ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)

- Memoir - The Upstairs Teacher -

[Devangi T. Chandrashekar]

Sun had risen to the mid sky like bile rising up to the head. The afternoon sky was singing aridity. Our car stopped. We had reached Kuvempu's dearest village, Kuppali. We parked the car at the Kaki Mane and walked along the bund of rice field. The exuberance, ploom, and lordliness of a woman who has come to her parents were playing over Kuvempu's face. Sparks of humour exuded amidst our talks. The one joke I cracked failed to explode and died. Kuvempu showed me the way, "You see that is the mistake. You have to serve the humour right as it appears. The art of breaking the nut and enjoying the kernel belongs to the discerning person. One who narrates it should not try to crack it and spoil the taste. If you spread out each string of it, it will be like a fabric that has lost its texture. Instead it should be like an unbroken pearl."

You might be amazed: can a hand that wrote great books could pull the oar of the canoe of humour! Yes! Light humour spills out from his speech. You sit with him and talk; he fills you hunger with joviality.

We reached home continuing our talks.

It was already the time for dinner. We were invited. All of us dined together and reached the balcony to rest for a while. Puttappa was relaxing and observing the forest that seemed to have converged over the house. He brought us the sweet memories of the days he had spent there happily. He said, 'Look. It was here that the Ayya taught us Aa, Aaa, yi,yee. Do you think learning during those days was as easy as what it is today? He used to hold our finger and teach writing by moving it in sand spread over the floor.' He was describing the school that was run in the upstairs. The discussion went on like this and reached the roof. Pointing to an opening there he said, "See, that was the route we found out to steal. When we sat here to read, finding a moment no one was at home, we used to creep in, steal copra, jaggery, and fried bengal gram and devour them. Many times, besides the eatables, we have eaten lashes too."

He drenched us in laughter.

When the talks reached the subject of hunting, Puttappa pointed to the areca garden that was visible from the balcony and said, "I still remember. Once we were sitting here talking. From that corner of the garden a hollering sound came. It appeared the sound shook the entire forest. Our hair stood up. A battle between a boar and a tiger! Once a roar, once a hroom, another roar and another hroom. There wouldn't have been a dearth for the valour of two warriors like Karna and Arjuna. At last the hrooms stopped. It still rings in my ears."

He created a picture before our eyes.

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