CHAPTER – 12
By about this time the legislature had passed an Act, forbidding the taking of bets on horse races anywhere else, except on the race course itself. At first, the Act was enforced within City limits. So several race clubs started functioning at Saidapet, beyond the toll gate. I continued to work there.But in a few months, the operation of the Act was extended to all places, throughout the Presidency(state). I lost my job. My brother in law had, therefore, to take to job hunting again, on my behalf. One of his patients was Mr. Natesa Iyer.He was taking treatment for stomach ulcers. He was employed in Government Office. My brother in law explained my plight to him. Looking intently at me, he felt a strong urge to be of some service to me. He said so in so many words. He offered to take me to a friend of his, on the following Sunday and arrange to get me employed.He came accordingly next Sunday morning and I accompanied him to the house of a friend of his, named Mr.Rajagopal Naidu. Mr. Natesa Iyer requested him most earnestly to provide a job for me. Mr. Rajagopal Naidu asked him to bring me to his Office the next day.
At 10.30 the next morning, Mr. Natesa Iyer, taking me with him entered the Postal Audit Office located near the Mount Road.
That was a pleasant surprise. For two whole years before this, I had passed that way several times on my way to Mylapore from Mount Road.I had noted hundreds of employees going in and coming out of that building, “What a good thing it would be”, I had often thought, “if I could find a job for myself in an office like this!” Great was my surprise therefore when I found that I was taken to the very premises where I wished to find a job for myself! Mr. Natesa Iyer wrote out an application for me, and I signed it. Mr. Rajagopal Naidu, who was the Head of a Section, had a talk with the Head Clerk for a while endorsed my application suitably and sent it to the Head of the Office. In ten minutes the paper with the pad to which it had been attached came back. There was now the Officer’s signature on it, approving of my appointment.
What exactly was to be my work? What was my pay? I knew none of these details.
After 1.00 in the afternoon, they gave me work. It was to open letters received by Registered Post and to record their particulars in a register (kept for the purpose), noting the registration number, the address of the sender, as well as the date and the number assigned to the communication. I commenced the work and continued doing it till 5.00 in the evening when Mr. Natesa Iyer stepped into my Section and took me home to Mylapore.
He told my brother in law, “My young friend did not get the particular job I had in view for him. He has been given a lower job. They have promised to give him the higher one as and when a vacancy arises”.
Of course, It was a disappointment. The pay was just fifteen rupees a month. If I declined it, I knew both of them would be sorry. So I said I would take the job.
With the utmost sincerity, I carried on with my work from that day. As promised, they transferred me to a higher post When the occasion came and was quite decent to me.
But my salary was just twenty-three rupees. It was quite inadequate. For days on end, I was very much worried about the shortage and considered ways and means to meet it.
The thought struck me one day, “Why not do some weaving too? That would bring in ten more rupees per month.” I suited my action to the thought. There was a weavers’ colony about half a mile from my sister’s house. The locality was called Tulukkachchi Thottam in those days. The name has been changed later on. I went there and hired a loom. Even in this, there was a snag. The owner said, “We charge you, see, one rupee per loom per month. To lease a loom for only three hours a day? That we can’t afford.”
I agreed to pay that one rupee myself in full. The master weaver, who obliged, was Mr. Thangavelu Mudaliar, who was an active rationalist. I never opened my mouth in his presence to speak of any other matter, social or political, except just work and wages. Thus I managed to get on smoothly with him for two whole years although I was steeped in religion and he was an atheist! My routine was like this: weaving, from six to nine in the morning. Then bath and food, and the office at eleven. Weaving, again, by lamplight from six thirty to eight.Thus I eked out my livelihood earning an additional ten rupees. Later, I got a teacher’s job in an improvised school. The work was confined to the morning, and the pay was seven rupees. Thus manual labor was reduced to a certain extent.