‘Encounters’ normally we hear have different connotations- positive and negative! In the name of “Encounter Killings” many murders take place and none is in a position to stop or reduce the numbers!
Any human being or for that matter any living being in the scheme of the Almighty has to experience ‘encounters’ in life. Problems defying solutions very often we encounter. We encounter some people thoroughly unknown and suffer. We also encounter great personalities that remain green in our minds for ever.
In this Sunday story in ENVIUS THOUGHTS we are going to come across a different encounter- a pleasant one beautifully narrated by one of the senior officers of a leading Public Sector Undertakings, published in a house magazine that won the award of the BEST HOUSE MAGAZINE of the PSUs.
AN ENCOUNER WITH A SEPTUAGENARION POET”
As I got up early in the morning, he was sitting in the drawing room of the LIC guest house at Thiruvananthapuram. He greeted me and introduced himself as an executive who retired from my Organization fourteen years ago. He was too agile for his age of 74 years. He narrated his tenure in LIC as a Marketing Manager and later Deputy Zonal Manager deliberately ignoring his other accomplishments. Only when I asked him the purpose of his visit to Thiruvananthapuram, he said that he has come to attend an international Writers Festival where he
was to present his paper.
A Tamilian, he told me casually that he was an author of 27 books, the majority of them on poetry and some translations of great works of literature. I had goose bumps sitting with an accomplished person. He gave me his book of poetry in English. I glanced through one of his poems. The ten-liner titled ‘The Retreat’ was excellent. It was about a dog chasing him and just he pretending to pick up a stone to scare it away. According to him the same strategy was to be followed in dealing with life’s problems chasing you. They can be scared away with patience and courage. He narrated one of the works of a great writer of Tamilnadu, Saint Tiruvalluvar. His work ‘Thirukkural’ has been translated into more than ninety languages of the world next only to the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran. He has translated 500 couplets of the Thirukkural in Haiku format (5-7-5 syllable) .I didn’t tell him that I never heard about Saint Tiruvalluvar but resolved to read the Thirukkural at the first opportunity.
He was filled with pride narrating his published work-the Tamil translation of Tagore’s ‘Gitanjali’ and Subramaniya Bharati’s “Kuyil Pattu’- the cuckoo’s song –into English. His recent article in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper titled “Onion is not Oxygen” exhorting people to shun expensive onions was widely appreciated. Ne narrated how he receives calls from his three sons, one from Canada, the other from his journalist son Bangalore, and from the third one at Chennai. As he is talking, his mobile rings and without seeing the mobile screen he knows that his son is calling from Bangalore. Before conveying his wellbeing he narrates his meeting with me to his son repeating my name and his voice is filled with respect.
He said that he feels relaxed with the calls even when he is travelling and inconvenienced. I regretted my question of not travelling with his wife for almost he choked with emotion narrating that his wife passed away recently and how 2014 was a tough year for him. Responding to my queries, he said hat he earns very little royalty from his books but he gets some complimentary books from publishers which he lovingly distributes among his friends. The occasional meager royalty goes to Chennai Seva Sansthan, a charity.
I quoted Avataar Singh Paash’s Punjabi poem “Sabh tonkhatarnaakhunda hai murda Shanthi naal bhar jaana, ghar to nikalna kaam te, te kaam ton gjar jhana, sabh tonkhatarnaak hunda hai saade supheya dammar jaana” ( It is very dangerous to be filled with corpse lie peace, going daily to work and coming back. It is very dangerous to see your dreams, die before you). As I translated it for him, he was delighted. Pressing my hands, he bowed with respect for the great poem. I could see on his face the universality of the poets’ fraternity. He took my address for sending me selected works and blessed me and my wife with a parting Namaskar and giving me a copy of paper that he was going to present and a poem on world peace he was to recite there.
I owed him and “God’s own country” some precious and memorable moments.
P.S. The article is about Shri N. V. Subbbaraman, Retired Dy. ZM, LIC, Chennai who retired in the year 2001.
Hari Krishan Chaudhary
Secretary (Office of the Insurance Ombudsman)
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