Alive for perpetuity

Alive for perpetuity

In their death, writers of his stature, go not to the world of dead but to the world of eternal living, so they ‘live on’, here and here after.

There was no trace of the fear of death, no anxiety of the various medical procedures he was going through – he looked like a sage - a ‘rishi’ who is not scared of the inevitable, who does not deny that death is the final destiny of human life. He was so full of beans, talking and sharing his views on many literary aspects – with that lively twinkle sparkling in his eyes.

My mind flew back to that day a few years ago, when he came to inaugurate a translation workshop organised by the Sahitya Akademi and I, as a writer still young and raw in my skills, was waiting  with a sense of awe and respect to see this genius of a writer, the Jnanapith awardee U.R. Ananthmurthy. After our three day workshop, I met him and asked for an autograph, and he, in an indulgent manner wrote, “Would like to know more about you as a writer – shall meet sometime!” I cherished that moment very safely in my heart. 

Though I did see him on a few occasions after that meeting, I did not have a one on one conversation with him – till that day when a wonderful lady friend, a poet-musician and an ex pro-vice chancellor of a renowned university and I visited him at his home to spend a memorable evening. When I presented him with my books, he took one of an English translation of a saint-poet’s work and said, “The translator’s art is a delicate one and is a very important one.

 Only by translating our regional literatures into English, we can give world readers insights into our cultural richness. The translation activity must receive encouragement and tangible recognition. I am very happy you are doing that kind of work!” and he put his hand on my head and blessed me. The feeling of exultation I felt then was inexplicable and unfathomable.

I took out my autograph book and showed him what he had written a few  years back. He took out a pen smilingly and wrote, “Glad you came back to meet me.” I was overwhelmed. I was more than glad and more than blessed to have met this genius of a writer, who did not show that evening any signs of going away from this world in less than a month. My eyes fill to the brim on that very thought…but I am sure he had a peaceful home-going!

‘Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart, said William Wordsworth to the writer fraternity! Yes, when one can hear the breathings of the writer, is the writer ever dead? That is why it is said, ‘great writers live twice’…once mortally and once immortally.