Meet Potty, The Crowd Puller
Most of us have been to music concerts. We enjoy, we have a good time and we go home. But N. Raghuraman Potty took the extra effort to go and personally congratulate the singers. A practise that he followed right from his school days. Years later when he joined Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) , he continued this practice and became the public secretary of the Space Centre Arts Club (SPARC). The club hosted Katha Prasangams (Story Telling) by Samba Sivan and dramas by KPAC (Kerala People's Art Club). Everything went fine until one day in the 80s, when television came to Kerala and people decided that sitting at home with it was a much better way to spend time than going out to enjoy themselves. The auditoriums became empty, the halls became deserted. That is where Potty came in to change things.
"We were spending a lot of money to organise these events so we naturally wanted some audience. I contacted art club secretaries of central government and state government offices. I gave them each a number of complementary passes and asked them to invite the employees who were interested to attend the programme," recalls Potty. That was the start.
Potty started circulating passes for events and filling halls with people who were interested in them. Soon Potty's name became known in the circles of art lovers. If there is a programme in the city, Potty gets calls to get the word around and make sure the halls are not empty. Some call him to know if they could get some tickets. Others want to know if it is free entry. Potty became an important point of contact for information about all kinds of events in the city. Be it a music concert, a speech, a poetry discussion, Potty will direct you and make sure it reaches the people who appreciate it.
What is his interest in this? "I just want to bring people to the programmes that they would enjoy and appreciate," he says humbly. So when Hindi singers came to Trivandrum, Potty brought a huge crowd that adores Hindi songs. The musicians left in awe, surprised at seeing the number of people who enjoy Hindi songs in Kerala. The only reward he gets from these services is the satisfaction of knowing no programme goes unappreciated. Potty also attends most of these programmes. "I enjoy music, discussions etc, though I am not much of a singer myself," he adds.
How do people know that there is a man called Potty who does this voluntary service? "Word of mouth. Someone I worked with may suggest my name to an organiser who wants a good crowd for his programme." He was also featured recently in a TV channel. "So more people came to know that there is a man called Potty who lives in West Fort and tries to do his bit for the society," says Potty, smiling.
Be it a programme in the VSSC, in Technopark, or one by the Air Force, Potty is the man to help you. "When people see me with my bag [pointing to his trademark black backpack], they don't ask me if there is a programme. They ask me 'Potty can I have some pass?'. They don't have any doubts about it."
It is not just cultural programmes or discussions that Potty spread the word about. He also makes sure the concerned people are informed in case of an emergency like a death. "Often many people are missed out in such situations. I do what I can to help."
Potty's family consists of a son and a daughter and grandchildren. His wife died five years ago. "If I sit at home, I feel miserable at her loss. So I go out and try to get involved in these things."
You can contact Potty on his landline number: 0471-2469246 or his mobile number: 9495628462.