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?


Narayanan Venkitu said...

Balaji, Great post! ...Yeah all of these are great memories. You brought back a lot of memories and also a few tears to my eyes.

Whenever I go to Perungalathur and take a turn to go to your house, I remember how we used to sit there and watch the matches.!! Today..nothing is left..!! Its a concrete sewerage!! I hate it.!!

Appollo team was a class apart. All the players were well behaved, they didn't smoke or drink during matches..etc. We all grew up watching them play..and we used to play next to them!!

Hmm..those days..!!!

Balaji S Rajan said...


I could understand your feelings. We do realise "Old is Gold". I do agree with you that the place is turning into a concrete jungle now. Yes..Appollo team were a class apart.

mayvee said...

for past one am residing @ perungalathur oly....

now its full of building, mansions, etc

really i miss tiruverumbur

H. Ganesh said...

SB, Beautifully written with passion for the game and the place!