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Down the memory lane, with MT

K.A. Shaji
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Lodge where writer stayed during early ’50s to be demolished

It is not exactly a writer’s retreat where an upcoming story-teller could give flow to his creative impulses. But Madathil Thekkepaattu Vasudevan Nair, better known in Malayalam literary circles as MT, preferred to stay at Nandakumaran Lodge, opposite Victoria College in Palakkad, during the early Fifties, as it charged less compared with other places that offered accommodation for college students.

But, the stay at the lodge while studying Intermediate first and later B.Sc. Chemistry at Victoria College, established Vasudevan Nair as a promising writer. MT wrote and published his first work ‘Raktham Puranda Mantharikal’, loosely translated as ‘Blood-stained sand’, during his stay at Nandakumaran Lodge.

The lodge, which gave accommodation on monthly basis to students of Victoria College, would be demolished within a month to build modern mall. The building has been in ruins for a long time now.

“While recalling his college days in Palakkad, Vasudevan Nair reminded us of the stay in the lodge. He remembered a tea shop, owned by Nair, close to the lodge and a small stationary shop, run by Rawther. These are memories of the writer in his formative years,” says M.V. Kunhan Nair, a classmate of Vasudevan Nair. Another fellow-student, P.S. Panicker, remembers Vasudevan Nair stayed in a corner room on the second floor of the lodge.

The windows opened to vast stretches of paddy fields, which once made Palakkad the rice-bowl of Kerala. He also remembers a hair salon run by one Appunni Nair close to the lodge, where Vasudevan Nair occasionally involved in discussing world politics. Vasudevan Nair used to visit the lodge even after becoming teacher at a tutorial college at Sultanpet, said Dr. Panicker.

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