School Years 67-73

My school the T.Nagar High School is truly a great one. It was founded by C.D.Nayagam a great visionary of social reform. I am a beneficiary of his vision.

I wish to acknowledge the role of four of my teachers with reverence and a deep sense of affection and gratitude for three of my classmates. It is imperative that I give a brief narrative about them delineating their exemplary character traits, and in some aspects of their emotional make up, to give a complete picture within the context of those times. I learnt from them and emulated their traits. Being peers they constituted vital building blocks of what I am today. The sphere of this narrative is confined to our school campus. I have largely withheld the personal emotions. The portrayal of events are biographical in that it encompasses the way I understood and bonded with them. They were as follows. Pursuit of knowledge and excellence. A clear sense of purpose. A strong sense of self-dignity. These were the shared ideals and values with my classmates Lata, Raj and Rajendran Globe. We never looked down on our classmates and never intruded or invaded each other’s’ space. They were the only friends I made in all my school years. I have given a brief about the Symposiums I conducted in later years from 1980-1997. They are post school and set in different locales.

I revered my teachers very much. They were always there to answer my questions and guide me through complex abstractions. I loved going to school. It was a place where I learnt from people and things every step of the way.  I saw the appalling academic performance of my other classmates and made a point to know their priorities. To my dismay I found that knowledge was low in their priority, the other so-called studious people confined themselves to mastery over the text books blandly, without exercising their individual tendencies or aptitudes.

 I played cricket with a zeal. I was a member of a cricket team at the Somasundaram grounds. I was a tactical off and leg-breaks bowler and a solid middle order defensive batsman. Cricket was a sphere of physics and team management for me. It taught me the team bonding and the spirit of constructive co-operation. Most of all it taught me to understand individual improvisations of skills and tactical war of wills in a competitive sphere. Lessons that proved valuable when I joined the corporate world in 1997.

 I equally enjoyed playing the street games of gilli, marbles and spinning the top. I always receded back to my world of books and never associated with my playmates beyond the games. The rough and tumble of the street culture made me uncomfortable.

I heard a lot of Hindi and western music. I could sing well too. The lyrics, melodies and harmony touched my heart and soul.

The period approaching exams had a special significance. Fear and suspense gripped me. In the exam hall I was truly alone. So were my precious friends. There was nothing there for us but face the question paper. It was the final reality of our world. After the exam we discussed our answers and groaned at our mistakes. Losing a single mark was a matter of concern and worry.

Our academic rivalry was marked by a deep respect and admiration for each other. There was an Olympian slant to it. We were behind each other by one or two marks, sometimes it was a bare half a mark, a kind of a photo finish. Those were moments of self-realisation when we revelled in the triumph of our work. We knew the pain of stretching oneself to the very best and then go on to do better than the best. Our moods rose and fell but not our spirits. We took a pledge which I voiced in a brief statement “We have done our very best. We are winners and should never give up or compromise and settle for less”


 Access to library was a key factor and constituted my extended super curriculum by which I raced far ahead of my age. It really brought the world within my grasp or intellectual purview. I took full advantage of it. I did not merely read the books, I walked with the great masters and story tellers and synchronised on to their wave lengths. Of all the books Gilgamesh, Aristotle and Dante stood out. With Gilgamesh I journeyed to many strange lands and crossed the hostile and endless oceans to reach the underworld, the land of the dead, to bring back his friend Enkidu. With Dante I walked through the Inferno (hell) and Purgatory a Prison-Laundromat for sins and sinners and Paradise the blissful resort of the virtuous. Each book was a time machine in itself. Aristotle handed over the secrets of consciousness and the cosmos itself. By age seventeen I had laid the basic foundations. In the years to come I read the critical editions too. Thank you my revered headmistress Mrs. Gnanam Nayagam for granting me special access to the library. 

My teachers

Mrs. Gnanam Nayagam (late), HM.

Mrs. D. Victor HM

Mr. Mohanamurty (late) class teacher 8thstd.

Mrs. Saraswati Narasimhan (late) class teacher 10th & 11th std.

Mr.Mohanamurty our class teacher in 8th standard (1969-1970) was a true educator. One day I approached him and expressed my desire to access the library although it was forbidden for 8th class pupils. He asked me about my other interests. To my surprise the very next day he took me to the Headmistress Mrs Gnanam Nayagam she asked me about the authors of my choice. I promptly recited a list of them. She listened with raised eyebrows and immediately called the librarian and asked him to include my name in the borrowers list. In a single stroke the whole world was suddenly within my reach. That is how I felt. Being a voracious reader I made full use of the library and exhausted the English literature section and many of the volumes of Encyclopaedia in a years’ time. Access to the library changed my life. I left everything and everyone behind. Every fact learnt was a milestone, unravelling the secrets of nature. Such was the consequence of the magnanimous gesture shown by our beloved Headmistress, Mrs. Gnanam Nayagam. She was a true educator. How do you thank a teacher who has taken you from simple school texts to the heights of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Dante, Lao Tzu and classic literature?                                                                                   

Mrs. Saraswati Narasimhan our class teacher in 10th & 11th standard, was a great teacher. She understood my struggle with complex Greek thought and guided me with the interpretations. She invited me to her house on holidays. She had a library at home and I took advantage of it. I was interested in Max Mueller’s book on comparative philology. She gave me a brief explanations from that book spread across many sessions about the meaning and scope of linguistics and study of comparative philology, particularly the grammatical structures, syntax and phonetic evolution. She briefed me about hermeneutics too.  I spent the whole day in her house. The greatest mystery was the way she read my mind and counselled me accordingly. Sometimes in matters of knowledge she treated me as an equal and that humbled me. She was more than a teacher. She was a foster mother to me. “You are ahead of others by a wide margin. Do not fear or get discouraged by the words of others, you must be a warrior of knowledge and peace” these words made me puzzle.

She asked me to take up the leadership of the class. Being an academic, I was reluctant to take up a political role. First thing I had no contact with any of the boys or girls. Lata, Raj and Rajendran were the only classmates I related to as friends. 

Mrs. Victor continued to extend the patronage bestowed on me by Mrs. Gnanam Nayagam. She was the one who took cognizance of my leadership role and praised me sky high and decided to constitute the best leader award. It was the first time that such an award was given to anybody.

The Award: The best class leader prize was given at the end of the academic year 1972 on our annual day celebrations. It was the day I gave a rock music performance on the stage. I sang Yellow River by Jeff Christie and Proud Mary by the CCR. The roaring cheers and claps made me euphoric. I was careful not to be caught in the glamour wave. I had no intention of becoming a celebrity on that score. 

As a prize I was given the book ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ it was an expensive original Penguin classic. The book gave me a deep fulfilment because I saw myself as a composite of the teenage characters of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and Jim the black slave. Tom’s love for the heroine Becky Thatcher was most touching. I did feel disappointed with his Quixotian streak. Yet I admired his spontaneity and rationalisations. The book portrayed the ethos and predicament of emergent United States of America. It was a sequel to Adventures of Tom Sawyer which I had read in Oct 1969.


The Legacy

The confidence bestowed on me by Mrs. Victor, Mr Mohanamurty and Mrs. S N. has sustained me all through. I remembered their words of wisdom, caution, and criticisms which served as training in pursuit of excellence. They gave me the strength and resilience to deal with the cataclysmic upheavals in my life ever since 1973 May. Their inspiration constituted the prime motive force in all my triumphs (Please see the section My Prehistoric Odyssey for details of my archaeological expeditions, the discoveries I made and research publications thereof.)



This song by John Lennon is a song of remembrances.

There are places I remember

All my life though some have changed

Some forever not for better

Some have gone and some remain

All these places have their moments

With friends I still can recall

Some are dead and some are living

In my life I loved them all

But of all these friends

There is no one compares with you

All these memories lose their meaning

When I think of love as something you

Though I’ll never lose affection

For people and things that went before

I know I’ll often softly think about them

In my life I love you more.

A very moving song so apt in its meaning and simplicity. Nostalgia arises from a shared history punctuated by shared ideals and values. It is a powerful positive force that catapults you forward with a renewed vigour. It is good until you wish to bring back yesterday, an obvious impossibility.

I was seized with a strong sense of yearning for my benefactors and my friends. I missed them a lot every single day all through the intervening years. It was because of the terrible void left behind by them. The void fragmented my world and created a cosmic disconnect with my past. Torn from the organic roots of my soul I felt very much lost. Every single day I wondered about them. What were my friends doing at this moment?  In what time zone? Pursuing their professions and busy with their commitments. I feared for them. Were they also facing fiendish sadists like me? Those pain merchants and moral cannibals who seemed to control the world with their stale moral platitudes and cheap bromides.

              I remember their birthdays falling in the months of February, September and November, and on those special occasions I give charity in the form of educational scholarships to those who face dropping out of school. A profound tragedy I had suffered when I was forced to quit college abortively.  

I wondered if my friends remembered me on my birthday on 14th of March. I guess they do. Even that guess is a consolation.

I came to the bitter realization that I had taken the friendships for granted, I felt I should have been more expressive and assertive about my feelings.  I hadn’t taken the initiative to keep in touch.

Thank you my dear friends, thanks a zillion.


The 3 Symposiums are a kind of informal educative academy I maintained. They are precursors to my Academy of New Intellectuals. Symposium1 was based at my house in C.I.T. Nagar and included Kaleem, Paneer and Jaishankar. Symposium 2 was based in Perambur and it consisted of N. Ananta Krishnan and his wife Jane of Brunei, we discussed UFO’s, Kirlian photography, Ancient mysteries and alien invasions from books of Erich von Daniken, Charles Berlitz and his books on Bermuda Triangle. In 1980 May-June we travelled to study the major temples of south India. The Symposium 3 consisted of Nandakumar, Mathivanan and G.K. Malakondiah all were college students. We discussed Aristotle, Plato, Dante, Victor Hugo and Ayn Rand, Vermeer, Picasso. And listened to Tchaikovksy. Other topics included particle physics, capitalist economics, Lao Tzu, and various religious thoughts. It lasted from 1986-1997.  Wherever I went I formed a Symposium of select persons to teach the universal ideas of Reason, Purpose and Self-esteem,  as portrayed in Atlas Shrugged one of the greatest epic novels of twentieth century by Ayn Rand.      


Conclusion In later years after 1992 I intensified my exploratory journeys looking for prehistoric megaliths and ancient cave and rock art. In the process I came across small picturesque forest settlements of Kolami tribes in Rayalaseema, Kadavars of Anaimudi who speak a form of Archaic Dravidian language. In Pulivendla AP I visited the Yanadi tribes in their exotic forests. I stayed with them sometimes during their festival days and witnessed directly the rustic life of the tribes on the one hand and the hi-tech world driven by computers and nanotech (those pinnacles of human creativity) back home in Chennai. I saw the breath-taking opulence of the five star hotels and the mega-priced world brands on display in the shopping malls, I certainly belonged there and could afford them all. But I was dismayed at the wide chasm between these two worlds which I frequented. The constitution was out of reach for the aborigines. Yet it was used to intrude and invade and destroy their culture and life styles. They could not hunt or move across their traditional migratory pathways because some of them were declared to be reserve forests. But could be easily taken over by the rich oligarchs for mining and road laying.

 In the forests they lived in harmony with nature. They took care not to intrude on the domain of other occupants of their world, the wild dogs, lethal king cobras and pythons included. But in the modern industrial society which is a western model, man was pitted against man and sub-divided into inter-dependant but conflicting groups. The paradox is obvious. The problem is rooted in the deliberately ill-educated younger generation by ill designed education system bereft of moral ethical roots. They become teachers without learning skills, engineers without the engineering minds and medical practitioners bereft of the idea of a soul, and hence are puppets in the hands of vicious pharmaceutical companies and hold people’s lives in ransom. Their individuation process suffers mutilation and their individual identity is weighed down by a disembodied collective will. Held in leash, and indoctrinated by the perpetual third parent the all-powerful TV. Such is the pathology of social break down or precisely social challenge. Dysfunction and malfunction are analogous terms used in medical and engineering systems. 

 The curriculum of my Academy of New Intellectuals incorporates responses to the challenges just mentioned. I plan to build bridges spanning the two extremes with laying a strong foundation of objective moral judgements. The industrial leaders are Goliaths who sit on a pile of wealth unusable by them and yet they watch unfeelingly entire continents and generations fall into hunger and disease. They are without a sense of a human being, benumbed comfortably by their excessive love of wealth called greed in Dante’s Divine Comedy. The western world has ignored such towering men like Aristotle, Dante, Carl Jung, Thiruvalluvar, Lao Tzu and Confucius. The orient (except the Chinese) have been introverted excessively by archaic thoughts. The great religious texts of world religions are a gift to all humanity. Each of the religions had prioritized and addressed problems faced by humanity from a geocentric point of view, yet they are universal. The Religions are pathways to Divine wisdom. But they have been turned into politico-economic instruments.  

The Great Dogons, Sumerians, Egyptians, Persians and Greeks failed to adapt to internal and external changes and suffered implosion. The Persians and Greeks suffered implosion due to taxation to fund the constant wars, the mistake was repeated by the Romans and now emulated by the USA and its allies. The youthful vigour of innovation of USA has been harnessed by the military industrial complex. Unlike the crowning glory of Apollo, Pioneer, Voyager and James Web missions.

 The Greeks ignored their own great men of philosophy and were perpetually waging wars for frivolous reasons. In China the mandarins applied sudden brakes on the galloping progress which had drained the state coffers. Thus the Chinese skidded and suffered a self-imposed stasis.

Holding on to archaic systems and thoughts are the engines of retrogression.  A kind of reverse gears where you never moved back an inch only the wheels spun in an anti-clockwise direction, sinking deeper into the morass of dead habits.

Hence in conclusion my academy will carve a new path to educate and help students to be psychologically independent. The structure and dynamics of the process encompasses a wide spectrum of my personal education and experiences. It is not in the purview of this memoir. I will play the role of a social engineer and Dean. I hope to install my school friends to occupy the top three positions of my Academy. I hope they will accept. But first I must find them.

I remembered the words of my oldest master Socrates as he sweepingly said in the market place of Athens “The perfect human being is all human beings put together”.  

Singing to myself……home alone, in the front yard.

Singing my heart out,

Thank you Richard Marx.

Sometimes listening to

A song is not enough

That is….When it touches the chords

Of your heart…

Chords of love or pathos

Then you want

To make it your own

And pour your heart out to

Unburden the poignant pathos

To sing it out loud…hoping to reach out……Mahi…

Dizzying heights. Thinking of the trend nostalgically

Dizzying Heights. Dizzying Nostalgia.

Na yeh chand hoga na taren rahenge
Magar hum hamesha tumhare rahenge
Bichadkar chale jayen tumse kahin
Toh yeh na samajna mohabbat nahin
Jahan bhi rahen hum tumhare rahenge