Thursday, November 04, 2010

A passionate soccer enthusiast

Sudhakara Varma and Radhika Varma

Last week, we were invited to the Shashtyabdapoorthi-6oth birthday- of Sudhakara Varma, a relative and I was suddenly made more aware of my own generation which has just entered the wrong side of fifties. He hails from Kilimanoor Palace and is a great grand nephew of the illustrious painter Raja Ravi Varma. He is also the brother of my brother-in-law (my sister’s husband) and is the brother-in-law of my elder brother. To avoid confusions, I must add that his brother and sister married my sister and brother respectively.

He stays at Kamalalayam Palace at Tripunithura, just opposite to the house where I stay now. His devoted wife Radhika Varma is the grand niece of Col. Goda Varma Raja (brother-in-law of Maharaja Chithira Thirunal of Travancore) and is the daughter of Captain Kerala Varma who had served during the II WW and who was the first to be commissioned to the British India Army from the royal household of Cochin. He was also one to be stripped of his commission for the alleged connection with the communists during the pre-independence days. He also served as ADC to Maharaja Kerala Varma (r.1946-48) popularly known as Aikya-keralam Thampuran.

Maharaja Kerala Varma of Cochin - Aiykya Keralam Thampuran - r.1946-48)

Maharaja Kerala Varma of Cochin - Midukkan Thampuran - (r.1941-43)

We went to his house for the birthday lunch which was quite a modest affair with only the immediate family in attendance. Sri. Rama Varma Raja, the Valiya Raja of Poonjar Palace and the youngest brother of Col. G.V.Raja, was there in all simplicity. He was quite shy when I asked for his confirmation of the title. I also met Kunjappan Chettan, a grand nephew of Maharaja Kerala Varma Midukkan Thampuran of Cochin (r.1941-43) who shared many stories about this unusual Maharaja.

Sri.Rama Varma Raja, Valiya raja of Poonjar Palace

Sudhakara Varma is one of the most unassuming, kind, affectionate and large- hearted personalities, I have ever met. Professionally, he is a foot ball coach and rides on his bicycle to the ground. His life is dedicated to Football and he runs a football academy at Tripunithura named Top Notch Football Academy. He is the chief coach and mentor to the academy. Rain or shine, he is seen cycling to the ground early in the morning to train the youngsters. During the recently concluded WC Football matches, I used to hear his incisive analysis of the games. A great admirer of Diego Maradona, Sudhakara Varma surprisingly shares the same birth day of the legend, though separated by a decade.

I was quite amused to hear his stories about the difficulties being faced to make the youngsters reach the ground early in the morning. Present day youngsters who love their sleep are hesitant to wake up early and Sudhakara Varma often had to use the persuasive skills of a fellow enthusiast- a police officer- to make the young footballers awake and make them run to the ground for training.

Passion for the game alone has shaped this unique coach. He imports journals and training manuals and follows the international games closely to develop his own strategies for moulding young Lionel Messis, Wayne Rooneys or Zinadine Zidanes of the future. No wonder, in five years of the formation of the academy, Top Notch Football team has won the championship in the Ernakulum District league during this year. A promising student of the game from the academy recently left to the UK to play in the local clubs there.

The coach in the field

Rarely do we find such fine individuals with all simplicity and with such passion for a cause. Money has never been a motivation for such individuals and in their personal lives ignominy is accepted with as much dispassion as recognition. The driving force for them is always the love for the cause and the satisfaction they derive on seeing the seeds they sowed sprout with promises.

I left the place reciting in my mind the Rig-Vedic verse starting with; “Jeevema Sarada Satham”- Let you live a hundred autumns----

Tripunithura, South India
3rd November 2010


Bernard said...

Hi Muralichettan,
I was eagerly waiting for a post from you. Thank you for doing this after a looooong gap! Your posts crumbles the distance between North America and Kerala. Thank you again for finding time to do this.

Murali RamaVarma said...

Dear Bernard,

I am indeed happy to see your comment and am touched. I was involved with many preparations for the higher studies of my daughter who has since proceeded to the University of Nottingham for her M.Arch.

Kindest regards,


Sunita said...

I'm very impressed on reading about Sri. Rama Varma Raja. I think my husband and son would love to meet him. They seem to be made from the same mould.

Murali RamaVarma said...

Dear Sunita,

Thanks for the comment. In turn, I would also love to meet your husband and son sometime because they seem to be wonderful people like Rama Varma Raja.Such people have a disarming charm about them.

Kind regards,

Sunita said...

Oops! I think I made a mistake. I was actually referring to Shri Sudhakara Varma and his love for sports..

Murali RamaVarma said...

No problem, Sunita. Sudhakara Varma of course is the person about whom I wrote. The mention of Rama Varma Raja and his simplicity was in passing.


Ajith said...

Nice Post as always.I was wondering why there are no posts from you during the past months.

Murali RamaVarma said...

Thank you, Ajith for the comments and for the concern expressed.I was tied up with many a personal issue during the last few months.

Kind regards,

n menon said...

Enjoyed reading about the birthday
and seeing the pics.I have been keeping in touch with Col. G.V.Raja's daughter Aswathi Thirunnal since 1965! She is an exceptional "Thampuratty".I was fortunate to visit her and her family in 2008.
n menon

Murali RamaVarma said...

Dear Mr.Menon, Thank you for the kind words. Glad to note of your acquaintance with Princess Aswathi Thirunal. She indeed is a writer of repute and still keeps pace with the cultural life of this country.

Kind regards,

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