My Manjhi Story – 10

If a Telugu-speaking guy would talk to me for some time he would identify that my words match with one or the other song they had listened and they are correct… much of my thinking is shaped by a lyricist named Sri “Sirivennela” SeethaRama Sastry, much before he could enter my life… his songs had entered my life. 

My father was a bank manager because of which I got an opportunity to travel to some parts of the country and stayed in Madhya Pradesh for a few years, in instalments; I missed the opportunity of learning my mother tongue but I could talk and understand Telugu as we spoke that at home. 

Tough I managed to pass the subject after we got transferred from Madhya Pradesh to Andhra Pradesh but the desire to learn it started after I joined BHMS, by then I could read with some difficulty and write with lots of mistakes. I started my journey initially as ekalavya, but eventually, I got good training especially my pronunciation, diction and choice of words were corrected.

Days passed so quickly, and my journey crossed words and entered the world of literature… I began to take interest in reading fiction. I started reading classics, novellas, short stories and also experienced the glamour of film writing by studying a few scripts and icing on the cake was sometimes my guru used to take me along with and introduce me to senior writers and actors. 

One such incident happened on a sunny day after a public event where my guru Akella Raghavendra had given his motivational speech, we were at my home for lunch and I was completely exhausted… we both had an interest in common and that was listening to songs written by Sri “Sirivennela”, sometimes he used to explain me the inner hidden treasure in the song and we never used to realize the duration of the conversation. Akella Raghavendra was not just a relative of that lyricist but also fortunate to have him as a guru. 

Knowing that Mr Akella had come my father arrived from his bank by the time we finished our lunch, they were having a good conversation and I was waiting to have a long nap… but life had some other plans and it was a good one. 

While they were having a conversation Mr Akella Got a call and he had to attend a felicitation ceremony of Sri “Sirivennela” at 6 pm… he took permission from my dad and had taken me along with him… I was forcibly taken to that event. 

We were waiting for his arrival at the venue. I was meeting my favourite lyricist and was so excited that my heart was pounding, my mouth turned dry and had no words… finally, he arrived and the venue was silent. 

In no time I was taken inside and was introduced to him… I had no words to talk… but that silence had something to convey… the language of heart and soul needs no words and I was sure that it was a beginning of a new journey. 

All these happened when I failed my first year for the second time while I was considering pursuing writing by quitting medicine, after meeting him I was sure that it was too early for a beginner like me to take that decision. 

In a few months, I had my exams and I was sure that I would be passing them after that, there was no looking back for me… many crave an opportunity to meet him but I was fortunate to spend some time. 

If I go back to the evening of 2ND April 2017… I remember nothing about the conversation we had but I surely remember the words that silence spoke and the way he guided me… as he went through a lot by discontinuing his MBBS. Silence is a great weapon sometimes we just have to be attentive to listen in silence and that happened to me that day… it was a never before ever after the experience. Interestingly his father was also a homoeopathic physician.

Even today my interest in penning lyrics or sketching characters through words had not died… hope one day my heart will acquire the art of expressing in silence through my writing. 

I never shared this incident in this much detail with anyone … the only reason I am sharing now is to support the statement you said ‘When the disciple is ready the guru will appear’, is an old saying, I am an example to show ‘Guru will find his way to his student’ and every guru will live in his disciple in the form of thoughts and ideas… he taught. 

Unfortunately, we recently lost him due to cancer on 30 Nov 2021. 

After his death I feel life was very cruel to me by getting such a noble man into my life (without my permission) and giving the pain of losing… not having him in life was better than loosing.

Hemanth K