Vijay Rao (65) remembers the time when he and Jayalalithaa played at Tata Silk Farm in south Bengaluru for nearly nine years in what was then a huge open field. That was back in the fifties, when Jaya’s family lived on Model House Street while she studied in Bishop Cotton Girls’ School on St. Mark’s Road.
What remains etched in Mr. Rao’s memory is the time spent playing hop-scotch, racing and watching the local kabaddi matches. He remembers Jaya as a very focused person even in those days. “She never mixed her play time with her dance classes. She learnt dance from Lalithambal, who lived in a house opposite the ground,” recalls Mr. Rao.
Mr. Rao went to see Jayalalitha when she took over as the Chief Minister in 1991. She welcomed him and reminisced about their younger days. “We have just done up the Jawaharwal Nehru Football Stadium in Chennai. You must pay a visit,” she had told him.