Onam Wishes From Prof. RVG Menon And Prof. Lalithambika
Prof. RVG and Prof. Lailithambika take a trip down nostalgia lane | By Renju
On Sep 09, 2011


Onam, the harvest festival of Malayalees brings beautiful memories of precious moments spent with  friends, relatives and neighbors. Whereever in the world they are, Malayalees always recollect fondly this festival. This Onam season, Yentha wishes to take its readers along with the Professor couple, RVG Menon and his wife Lalithambika as they recollect the Onam of their childhood.


Prof RVG Menon is a well-known public figure in Kerala; he taught at the Government Engineering College in Kerala, was the principal of the Government College of Engineering, Kannur and served as a director of ANERT (Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology). He also authored the book ’An introduction to the History of Philosophy of Science,’ which is part of the Engineering curriculum in Kerala. Prof. Menon served as the president of the Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad, the popular science movement. His wife Scientist Lalithambika was the former Deputy Director of CSIR.


Prof RVG Menon and Prof Lalithambika


One of his students Vinod Xavier recalls, “I remember Prof. RVG Menon  as one of the most likeable and committed teachers...someone who really believed in making a difference by his actions. When most professors transferred to RIT (Rajiv Gandhi Institute Of Technology, Kottayam) took measures to exempt themselves from coming to our remote college, he was one who came to teach us without any fuss even though he was much more qualified and experienced than many who declined to come. He has touched and made a difference in all our lives and even now when I occasionally see him on TV, I feel proud that I am one of his students.”

Although retired from service, the couple is  still busy with their social activities. Prof. Lalithambika volunteers in IRTC, Palaghat as research co-ordinator.


The warmth and geniality belies the busy lives they lead as the couple shared some interesting nuggets from memory about the good old days…

The lady took the first trip down memory lane. Her face all aglow with memories of childhood, the professor who belongs to the Menavila Kovilakam says, “As a little girl, I was very interested in making ‘athappookkalam.’ We plucked locally available  Kakathi and Sathavari. Then all the ladies in our joint family along with other ladies from the neighbourhood would do the  ‘Thiruvathira Kali.”



She continues, “When I was 14, I moved to a hostel and my enthusiasm for Onam waned.  After college I spent several years in North India where they do not celebrate Onam. I was also busy with my research and had no time to think about Onam. I visited Kerala only in December during the semester break.”

Then Prof. RVG takes over,  “My family belongs to Vadakkan Paravoor. We also used to make athappookkalam for which we plucked flowers. We used to make ‘Thrikakkara Appan’ out of sand and wood. After Onam we keep these idols in a safe place for the next Onam. While we children liked to play various games, the elders were busy playing cards.”


Smiling he discloses, “We used to stage our own dramas before the elders. One of my cousins Chandran and I used to script them. My sister Vimala Menon has included all these memorable days in her book.”

Soon Prof. Lalitha is swinging away on the memory of an  ‘Unjalu’. “We held contests to see who could swing the highest. We were so fearless in those days and did not think that we would ever fall down; but now even the memory is frightening. Our elders also did not fuss about it and swinging high gave us such a thrill!”


Prof RVG also talks about the pooja done to Thrikkakkara Appan placed on the pookkalam and the delicious ‘Ada’ offered as prasadam after the pooja.   


Prof. Lalithambika talks about how there was no concept of  Onakodi back then in her family.  “My father used to purchase new clothes for our tenants, taking care to buy clothes that would suit them. The ladies of the family did not accompany them on these purchasing trips, but only gave suggestions about the choice of clothes.”

She continues, “I don’t know if it was my father’s principle or not. We were 12 children in the family. He used to emphasize on such occasions the importance of not wasting food.  When we pointed out the new dresses of our friends he told us about the significance of simple living and high thinking. He always gave importance to studies.”

"My interactions with him was limited. I remember the classes he had taken and the way he reviewed my seminar on Power Generation from non-convential sources. A calm and composed personality. Always passionate about whatever he does. A quality (being passionate) that is almost going extinct in our current genaration", recalls Sumesh Menon, another student of RVG.


Since 1977, RVG’s Onams have been celebrated in Trivandrum. “I spent 40 years in Trivandrum. Onam has come to be a  family get together. My grandmother had 7 children, with my mother being the only girl. Since my grandmother lived with us, all of my six uncles and families came here during Onam. My aunties would do all the Onam purchasing and then get together for cooking. In the 1990 boths my grandmother and mother passed away and over time, these get togethers stopped. Now we visit Lalitha’s house at Mavelikara where her mother lives and that is the only family get together that happens now.”


“The nuclear family concept has changed everything. Earlier, 5-6 generations came together to celebrate Onam, staying together for a few days. Now 3 generations come together for Onam and that too for barely a day. This has greatly reduced the warmth between families.”  



In conclusion, the couple have a message for our readers: “Be happy and relaxed. Don’t limit your happiness to just your family; instead try to extend it to the people around you who are in need of it more than you.”

Report Abuse    Report Error    Comments SMS/E-Mail
Bookmark and Share
Prof RVG was great in the class. He would talk about power plants and would describe it so nicely that if we were to close our eyes we could see the boilers and the baffles and the tubing in our mind.
Raj Velayudhan, on Sep 15, 2011 02:41:50 PM
I always remeber something that he told all of us somewhere near to the time we were about to complete our course...he advised us not to think of immediately settling into a job, he said to go study or work in different areas, move around, travel, see and experience and take risks....frankly that time most of us who listened couldn't comprehend what he really mean't as all of us were somehow trying to land a job and that is it then!!....looking at that talk now, i can very well understand that he was just telling that we all, even though with a degree, still knew so little, had seen so little of what the real world was...well, wherever we all are now it is due to the fundamentals instilled in us by dedicated acharyas like him...we are a priveleged group to have had him to guide us...and a role model who should be looked upto by emegrging professionals in the teaching arena...
Vinod Xavier, on Sep 16, 2011 11:50:03 AM
Yes, Prof. RGV Menon is a great personality, and we are proud to have done this article on him. Thank you for sharing your memories with Yentha.
Team Yentha, on Sep 16, 2011 01:18:02 PM
I saw the Onam Wishes given by Mr.& Mrs.RVG. I am very happy to see them in Yentha.com.I was a research Scientist in IRTC during the period of 1999-2004, I had worked with many small Projects with Mr.RVG and also with Mrs.Lalithambika. I am keeping my great experiences in which I shared with the great personality Mr. RVG.I didin't see any other person like him during my 15 Years of work experience. When I talk about engineering, drawing a picture, designing something, writing article I will remember his advices and face. This is my great pleasure to talk about him. He is very good personality; really he is human being.I respect him and wish him good health.
Gijo K. Sebastian, on Oct 06, 2012 01:14:07 AM
how is legally rvg menon and his wife associated with irtc?
Santhosh R. Menon, on Jun 23, 2016 09:08:30 PM
News Features Columns