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.