Friday, June 15, 2007

Perungalathur Days - Cycling Champions

Every place has it own beauty and Perungalathur did have its beauty. There were neatly maintained parks with benches. The Town panchayat maintains them and I cannot guarantee the standard now. The Town panchayat owned few lands too which were let for public to hold shows.

In old days Cycling was extensively used in small Towns which was a healthy way of living and cheaper way of commutation. In late sixties and early seventies that was the cheapest transport. I always fancied having a cycle. Activities, entertainment, talents and way of earning differ from people to people. There were a group of people who would like to hire the public land from Panchayat and do cycling non-stop for 10 days.

This used to be the talk of the school. As kids, we always had doubt how a person could cycle continuously for 10 days. We also had the doubt about how he will perform his nature’s call. Loudspeakers will be singing the latest MGR songs. I remember lots of such cycling happening in the open ground where a private school is built near the Panchayat building in Srinivasa Nagar. There were young boys like Rajendiran, Maya Krishnan (Who must be in their late 40’s now) who had done such cycling a lot. Eunuchs will be hired to dance for the songs with lady role. Guys performing the Hero role for songs, will be copying lots of MGR styles. It was fun to watch these cycling events in the evenings.

Some of our friends used to say that their parents saw them cycling even late nights, when they were returning after night shows. It was a real fun. Especially there will be clowns too to do some antics with cycle in the evening. It was a great fun for kids like us. On the final day there will be a great show. There used to be lots of activities. Sometimes they used to stick posters all round the village or distribute pamphlets regarding the agenda. One brave man used to break tube lights on his bare chest. One used to jump through a cycle tyre lit by fire around. More actions with two or three cycles used to pull a huge crowd. There used to great display of courage and art by rural artisans who never rose to great heights and still live a simple life.

I see plenty of shows in the Televisions in Western World today, which reminds me of those simple characters whom I have seen them when I was a kid. Few years before when I had been to Perungalathur, I met those cycle champions Rajendiran and Maya Krishnan. They have turned to be real estate brokers and felt happy when I reminded them of those old good days. They still live happy wherever they are.

Even today when I pedal a bicycle I remember those cycle champions.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Perungalathur days - Apollo CC

Sometime important decisions in life change everything that happens afterwards. If at all I admire my Dad, it was for some good decisions he took in his life. Having grown up in the centre of Madras, in George Town, very close to Madras Central station in Audiappa Naicken Street, he took a decision to migrate to a country side, with plenty of ground water and air, closer to Railway link and with a great thought about the future, and migrated to a lovely, beautiful place called Perungalathur in mid 60’s.

I read somewhere recently about J K Rowling’s younger days. It seems she grew up in a country side with plenty of green fields, and picturesque hills and beautiful nature which helped her to imagine a lot. I agree with her totally, and would like to thank my hometown Perungalathur for everything.

I am glad that my childhood friends who grew up from this small Town near Tambaram in Chennai, have spread through out the world. Perungalathur was famous for a great motor company called Standard Motors. I would also say Perungalathur is famous for having raised standard people who are shining wherever they are today. We have had wonderful time, childhood days and proud to say we grew up together. I am glad that few of my friends who are contributing a lot to the blogging world, jointly have decided to have this blog exclusively to write everything related to Perungalathur. I shall write whenever possible the wonderful experiences and would proudly call them as ‘Perungalathur Days’.

We had plenty of open space around our houses. We had a huge open field in front of our house. My father was very much interested in Cricket and he encouraged youngsters whoever played Cricket in Perungalathur. As far as I know the first ever good cricket team in Perungalathur was “Apollo Cricket Club”. The sound of ball hitting the bat will let us know the arrival of Sunday morning. All big boys would have assembled. For long time Kumar was the captain. I was just around 5 or 6 years old and would see all those elders rolling out the mat on a Sunday morning. There was a great communal feeling. We young children were keen to know with whom the match is going to be played. Some team from Mambalam, or Saidapet or Tambaram would be coming. By 7.30 Pattabi will be first to arrive in Raghu’s house. Raghu and Raju lived in the same house. The mat was always kept in their house. Pattabhi, Kumar I, Santhanam, Suri, Sriram, Vasanth, Ganesh, Kumar II would have arrived. Kumar I was a stylish one down batsman. Pattabhi and Raju used to open up the innings with bat and ball. Pattabhi was a lovable character and the guys used to always keep pulling his leg. He always blamed his bat for getting out. Often he complained that the bat took a thicker edge and that was the cause for being out. There were plenty of Eucalyptus tree in front of Naidu Uncle's house. Raju’s house used to be the pavilion. There was a huge Neem tree which was in the slips area and that used to be the green room for the host team.

Raghu’s house had the first refridgerator of the colony and ice cubes would be stored in large for the players. We used to be the drinks boys. Ganesh was a lovely pace bowler. Vasanth was meant for his work behind the stumps. He was a classic Wicket keeper. Raghu, Santhanam, Suri, Sriram were good spinners. Apollo team was a great team for us. As far as I remember Apollo team used to bowl first. The opponent’s inning will be over by noon. After a lunch from “Karumari Amman” hotel near the bus stand, Apollo CC used to bat and win the match for us. Those were great days. My father and few elders used to be there to pat the home team and encourage them. Raghu was an off spinner. Suri and Sriram bowled leg spin. I think Santhanam was also a spinner. Oh… those Sundays.

Once when the team was in need of finance, they decided to screen a movie. The movie was “Around the world”. I think it was a great film by Raj Kapoor. It was screened in Tambaram National theatre. My father took me and my sister to Tambaram. It was a great experience to watch a film, with so many known faces. The appollo team members were in the Ticket counters and near the entrance doors. My sister and self were excited. For the first time we saw a movie shot in abroad. It was a wonderful movie in which Rajkapoor travelled around the world. It was wonderful to see snowy hills in those places. Even today whenever I see snow in England, I remember this movie screened by Apollo Cricket Team of Perungalathur.

I still remember most of the good matches we have seen in Apollo ground. We were in our late teens when Apollo ground was approached by Real estate agents. The landlord who owned that huge land decided to sell it. Apollo team vanished. All the elders got married and went away from Perungalathur. As far as I know every one were professionals and have settled well. The only person whom I am still in touch is Raghu. He is still called as “Apollo Raghu”. I heard his son is into final year Engineering. I talk to Raghu whenever I visit Perungalathur and try to know the whereabouts of my other childhood heroes.

For all their talents, everyone would have been a great star. During the same time, some more cricket teams rose up and named themselves as Mercury CC, Sputnik CC. Whatever said, Apollo CC were our stars. They brought in so much of Cricket for Perungalathur in 1960’s and 70’s.

The only consolation for me is that I could buy a piece of land in the place where they played good cricket in Perungalathur. My house stands in the gully position of Apollo Cricket team. Nowadays I was told that Perungalathur CC has a very good cricket team which plays in senior division of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association. Again, most of the players who play for Perungalathur CC today, may not even know the geographical location of Perungalathur. That is the way the world goes. Isn’t it?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Perungalathur - History


The big tank at Perungalathur

I was very fortunate to study in MCC ( Madras Christian College ). Those days, we had an optional subject during our Under-graduate days where we learned to copy and read early Tamil inscriptions.

It was probably from there that my interest in knowing the History of Perungalathur and the surrounding areas grew.

From an inscription at Perungalathur, it was found, that the village existed in the Chola period and it was called Perunkulathur, the village of the big tank. Alternatively, it may also stand for a large village with a tank.

The village belonged to Nedungunra Nadu named after the village of Nedungunram situated south of the campus.

Even though Tambararn is close to Perungalathur. it belongs to a different Nadu called Churathur Nadu, named after Thiruchuram, the modern Trisulam village near Pallavaram.

Tambaram is sometimes wrongly derived from the word taamiram or copper but we know now that the second part of the word was once puram meaning a village (MCC Magazine, 1973).

We came across a Tamil inscription written in 1280 A.D. at Pammal village where Tambaram is also referred to as Gunaseelanallur.

We have copied another inscription from Tirukachur, near Singaperumal Kovil, an inscription of the thirteenth century which refers to Tambararn as Taampuram.

The same word can also be read as Dharmapuram or Taarna Puram, since in the early Tamil all the three forms would be written in the same way.

The Churathur Nadu extended from Tambaram in the south to Adambakkam and Alathur (Alandur) in the north and included Pammal, Pallavaram and Tirunirmalai.

We came across a Tamil inscription, (MCC No. 1972/04, MCC Magazine, 1973) at Vandalur which refers to the place as Vendalur (or Veyndalur).

The inscription mentions the name of the Vijayanagar viceroy Maharnandaleswaran Saaluva Narasimha, who usurped the throne in the fifteenth century and to Naagama Naik, a famous general of the Vijayanagar kings.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Welcome Perungalathurians

Welcome to


a blog dedicated to the

wonderful town of Perungalathur

in the southern suburbs of Chennai


If you would like to contribute please send us an email

perungalathur at gmail dot com