MADURAI: Actor Vivekh was on the lookout for a photograph for decades. It was taken on the day he completed his three-month training for the post of telephone operator in the Department of Postal and Telecommunication (now known as BSNL) at Tallakulam, Madurai, in March 1983.
The photograph was brought out of cold storage, reportedly by one of his batchmates who had preserved it for 38 years, and has been doing the rounds since his death early on Saturday, being shared among BSNL employees.
After sourcing it from a friend working in BSNL (Chennai), veteran journalist Jenraam, 60, took to social media to share the photograph that the comedian-activist had wanted to see nearly 15 years ago when they last met.
"Vivekanandan and I were among the 29 persons who underwent training for the post of telephone operator in the Department of Postal and Telecommunication (P&T) at the Tallakulam telephone exchange in Madurai from December 27, 1882 to March 26, 1983," shared Jenraam as he took a trip down memory lane.
While Vivekh who had then completed graduation at The American College was living with his family at his house in Madurai, Jenraam who is a native of Tirunelveli had rented a room near Sellur during the training period.
"On Sundays, he would visit me in my room. Occasionally bringing his harmonium, he would sing classical and pop songs," reminisced Jenraam.
"During the training, our different tastes in literature had landed us in a war of words on several occasions. While Vivekh was an admirer of the works of poet Vairamuthu and writer Sujatha, I took a liking for the works of poet Inkulab and writer Jeyakanthan. But, we were bound by the music composed by Ilayaraja and MS Viswanathan. On most days of the training, we would find an excuse to step out during breaks and visit the nearby tea shop to request the teashop vendor to play our favourite songs from the movie 'Ilamai Kaalangal' as we sipped our cups of tea. Back then, there was no other way we could have listened to the songs when we wanted to," he laughed.
His multi-faceted personality was evident even in the short period, the journalist noted while adding that on the day of the farewell party, Vivekh performed the political satire that Jenraam had scripted. The journalist added, "We did not not know if he wanted to become an actor then, but we all witnessed that he was multi-talented from a young age."
After the training, the duo parted ways as Jenraam was posted at Thoothukudi while Vivekh was posted at Madurai and Dindigul.
"Our paths crossed again after nearly 25 years when he had then become a distinguished actor and I had become a media personality. I met Vivekh again at a function during the period 2007-08. As he walked down the dais after attending the function, I was apprehensive wondering if he would recognise or remember me. But he took me by surprise, recalling all the memories from the training. He eagerly asked if I had a copy of the group photo taken during the training. But I did not have it. It was the only occasion that I met him after the training," the journalist mentioned.
The duo kept in touch through messages. "Living only at a walking distance from his residence, I thought I could meet him anytime and hence never gave a serious thought on 'catching up'. Today, I guess the time is up," he told.
The photograph that Vivekh long wanted to grab a copy of is now there for the world to see. Yet, the man himself will not be able to take a look.
"I do not think he would have seen the photograph till the end. The moment I saw the photo on Saturday, tears welled up and I became emotional as it took me back to the good old days and reminded me of Vivekh's request for the photograph the last time we met," Jenraam signed off.