Friday, May 31, 2013

My Days West - Episode-20

Mahim was another branch that gave me the maximum operational comfort. Mahim station on the Western Railway is the third station from Santacruz after Khar and Bandra. The Western Railway used to run trains with a frequency of 3-5 minutes on two different tracks during peak hours even in those days!

The Senior Manager at the branch was totally surprised to see me for the second time in his branch. He was none other than the most ‘peculiar and innovative’ Manager I had ever met in my inspection career! He was the Manager I had met earlier at the legendary city of Ujjain. It appears that the bank had recognized his innovations (!) and had posted him back to Bombay with promotion. He exclaimed on seeing me, ‘oh! You are after me even in Bombay!’ I was getting myself prepared to witness more of his innovations. But I found, in due course, that unlike a comparatively newly opened distant branch like Ujjain, the Bombay city branches would not allow innovations simply because well-set procedures and practices were already in place. The first and foremost change I witnessed as compared to Ujjain was – the Manager was sitting in his cabin!

Once I completed the initial formalities of inspection, the Manager invited me to his cabin. He asked me to tell him what type of confidential report Selvaraj and I had given about his performance in Ujjain to our Department! As per him the CMD of the bank came on a special visit to the branch shortly after we had submitted our report! The CMD is said to have called for the inspection report and gone through it in the branch. The Manager had presumed that the visit had its roots in our nasty confidential report about his performance!

I told the Manager that the confidential report was prepared by Selvaraj and I was not aware of its contents. However, I told him that there could not have been any such serious and damaging observations to invite the visit of the topmost executive of the bank. I was aware that Khajuraho in MP had an airport even in those days. Many top executives used to visit the world-famous temples there in the guise of visiting the nearby MP branches including Ujjain - in the official capacity. The CMD’s visit could have been under similar circumstances. But the Manager had interpreted it otherwise as he was not happy with our observations, particularly mine.

As far as Mahim branch was concerned, I could not find any major irregularities in view of the ‘risk-free approach’ adopted by the Manager. The bank’s advances portfolio was totally in the safe hands of the innovative (risk) Manager! One of the innovative practices adopted was in the matter of noting down the sanctioned limits of the borrowers in the concerned ledger folios (master sheets). During my review of overdraft/cash credit accounts of the borrowers in the relevant ledgers, I found that in quite a good number of cases the credit limits noted were 25-30 percent less than the actuals. I could also observe that the liabilities exceeding such reduced limits were being recorded in the ‘discretionary register’ as overdrawings under the authentication of the Manager. On enquiry with the officer in-charge, I was told that the limits were noted as per the instructions of the Manager. The credit files and the loan papers were in the exclusive possession of the Manager and the officer was not privy to the actual details.

When I went to the Manager to discuss the issue, he immediately requested me not to disclose the actual limits to the officer. He had devised a wonderful strategy to keep the borrowers under check, by keeping them and the officer concerned in the dark about the actual limits sanctioned. To illustrate - he would get a sanction for a limit of Rs5 lakh to the party, but tell him that the limit is for Rs3 lakh only. The same limit is also noted in the ledger. He would also assure him that he would allow him overdrawings to meet his urgent needs as a special case. All drawings above Rs3 lakh are treated as overdrawings! The client would feel that the Manager is obliging him by allowing huge overdrawings at his request! But in reality he was operating well within his limits! I asked the Manager whether the party would not come to know the actual limit while signing the loan papers. The Manager simply smiled at me and told me that the question did not arise as the papers were invariably signed blank and filled up only later! I was simply flabbergasted!

In my role as an inspecting officer, I was expected to comment on:
  1. Judicial use of discretionary powers (emergency powers)
  2. Proper recording of such cases in the discretionary register and
  3. Proper recording/noting of the sanctioned limits in the master sheets of the ledger
In view of the innovative system adopted by the Manager as mentioned above, I had a tough time in deciding my comments. I leave it to the imagination of the readers as to the nature of comments ultimately made by me in my report!

At the end of the branch inspection, the Manager gave me a certificate (oral) that I had ‘matured’ as an inspecting officer and that I was very ‘raw’ when I visited Ujjain branch!  Years later, the Manager ended up in the inspection follow up section at Bangalore Circle office. I was posted as Manager, Corporate Cell, Cantonment branch. He was never sent for field inspection and retired at the Circle Office itself. I consider him as the most interesting (character) Manager I ever came across!
------o----- --o--- -----o------o-------0-----0------0------0-------0------

B G Rao (BGR), my mentor at the Shimoga main branch, was posted to the Tamarind Lane branch in Bombay as Manager on promotion. He was allotted quarters in Mahim. I had continuously maintained my contacts with him by visiting him whenever I was in Bangalore. Our (family) association was revived again at Bombay.

I got the opportunity to inspect the Tamarind Lane branch during the year 1981. Our team was led by Vaitheeswaran, who had been just promoted as Manager. Vaitheeswaran was a very senior officer in Bombay inspection and was closely associated with Selvaraj. While he was knowledgeable and very friendly, he had the problem of getting stuck in his work-area. He started with cash credit accounts and was totally stuck there till we completed all other departments. His problem was he would engage in talking to his colleagues and branch staff during a major part of working hours!

Tamarind Lane branch had been actually carved out of the Fort branch as the business there had grown unwieldy. It was located at a walkable distance from the Fort branch near the famous Bombay House of the Tata Group . The branch had a good number of corporate accounts including that of L & T. The branch was handling all the public issues of various companies. BGR was assigned the job of handling this portfolio exclusively. He had a reputation for cleaning up the stables and setting up a well-organised structure wherever he went. He had done it in Shimoga main branch and Currency and Government Accounts section at Head Office earlier. That was exactly what he did in Tamarind Lane also. In his own typical methodical way he streamlined the entire set up.

An interesting incident took place when I was inspecting this branch. One day I saw a middle-aged man standing in front of the counter and staring at me. He was enquiring with the counter staff about me. The staff in turn told me that the gentleman wanted to talk to me. I went out and met him there. He mentioned my name and asked me whether I was from Bangalore. I confirmed my name and told him that my brothers were in Bangalore. The conversation continued as below:
Mr.X: I am related to your elder brother from his wife’s side.
Me: In what way?
Mr.X: I am related to her brother-in-law. I am settled in Hyderabad.
Me: You are related to Mr.Narasimhamurthy?
Mr.X: Exactly. He is my cousin. I visited Bangalore recently. We had a nice time and visited your brother at his residence in……….
Me: Chamrajpet?
Mr.X: Exactly.

At this point I took the person to a hotel near the branch and ordered tiffin for him. He told me that my brother had asked him to meet me whenever he was in Bombay. That’s why he had come to the branch to meet me. When we were coming out of the hotel, he suddenly told me that he was making some purchases for his sister’s marriage and was short of money for the purpose. He requested me to help him out!

The sudden request made me doubt the genuineness of the person. I just recalled the entire conversation right from the time I saw him at the branch. I could realize that the man was taking me for a ride! I told him ‘good bye’ and came back to the branch. Later I came to know that some of my colleagues also had similar experiences.

At the time of commencement of our inspection, Umesh Bhandari was the DM of the branch. He was transferred within a few days and Vishnu Prabhu from Byculla branch was posted as AGM. There was some time gap by the time he reported. In the intervening period I was asked to sit in the DM’s cabin for want of space in the branch.

One particular day a middle-aged man barged into the cabin and started firing me left and right! I could make out that he had taken me to be the head of the branch, which I was not! The cabin was at the entrance of the branch itself. I tried to explain to him that I was not the head of the branch and I was only inspecting the branch sitting in the ‘wrong’ place and that he was choosing a wrong target! But the person was not prepared to hear me. He was about to manhandle me, by which time the branch staff including BGR rushed to the cabin and saved me from physical assault!

Before anybody could make out what was the issue with the eccentric fellow, the police came in search of the person! It appears that the person had already created a similar scene in another bank branch in the locality. A police complaint had already been lodged against him and they almost caught him red-handed! The experience was quite unnerving for me.

The branch had a Manager by name Venkat (Venkatachala), who was in charge of establishment and staff matters. I knew Venkat right from his days as an officer at the A R Street branch. Venkat was a jolly man and was a fit person to handle public relations matters. His speciality was he did not know much about banking procedures and systems! As far as advances matters were concerned, they were just Greek and Latin for him! Of course Venkat never bothered about these minor issues! He just carried on with his typical friendly mannerisms and got his promotions through his public relations expertise. One of the portfolios assigned to him in A R Street was arranging Sumeet Mixies to the bank staff!

Venkat was under the impression that he was a stockmarket expert. He would invariably recommend certain scrips to those interested in share market without their specific request. I had heard him giving such unsolicited advices to several employees. I was very curious to know whether any of them actually acted upon his advice and made some money.

Tamarind Lane branch was located at a walkable distance from the Bombay Stock Exchange building and many of the staff members were experts in stock trading. The branch had a concurrent auditor by name Srinivasan. Srinivasan was a Chartered Accountant and a very senior person in our department. He carried much respect from all of us. One day I saw him hearing Venkat patiently with all the seriousness. I could make out that Venkat was recommending certain scrips to him as usual. Later I asked Srinivasan whether he really thought that the advice was worthwhile and he acted on it anytime so far and made some money. He smiled at me and told me that he indeed made money. Before I could express my surprise, he asked me to hear him in full. He explained to me that he was buying all the shares, which Venkat advised him to sell and was selling those shares, which Venkat wanted him to buy! He had observed that the market invariably moved against the advice of Venkat!

Being in-charge of staff matters, Venkat had to maintain the leave records of the employees. The branch had one particular employee who was in the habit of applying for frequent leave (mostly for one or two days). He had exhausted all the categories of leave other than casual leave (CL) to his credit and naturally he was expected to suffer loss of pay. But his colleagues were surprised to find him not exhausting his casual leave balance even after availing it for more than 15 days, even though the CL was available only for 12 days in a calendar year! The mystery was solved one fine day when one of the employees who had not at all availed the CL, checked the balance CL to his credit. He found that Venkat had already debited his account on more than five occasions! He was furious and asked Venkat to credit back his account immediately. Venkat was in a dilemma as he did not know how to reverse the entries as the other employee had fully exhausted his balance! Somebody advised him to allow overdrawings in the account and seek approval from the staff section!

Years later Venkat ended up at Cancard Division in Bangalore. I was working as Senior Manager in Trinity Circle, M G Road and had occasions to meet him. Venkat was in-charge of recovery and there was no necessity for him to handle any normal banking activities. That suited him well and he retired peacefully in the same Division. In my opinion Venkat was a typical example of how one could survive in a bank without bothering much about ‘banking procedures, systems and practices’.
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
9th October 2009

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Days West - Episode-19

There were major changes in our Bombay inspection department over a period of time. I had developed excellent relations with my Manager Mr. S Kamath. He was later transferred to Santacruz East branch and then to Staff section in Bombay Circle office on promotion as Senior Manager. We continued to have regards for each other and kept in touch. Kamath was later posted to Bangalore as Divisional Manager to head the BSRB in the late nineties and I used to meet him at times. He hailed from a well-off family and his only brother was the chief engineer at the Mangalore Port. As a result Kamath was sitting on a pile of L&T shares! While none of us knew the exact number of shares he held, we knew it was in the denomination of thousands! I am referring to the year 1979. Kamath had a beautiful two-room flat at the posh Bangurnagar in Goregaon West where he used to entertain us with parties on occasions. Well! Kamath had a class of his own! His personality remains distinct in my memory after all these years. I feel privileged to look back!

We were placed under a new Manager, by name Polekar, a local Maharashtrian with typical handsome cricketer’s looks. We found him to be an excellent Manager, who gave full freedom to the deserving. He was a no-nonsense thorough professional with excellent credit knowledge having worked in the Divisional Office. Polekar lived with his parents in their flat in Dadar, an area dominated by the middle-class Maharashtrian families. He was very particular in selecting the best things in every field of life whether official or personal. He had purchased a two-room flat at posh Versova in Andheri by availing the bank housing loan. He was very particular and went only for a Raheja-constructed flat, which was beyond the average middle-class of those days. He maintained it in excellent conditions without letting it out even though he never occupied it till I left Bombay.

A R Street was one branch, which I visited three times for regular inspection. I had earlier referred to the stalwart Manager K R Nayak in my first visit. His services were sought by the Trivandrum circle and he left the branch almost immediately after my first inspection. As a strongman he had handled the branch with total control and authority. But his successor was a weak personality and as it happens very often, a situation of vacuum follows after the exit of a strong personality. Suddenly the branch became very notorious for the staff indiscipline. In fact the situation became quite unbearable. The branch’s position became a matter of discussion in all the branches of our bank in Bombay.

The tougher situations do need the tougher personalities and so it was in this case. A gentleman called R D Pai was identified by the management and posted to the branch as the Senior Manager. He had earlier headed a smaller branch of no consequence. As such, many in the bank had reservations about his capacity to handle such an onerous situation. The management also strengthened his hand by adding one more Pai to him! He was Mr. H L Pai, a second-line Manager of the daredevil category!  The pair dealt with the situation with an iron hand. Believe it or not! The two together brought the house in order within a period of just two months! When I visited the branch for the second time, the dust had completely settled down. The situation was like a post-war scenario with the vanquished licking their wounds!

The branch had now earned the name as ‘Sumeet Mixie branch’! It had the account of Power Control and Appliances Pvt Ltd as one of its clients, which had become a household name for the manufacture of mixers and grinders under the brand name Sumeet. The possession of a Sumeet Mixie was very prestigious for the Bombay middleclass of those days. The official price was around Rs800. The company was offering a major discount of Rs100 to our bank employees strictly on a quota basis. The quota had been fixed at one Mixie per week at that time. H L Pai was the designated Manager for the purpose of arranging the delivery.

As far as our bank quarters, Vaseem Villa, was concerned, ours was the first family to possess this prestigious item. Our building had 12 bank quarters and three private flats including the flat of the landlady. One of the private flats had been occupied by the family of a Gujarati business man by name Shah. I managed to get one Mixie with the help of H L Pai at the royal discount of Rs100 (a very good amount in those day standards).

The news of the arrival of the prestigious item in our flat spread fast. We had visitors from all the flats and we were pleased to exhibit our valued possession along with the offer of sweets. My beloved wife put it to full use. The preparation of masalas, dosas and idlis became a simple affair as compared to the earlier usage of traditional burdensome ‘grinding’ stone. The things became quite comfortable and we maintained our valued possession with all the care it needed.

One fine morning the Shah-family came calling on us. After the normal courtesies, they told us that they had planned a party on the next Sunday. We were told that they were inviting all the families in the building. We expressed our happiness and assured them our attendance. We were then told that it was a vada party! Before we could realize the implication of the vada party, the family requested us to spare our Mixie for the purpose.

Our faces suddenly turned pale on hearing this unexpected request. We were quite aware that the Mixie had been designed only for the limited household use. Its motor could not withstand the load if it is used continuously for mass production (of vadas in this case). But we also found it too rude to refuse. We simply nodded our heads. The family, before leaving, told us that they were in fact celebrating the arrival of Mixie in our flat with their vada party!

We were really in a dilemma. We could neither reject the request to spare our Mixie for entertaining the entire building nor could we afford to allow our valuable possession get damaged by over-usage. That night I had a strange dream. I saw a young kid appearing in front of me all of a sudden. The kid was weeping inconsolably. We had the following dialogue:
Me: What is your name my dear? What makes you weep like this?
Kid: My name is Sumeet! My owner is responsible for my misery.
Me: Who is your owner? What is wrong with him?
Kid: You should know. Because you are my owner!
Me: Ha-ha! I can understand now!
Kid: You know they are making my ‘vada’ party!
Me: It is not your ‘vada’ party!
Kid: What else? They are performing my last rites by making vadas on a mass scale!
Me: I am helpless. What do you expect me to do?
Kid: You find some excuse and save me from the early death!
Me: I shall try.
(I woke up at this stage and started thinking about the possible excuses)

By the end of next day we chalked out a valid excuse. We told the Shahs that there was a party at my co-brother’s flat in Thane on the next Sunday. We requested them to excuse our absence. The family felt sorry for our absence with much disappointment. We thought, with the excuse, we had saved our valuable Mixie.

But we were totally wrong. The Shahs got back to us on the next day. They told us that they would not like to continue with the party in our absence. Hence they had postponed the same to the following Sunday!
We were at our wits end. We had foolishly thought that the family would go for some other arrangement. Our plan had failed miserably.

To cut the whole story short, the vada party went on very well with the use of our beloved Mixie. We ensured that the Mixie was not used continuously and the party was conducted in groups with a break in between. The Mixie gave us more than 20 years of unbroken service! The kid had no occasion to appear in my dream again!
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
22nd September 2009

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Don’t Know, Son! -64

Phani Patni Aur Woh!
Son: The legendary Bollywood film producer/director B R Chopra had directed a comic movie called Pati Patni Aur Woh in 1978, dad.
Father: True, go on son.
Son: The movie was about the extra-marital affairs of a person who finds it difficult to handle his wife (Patni) who comes to know about his affairs with his Secretary (Woh) in the office, dad.
Father: True. Go on, son.
Son: Now here is the case of IT industry veteran Phaneesh Murthy, who has been sacked from the post of CEO at iGate Corporation of US, dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: Phaneesh (Phani) had earned a good name in merging Patni Computers with iGate without any hiccups, dad.
Father: True. Go on, son.
Son: But he failed miserably in convincing the company’s board about his non-reporting of an affair with a subordinate employee (Woh), dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: The management mercilessly sacked him from the post of CEO citing a claim of harassment from Woh, dad!
Father: Go on, son.
Son: It is the second time that Phani is getting dismissed because of an affair with Woh, dad. He had earlier been sacked from Infosys for the same reason, dad.
Father: True. Go on, son.
Son: It is a different Woh this time and for Phani it is a repetition of the history, dad!
Father: I don’t know, son!
Vindoo the BIGG Boss Winner in a Big Fix Deal!
Son: The Mumbai Police has arrested Vindoo Dara Singh in connection with the IPL match fixing scandal, dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: Vindoo is said to have admitted having some links with bookies and having acted as a go-between them and some IPL players, dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: It is good that his father legendary wrestler Dara Singh is not there to see the Big-Fix deals of his son, dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: The legendary Big Man had won several wrestling matches bringing laurels to the country and making small money in the process, dad.
Father: True. Go on, son.
Son: But he never knew there was Big Money to be earned even if you lose, if you succumb to match-fixing, dad!
Father: I don’t know, son!
The Lotus Eaters of Karnataka!
Son: The new Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah (Siddhu) has announced several welfare measures for the under-privileged, dad.
Father: True. Go on, Son.
Son: The measures include writing off of loans, rice at Re1 per kg, etc., dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: The CM is also thinking of keeping the poor on a high, by offering them cheap liquor, dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: At this rate, the farmers are afraid that they may not get any farm labourers (particularly males) for the agricultural operations, dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: They apprehend that with their loans being written off and rice available at Re1 per kg, the male farm labourers would prefer to be on a high always with the incentive of cheap liquor, dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: The poor females in the family will be left cursing the CM for making their life miserable by making their husbands the Lotus Eaters, dad!
Father: I don’t know, son!
Another Revenue Source for IPL!
Son: That the Indian Premier League (IPL) is a cash cow for BCCI is an undisputed matter, dad.
Father: True. Go on, son.
Son: The IPL management is always on the lookout for additional source of income, dad.
Father: True. Go on, son.
Son: It has now found out a new source of income, dad.
Father: Like what? Go on, son.
Son: The current match fixation scandal has become a major news item for all the prime news channels, dad.
Father: True. Go on, son.
Son: The channels are going whole hog on the scandal with many of them doing their own investigations and arriving at their own conclusions, dad.
Father: Go on, son.
Son: It is even said that the viewership of these channels has shot up and sometimes is more than the IPL matches broadcast by Sony Set Max, dad!
Father: Interesting. Go on, son.
Son: Now BCCI is said to be thinking of serving a notice on these channels asking them to pay up as these news items are a bi-product of IPL matches, dad!
Father: Interesting. Go on, son.
Son: In fact BCCI is said to be looking at making such scandals a part of their programme and seek additional fee while selecting the broadcasting channels in future, dad!
Father: I don’t know, son!
A V Krishnamurthy
23rd May 2013

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The School Textbooks of Our Times -Episode No. 3

While writing on our textbooks, I will be failing in my mission if I do not mention about the two great poems in Kannada written by the illustrious English Professor B M Srikantaiah (B M Shri). The poems are - Kaari Heggadeya Magalu (ಕಾರಿ ಹೆಗ್ಗಡೆಯ ಮಗಳು)  and Karunaalu Baa Belake (ಕರುಣಾಳು ಬಾ ಬೆಳಕೆ). The two poems were actually Kannada versions of Lord Ullin’s Daughter and Lead Kindly Light respectively and were part of B M Shri’s English Geethegalu. The former poem was written by Thomas Campbell and the latter by Newman.

While Kaari Heggadeya Magalu was a part of our 6th Standard textbook, Karunaalu Baa Belake was a part of our elder sister’s fourth Standard book. As children we were so attracted by the two poems that we had by-hearted them and used to sing them as lullabies while cradling our younger brothers and our sisters’ children.
B M Shree (1884-1946) was also called ‘Kannadada Kanva’ for his guardianship of Kannada literature. Hats off to his erudition and poetic skills, the poems look more original than the originals! I am furnishing below both the original English versions and the Kannada versions to enable the readers to appreciate the literary skills of B M Shree. In fact English Geethegalu inspired several budding poets, laying the foundation of a new pattern of lyrical poetry in Kannada. B M Shree experimented with new forms of meter and diction. As an English Professor, he inspired Kuvempu and G P Rajarathnam to write in Kannada.  The poem Karunaalu Baa Belake is indeed so popular even today that a Kannada Bhavageethe programme will be incomplete without the singing of this poem.
Kaari Heggadeya Magalu was one poem that had such a lasting impression on us that even today we are able to appreciate the dilemma faced by the daughter of Kaari Heggade when she was parting with her beloved father for the sake of her lover. The poem was accompanied by a picture wherein the daughter stretches her one hand for her father, while the other was held around her lover with the strong winds and waves pushing the boat away.
That the poem was so appreciated by the students of those days could be seen by the following comments made by one reader when the original English title was published in a blog recently:
“I  had read Kaari Heggadeya Magalu in school without appreciating that it

was a translation as did most of my friends. It is one of the best possible
translations I have ever read from any language to any language. It is
highly lyrical with a galloping rhythm: I was able to recite the entire poem
by-heart (Can do it even now, after 40 years).

Although we were taught that it was a translation, I never believed that it
was not the original; but when I read the Campbell's original I was moved
just as much as I did with the translation.

I know that no one who does not know Kannada (or who has not read the
translation) will agree with me (particularly if you loved the English
original): But, it is not my Kannada pride that makes me say this. The
Kannada version is just as good as does the English original.
Thank you for posting it.

Tonse Raju, M.D., D.C.H.
Medical Officer Pregnancy & Perinatology Branch

Center for Developmental Biology and Perinatal Medicine, NICHD/NIH
Karunaalu Baa Belake, even though sung as a Bhavageethe, is actually a prayer (ಪ್ರಾರ್ಥನೆ). It is also religion neutral. The poem takes us to a different world when heard in solitude. The poem has been sung by several artists and many of them are available in YouTube. I have listed below the links to enable the readers to hear the top four of them.
The singers are Ratnamala Prakash, M D Pallavi, B R Chaya and P Megha respectively. All of them have sung the poem so nicely and beautifully that it is difficult to choose the best among them. However, quite surprisingly, all the artists have overlooked the following lines in the poem:
ನನ್ನ ದಾರಿಯ ನಾನೆ ನೋಡಿ ಹಿಡಿದೆನು – ಇನ್ನು
ಕೈ ಹಿಡಿದು ನಡೆಸು ನೀನು
ಮಿರುಗು ಬಣ್ಣಕೆ ಬೆರೆತು, ಭಯ ಮರೆತು ಕೊಬ್ಬಿದೆನು;
ಮೆರೆದಾಯ್ತು; ನೆನೆಯದಿರು ಹಿಂದಿನದೆಲ್ಲ
The reasons for eliminating the above important lines of the poem written by the illustrious poet are hard to appreciate. Moreover, all the singers have also committed a mistake in rendering the part of lyrics as either ಬಲು ದೂರ ನೋಟವನು ಕೇಳನೊಡನೆಯೆ ಸಾಕು/ Pಕೇಳಿದೊಡನೆಯೆ ಸಾಕು ನನಗೊಂದು ಹೆಜ್ಜೆ Instead of ಬಲು ದೂರ ನೋಟವನು ಕೇಳೆನೊಡನೆಯೆ - ಸಾಕು ನನಗೊಂದು ಹೆಜ್ಜೆ. The mistake would become apparent if one reads the original English version, which reads - I do not ask to see The distant scene,- one step is enough for me.

            Lord Ullin’s Daughter
A Chieftain, to the Highlands bound,
       Cries, "Boatman, do not tarry!
 And I'll give thee a silver pound
       To row us o'er the ferry!" --

 "Now, who be ye, would cross Lochgyle,
       This dark and stormy weather?"
 "O, I'm the chief of Ulva's isle,
       And this, Lord Ullin's daughter. --

 "And fast before her father's men
       Three days we've fled together,
 For should he find us in the glen,
       My blood would stain the heather.

 "His horsemen hard behind us ride;
       Should they our steps discover,
 Then who will cheer my bonny bride
       When they have slain her lover?" --

 Out spoke the hardy Highland wight, --
       "I'll go, my chief --I'm ready: --
It is not for your silver bright;
       But for your winsome lady:

 "And by my word the bonny bird
       In danger shall not tarry;
 So, though the waves are raging white,
       I'll row you o'er the ferry." --

 By this the storm grew loud apace,
       The water-wraith was shrieking;
 And in the scowl of heaven each face
       Grew dark as they were speaking.

 But still as wilder blew the wind,
       And as the night grew drearer,
 Adown the glen rode armèd men,
       Their trampling sounded nearer. --

 "O haste thee, haste!" the lady cries,
       "Though tempests round us gather;
 I'll meet the raging of the skies,
       But not an angry father." --

 The boat has left a stormy land,
       A stormy sea before her, --
 When, O! too strong for human hand,
       The tempest gather'd o'er her.

 And still they row'd amidst the roar
       Of waters fast prevailing:
 Lord Ullin reach'd that fatal shore, --
       His wrath was changed to wailing.

 For, sore dismay'd through storm and shade,
       His child he did discover: --
 One lovely hand she stretch'd for aid,
       And one was round her lover.

 "Come back! come back!" he cried in grief
       "Across this stormy water:
 And I'll forgive your Highland chief,
       My daughter! -- O my daughter!"

 'Twas vain: the loud waves lash'd the shore,
       Return or aid preventing:
 The waters wild went o'er his child,
       And he was left lamenting.
ಕಾರಿ ಹೆಗ್ಗಡೆಯ ಮಗಳು

ಪಡುವ ದಿಬ್ಬದ ಗೌಡನೊಬ್ಬನು
ಬಿಡದೆ ತೊರೆಯನ ಕೂಗಿಕೊಂಡನು
ತಡೆಯದೀಗಲೆ ಗಡುವ ಹಾಯಿಸು
ಕೊಡುವೆ ಕೇಳಿದ ಹೊನ್ನನು

ಆರು ನೀವೀ ಕರುಗಿ ಮೊರೆಯುವ
ನೀರ ಕಾಯಲ ಹಾಯುವರು
ಪಡುವ ದಿಬ್ಬದ ಗೌಡ ನಾನೀ
ಮಡದಿ ಕಾರಿಯ ಕುವರಿಯು

ಓಡಿ ಬಂದೆವು ಮೂರು ದಿವಸ
ಜಾಡ ಹಿಡಿದು ಹಿಂದೆ ಬಂದರು
ನಮ್ಮನೀ ಕಣಿವೆಯಲಿ ಕಂಡರೆ
ಚಿಮ್ಮಿ ಹರಿವುದು ನೆತ್ತರು

ಹತ್ತಿ ಕುದುರೆಯ ತರುಬಿ ಬರುವರು
ಮುತ್ತಿ ಕೊಂಡರೆ ನನ್ನ ಕೊಲುವರು
ಘೋರ ದುಃಖದ ನಾರಿಯನು ಬಳಿ
ಕಾರು ನಗಿಸಲು ಬಲ್ಲರು?

ಆಗ ಅಂಜದೆ ತೊರೆಯನೆಂದನು
ಬೇಗ ಜೀಯಾ ಓಡ ತರುವೆನು
ಸುಡಲಿ ಹೊನ್ನು ಬೆಡಗಿ ನಿನ್ನೀ
ಮಡದಿಗೋಸುಗ ಬರುವೆನು

ಆದುದಾಗಲಿ ಮುದ್ದಿನರಗಿಣಿ
ಗಾದ ಗಂಡವ ಕಾದು ಕೊಡುವೆನು
ಕಡಲು ನೊರೆಗಡೆದೆದ್ದು ಕುದಿಯಲಿ
ಗಡುವ ಹಾಯಿಸಿ ಬಿಡುವೆನು

ತೂರು ಗಾಳಿಗೆ ಕಡಲು ಕುದಿಯಿತು
ನೀರ ದೆವ್ವಗಳರಚಿಕೊಂಡವು
ಹೆಪ್ಪು ಮೋಡದ ಹುಬ್ಬು ಗಂಟಿಗೆ
ಕಪ್ಪಗಾದವು ಮುಖಗಳು

ಕೆರಳಿ ಕೆರಳಿ ಗಾಳಿ ಚೆಚ್ಚಿತು
ಇರುಳು ಕತ್ತಲೆ ಕವಿದು ಮುಚ್ಚಿತು
ಕಣಿವೆ ಇಳಿವರ ಕುದುರೆ ಕತ್ತಿಯ
ಖಣಿಖಣಿ ಧ್ವನಿ ಕೇಳಿತು

ಏಳು ಬೇಗೇಳಣ್ಣ ಎಂದಳು
ಹೂಳಿಕೊಳಲಿ ನನ್ನ ಕಡಲು
ಮುಳಿದ ಮುಗಿಲ ತಡೆಯಬಲ್ಲೆ
ಮುಳಿದ ತಂದೆಯ ತಡೆಯೆನು

ಇತ್ತ ಕರೆಮೊರೆ ಹಿಂದಕಾಯಿತು
ಅತ್ತ ತೆರೆಮೊರೆ ಸುತ್ತಿಕೊಂಡಿತು
ಆಳ ಕೈಯಲಿ ತಾಳಬಹುದೇ
ಏಳು ಬೀಳಿನ ಕಡಲದು

ಅಲೆಗಳಬ್ಬರದಲ್ಲಿ ಮೀಟಿ
ಮುಳಗುತಿಹರು ಏಳುತಿಹರು
ಕರೆಗೆ ಬಂದ ಕಾರಿ ಹೆಗ್ಗಡೆ
ಕರಗಿ ಮುಳಿಸು ಅತ್ತನು

ತೊಂಡು ತೆರೆಗಳ ಮುಸುಕಿನಲ್ಲಿ
ಕಂಡು ಮಗಳ ಕರಗಿ ಹೋದ
ಒಂದು ಕೈ ನೀಡಿದಳು ನೆರವಿಗೆ
ಒಂದು ತಬ್ಬಿತು ನಲ್ಲನ

ಮರಳು ಮರಳು ಮಗಳೆ ಎಂದ
ಮೊರೆಯುವ ಕಾಯಲ ಗಂಟಲಿಂದ
ಮರೆತೆ ಒಪ್ಪಿದೆ ನಿನ್ನ ನಲ್ಲನ
ಮರಳು ಕಂದಾ ಎಂದನು

ಮರಳಬಹುದೇ? ಹೋಗಬಹುದೇ?
ಕರೆಯ ತೆರೆಯಪ್ಪಳಿಸಿ ಹೊಯ್ದು
ಹೊರಳಿ ಹೋದವು ಮಗಳ ಮೇಲೆ
ಕೊರಗಿನಲಿ ಅವನುಳಿದನು
                 ------ಬಿ. ಎಂ. Shree

Lead Kindly Light

Lead kindly light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home-
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene,- one step is enough for me

I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that Thou
Shouldst lead me on
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears
Pride ruled my will; remember not past years

So long Thy power hath blest, me sure it still
Will lead me on,
O’er moor and fen o’er crag and torrent till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost a while


ಕರುಣಾಳು ಬಾ ಬೆಳಕೆ ಮುಸುಕಿದೀ ಮಬ್ಬಿನಲಿ,
ಕೈ ಹಿಡಿದು ನಡೆಸೆನ್ನನು.
ಇರುಳು ಕತ್ತಲೆಯ ಗವಿ; ಮನೆ ದೂರ; ಕನಿಕರಿಸಿ,
ಕೈ ಹಿಡಿದು ನಡೆಸೆನ್ನನು.
ಹೇಳಿ ನನ್ನಡಿಯಿಡಿಸು; ಬಲು ದೂರ ನೋಟವನು
ಕೇಳೆನೊಡನೆಯೆ - ಸಾಕು ನನಗೊಂದು ಹೆಜ್ಜೆ

ಮುನ್ನ ಇಂತಿರದಾದೆ; ನಿನ್ನ ಬೇಡದೆ ಹೋದೆ,
ಕೈ ಹಿಡಿದು ನಡೆಸು ಎನುತ.
ನನ್ನ ದಾರಿಯ ನಾನೆ ನೋಡಿ ಹಿಡಿದೆನು – ಇನ್ನು
ಕೈ ಹಿಡಿದು ನಡೆಸು ನೀನು
ಮಿರುಗು ಬಣ್ಣಕೆ ಬೆರೆತು, ಭಯ ಮರೆತು ಕೊಬ್ಬಿದೆನು;
ಮೆರೆದಾಯ್ತು; ನೆನೆಯದಿರು ಹಿಂದಿನದೆಲ್ಲ

ಇಷ್ಟು ದಿನ ಸಲಹಿರುವೆ ಮೂರ್ಖನನು; ಮುಂದೆಯೂ
ಕೈ ಹಿಡಿದು ನಡೆಸದಿಹೆಯಾ?
ಕಷ್ಟದಡವಿಯ ಕಳೆದು ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಹೊಳೆಗಳ ಹಾಯ್ಡು
ಇರುಳನ್ನು ನೂಕದಿಹೆಯಾ?
ಬೆಳಗಾಗ ಹೊಳೆಯದೇ ಹಿಂದೊಮ್ಮೆ ನಾನೊಲಿದು
ಈ ನಡುವೆ ಕಳಕೊಂಡ ದಿವ್ಯ ಮುಖ ನಗುತ?
                                        ---ಬಿ. ಎಂ. Shree
 I would like to dedicate this chapter of my writing to the memory of B M Shree.
--------To be Continued------
A V Krishnamurthy
18th May 2013