Siddu bids tearful adieu to friend

Ramu wanted to see his childhood pal become chief minister
Last Updated 17 May 2013, 20:04 IST

Whenever Siddaramaiah met his childhood friend Ramu, the latter had a ready dialogue, “I will die only after you ascend the coveted post of the State — when you become Chief Minister”.

It indeed turned out to be true, as Ramu passed away exactly four days after Siddarmaiah took oath as chief minister on May 13. On Friday morning, Ramu, 70, passed away at his Manasa Road residence at Ittigegud in Mysore.

Siddaramaiah who was in New Delhi giving a final touch to the list of Cabinet aspirants, called off all his assignments, and rushed to Mysore to pay his last respects to his close friend. He had told the family members to wait for his arrival and that he would definitely be there.

Siddaramaiah, who air dashed to Mysore from Delhi, drove straight to Ramu’s residence. Ramu popularly known as ‘Haalina’  Ramanna for being a milk vendor, had a wish to see his friend ascend the coveted chair of the State. Incidentally, Ramu is also said to have lost his speech following Siddaramaiah’s swearing in, owing to his sagging health.

Siddaramaiah who remained pensive for a while, however couldn’t contain his emotions. In the process of consoling Ramu’s children, he himself broke down. “He wanted to see me as chief minister,” said Siddaramaiah, speaking to media. When Siddaramaiah checked with Ramu’s family whether he (Ramu) had watched the oath taking ceremony, one of Ramu’s sons said, “My father was hooked to TV at a hospital in Bangalore. The moment it ended, he preferred to shift to Mysore.”

Ramu was a native of Kuppegala located a kilometre away from Siddaramanahundi, native place of Siddaramaiah. Though Ramu bid goodbye to his studies early on itself, his friendship with his schoolmate remained intact. Ramu was older to Siddaramaiah by six years. When he shifted to Mysore and ventured into milk business, Siddaramaiah followed his friend to Mysore for higher studies at Yuvaraja’s College, and shared space in a rented room near Subbarayana Kere. It was also Siddaramaiah who selected Ramu’s wife (Shanthamma) for him.

“Anna neeve alvanna nod maduve madsiddu” (Brother it was you who selected me for marriage with Ramu), cried out grieving Shanthamma when Siddaramaiah arrived to pay his respects to the mortal remains of Ramu. Siddaramaiah also performed arati to his friends’ mortal remains, a ritual followed in Hindu religion to worship the body before shifting to the burial ground.

According to Ramu’s family members, his house was a must visit for Siddaramaiah whenever he was in City. He had even met him on the day of filing his nomination papers on April 14. Shanthamma said, “Siddaramaiah never asked for anything special for lunch or dinner. Whenever he came, he asked for available dish to satiate his hunger. His favourite is naati koli saaru (curry made of local chicken), mudde (ragi ball), upp saaru (curry) and majjige (buttermilk).”

After finding that Ramu was yet to recover from the injuries he suffered in a road accident six months ago, Siddaramaiah had arranged for his admission at Rangadorai Memorial Hospital at Basavanagudi in Bangalore. Siddaramaiah’s son Dr Yathindra had in fact adviced his father on admitting Ramu to that hospital. Despite his busy schedule Siddaramaiah was keeping track of his friend’s health. Apart from his wife, Ramu leaves behind three sons; Dr R Satish, Sarvesh and Sudesh and a large number of relatives.

(Published 17 May 2013, 20:04 IST)

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