Friday, 11 March 2016

Random Reflections on 'R. K. Narayan's Rasipuram' - II

An arts & science college in a nondescript town that has THREE huge ‘sections’ for BA English Literature, with 70 students each - numbering a strong 630 students - for the BA English Literature course alone! that's MCAS for you! And it doesn’t stop there! This College - with some of the best infrastructural facilities - is located in an enviable ambience with little pollution, far far away from the maddening n’ sickening crowds! 

the main entrance at twilight [11 March 2016]
Interestingly, the traditional courses like Maths, Physics and Chemistry have a huge three sections each, and I was told by Prof. Mohd Iqbal - a wonderful Professor who’s been with the College for quite a long time - that in fact the traditional courses are in great demand here, with good placements! Parents are convinced that their wards get a rewarding experience in this wonderful ambience, and so the seats get filled up at the quickest possible time, he added! 

It is indeed amazing that the demand for Sciences far outnumbers the demand for Commerce, (which has a modest two sections!). Yet another interesting feature here is that, although a co-ed college, the girls outnumber the boys by an overwhelming majority, and interestingly, most of the students are from in and around the region.

The English Language Lab(s) in the huge Language block is a treat for any learner! (many colleges should pay a visit to MCAS).

The Students of the Department of Catering made sure our lunch today (11 March) was a delight to the taste buds! Indeed our taste buds started working ‘overtime’ on sensing the delicious menu that was placed before us. I asked some of the Second year students who served us, on how the course is, and if they really enjoy the course! They were all happiness, and said, this is one College that makes sure that you are placed with reputed names in the hospitality industry, and right from day one, we have it like 50 % theory and 50 % practicals, and so we balance it well over here, they added.

It was a stroke of coincidence that the Collector of Namakkal was also there in College today to enlighten students about the importance of exercising one’s franchise and the ease of online voter enrollment – with elections round the corner!

In such a wonderful College – the Muthayammal College of Arts and Science, Rasipuram - with mammoth structural edifices of all hues and shades - that has a credible claim to being one of the best Colleges in this part of the state, I had the wonderful opportunity of teaming/vibing up with Dr. Shakila Mathew, Principal, CS Academy, Erode. 

Now over to Dr. Shakila Mathew: Dr. Shakila - after being instrumental in the growth and development of a prestigious Institution from scratch, [ever since its inception], and as the Head of the Humanities Department for 19 long years there, it was a hard decision that she had to take to being a teacher and then the Principal of a school in Erode.

Surprised, I asked,

‘Didn’t you like the ambience @ BAITS?’

Oops, nooo. it was so nice. In fact i enjoyed every bit of my stay there!

[Blogger’s Note: Having been a regular @ Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, along with Dr. Pillai, for a few years now, I can vouchsafe that, BAIT boasts of the best infrastructural facilities that many colleges haven’t even heard off, and that too, even years n’ years back! To put it more simply, they are far ahead of time in everything academic! Walking from one Department to another, takes eons - literally!!! The vast roads and huge blocks in marvellous architectural designs within campus are palpable proof of the largesse in store for both students and faculty in Campus. You need to devote a considerable amount of your time to make a headcount of the buses that run in and out of this College every morning and evening (much like our RMD/RMK group’s fleet in Chennai!). Every possible door in BAITS has sensor-based-door-locks, and students always have on their person a biometric smart card with an integrated fingerprint sensor, which allows the student in, once it is swiped on to a swipe-slot, and it beeps if you are forbidden entry into a particular room. Visitors are also given a temporary Biometric card which tells them places within campus that they can access using the card. Girls and boys have huge canteens 24x7 and there are around one hundred bungalows, well yes, independent houses fully furnished – and yes - with beautiful sofas and armchairs and settes and couches too! for staff members within campus. Their library holdings are unrivalled as much as their hospitality, for which they remain unparalleled

This sylvan and salubrious campus is located on the slopes of the wonderful Sathyamangalam forest range, and so the place bristles with beauty all of the time. The campus has its own flora and fauna, and all sorts of vegetables are cultivated in their reserves, while cow milk can be availed at Rs.12 per litre for all staff who stay in campus!!!! Surprising aint it? Founded as early as in 1996, when not many engineering colleges were on the scene, the campus developed from scratch, due to the untiring efforts of many noble hearts.]
One such person is Dr. Shakila Mathew, who has been with the college ever since its inception, and as the Head of the Department of English for well almost over 19 years, it must’ve really been a hard decision to call it quits, and opt for a career in school teaching!

But ask her, and she says, No! it wasn’t!

In fact I found it quite rewarding to teach school children, and the sense of being intimately connected with the students, and their parents and helping them in their various perplexities, gives you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

‘So don’t you regret the fact that you quit college to serve a school?’

Yes and No. In fact, I regret it sometimes, because you get to study and to prepare a lot for College students, and all your lectures are always serious stuff that you can’t afford to be that creative all of the time. You need to deliver and deliver well, all the time! And that is what the student needs, or the management expects!

But in schools, it’s absolutely different. The child doesn’t want you to deliver the goods. More than that, the child wants you to be cordial and affectionate towards them.

At the same time, in college, you have a few students of yours who always stick with you and keep in touch with you for life. They keep in touch through emails or social media stuff. Whereas, in schools, students rarely do that. Very few rarely do that! They just move on!

But tell me rufus sir, how many Colleges pay you a decent salary today? You know how much we pay our KG teachers here? More than 40,000 per month!

Really ma’m?


So for higher classes, it would be much higher?

‘Yes, for sure’.

Then, I think you are much better at it here!

‘You see, it’s not the money that counts for me! Cos BAIT paid me much much higher!’

‘It’s the sense of ‘duty accomplished’ that matters!’

‘And for me, I find it more comfortable in doing my duty to the ‘best of my abilities’ in school than in college!’

So happy to hear that, ma’m. By the way, I blog about people who have impacted and moulded lives, and I thought I will share with my blog readers a few lines about you… could I?

With pleasure, sir! And by the way, do let me know if there are any good and committed hands for English. We pay them a pretty wonderful salary and good career prospects. Their children can also receive subsidized education in our schools. So please ask them to write to me at

Shall do it for sure, mam!

Thank you so much.
the weekly market
So dear students and prospective teachers, do write in a word to Dr. Shakila Mathew, if you think you can get along well with children, and take your appointment order rightaway J
God bless!

 Well, in the evening, our hospitable hosts wanted to take us on a surprise tour down the weekly market that happens with festive grandeur on Fridays every week @ Rasipuram. Some of the spices of the famed 'Kollimalai' Hills can be bought here for a comparatively cheaper price than what you get in the cities. So we took our day out @ the market and literally enjoyed every second of it! Bought some of the aromatic spices too! as ‘memorablia’!

To be contd…

For Part - I of our Rasipuram Reflections, kindly click HERE


  1. nice descriptions. i enjoyed reading it. i am from namakkal. but now settled in Chennai. i think u had not visitd the namakkal fort. acording to the legend the hill was carried by Hanuman. So its very nice place to visit.

    1. thank you so much. Yes, had we but time enough! :-) Hope to visit it first thing next time. thank you.