The Four Seasons Plan
The Quest for the letters A-Z has literally taken me around the World from America to New Zealand. The journeys have also inspired me to a Four Seasons Plan for my 60s. Our opening Seed of Tete-A-Tete talks of an interesting pit stop I made at the ‘Last Bus Stop’ – New Zealand in December 2010, to catch up with a childhood friend after 15 years! The Cricketing world knows him as P T Subramanian. We call him Subbu. I also enjoyed an unplanned Black Swan moment on this quick vacation with him. Saptha Beej happened a decade later!
The Landing View: My Pit Stop at The Last Bus-Stop
Growing up, Subbu has lived both my childhood dreams – of playing cricket as a professional and of living in New Zealand! We started playing cricket on the same corporation ground in Chennai, adjoining the old Hensmen’s road – now Kannadasan Street, named after the state poet laureate who lived there since 1958. His house was on the other half of the road. His son Gopi Kannadasan was also in our team.
For Friendship Sake & The Piha Beach Backdrop
We played with a ball that I made with crushed paper and black rubber rings cut from a cycle tube. These rings layered closely one over the other to give the required cushioning and bounce. When I visited him in December 2010, he drove me to a nearby corporation ground to play cricket, just for old times sake! Subbu was then coaching some league teams in New Zealand.
Cricket perhaps also helped us master some crucial life skills. Some lessons I learnt trying to hold the bat right, helped me master my pen hold and its inked strokes on paper. Until Subbu was in India, he was working and playing cricket. His first three jobs were also through cricket. He played representative cricket for his state, Kerala and also played for Ranji Trophy (South Zone) – 1986-87. He also played alongside Srikanth (who played for the same club), Azharuddin, Roger Binny, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid among others. Whatever he has achieved in his cricketing career was without any formal coaching in cricket.
Watching Subbu - The Professional Coach in action
Subbu and Me have been friends since Class 4. I was one of the oldest in Class and by 2 years! This happened only because my mother wanted me to catch up on Math and Hindi. Her decision upset me but I realised that these were also my happy years with friends despite battling Hot Water Epilepsy. Some of us stay connected on WhatsApp. Our Group Name: 10 D, fondly named after our school – Shrine Velankanni Higher Secondary School on No 10, Dandapani Street, Chennai
October 11 was Subbu’s birthday. We caught up on WhatsApp rejoicing the good times we have shared through childhood, dramatics, mimicry and cricket.
KCJ, the child mimicry artist on stage
Says Subbu: “Jana was friendly – the quiet and withdrawn type. We realised he had some health issues but never tried to probe him about it. When someone touched his ears, he would get really annoyed telling us that he had a problem with it. I remember some teacher trying to pinch his ears for not doing some homework and the next thing we realised was that he had become very aggressive. In our group, he was happy and cheerful. He always scored more marks for his handwriting and I was left wondering how he managed to complete his exam, writing slowly and neatly!”
He quickly shares a pleasant surprise for me here:
Memories Cling to Books Best
“My daughter normally forgets the people she meets. She was 15 years old when Jana came home. He wrote her name on her favourite Harry Potter book. Till date, she has kept this book safe. Whenever I take his name she gives a beautiful smile. That’s in simple words, the power his handwriting has had on us. I have tried to write like him but have never managed to!”
Subbu has been in New Zealand since 2005. He works there as a team manager for Medical Insurance. He settled there with a plan to return to India after 15 years! It’s a distant dream even today. Ask him why & Quick comes this reply:
Enjoying Vacation Mode The Dosa Way
“When I stepped out of India for the first time during the 90s, I realised how much I was deprived of my basic rights in India as a citizen with respect to quality education, affordable health care and reliable civic infrastructure. Today, I do see some positive change in intent with respect to governance but for the common man, it is largely the same experience with bad roads, leaking pipelines and confused approach to development. The last time I visited India, the regular Idly at our usual eating out cost us ten times more but there was absolutely no change in the road comfort that led to these eat outs. It’s hard to say if this is a result of just bad governance. Are people making a bad decision when they vote as well?”
I fondly recall that Subbu had to wait a long time to receive me at the airport. I was held back by an Immigration staff – not because I carried anything suspicious but because he liked my handwriting on the form! He offered me tea and some interesting prospects of settling in NZ on which I still haven’t decided. But I do have some other plan for my 60s…
The Sign Off
With this talking point, we wind up our first cycle of Saptha Beej. It has truly been a beginning for us, getting connected to people, memories, and technology.
Thank you for the wonderful support and Encouragement.
Happy Dussehra 2020. Stay Safe and Connected.