"Komala Vilas" on East Chithirai Street in Srirangam, Trichy is an otherwise nondescript 4,500 square feet single-storey ancient house. What has now moved it back into the spotlight is its supposed ancestral-connect with late TN chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
It is in the corridors of this very house that Jayalalithaa is said to have played as a toddler. The house where the late AIADMK supremo's ancestors are thought to have lived is said to be a century old.
S Varatharajan and family -who currently live here- are proud to be residents of a house where the iconic leader -born in 1948- is said to have spent a few of her early childhood years.
Varatharajan told The Times of India, "We are proud to reside in the house where the charismatic leader is said to have lived between 1949 and 1952. We watched her departure from this world on television with a heavy heart."
It was Varatharajan's father-in-law S Lakshmi Narasimhan who had bought the house. It was supposedly owned by Jayalalithaaā€™s maternal grandfather before it was sold. There is however not much information available regarding its previous owners.
Even though the residents are in no way related to the former CM, the TOI report states that after the news of her death was announced, neighbours came to the house to offer condolences on Tuesday.
72-year-old L Indhira -wife of Lakshmi Narasimhan- is the oldest resident of the house. She recounted stories that she had heard from her own mother-in-law of how Jayalalithaa's mother Sandhya used to drop in for visits at the house.
"My mother-in-law used to tell me about her friendship with Sandhya. When she visited, Jayalalithaa was just a child, running around the house," she told the paper.
The house had come into the limelight when Jayalalithaa had contested the 2011 state Assembly elections from the Srirangam constituency.
According to a report in The Hindu, "The house kindled interest after Jayalalithaa, while addressing an election rally just a few meters away from the house, declared that her ancestors had lived in Srirangam. Some claimed that Komala Vilas was the ancestral house of Jayalalithaa, based on the affirmation of a grand old woman who is no more now."
"When I come here it feels like coming home, as my ancestors were from here and I feel I am one among you," Jayalalithaa had said during the rally.
Sand artist Sudarshan Pattanaik creates a sand art to pay tribute to J Jayalalithaa, in Puri beach on Tuesday; PTI Photo
It was 93-year-old Kamala paatti's interview to a regional daily then, in which she is said to have identified two houses that had belonged to Jayalalithaa's maternal grandfather, one of which was supposedly "Komala Vilas".
"Her maternal grandfather -I cannot recall his name- used to live in the opposite house before they purchased Komala Vilas at the corner of the street. I remember to have played with Jayalalithaaā€™s mother Vedha, who was around seven, and her younger sister Vidya. Then one day they all moved away,ā€¯ a 2011 Telegraph report quoted her as saying.