I had a very unique relationship wit K.V. Ramakrishnan Iyer – popularly known as
Malayatoor Ramakrishnan. We had nothing in common, except that his maternal grand-father Doraiswamy Sastrigal (Sanskrit Pandit) was a Kalpathian, living close to where ‘Visalakshy’ is. We no expectations of each other, therefore, I could be very free and relaxed with him, Vayalar Rama Varma, the poet being another.
Malayatoor was egoistic, very few could call him by name and he liked it. He had enormous bureaucratic authority, people around, especially businessmen, took advantage by luring him into wrong ways. And, he was more comfortable with non-brahmins, since the Alwaye UC College days, when he got spoiled. ‘Verugal’ has chronicled this, first hand. I was introduced to him by S.Gopalan IAS, Labour Secretary (His wife Sarala was also an IAS), who was his neighbour and my admirer. I was introduced as a Sanskritist, Vedantin and, incidentally a business executive and, Ramakrishnan stuck the ‘Guruji’ on me.
I recall once he told me he was an ‘atheist’, I replied that I was also one, also the Great Sankacharya ! He was stunned and bowled over. I said the weak needed support, they got it from an imaginary God and, by corollary, if one is strong in mind, one had no use for God. I supplemented my arguments with Sanskrit quotations and, every time I did, he would fall flat. Over a period of time, he started admiring me, totally, used to mention personal problems asking for advice. He was also surprised that while I entertained him at the bar at his request, I would not drink.
He was very good at sketching and cartooning besides writing popular Malayalam, was sought after by local perodicals. It was the Mathrubhumi which published in 1965 his ‘Verugal’ in its Malayalam weekly, which brought him fame outside of Travancore.
Once, when he visited our home “Starland”, I said we were planning to visit Guruvayurappan. He quipped ‘ I have been there for work many times, never stepped into the temple’, I said ‘that’s because Guruvayurappan does not want to see you, if he does, you need not go, He will summon you !’. He laughed.
Some days later, I read in the Mathrubhumi newspaper about a huge mid-night fire accident at Guruvayur temple, and that the Govt. would hold an enquiry by Ramakrishnan, who was Revenue Board Member then. Malayattoor also called to confirm this, said he was afraid of going alone there especially because he had been ‘summoned’ by The Lord as prophesied by me, wanted me to accompany him. I agreed, one early morning he came to Starland, I did the make-up for him with Jarika veshti, Vibhuti and Poonal, we both went, were formally received in the Dewaswom GH by the Administrator, the Trichur Collector etc. The entire time we were there, it was VVIP treatment. We went round the temple, he came to the conclusion it was electrical short-circuit. After that, he turned a believer, I think.
This was an utterly simple man, tossed about by sycophants who exploited his multi-skilled abilities, pampered him. led him astray. Before all was lost, God brought about our acquaintance and, much good happened. Finally, as I told him many times, ‘ a whole lot of talents was wasted on him’.