Tuesday, December 22, 2009


It is sometimes surprising to think what it takes to make me write after a big lull. This was a simple SMS. The one which Kamal Haasan receives in the movie ‘Azhiyatha Kolangal’ . The message in that movie is from one of his classmates announcing the death of their Indu teacher. And then starts the flashback. A story laden with incidents which are typical of adolescent boys!

Mine wasn’t any different either, only change being this was not a story that had discovery of condoms and stealthy reading of Tamizh porn replete with spelling mistakes and severe lack of imagination. This was announcing the death of KVS , a doyen of Madurai cricket, if one may use the term liberally.

Sundararaja Mama was a typical Iyengar. Big in size, so big that I used to look at the waist size of his pants with awe! And the mandatory hawkish nose of Iyengars making one wonder whether Iyengars alone descended from Garudalwar instead of monkeys and Darwin had it all wrong when it came to us. KVS was always flanked by two of his brothers, both a far cry from what a cricketer he was, but enjoying the patronage of the brother who just breathed cricket.

And KVS himself, didn’t know what kind of a cricketer he was. One day, he used to be a fiery pace bowler defying all the science about the craft and the next day, a beguiling leg spinner who never knew about how much the ball will turn. Or suddenly he will wake up to discover the hardest hitter of cricket ball in the world in him, hell bent on punishing the ball as if it they had an enmity running through generations. I don’t clearly remember any great exploits of him in the cricket field and I may daresay that there weren’t many. Occasions of him winning a match with his bat or ball are very rare, but the rest of the story would probably say why I and maybe a few like me would mourn his death 20 years after we last met him.

KVS had an oil trading business and it would be right to call that as his hobby. His office was MDCA and as a treasurer he would have sunk so much money in the association, so much that had he employed a Texas driller to excavate, atleast one of his vocations would have benefited. Either Oil or Money! He was a man in the middle in a figurative sense running his own set of clubs in between two sworn enemies of Majestic and the TVS group of clubs.

And unlike the other two clubs, his club was a ragtag bunch of cricket enthusiasists plus a few kids like us who had never seen a red color cricket ball. When we saw one it was already some 500 over’s old and blackish-brown in color. None of us had the money to pay for a club however meager it was. But KVS never bothered about money. If he could invest money for an association, sure he can for his own club. So, we all got a chance to practice and play in the late seventies & eighties when matted cricket was a luxury. He liked us all or so I used to think, but then he would have liked anybody who showed a liking to cricket. He was not a coach and if he attempted being one, he would have killed careers. He never believed in techniques and I suspect that he never knew there was one. But what he had was loads of passion to the game and that was infectious.

In a way he used to be a stepping stone for many cricketers, two of them going on to play for India in the senior and U-19 level, but then later shifted one of the two biggies. KVS won’t bother about it. He would either be providing an opportunity for another youngster or busy organizing a felicitation for the two boys who made it big.

I don’t know how old he was when I played with him and how old when he died, it never really mattered. But if someone told me that he died on the field hurling a cricket ball at 120 kph, I would not be surprised. Or handholding a young boy who can’t afford a kit!

May his soul rest in peace and I am sure it would if there was a Cricket Association in Paramapadam and there is a young God wanting to learn cricket.

No comments: