I have never met this author and I do not know his real name but when good friend Sushi Ravindranath called to say that Bhagyam Ramasamy had passed on, I felt a deep sense of personal loss. Although I have not read his output in recent years, he was a mainstay during the time I was growing up. In fact to me, the attraction of the Kumudam magazine was chiefly the Seethapatti Appusamy stories of Bhagyam Ramasamy that they published.
At the heart of this series is a hugely dysfunctional couple – the nine-yard wearing, wealthy, tennis and bridge playing, and highly articulate in English, Seethapatti. She is the eternal President of Pattigal Munnetra Kazhagam (Pa Mu Ka), her right hand there being Secretary of the association Ahalya Santhanam. An eternal but until now unsuccessful rival for the post of President is Ponnamma David. Over the years Seethapatti has also shown that she can drive cars (she graduated from the Fiat to the Maruti and I dont know what she drives now) and when I was reading the series computers had not come in but I am sure Seethapatti is now tech savvy.
In sharp contrast to Seethapatti is her bumbling but hugely lovable husband Appusamy. In contrast to her he is crude, and impecunious. Much of his life is spent in trying to score over his wife who invariably comes up trumps after extricating him from some scrape or the other. Appusamy’s sidekicks are Rasagundu (Rasa to friends) and Bheema Rao. The latter is of Kannada origin and despite having lived for years in Madras he still speaks Tamil the Kannada way. My suspicion is that he carries a torch for Seethapatti for he is invariably the man whom she leans on during crises, especially when Appusamy temporarily gains the upper hand. Appusamy’s romantic interest (there again I am not so sure) is Geethapatti, a cook.
This in essence is the cast. With them Bhagyam Ramasamy managed to create hilarious stories. My favourite is Seethapattiyin Sabatham.
And now they are all gone. Farewell Bhagyam Ramasamy and along with you farewell to Seethapatti, Appusamy, Geethapatti, Rasagundu, Bheema Rao, Ponnamma David, the members of Pa Mu Ka, the ever faithful Ahalya Santhanam and other miscellaneous characters such as Manavala Mudaliar who is Appusamy’s doppelgänger. The world is a poorer place.
like you Iam fan of JARA ANDhis demise is agreat loss to me.Inmy teens it was he whomade me laugh abundantly. .Icollected his phone no and regulary spoke to him .I Iwarned him once that if seethapatty continues her torture to appusamy iwill form an organaisation to protect my beloved appusamy thatha Inamed the organaisation as APPUSAMY atharavalarkal kazhakam.Iwrote along letter to him stating all this.HE replied by phone and told me to continue my organaization work.IAM INKERALA.like seetha patty iam also nearing my seventees..your article was informative. ..I SHARE YOUR FEELINGS
Manavala Mudaliar — where did this person make his appearance?
See SitapATTiyin sabatham
I too am sad to hear the passing of this delightful author. Even your brief column brought back memories of those gentle times, with me soaking in the imaginary world of these rich characters. The world is poorer indeed now.
I started reading Tamil books seven years ago, aged 17 and my uncle recommended Appusami and Seethapatti. Wish I’d begun earlier. Rib tickling humour. Haven’t read Seethapattiyin Sabatham yet, will borrow it next. His “Beerovin Pinnal”, a collection of humorous essays, is one of his very best, a must read. Bhagyam Ramaswami will be missed, but like all great authors, will live on through his colourful characters.
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