a few broken threads to the delight of all. We parted with the promise of not losing the thread any more.

The year 2011 appears to be good for coming into contact with old friends as we have already made a good beginning. But where are the others in our group?Where is Karunakaran Nambiar? Where is Purushothaman who, when last known , was in Calcutta? Where is Padmanabhan who was in Gwalior Rayons,Mavoor?Where is Varkey? Where is Keshava Bhat? I understand Diana and Devi are at Calicut and Saramma in Kottayam District. But where is Uma, the intelligent looking and khadi wearing, of the group? I had met Namboothiri in 1980 when he was the Prof. of Economics at Nehru College, Kanjangad and in fact, we had, along with our families, undertaken a picnic tour of Chimeni and Kayyur Villages in the company of Vazhunnavar, our collegemate, and his family.

Well, in the early 90s, when I was working at Calicut, I could meet Harry (Major Henry Manohar)who had settled down at Calicut after retiring early from the army. We used to meet often. But it did not last long as I was transferred out of Calicut and before long I was confronted with the news of his demise !!

To be able to remember nostalgically even minute details of our younger days, at the sametime being forgetful of things of the recent past is, some say, a sure sign of ageing and of being a sentimentalist. So what?


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Julie Andrews and the Sound of Music.

There was a news item last week in the print media about Julie Andrews, the famous actress of the 1965 film 'SOUND OF MUSIC' and the actress who had won several awards including the Academy Award, Grammy award, Golden Globe, Emmy, Laurel, Tony Award etc.etc., being presented with yet another Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement coinciding with her reaching 75 years of age.

Memories went back to the middle of the 60s when the film SOUND OF MUSIC was released at Calicut at the Crown Theatre. With the publicity build up in the news papers and film magazines and the rave reviews the film was enjoying, the re
lease of the film was an event in itself in the city especially among the youngsters. The film was based on the highly successful Broadway musical production named Sound of Music (1959) which was again based on the book,' Maria von Trapp,Story of the Trapp Family Singers' (Authors: Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse). The film Sound of Music had Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer in the lead roles of Maria and Captain Georg Von Trapp respectively.The story revolves around Maria joining the Von Trapp family to look after the family children and later marrying the Captain and finally helping them to escape from being captured by the Nazis. The picture ends,if I remember correctly, showing the Captain, Maria and the family climbing the Alps to reach Swirzerland.

The 20th Century Fox picture, produced in 'TODD-AO* COLOR BY DE LU
XE', was such a sensation among the public that it was shown for several weeks in the theatre . The major attraction of the film was the songs and the music by Richard Rodgers which were very popular and the music record(in Stereo)of the film was in great demand. The picture of Julie Andrews swinging the box of guitar and hand bag and playing with the Trapp family children was seen every where on the city walls and newspapers . The picture was there on the front cover of the dust jacket of the record. The back cover gave the full details of the cast and credits of the film. The impact of Julie Andrews gelling with the songs of the film made the name Julie Andrews synonymous with the sound of music!

That also brings to my mind the highly successful Broadway production, viz
., MY FAIR LADY, based on Bernard Shaw's PIGMALION, in which Julie Andrews gave an outstanding performance. I have a record of the highly popular music though it is not the original sound track but an instrumental version by Percy Faith. When the play was made into a film in the same name, My Fair Lady, actor Rex Harrisson was retained as the hero but Audrey Hepburn was chosen to play the role of the heroine, Miss Doolittle, so memorably enacted by Julie Andrews for the Broadway music,