After completing my examination successfully I had to stay back in Narve for some more days to attend the annual school day celebrations. It was really a great occasion for me as I had not seen so far any events of this magnitude. The headmaster was a great organizer. All sorts of events including sports, drama, singing and dancing were held. The celebrations culminated on the annual day when a very big function was organized. Prizes were distributed to the winners. I really enjoyed the dance and the chorus singing by the girl students. A Kannada drama ‘Aliya Devaru’ (Son-in law, the God) written by the famous Dasharathi Dixith was enacted by the students in which some teachers including the headmaster played roles. On the whole I enjoyed these events immensely.
During this period I came to know most of the students of the school. On one occasion I found an argument going on between two students. I was told that I was the subject of argument. There was a student named Sastry who was absent during the examination as he was unwell. He always stood first in class. In his absence I had come from nowhere and snatched his first position! The question was whether I could have secured first position in his presence. That definitely was a matter of argument, even though very much hypothetical at that stage!
This issue became a ‘kabab me haddi’ for me! I did not like anybody questioning my ability at all. Even though I did not continue my studies at Narve I later came to know that Sastry was promoted to 6th standard by appearing for a supplementary examination. I had mentally made up my mind that I should prove my superiority to him. Years later I secured 4th rank in my pre-university examination. Sastry’s name was nowhere in the rank list! I wanted to find out that student who questioned my ability and ask him how he felt! At least the issue had been settled as far as I was concerned!
I returned to my village after these events almost triumphantly! It was as if I had conquered the Narve town. That was the type of treatment given to me by the Narve school teachers and students in general. Besides, Visweswaraiah and his family wanted me to stay with them and continue my studies. It became a delicate matter for my family to refuse his generous offer. The fact was - my eldest sister and brother-in-law had told my brother that I may stay with them to continue my studies. Visweswaraiah’s being a large family I could have been a burden on them. All said and done, I always thought my sister’s house as a safe haven for me! That was the type of attraction I had on that place. In addition to the protective umbrella of my sister there was some hidden bonus! Unlike in my place there was very little routine work to be carried out on daily basis at home!
During the summer holidays I had an occasion to visit my sister’s house with my mother. This was almost like a pre-visit to the place for assessment! The occasion was the ‘upanayanam’ of Aswathha (banyan) tree by my brother-in-law. This tree had been planted by my brother-in–law himself. It was near the village temple and had grown up to a stage where it was required to have its upanayanam. On my previous visit, my sister was living in a joint family. But now there was family partition and they were living in a new house of their own by the side of the original house.
Two of the younger brothers were living in the original house. Two of the other brothers had moved to new houses built for them.
The function was held in all its grandeur. Actually the upanayanam of any boy could not have been held better! By that time, my coming to that place for further education had already been announced. Simultaneously another boy by name Vishnumurthy, son of one of the sisters of my brother-in-law was also expected to come and stay in the original house for education. He had completed his 6th standard and was one year senior to me. I met him on this occasion. We were to be associated for long in our educational career. With the preliminary visit over we returned to our village.
By the end of May I had to visit Narve to collect my transfer certificate and marks card. The headmaster was quite unhappy to see me going to a different school. He said he was disappointed. I also found it difficult to say goodbye to my teacher’s family. Within such a short time they had become so close to me. But that was it. I just remained indebted to them for life for the affection shown to me. My brother invited Visweswaraiah to my house. I was asked to touch his feet and hand over an envelop containing a few currency notes. That was my Guru Dakshina to him. That was the end of my association with one of my greatest teachers.
More than four decades later I was working as a Senior Manager in Canara Bank. I was transferred to Jayalakshmipuram branch in
city. One of my close relatives was a practicing advocate there. One day I was
on a visit to his house. He was having a close relative’s daughter staying with
him for studies. The girl came home from her tuition classes. I was told that the
tuition classes were being conducted by a person whose father was a retired
teacher in Narve. I immediately asked him to find out the name of the retired
teacher. Believe it or not! Two days later he came back to me to inform that he
was none other than Visweswaraiah!
I rushed to the house of the tuition teacher which was very close to my residence. His name was Dinesh. He was the second son of my teacher. He was surprised to see my excitement. He was a postgraduate and was running his tutorials very profitably. The students were chosen carefully and seats were always in high demand. I left instructions with him to inform me when my teacher visited the place.
Hardly within two months, Dinesh sent me a message that his father had arrived. I went to his house accompanied by my wife. It was a great sentimental moment for me! My teacher remembered everything about me. His wife could not believe me when I told her the gratitude I owed to my teacher. I invited the couple to my house. They came very happily and graciously accepted our expression of gratitude. That was one of the most gratifying moments in my life.
--- (To be continued) ------