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Translated by Vamanan

We had gone to a conference in Mallasamudram which was in the Tiruchengode taluk of Salem district.  The members of the reception committee had quickly engaged themselves in cooking food for us. But Naicker could not bear to wait.  ‘‘Let us wander round the place,’’ he said.

As we wandered together, we found a woman who was cooking ‘puttu’ on a street pyol. Naicker entered the place swiftly and bought the stuff from her. Both of us ate the puttu to own heart’s content. When we were about to wash our hands, the members of the reception committee who had searched for us all over the place found us to their astonishment.

*** *** ****

Nagammal  was Naicker’s first wife. She was a very beautiful woman. Her qualities matched her beauty. Her perpetual smile indicated her happy temperament. Naicker was famous for his stinginess. She was exactly the opposite. She derived great happiness from serving guests. No visitor could leave without being treated to a meal.

She had immense affection for me. She knew the things I liked. The moment she saw me coming, she would call out to the servant boy, Hey you, Rama, and send him to the market to buy the things she needed to cook for me. One day when I was having my food along with Naicker, he turned to me and said, ‘‘Why the hell don’t you turn up here every day!’’

‘‘Why do you say so? Does the railway pay for my ticket for me to come here every day?’’ I replied.

‘‘But only when you come here I get some tasty food.’’ said Naicker. He was so jealous of me! The point is, he was damn angry at the expense!

(From Kovai Ayyamuthu’s Naan Kanda Periyar)

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Translated by Vamanan

‘The same technique (of appointing yes men to Congress party positions), is being followed today,’ I said. In this manner, after speaking about a variety of subjects, I rose to take leave of Periyar.

He got up hastily and entered a room. I followed him. He opened an almirah and picked up three oranges and a mango. He put them into the bag that hung from my shoulder, plunging me into utter astonishment.

There was a drum  full of thinned paint, beside his bed. ‘‘Why have you kept this here? It is giving out a strong odour,’’ I said.

‘‘What do you know of my headache! If I keep the dissolved paint any where else, the fellows will steal much of  it,’’ he said. His comment caused me no surprise. I got down the steps to go my way.

* * * *    * * * *    * * * *

The close association between me and Naicker began at the start of 1923. I had returned to Coimbatore just then after living in Rangoon for a year. In Coimbatore, I, my friend Shubri and Chettipalayam Ayyasami Gounder were engaged in intense propaganda for the Congress. We would often go to many villages and towns with Naicker. We would also take Khadi along with us and sell it. At the time, Naicker was the president of the Tamil Nadu Khadi Board. One day, Chettipalayam Ayyyasami Gounder and I asked for Khadi for Rs. 500/- on credit. He refused, saying that unless we paid the money in cash he would not give it to us. We offered to give a promissory note. But he rejected that offer too. Finally, we somehow paid the money and took the Khadi products.

 

(From Naan Kanda Periyar by Kovai Ayyamuthu)