Wednesday, January 20, 2010


1, Ranganathan Road, Nungambakkam – part I

For everybody the place they grew up is special and they have great memories about it. My Thatha says his first 20 years of life was the best, Appa says he had a great time with his Paati in his childhood, Amma was happiest enjoying herself in Kumbakonam temples with her dear brother Babu Mama. My favourite place to this day is 1, Ranganathan Road, Nungambakkam. I am sure all my sisters will also say the same thing! Sadly, the building is not there anymore, even the road name is changed to Village Road! But what a time we all had there! The number of friends we all used to bring, Thatha’s friends who used to come and stay overnight playing cards with him late into the night, even distant relatives like cousin’s cousins were welcomed and had a comfortable stay with us. We shifted to this house when I was just about 3 years old. My first memory of this house is meeting Lakshmi Mami (house owner Subburathina Mama’s daughter) and her daughter Vidya. I remember being fascinated by the stairs going down from our verandah to the ground floor house hall (where the owners stayed). I and my immediate elder sisters Sabitha and Jayashree were put in the school next door. To this day, we call it pakkathu school and not by the name of the school. The school was let out for weddings during summer holidays. Though I don’t remember, Amma tells me that I used to cry that I want to attend the weddings there! I do remember that the school ground was used as an open air theatre where movies were shown. We had a great view of the screen from the open space (veli maadi) behind our house and enjoyed the movie sitting at home, which was a great thing those days with TV unheard of!

Side maadis - As soon as we climb the stairs, before we reach our front door, on the right side there used to be an open space which we used to call side maadi (as it was in the side and we were in maadi) The number of afternoons were spent in this space is countless! As there was a huge neem tree giving shade to the whole space, it was a great place to spend the afternoon. Only thing is we did not have any steps to reach it, but have to climb over a small parapet structure. Even my Thatha and Paati did not have difficulty to climb over. I recall that we used to take Thatha’s easy chair to side maadi and he used to rest there in the chair. I heard that the side maadi had a very low wall initially and when I was sleeping there with my uncle, I fell over on the asbestos sheet (which was the roof of the shop below). After this the wall height was increased and we had 2-3 concrete seats attached to the wall from where one can have a view of Ranganathan Road. Sabitha and I have spent so many evenings there sitting on the concrete seats and talking nonsense!

When my Chittappa and family used to come for holidays, I remember that Sabitha and I used to sit there and count the number of cars and check out which taxi they were coming by! When the then President of India Mr. Fakrudeen Ali Ahmed passed through our road, all of us gathered in side maadi to look at him. When Indra Gandhi died, I remember that my friend Manju who was staying quite far away, stayed in our house overnight and we checked out the mobs on the road only from this side maadi!

Behind this side maadi, there used to be two more side maadis – again we were supposed to jump on a small parapet to go to each side maadis. The house owners used to dry vadaams in the second side maadi and the third side maadi overlooked our hall window.

More on my favourite place in part II


  1. Siggggggghhhhhh! Those were great days! Your blog brings back so many of those golden memories and your recall is very keen. Looking forward to more on the subject. Lots of love, Sun

  2. sorry forgot to comment on the pics. Awesome!

  3. wow, im trying to imagine all of you there. good post.

  4. Very well written. As I read the post, I too was reliving in the place alongwith u. Me born and raised in Mandavalli have similar memories of my street, my cousins and friends. Enjoyed every bit of it.


  5. hallo laxmi,

    just as you, i have my own stories to recollect in No.1 Ranganathan Street, as I too, had some wonderful fun filled life in this house. This is the place I discovered my present wife (anu) who is 50 now. She is still going thro" its nostalgic memory "dreams" and many times cries within her self for missing this house when she awakes to the rude truth that it is no more hers.I still remember those late night STD calls I used to make on your house telephone and how Anu used to come thumping and jumping to attend to my fancy calls.
    We had wonderful time together, even before you all shifted to this house.As a child we had several child plays, fancy dress competition, house-house game (with mother father children relationship) enactments etc.conducted in the portion you occupied.We have played cricket games tirelessly during our vacation visits. We used to steel mangoes from the compound trees and the best place to eat was the third side madi where no one used to come.

    You have certainly brought all these incredible memories to my brain's desk-top, by choosing an apt article to pen. Many thanks. Anu is already fretting and fuming for not being able to use my house internet (and read your past blogs). This would add fuel to the fire. I dare not share this verbally at this juncture. Hence, I request you to forward her this article in her e-mail.

    The 2 photographs are just timeless piece, and nice for my album, please forward it to me if you can.

  6. La Great memories. incredible. awaiting part II. Missing the house too much. Missing ngm very much.