Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tribute to Srinivasa Rao

In the last post I mentioned about a unique 'dosa eaters group' [will not detail here - the picture above is at Vidyarthi Bhavan, Bangalore - read My Masale Dose Blog ].

Mr.Kodagenahalli Bhimsena Rao Srinivasa Rao [his full name and in light blue shirt] was the senior most of that group of four. He has passed on on 10th March, 2008 after a brief illness, aged 79. He was my colleague in office for 8 years till he retired in 1990. Even thereafter, the link remained in tact esp. through the above group.

One of our other senior colleagues had asked him to 'take retirement' during a heated argument and Rao was not fully at fault. His famous retaliatory remark in the heat of the moment 'I will retire YOU from this world' has stayed on, but Nature gave Rao the retirement, 25 years later. He and his wit will be missed.

A simple man with great wit and and sense of humour, he would always keep sharing jokes. One special knack of his was to pull out an apt joke to suit the subject of conversation that was on. His astounding memory for facts too deserves accolades. He used to come to collect his pension in the bank in the campus and never missed joining us - our reputed group for coffee at the canteen [he choose that time - finding us together was assured!]. He would share his humour and then go about his business. He concealed his dire difficulties on the family front through his wit. Perhaps it made him lighter in the mind. Some people resort to drinking and smoking to "solve" the difficulties, but fortunately he probably resorted to humour. But he had a very short stint 'behind the fire'.

He was fond of remembering this incident:
He was into smoking for a short period many decades back. He wanted to quit that habit. So he went to a temple and vowed in front of God not to smoke in future and came out. Very soon after, he got an irresistible urge. So he smoked a cigarette again. He came back to the temple and withdrew his vow!! He had left smoking slowly thereafter!

The way he described the many jokes and anecdotes was unique. His specialty was repeating the same sentence as he went on, laced with uncontrollable laughter that rushed through his old teeth!

His love and enthusiasm for cricket even at that age was quite something. They never waned. He deeply followed esp. Indian cricket and knew things beyond the common cricket fan as he was a fine critic too - he was a player himself in his younger days, a good leg-spin googly bowler. He used to tell about how he stood behind the nets when the great Y.S.Ramaswamy was bowling in the nets. He was a great fan of E.A.S. Prasanna. He had seen many International stars from close quarters through his acquaintances at the Cricket Association by working as a volunteer for International/Test matches in Bangalore. He enjoyed like a child, doing that bit. On his return he would always share with me [another cricket-enthusiast] in detail about what went on. Even at his age of 74-75 he had gone to volunteer in a match and thereafter he found it difficult to travel alone, even though he was quite fit and healthy.

He had great fancy for buying lottery tickets! He sometimes used to win small prizes but he never took this gambling too far as to make his family suffer. He used to ask me to buy a few one-rupee tickets from the places in different states I visited for my cricket, annually. He got great thrill in checking the results in the papers when I handed them out to him on my return. Sometimes those tickets were lucky enough to get back the sum. Perhaps he bought them in the hope of alleviating the circumstances, only he knew. But Lady Luck stayed away, but handed him bigger-than-small amounts [part of which was again converted into new tickets!] on just a few occasions.

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