|My father, Rangarathnam, orator - perhaps at a Vivekananda College function.|
“What books are those?” asked my father, Rangarathnam.
“Short stories by Indira Parthasarathy,” I replied. “He autographed them.” I was returning from a function at Tag Center, where Tiruppur Krishnan and three others performed public readings of four of the author’s short stories, from two volumes published by Kizhakku Pathippagam.
“We would sit on the same porch and he would tease me, you know,” said my father. He was suffering from dementia, and which was only diagnosed the previous year. He had some difficulties with new memories, but had excellent recollection of his earlier days. His eyesight and hearing had deteriorated, he rarely went out anymore, but at least he was off the terrible, twice daily, insulin injections, taking tablets instead.
We had not had a good conversation in a while. But something about Indira Parthasarathy triggered memories and he talked of several childhood memories, of school days in Kumbakonam (but almost never college life); of work as a lawyer in the Madras High Court, but rarely of earlier days in Madras.
This was the first time he had talked of childhood days with Indira Parthasarthy.
In October, my father passed away.
I met Indira Parthasarathy at the Tamil Teritage Trust’s Lecture Kacheri in Raga Sudha hall in December 2011, where I introduced myself as Rangarathnam’s son. “How is Rangarathnam?” he asked eagerly. “I’m sorry, he passed away last year,” I said. He was stunned into silence. After a few minutes, he said, “It’s always a shock to hear that one of your colleagues has passed away.”