How much would you admire a person whom you have never seen before? How much influence will an endearing person, wield over your choices? These are the questions that I encountered over the previous week. It was because of two incidents, unrelated, over the past week

One was  K R Deepak winning an award for his photography and the other was a friend visiting Bheemunipatnam and his clicks there. You might wonder how these things are related and some of you might venture out to take a guess. Your guess might be that the clicks by my friend would have reminded me of K R Deepak. That’s a part of the reason why I am writing this

Nine years ago, on a sunny day, two first-year graduation students went to Bheemunipatnam on a bike after finishing their final exam of the term. On the same day, there was a meeting headed by a politico in the same place. The two students went to the beach and found that it was nothing different from what they saw at the beach near their college. Now that they were tired by the exertions of preparing for the exam and writing it, they wanted to go back to their college and steal a nap or two. It so happened that the guy riding the bike saw a board which said “parlour” (Tiffin centre in Visakhapatnam parlance). He wanted to have a meal there, considering the vast expanse of open space in front of the house. The shaded area in the middle of the vast space further added to his desire. His friend was a willing accomplice. They went in and much to their chagrin found that the board was that of a Parlour that existed 2-3 years ago. The lady of the house, perhaps noticed the hunger writ large on the faces of the students. She offered them the food that remained from cooking a meal for the politico- lodged at the circuit house of the town

What followed was the most delicious meal that the students had in an year’s time. It disappointed them a bit that they made this chance discovery on the last day of their term in the first year. On the other hand, they were happy that they had a place to come back to, in the second year. It is said that a positive experience makes you feel the positive vibes around you. Something similar happened to most of us in our second year of graduation. We started to frequent the place more often. It allowed us to soak in the atmosphere of the route. The sixteen kilometre route offered us a verdant experience. We used to pass by a lot of places of significance. Starting from the Ramanaidu studios (then under construction) we had to pass Thotlakonda – A Buddhist complex, Ramadri – housing a huge Hanuman statue, the view after crossing Ramadri, the hairpin bend near Uppada, Erra matti dibbalu (Red Sand dunes), Vedic School with a lot of flowers (something that took you back in time), Circuit house bungalow, Dutch cemetery, an old fort, Sangam of River Gosthani with the Bay of Bengal, and, finally, one of the oldest churches in the state.

Instead of going to city proper to watch the movies, we used to schedule it around our visits to this place. It was a double treat for us as we could have our choice of food and watch a movie for a paltry charge of 25/-. As our visits increased the lady of the house gave us the option of demanding the dishes we wanted. Her only condition was: We should intimate her the menu we wanted, two hours prior to our arrival at her place

For the first few visits, the man of the house was silent. He wasn’t to be blamed, as any man would have been perturbed by the sight of fifteen-twenty college kids swamping his home. By this time, we graduated to dining in the house, mind you. Slowly but certainly the man warmed up to the kids and started narrating funny stories. On one such visit, he requested a couple of eager kids to come in early. He went into his bedroom and came back clutching a bunch of albums. He started to whip through the photographs with beaming pride. It took us two hours to finish the album and by then, the food was ready. After the sumptuous lunch, the man asked us our opinion on the photographs. He still had the effervescence that he had for the two hours whilst showing the photographs. Perhaps obliged, and with no sense for appreciating good photography, the kids said they were very good. They still had to finish gargling when the man announced that pictures were clicked by his son-in-law. The two kids doubted if he would have had more pride, had he himself clicked the pics. As the visits grew, the old man kept on showing the same albums with the an ever growing sense of pride. We got so acquainted with the photographs that you could wake us in the middle of the night and we could have narrated the order of the pics in all the albums, correctly. There was not a single word about his own daughter. There was not a single word in praise of his son-in-law. He needn’t have. The face said it all

Sometimes, the college kids regaled him with their own stories. Common amongst which was them racing against an open top, blue-coloured Mercedes. The man didn’t pay any attention to these stories after repeated hearings and would take the walk to the bedroom to get the albums

The son-in-law, we gathered from our subsequent visits was K R Deepak, the photographer for The Hindu in Visakhapatnam. My face beams with pride, whenever I see the man’s photograph on the backpage of ‘THE HINDU’. And this, without ever meeting the man

(PIC COURTESY: 1) Buddha and his students- Anupam Behera’s facebook album

                         2) Hanuman statue-  Venkat Yarabati’s Flicker stream

                        3) Erra Matti Dibbalu- The Hindu, probably taken by Mr. K R Deepak himself)

PS: If you are still wondering where Bheemunipatnam is, please watch ‘Ek Duje ke liye’ or ‘Maro Charitra(1978)’

1 comment

  1. wow..u r writting always AMUSES meeeee…
    i guess … me starting my own blog, own community…for sure has influences from u…(days of BBM-i still remember, most memorable days of my lyf)

    and this post – idea was new(fresh-i wud say), its always nice to talk about college lyf and that tooo will be one awsm heaven on earth.
    narration was gud, i wondered@ beginning – wat u talking about, but now i realize, thz how we can admire a person..even ‘vent met..!!!

    ** nice article …!!!


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