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.
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