By Shevlin Sebastian
Sometime ago, actor Jayaram got a call. It was from the Mahila Mandapam Society in Perumbavoor. They asked whether he could come and visit his old nursery class. Very soon, the building would be demolished. Jayaram accepted and went to the school. And immediately he was flooded with memories.
“Classes would start at 10 a.m., and finish at 12.30 p.m.,” saysJayaram. “After that the students, boys as well as girls, would have lunch in small lunch boxes. Thereafter by 1 p.m., all the students went home.” Except for Jayaram.
His mother, Thangam Subramaniam, had specifically told the teachers that Jayaram should stay till 4 p.m., so that his elder brother, by four years, Venkit, could come from a nearby school, where he studied, collect him, and take him home. “So, for three hours, I was all alone in the class,” says Jayaram.
To entertain him, his teacher, Eliyamma John, borrowed a plastic bucket from a neighbouring house. “She would give me two sticks and I would beat on it, like a chenda,” says Jayaram. “Sometimes, I would walk around, imitating an elephant, and make all sorts of animal noises. I had forgotten all of this till Eliyamma mentioned it in her speech.”
Long retired, she had specifically come, along with other teachers, like Tulasi Bhai, to meet the star. And then they gaveJayaram more surprises.
They took him to the office and showed him old black and white photographs of him in his nursery class. “I immediately asked for copies,” says Jayaram. Thereafter, with a touch of humour, they gifted him the tiny green-coloured chair that he would sit on, while he was in the nursery.
Says the Padmi Shri award winner: “I have won many awards in my life, but this gift moved me the most. When I saw the chair, it took me back so many years. Childhood memories are priceless.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)