Chennai

Indelible lines in a student’s heart

The sketch drawn by T.S. Narayanaswamy. Photo: Special Arrangement

The sketch drawn by T.S. Narayanaswamy. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Memories of school are like the indelible marks of pigmented drawing ink. T.S. Narayanaswamy has an incident at his alma mater permanently “scribbled” in his mind. On August 6 this year, in a post on Facebook, he recalled it in a tribute to Mrs. YGP — his “Big Miss”, mentor and motivator — on her first death anniversary.

Narayanaswamy is a 1977-batch alumnus of PSBB Lake Area, who would inconveniently find his sketching eureka-moments while sitting in a class. He led a charmed life, passing off as an attentive student given to diligently jotting down notes. Murphy's Law being what it is, the day arrived when he found himself hauled on the carpet.

Narayanaswamy recalls that fateful day: “I was in my 10th standard at PSBB Lake Area. Our history class was in progress. I was of course doodling, scribbling and sketching all around my text books and notebooks.”

The history teacher gave him the marching orders, and he was standing “in the corridor near Big Miss’ room”. Narayaswamny recalls that Mrs. YGP held his ear and led him to her room.

“She looked at me, the book scribbles and the teacher and rumbled ‘Don't let him enter the class for two months!’”

There were further orders from Big Miss — “Send him to the library!” Those words left behind a trail of scary images, including his parents being called for a discussion, recalls Narayanaswamy.

At the library, a stack of sheets was thrown at him by two teachers Mrs. Hamsa Ramdas and Mrs. Hema Srinivasan who had been sent by Mrs. YGP.

Narayanswamy casts his mind back to what the duo had to say: “ ‘Come on, start working on sketches and cartoons for our bi-annual project ‘Futurology’. Use all your imagination. Mrs. YGP has given you permission to skip regular classes and work in the library’ and then they laughed at me.”

Though business turned out to be his calling, Narayanaswamy has been impressive as a sketcher of impressions, having been mentored by his uncle cartoonist-playwright-travelogue writer T.S. Sridhar, who retired as joint-editor of Ananda Vikatan.

“One of the sketches I had done for ‘Futurology’, which was about Gilli Danda entering Olympics, was published by cartoonist Madhan in Ananda Vikatan,” says Narayanaswamy.

There is a string of other heart-warming memories.

“It was a privilege to sketch the Big Miss on her 70th, 80th and 90th birthdays and this latest picture has become the signature image used by the school and others,” Narayanaswamy posted on FB on Mrs. YGP’s first death anniversary.

Narayanaswamy has the credit of conceptualising a short film made by the PSBB Alumni on Mrs. YGP’s 80th birthday. The film can be accessed on YouTube.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 12:41:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/indelible-lines-in-a-students-heart/article32306243.ece

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