The heart has no wrinkles
1 – “No, I can’t let him go” she said. “He’ll be with us for as long as he wants to.” That’s what Ellen Sharma, the founder of Children’s Garden School, Madras, said when she was approached by my relatives when they wanted to remove me from the school and take me with them. This happened when my father passed away and I was alone with my mother. That’s where I learnt a whole lot more about life.
Ellen Sharma, how can I forget her? How can I forget V. N Sharma her husband who always had a smile on his face and used to borrow books from my dad’s library? And it was such a pleasure to run those errands carrying those books back and forth!! Gratitude! Yes, if that is the word.
2 – They used to call it “Erra Meda” ( ఎర్ర మేడ – Red Building). The evening turned to night. I was sitting there in a corner when he walked in and the hall erupted with noise. It was my cousins chirping and they all ran towards him. With a large smile, he pulled out a fistful of coins from his trousers and dropped them into every open palm spread out before him. Well, he is their father. Something was just about to crack into a billion pieces and began to ache within me. That’s when he came towards me, caught me by my hand, opened my palm and dropped the coins he had saved for me. He looked into my eyes and I looked back into those kind eyes that were full of love, warmth and they were smiling.
He is Tripuraneni Gokulchand, this world does not know much about, perhaps that is the way he wanted to be, though I wonder. He is the youngest son of ‘Kaviraju‘ Tripuraneni Ramaswamy. My mother is Atluri Chouda Rani. She is his younger sister. And thus I am his nephew. Gratitude did you say?
3 – It was sometime around 70 or 71. I was home and the postman delivered me a small brown paper parcel. It came by registered post. Brown paper covered all the sides. The twine thread with a perfect knot to a side and trimmed with just enough to hold between your fingers, held the cover in place. The postage stamps were at the top right corner. Our address written in perfect handwriting, almost like caligraphy, perfectly placed at the center of the packet. So was the from address. Lower left corner of the packet. I did not have the heart to tear it open but I did. I took a pair of scissors and cut it open from one side. Gently pulled out the contents. There is an other layer of newspaper. This too is neatly folded around the content which was rectangular in shape and slightly hard. Opend the flaps of the newspaper from one side and in lay a book. Beautifully wrapped up in a thick tissue paper, what we call butter paper. It is translucent, enough to help you make out the title of the book.
It is “kathalu kaakarakayalu” (కథలు కాకరకాయలు – Ed -1968). A short story collection by Chalasani Prasada Rao. I did not know who he was. I turned over the pages. I found the following words “keerthisEshu’Du‘ Atluri Pitcheswara Rao ki” (“కీర్తిశేషు ‘డు‘ ” అట్లూరి పిచ్చేశ్వరరావు కి). I met him a few years later and came to know that he was the editor, magazines Eenadu. What I couldn’t comprehend then was why would anyone that too a stranger dedicate a book to my father and ?! Gratitude did you say?
Note: This is the second part of the Gratitude Challenge Day Two. This is a post that I posted on my Facebook wall and I felt that confining it to that SMN is not right and that it should reach out to more people. That is why you see it here.