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Change of guard in our calicut home

After my move over to Bangalore in 1946, I personally lost track of happenings in our Calicut home which witnessed a lot of changes in my absence. My uncles established themselves as leading film exhibitors in Calicut. Although they had three theatres under their control (Radha, Crown and Coronation) they relinguished control of two of them and held on to the Crown which was by now entirely owned by them. The theatre now was showing exclusively English movies and drew the elite of the town. My uncles prospered and won the admiration and esteem of the Calicut populace. Ramurthy Mama who had delayed his marriage so far tied the knot in 1948. Janaki Vilas had a bungalow (which in earlier difficult days was rented out) and five small houses intended to be let out. But only two were actually let out the remaining were kept with the family. Grandma with the uncles lived in the first house which was called Poomugam and two were occupied by sisters Sundari and Sharada with their families. In course of time the sisters moved out to raise their families separately. One by one all of these houses were vacated and remained unoccupied and grandma and others moved to the main bunglow. Mamas were in much better position financially by now due mainly to the better showing of the Crown theatre business. Radha Mama who had married again after the tragic demise of his wife Meenakshi, mother of Pankajam, had two sons and two daughters by the second wife Rasamma while Ramurthy Mama also had two sons and two daughters. With the increasing expansion of the family the old house was found inadequate for all the children and their parents to live under one roof. A major renovation work was done to not only accommodate all the family but also give a modern look for the decades old house. The old dilapidated houses in the compound were demolished and flattened to make way for a lawn and garden. A few years earlier a sizeable portion of the compound had been sold to the family’s advocate in settlement of his dues when he had been fighting uncles’ court cases. The old houses brought down had seen the last days and death of Meenakshi ammami and my mother. My grand mother’s health was deteriorating but she carried on regardless as the presiding head of the family for well past her ninety years of age until she passed away in May 1982 at the ripe old age of 99 handing over the baton to my aunts, Rasamma and Kalyani. My uncles who were so much attached and dependant on our grandma for inspiration and guidance were rendered rudderless. Ramurthy Mama who was the younger of my two uncles took the demise of grandma too much to heart and passed away in less than two years in February 1984. Radha Mama was hit by the two tragedies coming close to one another and was a very sick man during the next few years. He handed over the management of the Crown to Prakash and Mohan, sons of Ramurthy Mama eventually who continued the good work. All the children of the next generation in the family were married during the life time of my uncles. Radha Mama passed away in June 1990.

The Calicut town itself had undergone a lot of changes. It was now a Corporation with a Mayor etc. Many new buildings have come up in place of some old historical places. The Railway Station has acquired a new look and the old Huzur Kutcheri was completely demolished and a multi storeyed building built thereon to house the L.I.C. office. My favourite haunt in my younger days the Public Library wore a completely new look as also the Mananchira Tank and the Ansari Park.

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