People Who Touched My Life
An Article by Ms.Gita Ravi – A Resident of Covai S3 Senior Care Centre
As my birthday is just round the corner and it is of no significance to me, i was thinking of all the people who have touched my life in some way.
I still think of former Director General Police of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Walter Devaram with lots of respect and gratitude. In the eighties he helped us to achieve the impossible. What was the impossible? Getting back the flat we owned rightfully given to the wrong person for a short stay. The wrong person was (former Tamil Nadu CM MGR’s niece Leelavathy).
Now let me go back a little further. Early 1980’s we owned a flat in posh Raja Annamalaipuram in Chennai. We had kept it locked as we were both employed in Muscat. A bit of family history before the main picture. Ravi’s niece is married to MGR’s brother MG Chakrapani’s son MGC Sukumar who is no more. Sukumar’s sister is Leelavathy, who had donated one of her kidneys to MGR. So she was also idolised by the public for her noble deed. In short because of this wedding we were family. Once when we were returning back to Muscat after a short vacation, Leelavathy came to the hotel we stayed, sobbing. She said she had to vacate her house immediately and needed another house to stay till she gets the house promised to her by the Tamil Nadu Govt. Without a moment’s hesitation Ravi and I looked at each other and handed over to her the bunch of keys without keeping any duplicate. Happily we set off to Muscat.
Months turned over to a year. No sign of her shifting. I wrote to her asking what her intentions were. She replied saying the house was lucky for her and she wish to continue her stay there. Though we smelt a rat there was nothing much we could do except to tactfully handle her. We agreed for a meagre rent just to be in touch. Another year passed, and, by that time she had established herself comfortably there with all the neighbours looking up to her with envy and glad to have a VIP staying in the premises. They did not collect maintenance from her and she was getting all free services with empty promises in return in the form of school/college admissions and God knows what else.
After nearly two years of silence, I decided to go to Chennai to see what could be done. By that time I had started working for OMAN AIR. When I went to the personnel dept to submit my leave application the Secretary of the Personnel Dept who hailed from Chennai told me that she knew the then DGP Walter Devaram personally and she will talk to him to help me. Before I left Muscat I wrote a mail to the late CM Jayalalitha to help me as the police did not want to meddle with MGR family. I thought that mail will find its way to amma’s waster paper basket with its envelope intact, unopened. Anyways, I sat foot in Chennai and reached the Police Headquarters situated opposite Marina Beach. I never knew till then that the DGP was welcomed to his seat with so much of pomp and respect followed by blow of trumpets. Or was it any special occasion, I really don’t remember without having to wait long, I was called in. Of course, I have heard of this big moustached police officer who was a nightmare to the naxals. He curbed the naxal menace with an iron hand and was in the very good books of the late CM. He heard me out, took out a letter from his file with and with a mischievous file asked me “Did you write to the CM”. I felt the earth underneath me shaking but managed to give the most idiotic smile back with a nod. He told me that he meets the CM every day, officially. He also he told me “There are thousands of such cases and if you go through the proper channel nothing is going to happen so CM has asked me to turn the other way in case any complaint is lodged” which means you can do whatever you want to get her out of the house and I will be with you “unofficially.” I said “Uncle but what can I do”. By the second meeting I started addressing him as “uncle” and he reciprocated and treated me with much kindness. I went back to Muscat as I did not have any leave left, to come back, fully prepared for a fight.
After three months i came back again, this time with Ravi who did not accompany me when I went to see her as he knew that she will not open the door if she sees him as my husband is known for his temper . Not expecting me in her wildest dreams, and seeing me alone, she opened the door. I tried knocking some sense into her, but failed. She said there was nothing I can do in Chennai to get her out as nobody knew me there and she was somebody in society. I almost wanted to tell her if people like her were the cream of the so called society I don’t wish to be anywhere near there. Still, she was right and wrong at the same time. I had nobody with me but God, and my new found friend. After long arguments, like in a movie she called up some local goons and with their help pushed me out of the door closing the door behind me. It was dark, and shivering with fright, I ran to the nearby shop and reached for the telephone. On the other side I heard “Devaram here”. I have never felt so relieved in life till then .I told him what had happened. He told me to wait there while he sent the police force immediately. Unknown to me, the crook Leelavathy was watching all this drama from the balcony, maybe enjoying my situation as Ravi has not appeared even then. When she saw the police vehicle, she guessed that the situation was not in her favour, and, with the help of the driver escaped from the house.
Not knowing what had happened, the police ushered me into the flat. I was still shivering, even cursing my parents to have left me in India to handle all these nightmares by myself whilst they settled comfortably in London. When the police knocked, nobody appeared, and when they gave a kick, the door opened. There was nobody in the flat. I could not believe my eyes. My eyes even wondered under the cot. Nope, flat was empty. Like most Indian movies Ravi appeared after the climax was over to celebrate the victory. I called Mr. Devaram and thanked him from the bottom of my heart. He asked me to relax informing me that the story was far from over. He asked us to change the lock of the main door immediately which we did. After a day or two, Leelavathy approached Mr. Devaram with a complaint. As the whole of MGR family shared a good rapport with the former DGP, she thought he would help. He told her without mincing words that he cannot help her but will talk to us so that she can remove her many valuables which she had collected from people with her false promises. As we did want any of her cursed possessions in the flat, we agreed for her to come and collect it, though keeping a few of them would have covered our rent. She came with an MLA and without any shame or remorse collected everything. My God! she had the thickest skin I had ever seen. Whilst leaving our flat with her cursed possessions, she even addressed the crowd gathered outside the flat informing them that once elections were over she will show them her true power. Crowds were amused and did not know what was happening as she had made them to believe that she was owner of the flat. Bad luck her husband’s name was also Ravindranath though I have never ever seen them together. After that was over Mr. Devaram told us that he will keep two policemen on duty outside our house till we leave for Muscat as they might use their influence to harm us in some way. The next three days we were under police protection. I had so many errands to run before going back to Muscat. It was very embarrassing to have a policeman trailing you 24×7 but we lived with it till we took off to Muscat.
After this story found its way out we had a spread of VIP’s like Nalli Silks Owner, Kerala Jewellery owner etc who would visit us to know how we got her out of our house as she owed them and many jewellery and textile shops around Chennai in lakhs of rupees. Mercedes vehicles parked on narrow streets and round the clock police protection. I did not know then that these were sign of VIP movements, back then i was ashamed and glad that none in the vicinity knew us. How easily people get fooled in this country. They dont trust the ordinary person who are so much truthful than these rotten creams the society is made up of. Since my stars were shining bright then, we got our flat back; otherwise we would have lost it to these cheats. When rowdies are in the higher rank of society, it gets all the more difficult for us to deal with them. For all their rowdism, they are given protection by the state too. Sad state of affairs.
After her exit we had to pay the full maintenance for all the two years she stayed because we were not in the VIP slot. We settled her laundry man and paid up her telephone bills as it was under our name. Everyday somebody would appear telling us that she owed them money. Obviously they were telling the truth. They believed her; you could see it in their eyes. After the next visit we sold the flat as we thought that was the best thing to do.
None of Leelavathy’s relatives or Ravi’s nephew and niece who married into that family and who knew the truth came forward to help us to settle the matter before we approached the police. I have seen this unity with crooks in well off families. They always stick to each other no matter what while we give our loved ones away when we know the mistake is on their side for sure.
I kept in touch with Mr. Devaram for quite many years after that. In my life, I have never moved away from any relation that mattered on my own. I always keep in touch, but a time comes when we have to move away. Maybe their duty in our life is over, what remains is memory of fond relationships. Mr. Devaram is still active in hosting sporting activities and I see him in papers on and off. I just smile to myself and thank him from my heart.
What happened to Leelavathy? As she had and still has no shame, we still meet, very rarely on functions. A month back she was back in headlines in papers again. You won’t believe it, with whom else, but none other than Prime Minister Modi pledging her allegiance to BJP. I laughed to myself again.
What could I have done? Hearing all these debates on national television asking for justice on various deserving causes, I know most times nothing is going to happen and we better learn to live with it.
India has finally got a Prime Minister who wants to do something for the country, at the same time evil forces from all sides are pulling him down. How long will he have the strength and stamina serve this country? A MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION. God help us!