Giving it gracefully

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE

Dr D V Gundappa, the renowned poet and philosopher, popularly known as DVG, used to be a frequent visitor to our house being a good friend of my father. As a boy of about 6 years I used to watch him entering our gate with his jubba pocket bulging with packets of spiced ground nuts, which he almost continuously popped into his mouth. Seeing my greedy look, he would put both his hands into his pockets. Bringing out his closed fists, he would tell me that the nuts were in one of the hands and if I spotted it right, they would be mine. To my great joy, I would always touch the correct hand containing the nuts, which he would then hand over to me beaming an avuncular smile.

When I proudly mentioned my ingenious acumen to my father, he smilingly revealed the secret: the great man took out the nuts in both the hands to ensure that I was never disappointed!  

Several years later I had the good fortune of attending many of his thought-provoking lectures at Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs, a forum for intellectual public interaction, founded by DVG himself in Basavanagudi, Bengaluru. By then his immortal masterpiece Manku Thimmana Kagga had captured universal acceptance as a literary beacon illuminating the true and profound philosophical essence of life. Once decided, DVG believed in ‘giving gracefully’ with no second thought whatsoever, and this particular aspect often dominated his discourses. DVG lived true to this spectrum of philosophy he advocated.

A few years before he was conferred Padmabhushan, he was honoured by the State government for his invaluable services to Kannada literature, which carried a purse of one lakh rupees - a considerable sum those days. DVG donated the whole amount to Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs, despite the fact that he himself was not so affluent at that time.

This brings to my mind a singularly touching incident which I came across during my service in Madhya Pradesh that is indelibly etched in my mind to this day:  An accountant, working for a big company belonging to an affluent businessman of my acquaintance, had fixed the wedding of his only daughter for which he sought financial help by way of a fairly big advance which, in fact, was a pittance for the latter. The arrogant boss thoughtlessly refused, notwithstanding the long and dedicated service rendered by the accountant. Disgusted with the attitude of his employer the accountant left the job. Realising his mistake later the businessman personally contacted the accountant with the money.

Alas! It was too late! The wedding had been called off for want of funds and the young bride-to-be lost her mental balance, unable to bear the trauma of her parents! A simple act of whole-hearted timely help would have made a world of difference in their lives!

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