My first brush with Kanchipuram was as an Outlook reporter in August 2001. I was investigating the charge that the CEO of the district, Jayendra Saraswati, had segregated hostels for Brahmin and non-Brahmin students in the engineering college under the Sankara math. The math had by then acquired hospitals, erected a deemed university (with P.V. Narasimha Rao’s abiding grace) and was planning an IT Park. I filed the report proving how the segregation was indeed true, but within days, 9/11 happened. The story never appeared. I revisited the town in 2003 when Jayendra began meddling in the Ayodhya-Babri dispute at the behest of the then BJP government. Soon, in September 2004, A. Sankararaman, a former math functionary, was hacked in the premises of Varadarajaperumal temple. Chief minister Jayalalitha (of the extra a) decided, for once, that the law could take its course. Jayendra became the first accused. While the subsequent Karunanidhi regime weakened the case, Amma was expected to tighten the screws again. But she got busy attending to other loose screws. Today, posters near the math herald Jayendra’s 78th birth year. He has made a quiet comeback.