Wednesday, May 18, 2016

N.S. Sitaram - tribute to a teacher

On Saturday 14th May, 2016, I passed very close to the house of my high school teacher NSS [N.S.Sitaram] on the way to the market.  There were thoughts of stopping by for a minute to say a respectful hello to him. But I did not. I had been longing to meet, pay respects and take his photo, but kept procrastinating.  Our houses are not very far apart, may be one kilometre.
The evening paper of 16th May had this to shock me:


It was terrible news considering what I failed to do just two days ago.  He had died on Sunday.

Sarada Vilas High School [for boys] is an old institution with a very fine reputation through its dedicated teachers who had moulded characters and imparted great knowledge and culture to its pupils, some of whom becoming famous nationally and internationally.  



2009 photo of our school. [Click to enlarge]

NSS was one among the great teachers who had served there for a long period of time and retired as Head Master.  My father and uncle were also students in that school around the mid 1940s, but it may be before the time NSS joined. When I joined in 1970, NSS was the Asst. Head Master. When I passed out from 10th, he had succeeded Sri M.N.Lakshminarasimhaiah as Head Master. His signatures are on my Admission Ticket as well as Marks Card. 



NSS came on his bicycle clad in a simple mull-cloth ಕಚ್ಚೆ ಪಂಚೆ [white dhoti], leather sandals, light gray 'close-collared' coat, old but neat, worn on a white, long tailed, full-sleeved shirt, the same length of the coat.  His headgear was a black ಟೋಪಿ [stiff cap] and he wore a wrist watch.  His fair-face had features one had to appreciate.  His eyes required a pair of spectacles for short-sight.  The costume was typical of the older generation Mysorean 'school masters'.  We were fortunate to have been students of this 'last batch' of them.  

I try to roughly show how NSS appeared.


[Or did he wear an open collared coat that exposed the two shirt buttons?]

The cardboard headgear used to be like this [without the dark band shown here]:
Click on the image for larger view.

It was a delight to see his writing on the blackboard, the letters forming neatly, equal in size and uniformly white.  He held his chalk softly and never seemed to apply any pressure as he wrote sum after sum.  It was also something as much appreciated as his teaching.

NSS' forte was Mathematics, but used to fill in with some English or Science subject occasionally when that teacher was on leave.  He used to take Algebra which most students remember for his fine method of making the difficult subject to be understood easily [I admit I was an exception!].

He was a very lovable and approachable teacher, mild mannered but strict.  When NSS walked in there would be silence.  He was never armed with a stick for lashing [like MRK], or needed to slap any boy [like KRK] if the homework was not completed or some sum was wrongly answered or someone was not attentive in the class.  He would correct it so that the pupil learnt.  NSS was never one to get teased or his dhoti pulled by mischievous boys, [we heard they did it to one VSS who also came in a dhoti] but was one who had commanded respect through his dignity and quality as a teacher.  Yet, on the lighter side, he had been nicknamed in Kannada for fun, like other teachers' initials also, as ನೊಣ ಸಾಯಿಸೊ ಶೂರ [Fly killing expert] to expand his initials of NSS.

The last I met NSS was about 5-6 years ago.  He had said "86" when I asked his age.  He had been on his walk on Krishnaraja Boulevard when I was on my bicycle on my way home.  I had the opportunity to walk with him pushing my bicycle along for a long way, while we talked on a few subjects, also of moral values, teaching standards and the teachers of my time.  I had told him I would take him on the scooter to his contemporary PV's house one day.  This never happened and PV also passed away last year.  He was our history teacher.

"Wow, our NSS", I used to mentally exclaim on seeing him walk leisurely in front of our house and along the calmer streets in the area, clad in his simple white dhoti and white shirt.   At times I went closer to be seen and bowed the head to greet.  He had mentioned why he had chosen the time for his walk which was an hour before noon - low density of traffic.  I remember him having mentioned of his normal health and kept himself active with a long walk daily.  He used to be in my thoughts often, because of some unexplainable, special admiration and impression.  He had known my grandfather also.  About 10 years ago we wanted to put our daughter for maths tution with him, but it did not work out.  I had gone to his house for this and had taken the opportunity to get his blessing by prostrating at his feet as an old student.
Another great old timer now joins light, aged 91.
May his soul rest in peace. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Doing a 'Krishna'

Brothers Krishna and Venkatesh lived [until recently] in their old house that faced the lovely Manuvana Park in Chamarajapuram.  It was across the road a hundred feet from 'Chandra Cafe', a popular landmark hotel which served tasty Masala Dosa and flavourful coffee.  Our connection since the early 70s was Tennis ball cricket.  We played for the same team later.  Our house was a hundred yards away, in the parallel road.  All of us are around the same age and so we had a good rapport that made us meet often.  

Venky is more fun loving than his elder brother.  The short temper of Krishna was well known. He has stopped tennis-ball-cricket matches a few times when he used to get angry in the midst of a game due to disagreement with the umpire's decisions and would walk out frowning, sometimes kicking the stumps in disgust and spoiling the spirit of others that led to abandoning games!  Hot blood days!

In our college days there was lot of time outside of 'study time'.  In fact, I cannot say if we had allotted a set hour for 'studies'.  In daylight it was some play or other and when it was dark, it was time for chatting, with friends.  This has given many enjoyable moments and memories.  It used to be in their house premises or ours.


Venky is in the forefront in 'bell bottom pants', a fad in that era.  Photo taken by me during our bicycle trip to Sommathpur in 1981. Krishna had not come.


Facebook grab of Krishna, a smiling one at that - after all, we mellow down with years!  I must never forget to mention that he was with me when the first scooter came home.  Two decades later he drove our first car home from the showroom, not to mention he was our wedding photographer as well.   
He used to meddle things, break, repair and learn.  I was fascinated by this because I am of this type!  He used to tear apart his bicycle to overhaul it.  When he had his scooter, he did the same and later his car.  So much was his interest in mechanics that he had a job related to it and continues to be in the same line, with distinction, in a reputed car showroom.  
So do not judge him just because he kicked the stumps and ran home! 

It was an evening, post dusk, in the early 80s.  Myself and Venky were sitting on the compound wall by the gate of his house, for a chatting session, which was very common in those days.  Inside, we had seen Krishna doing some work involving the strongest adhesive known to us, "Araldite".

After a long time, Krishna was done with his project.  It also meant we had spent that long there!  The gate and their main door were separated by a 30-feet walkway.  Krishna walks along here, holding a sheet of paper that was used for mixing the adhesive.  He was in a bid to dispose it off outside the gate.  He approached the left side of the gate to the low compound wall. We were sitting on the other side.  Krishna stretches out his hand well away from the compound, flicks his hand to get rid of the thing.  Since his fingers were also a little sticky, the paper did not properly detach instantly at the force of the flick.  It stuck that little bit longer, wobbled back and fell inside the compound, near his own feet!

Venky and I were watching this.  It was one absolutely funny scene, more because it was involving a character like Krishna.  The scene of him feeling annoyed and him having to re-do the act was a very hilarious sight to me and Venky!   Krishna achieved his goal, in slow motion as we started to laugh loudly almost instantly! This caused even more irritation to him. Krishna turned towards us and sprayed a few angry words and went back in to wash his hands!

We laughed and laughed so long that our sides cramped out and we gasped for breath!

Even now, after about 35 years, myself and Venky recall this scene and still laugh. I have to check with Krishna if he remembers it.
"Doing a Krishna": You throw away an object but it boomerangs only to fall back in, all in one action!

It has happened to me also many times esp. in my garden and I laugh at myself telling "I did a Krishna".  It is something like 'Doing a Mankad' [wiki link] in cricket.  It has become a mode of dismissing a batsman!

The Krishna scene is so strongly impressed that it seems impossible for it to fade from my memory!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The 'Black Scissors'

Till the 1980s, my main mode of transportation was my Robin Hood, my late uncle's, an English bicycle which he had bought second hand in 1958.  Even now I use it occasionally.  It has a Lucifer headlamp [Swiss] and a Miller dynamo.

One evening in the mid 1980s I was to watch some cultural programme in the workplace auditorium.  Before leaving, there was a loose connection at the dynamo terminal to be rectified.  I had stripped the wire, rectified the connection and  pedaled off happily whistling a song, unmindful of what I had done before leaving home in a hurry.


The dynamo ['bottle generator'!], lamp at work and my Robin Hood. 

I was about to enter the campus gate when I heard a very familiar metallic sound behind me as the bicycle wheel passed over a small dent.  Familiar, because it makes a noise when it is handled or dropped esp. on hard surfaces.  Sound of my favourite 'black scissors' on the road, there? Certainly baffled, I stopped immediately.  The thing had fallen to the ground from the 'carrier' behind the saddle.  Very miraculously, it had stayed put all the way up to this point, two kilometres, despite the several vibrations our roads offer cyclists!  To my great luck, it had got itself tangled firmly on the 'carrier' behind the saddle.  That was where I remember to have kept it after stripping the wire sitting near the hind wheel. The little thing 'knew' how much I loved it and never wanted to leave me, so it seemed to call my attention by falling with a tinkle!  It was quite unusual of me to have not kept it back its place on my desk after finishing the job.  

The overwhelming relief I got on finding it and that too in such a manner defies description.  But I must admit making some funny actions [no one was watching] before keeping it safe in my shirt pocket, in front of my heart, which I kept touching every now and then to reaffirm its presence while watching the cultural programme that ended at 9 pm.  I returned home and heaved a sigh of big relief!  And a lesson reminded!

It has always been identified as 'Black Scissors"  [ಕರಿ ಕತ್ರಿ].  Its colour, size and unappealing appearance is contrary to its performance and utility.  Earlier my father used to keep it safe in his drawer.  I have seen it all my life and been using for most part of it.  Since about 40 years it has been an invaluable tool on my desk and in my rough guesstimate it is with us for another 40, previously!   That is how old this heirloom must be!  It must always be handy near my desk. Always.  My furious side surfaces when I do not find it in its place when I require.  It HAS to return to its allotted spot.  Others at home know my furious side if they were careless, misplacing, searching and finding it back. The last thing they want to hear from me is "Who has taken my ಕರಿ ಕತ್ರಿ?

My ಕರಿ ಕತ್ರಿ can cut a thread, cloth, paper, cardboard, plastic and whatnot.  All my hundreds of paper clippings of photos of cricketers to make albums were done with it decades ago.  Only I can use this to strip electric wires.  I have even used it to cut thin metal sheets for various home projects, before a proper cutter came to me.

Only twice, in half a century, I have seen it being sharpened, by knife-smiths that came by the street. It seems to retain its sharpness for ever. Such is the quality of steel.  I could verify this from the little sparks that flew and the sound it made when the smith held the cutting edges against the grinding wheel.

It is manufactured by the "Diamond Scissors Co", imprinted on one side.....


......Meerut City on the other.


Meerut, I understand is a renown place for making knives and scissors, highly durable, with a 360-year old history! I also learn now that Meerut Scissors have recently earned a GI mark!  Geographical Indication.

This marvel scissors is a cut above the rest.
It will and shall never leave me!

_/\__/\__/\__/\_

Having just learnt about Meerut's fame, I now gather a few tailoring scissors at home to check. Indeed, they have the Meerut imprint!  Three of them, clearly.



_/\__/\__/\__/\_

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Model T Ford Car of Mylar Rao

Many decades ago, owners of cars were recognized by their wheeled possessions! "Is it the one who has a car?"  The bicycle was a common mode of transport. A car at home reflected the elite status. Even before that, it was the bullock cart or horse cart.
(Do not forget to click on images to get a magnified view)


Going by the presence of my grand uncle's teacher peeping in the window of the bullock cart and my grand uncle himself [boy, left] in the horse carriage, I must strongly assume that these belonged to my great grandfather. The same bullock cart's window shutters were later fixed to a storage shelf which sits by my side!

Way back in the 1920s into the 1930s, my great grandfather, Mylar Rao who had risen to be an elite citizen had a car, a "Model T Ford".  He could afford a Ford!  Those were good days when a rupee could buy a lot and large joint families could run comfortably on a hundred rupee income, which was considered high.  Mylar Rao died in 1936 and I learn from uncle Sathya [his memories and hearsay from his young days] that later my grandfather Subba Rao continued to use the Ford for some time before disposing it off, for its frequent trouble and repairs.  Sathya recalls that Subba Rao had bought a dark green Morris - with a 'hand brake'.  He had to dispose it off as he could no longer afford to sustain.  A few things related to the Ford Model T and probably the Morris, still hang around. 

Operation Manual, with full details of parts!

In all probability, it would have been the model shown on top.

Parts description.

About the book, signature is of some Wajid, may be the mechanic, known to Mylar Rao.


The Shell can (right) was, repurposed for something else. The Mobiloil BB can had unused gear oil that had the most awful smell, having stored for decades!  I can show how bad it smells!  Such cans are listed as antiques and are sold online! 

In my great grandfather's diaries, I found these separate accounting entries for petrol purchases.  


Gallon measures.  1929.  Page starts with 3 rupees and 15 annas, for 3 gallons. 


Agent/Supplier's seal for receiving the money. 1930.  I learn that S.Vittal Rao & Son, Agents Messrs BEST & Co. Ltd. were the first petrol pump owners in the city. 


See that every 3-4 days petrol was bought.  1934.


More accounts, granduncle's signature for having paid. He would have driven the car!?  1934.


1936, February.  Another supplier, A.Gopalaratnam?  December that year, my great grandfather died.


Photo of my time.... look for the house in the background, which was originally the stables and motor shed. Uncle Sathya recalls the motor shed had GI doors actually where the door and window is and had a pit in the centre for cleaning. 
Later that portion which was at the back of the main house was sold off in the 60s. The stables housed the bullocks, cows and horses.  What life!

Old time cars were petrol guzzlers.  That was the best technology available then.
Maintaining cars have always been an expensive proposition.
Earlier models required much maintenance for wear and tear.

There is no record available as to where. when, how or for how much the Ford was bought.
My uncle Sathya says my grandfather did not drive much but had engaged a driver by name Thammaiah who in fact continued from Mylar Rao's time, driving the Ford.  When the family moved to another house in 1950, the Morris used to be parked in one Prof. Srikantaiah's house.  Sathya says, from here, my other uncle, young Kitti used to stealthily take it out to enjoy rides.  This worried Kitti's mother. Sathya also recalls that selling off the car was a problem because there were no buyers.  No one now can tell how he got rid of it finally. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Lighthouse at Surathkal

Port Cities and lighthouses go hand in hand.  Lighthouses are vital guides that facilitate night time navigation. The lighthouse towers in themselves have a beauty of their own, besides history, so much so that they have even become icons and graphics, not to speak of its own charm that has attracted people to them. Many countries have even featured lighthouses on postage stamps, including India.  The lighthouse on North Bay Island in Andaman Islands is featured on the backside of a twenty rupee banknote.  (Click on all images to enlarge)


We cruised past this, from a distance, last year.  The fixed window of our cruise boat was tinted blue. 


One of the most thrilling subjects captured by photographers and painters is of the rough waves in the seas splashing hard at the lonely lighthouses, standing on solid rock.


Web-grab image

Navigation itself is hundreds of years old!  Oldest existing lighthouse in the world is in Spain, The Tower of Hercules, dating back to the late 1st century!


Oldest Lighthouse, Spain.

Then there is a tallest lighthouse in the world, the tallest brick lighthouse, the tallest natural lighthouse and so on.  The Navigation Lighthouse is a great subject of interest in itself, ranging from its shape, location, robustness, optics, antiquity etc.  As such, it has always been visited by tourists.

I read that our Indian govt. plans to tap the huge tourism potential and make them full-fledged tourist destinations!  The Ministry of Shipping plans to draw tourists to the romance of lighthouses by developing 78 lighthouses and generate revenue from their adjacent open areas also.  A portion of the screenshot of press release:


From the first time I had climbed to the top of the Marina Lighthouse in Madras [now Chennai] in 1966, I've always loved it mainly for the panoramic view from that vantage point.  My memory of that lighthouse is rather jumbled, but I can still picture the scene that is impressed in my mind.  If I had the ability of 'Mandrake the Magician', [a famous comic series], who hypnotized the suspect and 'projected' his memory on a wall to 'see' the truth, you would see this - I was on top of the tower: There was the vast sea, the sandy beach and a road. It was Sri Murari Rao [grandfather's client] who had taken us to Madras in his car.


Recent image from The Hindu, of that place.

My next visit to a lighthouse came in Februray 1980 at Surathkal, close to the port city of Mangalore. I was with my college cricket team [for my first tour] to play the Inter-collegiate tournament hosted by KREC [Karnataka Regional Engg. College, now National Inst. of Technology].  One late evening, most of us made a visit to the Surathkal Beach.


Surathkal beach and lighthouse [web-grab]

It was a clean beach presenting a very peaceful ambiance.  Clean, probably because it was not yet frequented by too many visitors at that time. My impression was that lighthouses were old.  But this appeared simple and humble but not old. I learn now, that this was actually built as recently as in 1972.  Entry ticket to the top, reached by a flight of winding stairs, was fifty paisa, if memory serves me correct.  I vividly remember the beautiful optics of the beacon lighting system. A special powerful bulb was fixed in the centre, around which a large lens revolved 360 degrees at a set speed.  It was a very interesting mechanism.  The beacon beam flashing for a long distance at night was a thrilling sight from the town as well.  I was never tired of watching it.  I used to wonder how a neat beam was possible. Here, I found how the beacon light beam worked:


Am yearning to see another lighthouse, no one knows when that will come to fruition.

Friday, October 16, 2015

How I stumbled at Ravi, old mate

"Ravi" has always been my favourite name.  I have always wished it to be mine, so much so that on certain occasions I have even answered my name as "Ravi", of course where it has not mattered.  In Sanskrit, both names mean the same, 'Sun'.  No wonder Ravi is such a common name.  It may not be as common as 'Smith' in London's telephone directory!  This piece is about a dear friend of mine, one of the many Ravis in my list!

"H.R.Ravi" was my brilliant classmate from Class 1, up to 10, with the exception of a few when he studied in some other school.


Class 2 Photo - Me in front of Ravi, coincidence. Me, next to suit-boy Ramu.
{Click to enlarge all images}

My fondness for this fine fellow is from a young age.  Reasons may be for his brilliance, neatness, gentleness, his crop of hair, skill with drawing, handwriting and soft speech, to name some.  He was often a topper in class, shuffling with Zakir or Sujaya but I was never one that fought to dislodge any of them at the top which appeared to be way beyond my reach!  Only once in Class 4 or 5, my rank was 4th and that too in a class test.  I had literally ran home all the way with the report card in hand, in glee, to show it off!  The next highest I can recall was #12.

Many of us had exchanged little messages in our little autograph books when boys had to leave the "Christ the King Convent" after Class 7th. I remember having taken his in mine and he had written something like this (unclear recollection): "Forget me not.... HR Ravi". 

We found ourselves in the same class at "Sarada Vilas High School", for Class 8.  On many Saturdays Ravi and I used to play chess in our house and at times Gopi [another mate] would also join. The Saturday morning school closed at 11 am allowing us plenty of play time, homework, "afterwards"!  After Class 10, we separated for college and lost contact.  I had also lost my invaluable little autograph book at the very end of 10th.  In it were all the lovely words my little mates and teachers had written.  I miss this.

Ravi and I seemed to have a fine rapport. He was good in whatever he did. His Gandhi face caricature was highly impressive.  I can never forget how beautifully he drew it on the middle-school blackboard during the short period breaks.  I have kept imitating this all the way through!


Two pages from my wild sketchbook, 1983.  


CKC Alumni Meet, 2011. Ravi does what he used to do, same class room, 35 years back.

Around the mid 80s, I was on a stroll on Avenue Road in Bangalore, trying to locate uncle Chandu's office. League cricket had taken me there and I made use of the evenings to meet relatives.  A familiar face appeared to cross me.  I knew it was HR Ravi.  We stopped, exchanged excited and happy faces!  His home, an old one as I can recall, was a few feet away, upstairs, entry to which was not easy to locate as it was among the long row of shops in that busy road.  He took me in.

If my memory serves right, he was studying for a post graduation degree in medicine at that time. Such things are suited to people like Ravi's intellect!  I was really happy he was in the process of becoming a specialist-doctor.  We exchanged some school memories and then I left.  He had come down to the street on some errand which proved lucky to me to find him, but this luck ended there!  Mistake - not taking his address, to keep in touch further. So I lost him again thereafter.

Many years clipped past.  Ravi's welfare and whereabouts remained a mystery to me.  Each time I drew a Gandhi face in the sketch book, I remembered Ravi.  I could not think of any common friend to inquire.

Came 2004 September.  I was in Bangalore, again for cricket.  Our Guest House was opposite Manipal Hospital where we stayed for 4-5 days.  Each evening some of our team mates would go either to the telephone booth in the hospital premises to call our homes or to eat something in the adjacent canteen for a change.  Cellphones were slowly arriving at that time.  The telephone booth was attached to the hospital building.

One night, I was waiting for my friend using the booth.  Casually looking here and there in the eerie corridors of the huge hospital, a board showing "Dr.H.R.Ravi" caught my eye.  My joy knew no bounds. To me, there could be only one HR Ravi!  Immediately, I went to the inquiry desk and got his residence telephone number - landline of course.  I called from the booth the very next evening.  "Did you study at CKC in Mysore?"  I knew he would say 'yes'.  Hurray!  In turn, he was astonished the way I found him, yet again. In fact, in the preceding 4-5 years, I had hunted and gathered old mates back, after a gap of 30-35 years and in the next 5-8 years many got added, much to the delight of everyone and to my own satisfaction of seeing many old mates reunite.

With communication facilities expanding everywhere, we have since found it easy to keep in touch.  We have minded to do it, also with many of our mates from Class 1.


Dr.Ravi visits my home, 2008.

Ravi and I met on a few occasions thereafter, also visiting each other's homes.  He has earned great respect among his patients in various hospitals he worked as a surgeon.  Talented, intelligent and skilled as he is, it is no surprise he has earned a high reputation in his specialized profession now and it makes me proud to have him as a friend and having known him for this long!  He has not changed. He did not.

Some pictures and short notes:


2011 Alumni Meet, we meet the most feared Maths teacher. Ravi shows Sr.Prudentia her own signature/autograph he got in 1970. Rajaram, Ebby and yours truly look on.


Ravi shows the same to Miss Leela, the much loved Hindi language teacher. Her expression and mate Rajgopal's need no description


"How to be good". This is a book Ravi presented me in 1970. 


Though I lost the autograph book, at least his writing remains here in this book, on morals. 


Here is a sample of a couple of pages.  I must admit I have never read the book. May be if I had done so, the world would have seen a better person!  But I can guess why Ravi was so much better at that age and later became a respected surgeon, teacher, person.  It is my privilege to have known him. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tribute to Krishna Vattam


My father stopped when he saw his friend, a tall bespectacled man, walking in the opposite direction in the sparse crowd near the Dufferin Clock Tower. "This is Krishna Vattam, working with Deccan Herald" he introduced him to me.  My father was 'walking' the bicycle with me beside at that moment.  We had been to the market on one of the weekend morning trips.  This was in the early 1970s.  It was my first glimpse of Krishna Vattam, to the eye and the name to my ears.


We were getting Deccan Herald's sister in Kannada, "Prajavani", but I was not reading papers at that playful age. Years passed and we shifted over to Deccan Herald, also a popular English newspaper. I had started to browse some news or articles in addition to comic strips.  Seeing the name "Krishna Vattam" in print itself thrilled me, only because I had met the man.  In those adolescent years, I had no interest in reading the full content of his writings. But I had become aware of Vattam's reputation as a very good writer.

Some more years passed.  He was seen on the street or somewhere. I usually stopped to say hello. At other times, he would be on his blue Lambretta scooter, later replaced by a blue Chetak, which he used till his early 70s.  The warmth of the man and the affectionate smile that readily emerged from his mustached face was of a magnetic sort.  Like a password, I would introduce myself referring my father's name which he seemed to remember, among the thousands of his acquaintances. This happened many times.  The frequency led to a stage when he remembered my name, because my letters to the editor of a local paper were now appearing occasionally and as one would expect of a person of his involvement in the local affairs, would notice that column.

In the 80s, his house had become a very popular landmark, just off Jhansi Lakshmi Bai Road, adjacent to the Silk Farm on the road leading to Vidyaranyapuram.  If someone had to guide to a location in that area, "Vattam's house" was the index. Everyone seemed to know it.

After a long and very distinguished service he retired.  A few years later he joined as editor of a local eveninger, Mysore Mail which was located close to my house.  Occasionally I would go in there and say hello to him and to see the wrinkles on his face, which was wisdom personified.  They say each wrinkle had a story of its own and he was a man full of stories from his long experience.  In fact, as one would expect, he has put them down in many an article and a book.  I had not been aware he was a cancer survivor until I read an article he wrote in the local paper.  He was one Mysorean who knew the old city very well and a few times our discussions were about the heritage too. He was well versed in many subjects and his expression was crystal clear, his writing simple yet emphatically conveyed the purpose in full.

I had door crashed his house a few times whenever I went to the scooter mechanic 'Bogadi Srinivas' right opposite his house. One such turned out to be my last glimpse, last year.  He had breathed his last on July 27. The papers were filled with news and tributes. Just a month before this happened, his beloved granddaughter who lives on the other side of the planet had visited him. She had hinted me to go and meet him as he had been weak. But I was not destined to. The Krishna Vattam era had ended.

A certain G.V.Krishnan, a retired pressman had come to settle in Mysore.  It was he who brought us closer, through 'blogging'.  And it was through GVK I came to know that Lakshmi Bharadwaj, a young blogger, now already writer, was none other than Vattam's grand daughter!.  In one of my earliest mails Lakshmi wrote: "Sir, you know thatha? that's great! :-) He's really into journalism and he's the one who basically encouraged me to take to blogging, although he himself prefers to write for the papers more than to write for his blog!! :-)"  After a few years GVK left Mysore for Chennai. At a small farewell to him we gathered, including Vattam.  


"Bloggers"


We wait for GVK's arrival that evening.  He is holding Lakshmi's poem in praise of GVK which he read later.


I brought Vattam home on my scooter on the way before dropping him to his.  
No amount of tribute will do justice to a person of Vattam's stature, which was simplicity personified as well.