DALDA, once the poor man’s ghee

The other day, my mom showed me this old plastic container with the familiar yellow colour and the words “DALDA” made on Aug/1982, which she had preserved for decades as her emergency piggybank. For decades whenever we brought to the house any product made outside, she will take a bite and say this tastes like DALDA, it is not good for health, so eat little. Looking back, I think she used the term as a bogeyman to keep our eating in check – as kids we didn’t know to tell…

LIFCO’s Religious Book Fair in the 1980s

My father (Late) Sri T.N.C.Varadan had headed our (then) family publishing business for over five decades from the 1960s to 2013. Founded by Grandfather (Late) Sri V. Krishnaswamy Sarma, The Little Flower Co (1929) aka LIFCO and later managed by his five sons, the book house was famous for its English-English-Tamil Dictionaries. In the initial decades, it was known for its impeccable grammar and quality guide books for Madras (now Tamil Nadu state) School students.  Later, once the state government took over the publishing of textbooks, the dynamics of the…

My grandfather LIFCO Sarmaji and Sri Rajaji

சில வாரங்கள் முன்பு, நண்பர் திரு சுஜாதா தேசிகன் (Desikan Narayanan) அவர்களுடன் பேசிக் கொண்டிருந்தப் போது, ராயல்டி என்று பேச்சு வந்தது. என் தாத்தா லிப்கோ (LIFCO Publishers Pvt. Ltd.) நிறுவனர் திரு கிருஷ்ணசாமி சர்மா (LIFCO Sarmaji) அவர்களுக்கு திரு ராஜாஜி அவர்களோடு இந்த விசயத்தில் நடந்த ஒரு சம்பவம் நினைவுக்கு வந்தது, அதை திரு தேசிகனிடம் பகிர்ந்துக் கொண்டேன். சில தினங்களுக்குப் பின் மீண்டும் என்னைத் தொடர்புக் கொண்டு, நான் கூறியவற்றை கல்கி வாரயிதழில் தனது கடைசிப் பக்கம் கட்டுரையில் எழுதலாமா? எனக் கேட்டார். கரும்பு தின்னக் கூலியா, தாராளமாக என்றேன். திரு ராஜாஜியும் சரி, என் தாத்தாவும் சரி, மிக உயர்ந்த மனிதர்கள், அவர்களைப் பற்றி வழக்கில் பேசலாம், ஆனால் தவறாக ஏதாவது என்னால் அச்சில் வந்துவிடக் கூடாது என்ற…

Trip to Ooty in 1995

Going through my photo albums, I found old pictures of a trip I went in 1995, during my college days with classmates. It was a 4-day trip to Ooty and Bangalore, we went by train from Chennai to Mettupalayam and from there we took the famous Nilgiri Mountain Railway, which in 2005 was awarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On return, we went to Coonor, then went by a private bus to Bangalore from where we caught another train to Chennai. Going through the 1995 photos, I recollected my…

Trip to Rajasthan in 1992

It was 1992, I had written my senior secondary school (12th Standard) exams and was interested to do Engineering for my under-graduation. I was an average student, so the IITs and Government colleges were out of reach for me. Anyways, I wrote a few of the competitive exams for the peer-pressure and to tell my parents and teachers that I did try, but I was unlucky to get through. One such entrance exam I wrote was for “Delhi College of Engineering”. The real reason was that me and a friend…