Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Woh Lamhe - Part Moonu: The "club"

Valiachan had his typewriter in the small room on the first floor. Back in the day, when there were no computers and email, he used to painstakingly type out letters on his faithful typewriter and send them out to various people/companies. Often, letters to one of his siblings would be carbon-copied to a few others (I don't know why, and I doubt he cc-ed the other ten!). And I'm sure he wrote some of his (in)famous vedi poetry up there. You could have called it his 'study' - it was a quiet place - one where he could compose his thoughts and put them down on paper. As always, I don't have much by way of memories of those days, but just fleeting glimpses.

Later on, on a summer evening, bored of playing cricket, R & I decided to make Valiachan's 'study' a shrine to numerous sports superstars and called it the "P.T.Koman Nayar Club". Ammamma gave her permission gladly (I guess she thought we'd stay out of mischief while setting up the club), and so after a few token signatures from her, Amma and Ammama, the club was created. It was graced by posters from Sportstar magazine, with stars from yesteryear like Bradman & Truman, and ofcourse flavors of the 80's like Graf, Kapil, Edberg and Richards. Not one inch of space on the wall was left untouched (and I'm sure that Ammamma was thankful we didn't use the ceiling!), and the front and back of the door was reserved for the best posters.

From the store-room next door, we dragged in a charpoy-like bed and got a bedspread for it. It would serve as our afternoon hangout, a silent witness to many a joke and endless (and sometimes mindless) laughter. J-Valliamma and MK-Valliamma on hearing of our club, gifted us a set of table-tennis rackets and balls, and once we brought in a table from the store-room, we were all set to play TT. And so it went, TT in the mornings upstairs in the club, and 'tennis' in the evenings in the verandah! And so the 'boys of summer' had their fun....

A few years later, we had to pull down the posters when the decision was made to rent the house out. It was a sad evening, as we bid goodbye to Vengsarkar, Sampras, Greenidge, Pele and about 40 other stars! They had livened up many a summer afternoon, witness to the banter of a bunch of crazy boys and now they were consigned to the scrap heap!

And so, when we finally moved to Coimbatore in 2002, it was like rediscovering an old, beloved haunt once again. Much as I would have loved to have the old 'club room' as my room, I ended up getting one of the bedrooms downstairs (it has its own set of memories, which I guess I'll write about in the future). Achan made the 'club room' his adda, with one part devoted to his pooja stuff, and the other part has the CD player and his huge music collection.

Today, I think of the room as "Achan's pooja room"; somehow the days of the 'club room' are long gone by. But sometimes I have a good old chuckle thinking about what it was before it became a room of worship - the first place I really "hung out". And in the quiet serenity of the room, you sometimes hear the laughter of two kids, and sounds of a table-tennis ball going up and down a makeshift TT-table.