His Life

Born to Jayaraman and Jambagalakshmi - Feb 16, 1950

Appa was born in Chennai. As younger brother to Raju (Viswanathan) Periappa, he was and remained everyone's Thambi.  

Raised by his parents and maternal grandmother (Echi paati), he was perpetually interested in gossip to the point where paati had to give him glossy magazines to keep him occupied and give them time to get work done!  If there were pictures and videos, we imagine him as a big-eyed kid sitting in a corner, reading and commenting on everything and everyone around him :) 

Post Doctoral Researcher 1981-1985

What he accomplished was second only to what he gave up.  He could have continued in academia either in the US or India. Wanting to give us, his kids, an Indian upbringing, he gave up his academic career in the US and returned home.  But while at it, he had some nifty publications including some reagents and synthesis methods that went on to be used in making Prozac

Appa - The Shaivite

Ramesh and I grew up in Mumbai but Appa gave us an upbringing rich in Tamil Literature. Appa spent hours immersed in Thevarams which we heard passively while they played on our Philips tape recorder. The stereotypical teenagers that we were, we did not completely grasp the meanings or the essence, but we certainly got more than a glimpse of his outpouring Tamil devotion. Thevarams are 7th century songs / devotional Tamil hymns sung in praise of Lord Shiva by the 3 Nayanmars: Sambandar, Thirunavukkarasar and Sundarar. His favorite rendition is that of Odhuvar Dharmapura Swaminathan. Listening to these songs now, we are both filled with nostalgia as we hear Appa's voice singing along, see his eyes shining bright and feel his heart ecstatic! As it is always said, "திருச்சிற்றம்பலம்".
மாதர்ப் பிறைக்கண்ணி யானை || மலையான் மகளொடும் பாடிப்
போதொடு நீர்சுமந் தேத்திப் || புகுவா ரவர்பின் புகுவேன்
யாதுஞ் சுவடு படாமல் || ஐயா றடைகின்ற போது
காதன் மடப்பிடி யோடுங் || களிறு வருவன கண்டேன்
கண்டே னவர்திருப் பாதங் || கண்டறி யாதன கண்டேன்.


Our friends and acquaintances used to always think that appa was an intense and strict dad. Raji and I knew the truth and that he was a goofball and that amma is the one to be afraid of! The goofiness and joy translated to him being a very cuddly grandpa, first to Rohan and then to Milan. We are happy that he got to see them both. Though he couldn't meet Milan in person, we will always cherish the memories of him meeting a very chunky Rohan at 3months  :)  Rohan did manage to keep him on his toes and taught him that all babies weren't as chill as me 

Milan has some mannerisms that skipped a generation. We see him making appa's "concentrating face" and there is a good chance that he has appa's dance moves as well but time will confirm that one :)