Actor T Parvathi began her career as a psychologist by running a relaxation clinic for pregnant women at a Thiruvananthapuram hospital. She then had a long stint in Malayalam television and has anchored a number of programmes in Doordarshan, Asianet, Surya TV and Kairali. As a theatre person, she is an active member of Abhinaya Theatre Research Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, and has acted in the plays Sagarakanyaka (Lady from the Sea), Bhagavadajjukam and The Lesson, of which, Sagarakanyaka got international acclaim. She has acted in several Malayalam movies also.
Parvathi went to All Saints’ College, Thiruvananthapuram for her pre-degree in special English (1986-88). At Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram, she pursued her bachelor’s in psychology (1988-1991). She completed her master’s (1992-94) and MPhil in psychology (1995) from Kerala University’s Kariavattom campus. In 2005, she joined Kerala Law Academy Law College, Thiruvananthapuram, for LLB. She shares her college day experiences.
What did college teach you?
College taught me everything that I know. I learned the skills to organise, talk to people, face problems, etc, in college. Coordinating with participants of youth festivals was my task. I was entrusted with the responsibility of taking them to the festivals. From pre-degree onwards, I became an office-bearer. I was the volunteer secretary of NSS, university union councillor, vice chairperson and chairperson of the college union and chapter secretary of Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth.
Your proudest moment in college.
The election victories are all proud moments. For the first time a Students’ Federation of India (SFI) panel was winning the elections at Government College for Women. There, I was at the helm of affairs and bringing in maestros like Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia to the college. To be with them and to know them from close quarters was great!
Any embarrassing moments in college?
There were rumours that I was having an affair with the then university union general secretary V Satheeshan, though we never knew each other. A clear political agenda was behind these rumours. A year later, we tied the nuptial knot. Those who triggered the controversy gaped in astonishment, as the unexpected happened. For that reason, I was not awarded enough attendance to appear for my final-year exams (in Government College for Women) and wrote it only the next year.
How did you score points with the opposite gender?
I had a good number of male friends then. And everyone used to say I behaved like a boy (she smiles).
Was bunking a part of your college routine?
At Government College for Women, I encouraged the love affairs that I found to be genuine. I used to escort the girls who wanted to meet their lovers. Fortunately, all those couples united in the long run. I also felt happy that none of those relationships broke-up.
Did you have any rifts with professors? Why?
My teachers were taken aback when I got married. They asked my parents to not marry me of. My husband, who was the state committee member of SFI, did not even have a secure job then. Teachers had much hope in me and wished to see me as a psychologist or teacher. My psychology teacher Kumari Bhagavathy was so worried. Years later, when I authored a book, I got her blessings.
Where did you hang out in college with friends?
A huge shady jackfruit tree in front of the philosophy department of Government College for Women was my favourite hangout spot. Whenever the principal wanted to see me, she used to come there or send somebody from the office to call me. We celebrated Tree Day and served sadhya during Onam under it. I still go there sometimes.
What extracurricular activities were you involved in?
I was an active participant in all kinds of art and cultural programmes. We organised a musical troupe to conduct a ‘ganamela’ at Government College for Women. We penned the lyrics and set them to tune. They were beautiful moments indeed.