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Deep from the Heart!

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I had the good fortune of the blessings of many great people. They even called me their friend. I wish to share some interesting anecdotes about these people.  Thsi is the first article in the series.

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 translation.

 

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 me too.

 

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!

శాంతి పథమునందు స్వాతంత్ర్య సమరాన

సగము గాలినట్టి సమిధ నేను.  ( నండూరి)

 

కడమ సగము గాల్చి కవితా ప్రపంచాన

కారు చీకట్లను పారద్రోలు  ( గోపాలం)

Santi pathamunandu swatatntrya samarana , sagamu kalinatti samidha nenu (NVR)

 

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 – సంగీతకళయన్న

        వ్యంగమన్న – లలిత హాస్యమన్న

అవని విముఖులున్న – అదియె వారికి శిక్ష

        రమ్య హాస లోల రామకృష్ణ

 

అప్పుజేసి అతడు గొప్పగా వెలుగొందె

        రాజువోలె చివరి రోజు వరకు

అసలు చెడినదెవరు అప్పులిచ్చినవారె

        రమ్య హాస లోల రామకృష్ణ

 

ఓడి విశ్రమింపలేడు – గెల్చెడి దాక

        ఎన్నికలకు నిల్చి ఎవ్వడైన

నెగ్గి ఓడువరకు తగ్గబోడెడైన

        రమ్య హాస లోల రామకృష్ణ

 

మింటి చుక్కలదర మిరుమిట్లతో వెలిగి

చివర తుస్సుమనును చిచ్చుబుడ్డి

ఆంధ్రులెల్ల వట్టి ఆరంభ శూరులే

        రమ్య హాస లోల రామకృష్ణ

 

కాడు గాంధిగారు కాంగ్రెసు సభ్యుండు

        క్రైస్తవుండు గాదు క్రీస్తు ప్రభువు

మార్క్సు చాటె తాను మార్క్సిస్టు గానంచు

        రమ్య హాస లోల రామకృష్ణ

 

పండుకొనెను రైలు పట్టాల కడ్డమ్ము

        ఆత్మహత్య కొరకు అతివ యొకతె

ఆమె యెర్రకోక ఆపివేసెను రైలు

        రమ్య హాస లోల రామకృష్ణ

 

చెవిటివాడు తెలిసి చేసికొనెను పెండ్లి

        గ్రుడ్డిదానినొకతె కోరికోరి

అతడు ఆమె జగతికాదర్శ దంపతుల్

రమ్య హాస లోల రామకృష్ణ

 

ఆశ యెగురగలదు ఆకాశ శిఖరిపై

        ఏటి వరదకెదురు ఈదగలదు

ప్రాక గలదు నక్కి తాళమందున

        రమ్య హాస లోల రామకృష్ణ

 

ఓట్లు కొనెడివాడు ఊరకే యిచ్చునా

        దాచి పెట్టినట్టి ధనము తెచ్చి

అమ్మి వేయగలడు అతడు దేశమ్మునే

        రమ్య హాస లోల రామకృష్ణ

 

కొన్నినాళ్లు తరచు కుడి కన్ను అదరగా

        వచ్చు గొప్ప మేలు వానికనిరి

వారమైన పిదప పక్షవాతము వచ్చె

        రమ్య హాస లోల రామకృష్ణ

 

Endaro Mahanubhavulu!! Andariki Vandanamulu!!