Sri MGR Year 94, 3rd June Friday
MGR Fan from United States Abul Hassan (a.k.a. MGR Visiree) has sent me an article that appeared in The Hindu Newspaper to share it in our Blog.
“I am now known in the cine world as the man who garlands MGR” One is a struggling flower-seller. The other is a cinematic legend and a former Chief Minister.
Every morning, for the past 10 years or so, the two have met in the middle of Anna Salai here. ‘Poo Kadai’ Sakthi (41) comes armed with just a flower garland for his “idol,” a statue of MGR near the Spencer Plaza junction. After cleaning the gleaming figure, he removes the previous day’s dried garland and places a fresh one – exchanging a few words as he goes about his task. The rush-hour traffic rolls on by either side.
Poo Kadai Sakthi Garlanding our Beloved Leader Puratchi Thalaivar MGR statue in Anna Salai.
“More than an actor”
“This is not just a statue and he was much more than an actor. He was a good human being,” says Mr. Sakthi. His gesture is simple, but he has done it every single day since he started a decade ago.
During the 2005 monsoon when he had to wade through hip-deep water from the Gemini flyover as his M80 moped refused to move, during the tragic days in 2006 when the Tsunami struck and during innumerable strikes and rallies that paralysed Anna Salai.
His morning routine includes a visit to the MGR samadhi where he lays another garland. After that, he heads back to his flower stall where he works till 10 p.m. to earn his daily wage of Rs.500. Encouraged by film personalities such as comedian Mayilsamy and ‘Idaya Kani’ S.Vijayan, who were outraged by the plight of the statue, Sakthi set out to do what he could “to restore some dignity”.
“Just another fan”
Sakthi says that he was just another MGR fan who has seen Nadodi Mannan a countless times.
I never knew much about him initially. But seeing all the love and adulation, the tearful visitors at his samadhi, and the frail old women who give me the little money they have just because I garland MGR...his life changed me.” “I am now known in the cine world as the man who garlands MGR,” he says. Whenever there is a function at the Nadigar Sangam or in case a flower decoration is required during a shoot, he usually gets the contract.
“Though I have never seen him in flesh and blood, I get to eat because of MGR. He offers hope and a livelihood to people even when he is not there.”