Mundassery’s career as a teacher started in S.T Thomas’ College, Trichur in his capacity of a demonstrator in physics department and it lasted till his exit from there in uneasy circumstances as head of vernacular language department. Paucity of qualifications which stood in the way of his scaling the departmental hierarchy there and his inordinate level of fascination for Malayalam literature made him attempt a switch of subject  of teaching mid-career. But winning a professorial assignment of Malayalam too didn’t brook his energy to forge ahead on end. After putting his papers at the college rather prematurely he found himself wedded quite commendably to a host of other areas of human endeavor. Besides his ever doting and admiring the studentry the general public too dubbed him as ‘Master’. While still donning the teachers mantle and in its aftermath of serving stints in diverse callings too the economic, social and political edification of the teacher community held his attention and egged his striving for it. Kerala Education Rule which he sired and which formed the flagship piece of legislation of the first ever house of Kerala wasn’t a product of un-premeditated brainwave of this blue eyed boy of modern gurudom. Instead much before the accomplishment of this grand feat, he was the president of Cochin Teachers organization which further down the line morphed into Thiru-cochi Teachers organization but strangely it met up with a fizzle out in the backdrop of changed circumstances. But the organization’s celebrated president was a different kettle of fish and he went on to become the messiah of teacher brotherhood of the region. Master was actually completing and emancipatory process set in motion by yet another stalwart Sri Panampilly Govinda Menon.

What formed the strong point of master was his mastery over words, spoken rather. Perusal of  his script of speech or report thereof were  poor substitutes for the visual and auditory treat that his audience experienced as the speech as such went on air. As he made his speech he held his frame ramrod straight with his head held aloft and unbent. His eyes were aglint sharp through his glasses. Liberal use of hands with a lot of further  acting skills thrown in and undulating deep baritone together made an unsplit huge harvest of eyeballs, brains, hearts held in captivity. Even those who did not or could not  make out his works enjoyed his speech to its very hilt if not beyond. In his speech he would ruthlessly force-feed his audience on his pet conclusions but he made sure that everything went quite delicious on their taste buds. His speech never left his listeners in any doubt for he had them robbed of their faculty to turn skeptical at least for a time. He would most often train this skill to browbeat on his dissenters on the left and right of the ideological divide.

Mundassery entered Malayalam literary space with his multi-generic gambit such as short stories, novels, travel writings, autobiography, etc. but he won his lasting accolades as a literary critic. His literary articles did bear all the special features of his public speech. He would make his speech sitting or laying down and this dictation of sorts would be taken down by that task assignee and most often M.T Bhattathirippad would find himself saddled with that unenviable task. This was how he ‘penned’ his much celebrated articles of literary criticism. Though he was an ardent believer in socialism he made it known that what formed the touchstone of literary merit should be the value system of the contemporary society. In spite of this fluidity of theoretical espousal he had unshaken predilection for some traditional oriental theories of literary criticism. Using these theoretical yardsticks he made some bold attempts to evaluate the works of the formidable poetic threesome of Malayalam of Vallathol, Ulloor, Kumaranasan and this stupendous task won him abiding reputation as a literary critic par excellence. His preference for the works of Asan, rejection to acceptance story of Changampuzha, unremitting ‘G’ baiting saga, voluntary rooting for MP Paul’s mentorship, etc. hogged much attention in the literary circles and uncharacteristically in some sections among the laity too. How he said rather than what he said drew public attention for essentially Master was a master stylist.

Master became a political worker due to his prolonged relationship with sundry political and social discourses as editor of various publications. He took umbrage at various view points held by congress-Prajamandalam parties as he had bought himself into certain progressive social and political ideas. But later on his former student Panampilly prevailed upon him and he took membership in congress. But this marriage by default was short lived for soon he turned a communist sympathizer. When the communist party of India underwent a vertical split he didn’t take any side instead chose to be always just enarmoured of all progressive ideas. He played no minor role in the co-operative movement of Kerala. All the ministerial incumbents of the first EMS ministry were super human entities in their own respective ways but even among that august lot Mundassery stood in sharp looming relief. Though his education bill brought down the ministry it set in motion a process that brought about radical changes in the entire Indian polity. In a way his actions were responsible for the emergence of a new political paradigm called coalition set up. That model went to stay first in states then at the centre. The administrative acumen that he accumulated stood him in extreme good stead in his subsequent roles as a member of State Planning Commission and founding Vice-Chancellor of CUSAT.

Master commanded a large constituency of friends. But that in itself wasn’t spectacular. But its composition did the trick. Stratospheric, just high, middle, low, even sub zero brows had gone into its making. He would sometimes disagree with people but his dissent never went personal. It was a life again masterly well-lived.