A masterplan was evolved and was vetted by the bureaucracy +
CMs room in Secretariat should not be more than 20ft×20ft. When we went in to set up the systems, I saw the man for first time at close quarters
There was something special, an aura that radiated +
You can imagine my awe. Here I was in the cabin of State CM and he was there cooly working 😍
And then walked in @mkstalin and Ponmudi and other senior bureaucrats
VijayKumar then Commissioner Chennai Corporation +
Stalin being Deputy CM evinced interest that the Project be implemented as Chennai City needs a green space desparately
CM then looked at us and asked "How much money do you want?"
We gave the budgeted figure. "Athukkulla mudichchiduveengala?" +
"Fine. Then let the Finance Secretary work on making the necessary allocation"
Then someone wanted #Kalaignar to give a nice name for the Park. Till then for our internal purposes we used to call it as "Adayar EcoPark".
"Appo Adayar Poonga-nu veichchidunga" - "You can name it as Adayar Poonga"
There were muffles all around +
Instantly Kalaignar responded "Poo-na malar. Kaa-na kaadu. Poo-kaadu thaan Poonga aachchu. Neengalum adha thaane solreenga"
"Poo means flower. Kaa means forest. They both joined and became Poonga - forest of flowers.Its same"+
He took a decision to goahead. He ensured that suitable funding is made available. He warned us not to exceed budget. He gave a name that also taught us Tamil.
I never parsed that word "Poonga" till then. For me it just meant Park
One sunny afternoon, he visited the Poonga to see the progress of works and intently listened to us
Poonga exists there. It is tucked away behind the Ambedkar Memorial - a verdant forest of 51 acres in City's heart not known to many +
He will remain the best
His heart was clear that he got to leave a glorious legacy. And he combined it with rare empathy inherited from Anna and also hailing from a poor family+