Raman Sir, was enjoying his first ‘murukkan’ pan leaf chew, seated on the thinnai, front veranda of his house, while I was passing through, with a torthumundu, towel on my shoulder, towards the pond.

“Vada!”, he invited me for a ‘murukkan’ . ‘Oru santhosha varthamanam – one happy news. It is a boy and he looks like me!” . Ramu Sir, who never used to get excited even when I scored good marks once or twice in his class, was on cloud nine. . I wanted to share his happiness of becoming a father for the first time, on the verge of retirement, but, out of respect, which was genuine, to an old teacher, I didn’t want to sit by him.

So, collected the betel leaf casket from his hand, enjoyed the chew and took leaf off him, with a complement to his wife:

‘No more ‘avuluuku onnum theriyAdu – she knows nothing!’

Ten times a day, he used to recite that mantram that his wife knew nothing.

“Go and ask your friends to withdraw the comments they used to make at my back that ‘Ramu Sir knew little”. His voice was loud and clear, though I was moving away.

Masculine pride of my master.

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