Faces of Mylapore – Alwar Kadai

Baskar Seshadri

Nammaalwar who reached Chennai at the age of thirteen in late Twenties never had even thought that this Chennai is going to give him his life for the hard work. He came from Vizhuppuram and settled down in Luz corner Junction and started doing the errand works around this area. It was tough to earn even a “Kaalanaa” and the life was too a Hardship and when he was struggling for the food he developed the habit of reading the books. This became his passion and he and any of us would not have even thought that only these books are going to be his real bread winner. By now you could have guessed our Alwar of Mylapore . He is jocularly called as Luz Azhwaar. Initially he had his pavement shop in front of the Old Murudis Hotel and probably as per the information received through various sources he was the first person to set up a shop In Luz corner. Many may not know that he was a small time actor featured mostly in Kalaignar’s Films. But he did not like the profession as he did not get any big opportunity and decided that his life to settle in books and Books alone .He started collecting all the old books from various houses which were about to be discarded and started his Sale of Books. Within a short span he collected plenty of books in various cartons and sacks which he decided to display on the road for a normal Fee.

Azhwar now had set in and his Business grew slowly. He had faced severe hardship in maintaining the books since there is always a possibility of books being stolen. The roads were not lit with all such brightness Like now and it was only later after years Sodium Vapour Lamp came into being. Then it’s the rains which is a normal botheration since he could not afford to buy even a big Tarpaulin.

But all changed when his name became big. Local Newspapers and few journals had done some stories and it elevated the name and fame of Alwar. It was Mary his wife who was very supportive all through the life and after all the struggle to attain the success with no formal education he breathed his last in 2018 and months later his wife also passed away.

It’s now his daughters who are looking after the shop. They are bit worried about the Metro rail Project and they wonder how they could survive if that place is taken over. Julie his daughter recollects that everyone enquires about Ayya , Our Alwar . Such is the name he had gained here in the hearts of many people including political leaders and writers. Till his end Alwar never wore slippers and hardly he wore a shirt. He was Ninety five when he passed away. Azhwar is a brand and an Identity of Mylapore. Can we say He Ruled our Heart?

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