She was a frail woman, spent her days within the four walls of her home, reading books, writing short stories and occasionally stepping out to visit the Marina beach to closely observe men and matters. In her lived a strong-willed, but a self-effacing and large-hearted human being. If she came across as a socially conscious person with concern for fellow human beings in her short stories, R. Chudamani's gesture in real life was also unprecedented.

She had left a will saying that all her possessions should go to charity.

In the first phase, Rs.1.5 crore will be equally shared by the Ramakrishna Mission Students' Home, Sri Ramakrishna Math Charitable Dispensary and Voluntary Health Services.

“This amount came from the sale of her house at Alagappa Road in Chennai. She had inherited it from her mother and clearly mentioned the beneficiaries in her will,” says K. Bharathi, executor of the estate of Chudamani.

“We will get an equal amount from shares, bonds and fixed deposits. That will also go to these organisations,” said Ms. Bharathi, a college teacher, who regularly visited Chudamani until the writer's last days.

A function will be held at Ramakrishna Mission Students' Home on March 27 to hand over the money to these organisations. She had also donated money to various charity organisations.

Ms. Bharathi said but for the support of the family members of Chudamani she could not have fulfilled her wishes.

Chudamani belonged to an aristocratic family and her father was T.N.S. Raghavan, an ICS officer, who became the Chief Secretary of Madras Presidency.

But small pox at the age of three changed Chudamani's life forever. Though the legendary doctor Rangachari saved her, the disease deeply affected her bones. She could not attend school, but her mother, a connoisseur of arts, ensured that she was educated at home and learnt painting. Chudamani had three sisters and a brother. Her first story Parisu Vimarsanam was in 1954. She wrote around 500 stories, a few novellas and novels.

“But she never experimented with style. Her style gently flows, highlighting lofty ideals,” said Seetha Ravi, former editor of Tamil weekly Kalki, which published many of her short stories.

“Happiness would engulf all of us in the editorial when we opened the envelope carrying her stories. Inside the cover you would find a self-addressed envelope, requesting us to send the story back in case it was not selected for publication. She was humility personified,” said Ms. Ravi.

Correction

With reference to the report “A large hearted human being” published in The Hindu on March 24, 2011, K. Bharathi, Executor of the Estate of R.Chudamani, said sale proceeds of writer Chudamani's house property worth Rs.4.50 crore will be equally shared by the Ramakrishna Mission Students' Home, Sri Ramakrishna Math Charitable Dispensary and Voluntary Health Services and not Rs.1.5 crore as reported.

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