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K G Balakrishnan's journey to the top

January 16, 2007
Rajendran is ecstatic. His village has been making the headlines in almost every publication around. He is more thrilled when television crews stop by his tea shop to inquire about a certain address -- that of India's new Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan.

Appanchira village in Thalayolaparambu taluk is a 20-km drive from Kottayam in Kerala. If you have any doubts about whether or not you will be able to spot the residence of India's new Chief Justice, dismiss them. Every person you come across will give you directions to the doorstep.

As I turn up at his residence, Justice Balakrishnan's family welcomes me with a big smile. Good news has been pouring in from all sides. First it was the appointment of Justice Balakrishnan as Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal's successor. Then it was for the impending wedding of Balakrishnan's daughter, Radha.

For mother K M Sarada, the only disheartening aspect is the absence of Justice Balakrishnan's father K J Gopinathan, who passed away about four years ago. "I am proud of my son's accomplishment. I wish his father was here with us during this moment of celebration. His presence would have further enlivened the occasion," the proud mother says.

She recalls Balakrishnan, one of eight children, as a very studious boy. "He was one of those academic kinds. He utilised most of his time studying. Kids from the neighbourhood used to come to our house and he would have debates and discussions on topics ranging from politics to academics," Sarada said

Image : A family photograph of Justice Balakrishan (circled). His parents are seated to his right.

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