By SHEFA RAFI
Words cannot express the amount of joy one derives when Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji calls to interact with an ‘ordinary’ person. For, Pon Marippan, a school dropout, from Thoothukudi Millerpuram neighbourhood, it was an ‘extraordinary’ moment when PM interacted with him in Tamil last Sunday in Mann Ki Baat program aired in All India Radio across the nation.
“I am still unable to believe that the PM spoke to me about my ‘Salon Library’. Not everyone will get a chance to speak with PM.
As luck would have it, I got an opportunity to speak with the PM. All because of my innovative concept of Salon Library which fetched me this national recognition. It’s more than an award as I became the talk of the town,” elated Pon Mariappan told this scribe.
To be precise, PM Modi’s affectionate interaction with Pon Mariappan made him on cloud nine as Modiji spoke in modest Tamil thus: Pon Mariappan ji, Vanakkam. Nalla Irukkeengala?, Ungalukku intha library idea eppadi vanthathu?, Ungalukku entha puthagam pudikkum?, Unga Kitta Pesiyathu Romba Magizhchi. Nalvazhthukkal.
Surprisingly, Pon Mariappan grabbed the national headlines after Mann Ki Baat program as almost all language newspapers carried PM Modi’s interaction with him.
Little did Pon Mariappan realise that he would get such a golden opportunity wherein the PM calling him to speak to him to get info about his Salon Library.
The small 10×10 salon has over 1500 books of noted writers that offer the pleasure of reading to his customers, who visit his salon for a haircut or shaving.
Customers evince keen interest to browse through the books even while waiting for their turn. This, he felt, gave immense satisfaction that an awareness has been created on reading books which is now slowly fading.