Nanduri Venkata Rama
Krishnamacharya – My friend!
Yes! I am lucky enough to
call great NVR my personal friend! Many do not know that there was this Venkata also in his name. He is only Nanduri Rama
Krisnama harya for the world.
People know him as the finest of the poets who wrote Telugu padyam when it’s popularity was on the
decline. He was even made the chairman of the Official Languages Commission. Many know him as a freedom fighter who translated
Gandhi’s lectures on the stage those days. I remember him telling how a train was made to make an unscheduled stop at
Rajamundry to pick him up and take him to Madras along with Bapu. Bapu was very particular about NVR doing the
I am a foolish man! I should
have kept all the letters very carefully!
My wife looked at one of
those letter and laughed loudly! She usually never does so!
Nanduri wrote me that he
wants to see me like a young girl who wants to see her lover!!
We exchanged letters though
living in the same city.
I have look into my junk
for some of them!
Once he wrote a letter and
on the reverse side of the post card wrote two line s of a poem and left it incomplete.
It was about him being a half burnt sacred twig because of his participation in the freedom struggle. I wrote back. Not on
a post card, sure.
But made it a point to write
couple of lines as if to complete his poem. I wrote that he was burning the other half of his life to drive away the darkness
in the world of poetry.
I remember those Telugu lines
even today. Believe me, NVR came rushing soon after he received the letter. His happiness about my writing in meter was apparent
on his face. He was working on a book The thousand Years of Telugu Padyam. He said even my padyam should appear in that book.
I humbly refused, saying I am not a poet at all.
Many do not know that he
was admired by none other than Karunasri Jandhyala Papayya Sastry. In fact NVR helped Karunasri in his early days. NVR asked
me whether I read the poem Beeda Pooja by Karunasri. It is a very famous piece and I really know it. Many students learnt
it a s a part of their Telugu Text. A flower is crushed. It is the lament of a poet
and the flower is his heart. The poem mentioned that the flower is crushed under the wheels of a car! NVR asked me why there
is a mention of a car in that poem. What do I know? No poetry lover came up with this question till that date. That included
Then NVR narrated an incident.
It was one among many of his memoirs I heard from him directly.
NVR and Karunasri were working
at the same college as lecturers. I am sure it was at Rajamundry. NVR was instrumental in getting the latter employed there.
NVR was very good at English. This made him a chum of the Principal who was British.
KS was getting a pittance
as his pay. Interestingly the two friends were living together in the same room. One day KS requested NVR to use his good
offices with the Principal and get him increase in the pay. NVR being the good Samaritan he already was rightly accepted.
The next day together thay went to the office of the principal. NVR going there without an appointment was very usual and
the staff there rightly allowed him in. KS was asked to wait. He could not do anything else. In went the English knowing Telugu
poet and the one who was only a fine Telugu poet was waiting outside. The Principal was happy to see his old friend and soon
they were immersed in some literary discussion as usual. Interestingly NVR forgot all about Karunasri and his request for
a pay rise. He spent a lot of time in the room and went away along with the Principal, who invited him perhaps to his house,
for a cup of coffee. Both of them came out of the room, not even looking at Karunasri, went out, got into the car, and departed.
NVR reached the room very late in the evening. KS Was not there. There was a poem scribble on a bit of paper. That was the
poem Beeda Pooja which entered the text books at a later date. Being a poor man and expecting help from a friend who neglected
him was the theme. When NVR went away with the principal in the car. The tender heart of the sentimental poet, Karunasri was
crushed under the wheels. Not many know the background of the poem. NVR told me that he realized his mistake and did everything
that he could to undo the same.
They were friends for life.
Karunasri became more famous than NVR. That did not hange the equations between them. I know that NVR was at the bedside when
Karunasri breathed his last.
I spent hours listening to
not just poetry but many interesting incident and anecdotes from NVR. I even offered to write them in the form of a book.
I asked him to write his memoirs. Neither of these things happened. I am the loser and the world is a loser. They don’t
make such fine men any longer. Poet or no poet, one has to be a finre human being first. NVR knew that better than anyone
in the world. He had only a smile for every one. Never a scorn. He had a child like countenance when it comes the matters
of arts and appreciation. The happiness that appears on his face when there is some thing good to read is only to be seen
to be believed. He, a colossus among poets, picking me , a fledgling of a writer, as a friend is perhaps a wonder of wonders.
He even wrote a Padyam on my service to popular Science. He called me Gopala Vignani, in that poem. Blessed me!
This is the verse I completed for NVR, The Great!
గాలినట్టి సమిధ నేను. ( నండూరి)
సగము గాల్చి కవితా ప్రపంచాన
చీకట్లను పారద్రోలు ( గోపాలం)
Santi pathamunandu swatatntrya samarana , sagamu kalinatti samidha
Kadama sagamu galhi kavita prapanhana , karu cheekatlanu paradrolu
( Yours Truly)
Following are some Padyams by Ramakrishnamacharya.
He was a very fine poet. Thses are not exactly the examples of his
typical poems. However I wanted to bring the humorist in him to you.
సరస కవితయన్న –
అవని విముఖులున్న – అదియె వారికి
అప్పుజేసి అతడు గొప్పగా
చివరి రోజు వరకు
అసలు చెడినదెవరు అప్పులిచ్చినవారె
నెగ్గి ఓడువరకు తగ్గబోడెడైన
మింటి చుక్కలదర మిరుమిట్లతో
కాడు గాంధిగారు కాంగ్రెసు
గాదు క్రీస్తు ప్రభువు
మార్క్సు చాటె తాను
పండుకొనెను రైలు పట్టాల
కొరకు అతివ యొకతె
ఆమె యెర్రకోక ఆపివేసెను
అతడు ఆమె జగతికాదర్శ
రమ్య హాస లోల రామకృష్ణ
ఆశ యెగురగలదు ఆకాశ శిఖరిపై
ప్రాక గలదు నక్కి తాళమందున
రమ్య హాస లోల రామకృష్ణ
కొనెడివాడు ఊరకే యిచ్చునా
అమ్మి వేయగలడు అతడు
రమ్య హాస లోల రామకృష్ణ
తరచు కుడి కన్ను అదరగా
పిదప పక్షవాతము వచ్చె