Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Here I would like to share some photographs of me taken between the years 1952 and 1976, some from my childhood and some more during my adolescence and my early twenties. These are to revisit my childhood, a temporary escape from the late fifties that I am in!!


This Group Photo was taken in 1952 at our family home in Ponnani, my father’s native place, a small town in the Malappuram District of Kerala.

You can see me snugly sitting in my Mother’s lap in the extreme left on the front row, surrounded by assorted aunts and cousins. I was about 6 to 8 months old when this photo was shot. I am indeed happy to be part of this rare and perhaps the only group photo of all the daughters and daughters-in-law of the Ponnani family!!


This Photo was taken in Madras, in the Year 1955 and I practically grew up with this Photo as it was displayed in one of the rooms of our house for as long as I could remember.

I am sitting in the middle and there is a little story behind this photograph told by my Mother. I look a bit unhappy in this photo, with my toes all twitched because I had done some mischief at home and was berated by my Mom just before we were packed and taken to a nearby studio for this photograph and hence the grumpy look!!!


This Photo was taken at Ponnappa’s Stately Home at Aluva in the Year 1961.

I am standing in the extreme right, next to my grandmother Chithammai. I can decipher the Year to 1961 because of the toy-gun that I am holding, which Ponnappa bought for me at a toyshop in Karaikkal town when we were living in Nagappattinam in 1960-61. I am sure the Year was 1961 and not latter because none of my toys survived for more than 6 months due to my childhood curiosity and skill to dismantle my toys to see what’s inside and how they work but I have never been able to reassemble them!!!


I can still recollect our one day trip from Madurai to Palani in the winter of 1962 in Sampath’s (Father’s friend) Austin A40 and returning the same night. Sampath was behind the wheel and father was sitting in the off-side bucket seat in front. Sampath’s wife Padma, my Mother, my brother and me, all of us squeezed in the back seat of Sampath’s car for the 3 + 3 hours return trip to Palani.

From Left: Father, Mother, Padma and Sampath – I am standing in the front row on the right

This photo was clicked in the precincts of the Palani Shri Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple atop the Palani hills. I was made to wear a Dhoti meant for adults (several sizes bigger for me) and the excess material were all rolled and bundled around my midriff!!

SALEM 1963

Those were the days when I used to walk around the streets of Salem in my knickers and mostly barefooted so much so that even wearing Hawaii slippers is reserved only for ceremonial occasions such as posing for the photograph below.

I am standing on the right and you will notice that my shirtsleeves are extending beyond my trouser belt!!

PARUR 1968

This was during my summer vacation and I think this Photograph was clicked just a day or two before my Poonal ceremony. You can see me standing in the left.

This was the house to which Ponnappa shifted after vacating his Stately Home in Bank Road, Aluva to which most of my childhood memories are associated. Ponnappa stayed in this house barely for one Year and shifted back to Aluva, to another house very near the Aluva Court to resume his practice.


My Poonal Ceremony was conducted by Ponnappa at Parur with lot of fanfare and the function was well attended by all our relatives plus the local guests, Ponnappa’s friends and well-wishers from Parur, Aluva, Kochi etc.

Here I am standing with my father holding the leaves of a shrub, which I presume is part of the religious ceremonies.

ALUVA 1969

This Photo was taken in April/May 1969 in Alwaye, when Ponnappa was staying in a house bang opposite to Alwaye Court and near Zeenat Cinema. The house was owned by a Teashop owner called Aiyppu.

I am standing in the extreme right and the baby that my mother (second from left) is holding is my cousin Ganesh who was 1 Year old at the time. Standing to my right is my aunt Rukmini, mother of Ganesh. fter one Year Ponnappa moved to another house near Tass Hall befoe buying the present house.


This Photo was taken during the breakup-social of our B.Sc Chemistry batch at Hotel Geetha, Egmore. This should be around Mar or Apr 1971 just before the B.Sc final exams.

You may notice that I was in a state of dazed stupor as I had my first dose of liquor - a full bottle of Kalyani Beer. Around this time prohibition was revoked in Tamil Nadu and liquor shops were opening everywhere in the city. My friend Jagannathan (in the middle) is looking at my condition with concern and Mukundan (left) the Iyangar fanatic that he is, refused to touch the liquor and sitting with an air of disapproval!!

STANDARD-10 1973

The occasion was the Satabhishekam of my Grandfather and Grandmother, (a function to celebrate the senior having sighted 1,000 full-moons in his life – which means the senior should be 83 plus) celebrated in Madras in June 1973.

Here I am, ready to take my father’s car to Madras Central Station, either to drop or to pickup some relatives/guests for the Satabhishekam. The Car is Dad's 1961 Model Standard 10 Pennant and the License Plate Number was MSW 4189. It is in this car that I learned the rudimentary skills of driving, thanks to Perumal, my father's driver who taught me how to cope with Madras traffic conditions, which is standing me in good stead when I cruise at 120KM per hour in my Mercedes in the fast moving 6 lane traffic of Emirates Road in Dubai.

Those days I used to wear my watch on my right-hand!!


This was taken during a marriage in the family, held at Tiruttani in the Year 1976, through the good offices of my father as he had tremendous clout to organize all the logistics required for a marriage at short notice when he was in power.

I am standing second from the right, and this photo was clicked at the most inopportune moment when I was scratching my nose!!



rajuvish said...

....after posting a comment earlier in the day, driven by nostalgic sentiments and the charming style of writing, i now realise that your time in parur as such was very little and some of the parur families close to sastrigal family 'those good old days' may be strangers to you. sorry for the earlier comment, which, seeing that i am a total stranger to you, was rather abrupt. anyway, having enjoyed the loyalty to the past, and great writing style here, and the film music(old goldies)&the short write-ups supporting them, as a fan of all that, i sincerely thank you! (how i wish i could share my appreciation with 'parukkutty-akka' (and, rama iyer), with whom i was in touch for some time, in kochi) -- regards, raju.

Kannan said...

Dear Rajuvish,

There is absolutely no need to feel sorry about your earlier comment comparing my writing style with R.K. Narayanan, which made me feel quite heady and intoxicated and I am still under the spell although I know that your compliment is far far more than what I actually deserve.

Yes, the time I have spent in Parur is very little, limited to visiting Thoppil Madom with Ponnappa in the noon and returning to Aluva in the evening. However, after Ponnappa temporarily relocated to Parur (in 1968-1969) I stayed at Parur for nearly a month with Ponnappa and Chithammai at their house near Ganapathy Kshetram, which I am sure belonged to your father.

During this one month I never missed a single new release (mostly second run films) screened at Radha Picture Palace and Central Talkies!! I am not sure whether these cinemas still exist at Parur.

Thank you for visiting my blog and your kind words of encouragement.



Jayashree said...

Hi Kannan
this is Jayashree....visiting this blog after a long time; had a wonderful time looking at the old photos that you've posted....also couldnt help noticing that 'rajuvish' makes a reference to my parents in his blog post...'parukutty akka' and 'rama iyer'....I am trying to rack my brains but have not been able to place him....would you be able to shed any light on who he is?

Jayashree said...

Hi Kannan
this is Jayashree....visiting this blog after a long time; had a wonderful time looking at the old photos that you've posted....also couldnt help noticing that 'rajuvish' makes a reference to my parents in his blog post...'parukutty akka' and 'rama iyer'....I am trying to rack my brains but have not been able to place him....would you be able to shed any light on who he is?

harimohan said...

really nostalgic