Monday, May 17, 2010

My stint at poetic composition!

"Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility." This is a famous quote by William Wordsworth which my elderly colleague used to recollect his college teacher mentioning it.

I do not remember much from my school poems, except for "Humpty, Dumpty sat on a wall....", which we 'by-hearted' and tried to reproduce in front of the teacher or in exams. That ended the exercise. They were all soon forgotten. Learning poems was a most avoidable exercise! But somehow rhyming words have always fascinated me. Among our group of friends there was one (late) Vasu - older than all of us - who was fond of making fun of others and he usually had some funny rhyming two-liners. His friends used to tease him "Lo Vasu, kodu ondu kaasu". (Hey Vasu, give me a penny), etc. I never understood properly the poem we were taught in school or college. "Daffodils" by Wordsworth was one among them. Such was my ignorance that I could not even perceive that a daffodil was a flower! The worst part was to write the explanation of a stanza in the exams!

Dinakar Desai was a renown Kannada Poet whose 4-line limericks were very popular. In fact, people used to call me his full name (being the namesake) - HE was that famous. While representing Mysore Zone in cricket my name was written as "Dinakar Desai" by some fellow. When the scorers gave the match report to the Press, they had given my name as "Dinakar Desai" which came in print (Kannada - Prajavani) the following morning (I still preserve it!). I had taken two wicktes.

I also used to read with some interest short rhyming poems in magazines some readers contributed. I was not interested in a story-like poem with emotions and no rhymes. I by-passed such ones. I wanted to try rhymes just for fun. Also, poems composed with a certain name and its spelling as its subject also interested me - each letter would be the beginning of a line and rhyming was not a must in this case. When S.Venkataraghavan was chosen to lead Indian Cricket team in the 1979 World Cup, I thought of scratching my head and try something on his long name. I went with a draft to my good friend Rajgopal for help. At a young age, he was already a prolific writer with a good vocabulary (he is now renown as a 'walking vocabularist'!) . He re-wrote the entire thing and I did not understand some of the words! I wanted to get it published in a sports magazine. I was yearning to see my name in print which was a fancy and such a thrill. Rajgopal had many already and he encouraged me to put my name though he wrote it in fact!

I sent this to 'Sportsworld' and was disappointed not to see in print. Click on the picture below to read.

After some years, I wrote another short one, myself. It was very spontaneous and I enjoyed it. It was published in Sportstar and I was so thrilled to see it!

Ravi Shastri was earning a name for his slow batting in the early 90s. So I thought of a few lines to express some anger as below and sent it to local papers and was happy to see it being honoured!

This one also gave me some satisfaction as I started writing it and got some help from my learned colleague Nagaraja. I gave it to Mrs. Nandini (the subject) and earned some appreciation. Click on the image to read.

Look at this photograph below:

When the film roll was developed and the prints arrived, I was puzzled to see a blurred picture that I had shot of my daughter. My pen went off spontaneously with these lines:

No, no, the earth wasn't quaking,
While my camera was clicking.

These things happen once in a way,
On any unknown night or day.

The camera is of Russian make,
But this photographer is no fake!


There was another colleague with whom we had a close association, a much respected person by one and all. His name was Lakshmi Venkatesh [very very fond of tea, hence the title]. I attempted another rhyming poem and it came off well, while it reflected all his qualities. It was presented to him when he retired from service. It was he who told that Wordsworth quote above. Here is what I composed trying to encapsulate his personality - He was a tea-lover and a Maths teacher - hence that title:


Superannuate Lakshmi Venkatesh will, end September,
Miss badly our department will, one real noble member.
Prior to his CFTRI stint, he was a good teacher in a school,
He had enjoyed every bit, when that piece of chalk was his tool.

He's fond of teaching Mathematics even without a board,
His students learning the subject, never get bored.
The art of teaching is surely in his genes,
Never did he wear even the best of jeans.
He right-stepped into the Institute in the mid-sixties,
And sipped off thousands of cups of coffees and teas.
Outwardly, he is a simple-dressed scientist,
Inwardly, he is by no means an atheist.
One of his noteworthy works was on rice bran,
But after awards or rewards he never ran.
Surprised and happy he was when a patent was awarded,
With tea, we, his colleagues were simply rewarded.
The walnut project took him up north to Srinagar,
That was when he was fit, energetic and younger.
Later when his backache took its toll,
He was no longer on the touring roll.
Our beloved Venkatesh was Sponsored Projects' "Lakshmi",
But from now on, our Ramesh may say, "that's me".
To many an election here, he was the Returning Officer,
None knew how he could reject hot tea in a cup and saucer.
He never did bend upon using the computer's keyboard,
But with his pen, gripped unusually, he wrote many a word.
When it came to Income Tax, he was our helpful adviser,
With 'Lakshmi' around, people got much more wiser.
Seriousness aside, he was all wit and wisdom,
People around him were never led to boredom.
His sincerity and industriousness deserve accolades,
His rough beard has blunted hundreds of blades.
He earned a reputation for honesty, kindness and generosity,
To emulate him, we need not require pugnacity.
With that twinkle in his eye and the depth in his voice,
He always hated making unnecessary noise.
His memory for quoting anecdotes is breath-taking,
The way he narrates them is awe-inspiring.
He is a man who believes in 'thought, word and deed',
For those who are in need, he is a real friend indeed.
He very often lost control over mind over A matter,
When THIS matter was a cup of tea served on a platter.
Our Venkatesh follows a strict regimen of diet as a rule,
But rejects his cup of tea only when it had become cool.
He used to share his vast ken of Epics and Upanishads with us,
None can doubt that he is deeply spiritual and religious.
The great aura of his personality commands respect,
From him in reciprocation the same thing one is to expect.
To fellow humans Lakshmi Venka-TEA-sh is full of compassion,
Yet again, sipping tea is his preferred and irrepressible passion.
His frequent "hello"s and "namaskaara"s, we will miss,
Associating with him on any matter has been pure bliss.
Let him teach, full time, Algebra, Calculus or whatever,
May health and happiness be with him and family forever.
Presented by Colleagues, 2002

I enjoyed composing this one in Kannada [two pages]. There was a popular colleague that served the Institution for 41 years and personally I had the good fortune of being in the same department for 18 years. This composition ["Nammukunda" meaning "Our Mukunda"] brings out most of his personality. It was read out in the farewell gathering by another colleague on the day he retired from service. The same was presented to him. It was August 2000. This is a caricature I tried.
Click on the images to read.

Page 2

This one too gave much delight to me as well as our colleagues as the subject was our
head of the dept. On the eve of his superannuation, it was presented to him.


Our Sri Pillai lays down office at the end of March,
To Prabhu he will pass on the torch.
As spearhead of the Department,
He brought laurels for Institute's betterment.
His great virtue has been the art of conversation,
Which fully deserves our appreciation.
When there was no question of an agreement,
He outwitted the other in the argument.
His forte was his courage and wisdom in decision making,
The speed with which he did so was truly amazing.
Working with him had been mostly a pleasure,
The rest of the time it was pure pressure.
With the pen he was ever ready to sign,
Many a time, he had to 'draw a line'.
The bell switch will no longer feel his fretful finger,
But those typical "ting-ting ting-tings" will always linger.
The engaged telephone at the other end drew him nuts,
And his own, suffered from bruises and cuts.
When situations made us feel his presence,
We wished for his temporary absence.
Up until the time he crossed well over fifty,
He was the Chairman of Doorvas Committee.
Saviour faire had become one of his top attributes,
Also to all his other good ones, we pay tributes.
What we all usually saw was Pillai the taskmonger,
But the real Pillai happens to be a humdinger.
Le'im settle at Cochin, Calicut or wherever,
Let health and happiness be with him and family forever.
"Colleagues"29th March, 2001


Learn while you Rhyme!

[Composed, 2004]

History deals with chaps,
Geography, with maps.
Botany deals with plants,
Architecture, with plans.
Literature deals with books,
Fashion, with looks.
Doctors deal with health,
Scavengers, with filth.
Geology deals with rocks,
Paediatrics, with tots.
Photography deals with picture,
Carpentry, with furniture.
Palmistry deals with palms,
Beggars depend on alms.
Hotels engage cooks,
Police hunt for crooks.
Aeronautics deal with planes,
Cartooning, with lines.
Philately deals with stamps,
Lalloo pokes in scams.
Barber deals with hairs,
Stock market, with shares.
Zoology deals with animals,
Law punishes criminals.
Postmen deliver mails,
Manicurist tends finger-nails.
Biology deals with life,
Dacoit wields the knife.
Astronomy deals with stars,
Mechanics repair cars.
Psychiatry deals with the mind,
We should learn to be kind.



ER Ramachandran said...

Set of good collection over the years, KRD! Do try to write poems as you have passion and talent. Ravi Shastri may not like it , but will be the first person to agree!
Good effort and plse continue.

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