This morning The Hindu carried a nice write-up on my friend VV Sankapani.
I was delighted at this, for it is high time that someone like him was recognised in some way. For Sanku, as we all refer to him, is a lover of cricket, and that is understating it a bit. Cricket is Sanku’s lifeblood, his breath of life and his very being. And he has always been amazingly good at it.
I have known Sanku practically from the cradle, we both joined in the LKG at Vidya Mandir in 1969. As the years went by, our characters crystallised. There were some fantastic all-rounders in our class, who excelled in everything. Then there were one track minds in which category you could put Sanku and me. The only difference was that I was wholly and solely into the arts, language and history, while Sanku was entirely into sports.
Even today, give me a ball and I wouldn’t know what to do with it. I assume Sanku reacts the same way with a paint brush. But he was outstanding in sports, particularly cricket. And when we grew up, he followed his passion. He never played for the state or went national and I dont know what goes into the selection of people for such things (I bet Sanku has no clue as to how Sabhas select musicians either). But he enjoyed his time playing for Alwarpet and such like and indulged in his love for cricket to the hilt. He may not be the kind that is besieged for autographs but when a tally is made of those to whom cricket meant everything to the exclusion of all else, his name will be there. It is people like him as much as the stars who make a game. Now Sanku acts as a liaison man for visiting teams and continues his love for the game.
Even today it is possible to see Sanku jogging or cycling around Nageswara Rao Park. At a time when his compatriots such as me are thinking about hypertension, jelly in the belly and other such problems, Sanku remains fit as a fiddle. We meet once in a while and each has a vague idea about the other’s area of specialisation. But our affection for each other has remained undiminished. Long may Sanku remain fit and keep the flame of true cricket burning.
One of the V’s in Sanku’s name stands for Vembaukkam, the village that gave a number of legal luminaries to Madras – Sir V Bhashyam Iyengar, VV Srinivasa Iyengar, Sir VC Desikachari, VC Seshachari, VC Gopalarathnam and so on. All of them were pillars of Mylapore as well. Sanku may have propped the village up with a pair (or is it a trio) of stumps but he is one of the pillars of Mylapore anyway.