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Sunday, March 19, 2023

Special people of Triplicane - the tenacity of PM Narayanan

Nice smile – how often do you smile ! or does all people smile ?  -   Heard somewhere - "If you see someone without a smile today,  give them yours" …… a smile [sirippu] costs nothing, yet could change the way people look at you.  Please read this bio-sketch  fully – and you would appreciate the sheer grit and tenacity of this smiling person ! 

Like every other  Triplicanite, he played Cricket on the streets, at beach and .. .. – don’t ask what is great about that !! – remember, a match before Peyalwar sannathi (underarms match) – he opened – I watched a low full toss sent soaring high to Bharathiyar illam (compare it with Dhoni 112M hit off Mckay at Adelaide Oval) – remember him keeping wickets and bowling without a run-up too  - remember to read this para again once you finish reading the last line. 

21 June 1975 -  Lords (no TV but we read about that later) Clive Lloyd’s  West Indies defeated Australia, 291 to 274, to win the first-ever Cricket World Cup, the Prudential Limited Overs World Cup – 60 overs aside game contested by 8 Nations.  June 1975 also saw Suez Canal being reopened  for the first time since the Six-Day War eight years earlier.  O 25th June 1975, Nation was up for a rude shock as Emergency was declared  by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352 of the Constitution because of prevailing "internal disturbance’.  The order bestowed upon the Prime Minister the authority to rule by decree, allowing elections to be cancelled and civil liberties to be suspended.   No political post this – while some may read back happily those days, for sure this man would have only sad memories of that day !! 

At Thiruvallikkeni there are two Brahmothsavams every year – by June it would Aani brahmothsavam of Sri Azhagiyia Singar.  On 25th June 1975 it was Thiruther – thousands had gathered to have glimpse of Sri Thelliyasingar on the massive thiruther – it was a bit delayed and there were so many people on the streets unaware of the impending disaster.  Nearer Balusserry Chits – the turning after Gangaikondan mandapam (TP Koil St – Singarachari St) – the massive thousand+ ton weighing thiruther could not be controlled – in the melee some people fell down!

 Thiru ther photos of recent years

The man in the photo – most Thiruvallikkenivasi would know is Narayanan (Punnai Madapusi Narayayan).  Understand that this village is nearer by ancestral village of Dusi Mamandar, in Kanchipuram Vandavasi route.  He was born in 4.6.1959 in a middle class family; his father was employed in LIC,  lived in the house in front of Thavana uthsava bungalow, cohabiting with many other tenants.  He joined Samarao school, later studied at NK Thirumalachar National Boys School, later joined Vivekananda College did Bachelor of Arts  - something very important hit him in between is the story ! 

On that fateful day – it was the time for reopening of schools and Narayanan was studying  X1 – a  smart active teenager.  Most youth of Triplicane were in and around the Temple thiruther doing odd jobs but when the massive ther went out of control, some fell down, some were trampled, some had bruises all over – all of them were fortunate, as one person died;  Narayanan fell down, right infront and the massive wooden wheel over 9 ft and weighing 100s of tons crushed him.  He was pulled out – he recalls that he  was bleeding profusely, his Cricket friends and locals were of great help, he was taken in the car of Dr Vadhiraja rao to Royapettah Hospital and the nightmare would remain etched in his memories.  He is able to recall the names of Doctors – one of whom he recalls to be the brother of Cricketer Bharath Reddy.  .. .. and he came back home one short on 19.9.1975  - yes 3 months in the hospital and returned with amputation of Right leg over the knee.  Cannot walk ! –  weak and bleak future threatening.  Do not want to describe more – have seen him immediately after and even yesterday when I was hearing, some tears did roll in my eyes !! 

It would have been a sad and tragic story of remorse and melancholy but Narayanan proved to be a man of iron will, strong mind and exceptional ability to adapt.  He recalls the motivation and support provided by his Cricket friends and neighbours as he started living a new life – one where he would have needed support in every step ! 

He completed his SSLC (11th those days), PUC and did graduation in the prestigious Vivekananda, enlisted at Employment exchange and under PD quota got support. He first joined Civil supplies and later joined Indian Oil Corporation on 5.11.1984 

That would be a mere statement but those 9 years between 1975 to 1984 challenged him physically, emotionally, psychologically and financially too.  He overcame all that.  In between, he cycled – yes a very great accomplishment for one who had amputation above knees, used to travel long distances to and cycled his way to office.  

Perhaps His would rank as a very special love story!  Ms V Vijayalakshmi living in the same TP Koil Street (officers’ laundry) fell in love and their romance continued for some years with opposition from parents ..  .. .. the happy ending was they tied the knots on 1.7.1988. Great appreciations to this lady, who married  knowing fully the situation.  They are living happily ever after – have two children – a daughter, married since and a son – both of them presently living in Sydney, Australia.  She retired as a teacher from NKT National Girls High school with special ability in Arts & Crafts and ofcourse, in motivating and guiding !


PM Narayanan for sure had difficulty in walking, yet cycled, later bought a TVS scooter.  He is a graduate and had passed Typewriting Higher and joined IOC as Typist, steadily rose up, becoming Accounts Officer in 2002 and retired as  Deputy Manager, Finance in IOCL in June 2019. This might make a sad story but Narayanan remained cheerful, witty and active all along. He represented IOC in various disciplines of Sports – more specifically – Chess, Carrom and Bridge.  He was the Secretary of Sports and Recreation Club for many years and was very active inside office mingling with all colleagues and outside too. 


He attributes his present status to his wife, many a friends who supported him during his difficult days, with special mention of Tin Rangan.  He is very devout and says it is Sri Parthasarathi Emperuman who has provided him goodness all in his life and also Yoga Muneeswarar temple in front of Royapettah Hospital where he prayed on the day of his discharge.


Most people would have given up cursing fate, crying all time about that fateful day- for sure, it changed his life BUT, he stood up literally and kept walking / cycling to reach greater heights.  Yesterday at his home, he was composed, definitely would have felt tragic of that incident but it is the true story of a Man who has overcome odds to lead a happy contented life, smiling and remaining cheerful.  Hats off Narayanan, I am one of your innumerable fans !!

With regards – S Sampathkumar


  1. As you said he is always cheerful. I was travelled with him for IOC inter region sports meet in different cities. His humerous is outstanding. I really proved be a friend of Narayanan.

  2. Pranams to him 🙏, Great inspiration for youngsters - Thanks for your informative posts

  3. Thanks anna for giving such wonderful articles

  4. Fantastic write-up Sam. Shankar.