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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Remembering [Triplicane] Cheenu and Galla - tragic demise in 1985

Remembering Cheenu and Galla  - tragic demise in 1985

All partings are sad – and this snatching away of life of two persons at their prime youth is more regrettable.  Those who lived in Triplicane and wandered in the streets of Triplicane in mid 1980s would ever remember them.

Today 1st June is a Saturday and this morning occurred the purappadu of Lord Varadharajar in Garuda Vahanam.   A grand Brahmothsavam is taking place in Thirukachi [Kanchipuram] too.  27 years ago,  it was a similar day – Saturday – the 3rd day of Brahmothsavam of Devathirajar -  Garuda Sevai

On that fateful day vehicle no. TMQ 3142  Yezdi collided with a State Transport Corporation bus near Vedal in the early hours – the man driving and the other in the pillion were injured severely and succumbed to their injuries in few minutes.  They had been returning to Chennai after having darshan of Lord Varadhar on Garuda Sevai at Kanchipuram.

Unlike the modern day youngsters who spend most of their time on Computers,  youth were different in 1980s and earlier.  Their pastime included meetings  and speaking to friends more.  Most street corners would be occupied by groups of youths who used to speak on varied topics including Cinema, girls of the locality, politics, sports, education, life and more.  Triplicane was always famous for the detailed technical post-match analysis of Cricket matches – not necessarily Tests &  One dayers – even of – Palayampatti shield [first division matches], Buchi Babu tournament, Hindu Trophy, Ranji, Duleep and Deodhar trophies. 

South Mada Street abuts Sri Parthasarathi Swami Temple and more than a bunch of youngsters used to meet daily there – there was a group who used to meet in front of the State Bank of India – Vivekananda House Branch – the house of Dr Parikh (the branch has moved out to Dr Besant Road subsequently)  - some of them were extremely intelligent persons – they used to play Chess, indulge in Crossword too.

I had my first initiation to Crossword : something like finding

- Plane Crash in Himalayas (5)  - being ‘Nepal’ – anagram of Plane and Nepal being located in Himalayas
Assembled, all after a girl (10) – ‘altogether’ - .. all to get her !!
.. and many more.

He was my childhood hero – he sported a nicely trimmed beard most times [hence called thadi cheenu], dress immaculately, had a two wheeler, worked for Indian Bank in their Kothawalchavadi branch, considered to be extremely intelligent person, strong in crossword, flair in language and stylish in speech.  He was a regular to the spot – would come almost all the days and most others too came in search of him – a great uniting factor in that group.

I was so drawn up that most of college days [during 1981 – 1984] would straight head for that spot and spend hours with him, admiring him.  He was K Srinivasan, lived in 104 Triplicane High Road, an old house close to Triplicane Post Office, infront of his house was the bus stop on TH Road.

Of the many who frequented there [actually he was not a regular there but used to roam more in Singarachari Street] – used to play in Beach regularly, lived in Nagoji Street was J Sridhar, famously known as Galla Sridhar.  He was the son of Jagannatha Iyengar, famous teacher of Hindu High School.  He was very charming and a great entertainer, who would keep on chattering and laugh very heavily, having the uncanny knock of pulling legs, not afraid of making fun on self too.. dark skinned and not very tall – a very jovial person indeed.

Those days, motor bikes were not to be seen in so many numbers and models.  There were the most majestic – Royal Enfield Bullets,  twin silencer having Jawas and Yezdis, Rajdoots and scooters of Lambretta, Vijay, Bajaj, VEspa …………. Those who had a two-wheeler were looked with respect and considered slightly above others …………….

Cheenu bought this Yezdi TMQ 3142 – second hand – there used to be so many such deals those days…….. [I had driven that vehicle a couple of times and have sat behind Cheenu so many times]  - he was not a religious person and probably for the heck of a long drive, planned that fateful trip to Kanchi. 

Cheenu & Galla left early in the morning, reached Kanchi, had darshan – but never returned and South Mada Street,- Triplicane, Me and many others missed them there after is a sad story indeed.

J Sridhar was the only son of Jagannathachar [Sridhar had 3 sister though].  Sure the death of son would have paralysed the parents badly – Jagannatha Iyengar was active in social service, did yeoman service for Brahmin Association after his retirement and passed away a couple of years ago.  The only solace was that both K Srinivasan and J Sridhar were unmarried at the time of their unnatural death.

Some stated that the vehicle was driven  by Sridhar at that time and in the early hours before 0600 am, it was a head on collision with bus on route no. 102 near Vedal.  Sridhar perhaps died on the spot – Srinivasan desperately asked for water and died a few minutes later - all from what was gathered [mostly hearsay………….]. the accident was ghastly and was most talked by the residents of Triplicane for very many years thereafter. Their passing sure affected their friends, who slowly stopped assembling at that particular point……….   Hundreds accompanied their bodies to the burial ground and many wept inconsolably.

A couple of months later me and another friend went to a mechanic shop [Ibrahim’s shed !] near Odeon theatre [opp the present day EA mall] – and the damaged vehicle involved in accident brought tears in our eyes.

May be another, who lived in Triplicane in the late 1970s and early 1980s would recall the grief of the parting of dear Cheenu and Sridhar upon reading this post.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

1 comment:

  1. good crossword examples - liked the article - Manju