Kerala

Leaving behind a strong legacy of good taste

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A centenarian who successfully ran an 80-year-old eatery at Edathara, near here, braving geriatric-related ailments and tough competition in the field breathed his last early Saturday morning. A widower, 103-year-old Madhavan Nair was staying alone in a room attached to his eatery, Sakthi Vilasam, on the Palakkad-Ottappalam-Shoranur road and was active in the restaurant business even late Friday. Death knocked on his doors around 3.30 a.m.

The cremation was held late in the evening in the presence of a large number of local residents and regular customers of the eatery, a favourite joint of young food connoisseurs travelling regularly on the State highway.

The moderate restaurant provides breakfast, lunch and dinner on most working days for over 1,500 people. The food at the hotel is a mix of Thanjavur and Kerala culinary styles.

His routine

“Normally he wakes up at 3.30 every morning and after prayers and reading enters the kitchen around 5.30 a.m. to guide the cooks. Then it is time for routines such as cleaning and serving. For 12 hours from 10.30 a.m., he will be at the cash counter. The routine was never changed. As he failed to turn up at the kitchen, we went to his room around 6 a.m. And we found him dead,” said S. Gopalan, an employee of the eatery.

It was after Class V, he left home in search of a job, despite his expertise in Kerala’s traditional percussion instrument Ilathalam. He reached Mayavaram, near Thanjavur, and worked there as an assistant to a cook.

“My dream was to become an Ilathalam exponent. But it was sheer poverty that drove me to take up a job in a hotel,” Mr. Nair recalled when The Hindu approached him for an article eight months ago. After four years, he returned to Edathara and started the eatery.

A Gandhian, Mr. Nair believed in providing quality food at affordable rates. The eatery was out of bounds for smokers and alcoholics.

An avid reader, he used to read two Malayalam newspapers and one Tamil newspaper every morning and had strong opinions about social and political issues. He was also a fan of Tamil cinema till the end. Till Friday, he read without spectacles and gave the exact balance to customers.



A widower, 103-year-old Madhavan Nair was active in the restaurant business till his death on Friday



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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 7:23:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/leaving-behind-a-strong-legacy-of-good-taste/article7905061.ece

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