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It has been some time since I get time to write as life is moving at a pretty fast pace. For whatever reason, for the last 3 months or so there are so many new people that I am able to meet and interact.

When I sit back and think through, it appears as a great education to meet and interact with people of different backgrounds and experiences. How much one can learn is a question of one’s ability to interact, observe, and assimilate.

That said, the compelling reason that I felt like writing now is to express my feeling of feeling kind of guilt inside which started couple of months back and has only grown bigger by the end of second week of this month.

It started when I first heard the news of loss of Mr. Asirvadham because of ageing, English teacher for us when we were in class IX and X (DLNR ZP High School, Buchi, Nellore Dt, AP). When one of my close friends called me with the news, for a moment, I felt like shrinking. Asirvadham sir, as we used to call him, has been a great source of inspiration for people like me, who have all along studied in Telugu medium and with limited English exposure outside the school, to learn English. There was emphasis on grammar and expression of thought. I remember writing our own essays when we were in our class X, which was unusual at that point in time as one was supposed to learn by heart and was expected to produce exactly the same version in the examinations. Asirvadham sir always encouraged us to write our own versions and taught to think, I would say.

I have realized the impact of what Aasirvadham sir had taught us only when I have moved to Chennai and started working. Though I struggled initially for a month or so because of lack of practice of speaking in English, within a month’s time I felt confident that I am part of the city and the working class. It is a different question that my English is only at acceptable level even now, but my ability to interact using English language has made me grow faster than my peers and gave stability in my career. I strongly believe that it is only because of the foundation laid by Aasirvadham sir. He had definitely contributed to whatever success that I am able to achieve in my life today.

I used to share these thoughts of being grateful to him with my friends and colleagues, and I always wanted to meet him and say THANK YOU, SIR. But, call it as procrastination or taking it easy, I have not done that in spite of my several visits to my native place during the last so many years. Now, with him being no more, I will never be able to tell him that THANK YOU and how much he has contributed to my success. That is when I started feeling guilty.

Few weeks passed after that before I heard news from another close friend of mine that we lost Papakannu Sasidhar Reddy (Nellore, AP) because of prolonged illness, fondly known as Sasi, and Sasanna to all of us. Another rude shock for me and my feeling of guilt that started with Asirvadham sir’s sudden demise has only increased.

Sasanna as we used to call him was full of life. He took life as it came and lived it full. The typical personality that we all love to see – don’t care attitude with a golden heart. He was always there for the needy and used to help people of all strata in whichever way he to the max of his capacity. Despite having very strong political roots within the family, he had never shown that air of arrogance associated with the usual political families and is always a down-to-earth person.

I enjoyed a very close friendship with Sasi and a warm relationship.

After my shift to Chennai, completely, in year 2000, we have only met once or twice and after year 2001, we have never met. His work schedule and my work schedule never really allowed us to meet and spend time together.

I can never forget the help that he extended to me when I was trying to get into corporate world in Chennai during the years 1999/2000. He had arranged an accommodation for me in Chennai during my initial visits in 1999, free of cost, and gave some money to meet my daily expenses for couple of weeks. That moment of help was very critical for me given the circumstances in which I was in at that point in time.

Again – call it fate or whatever – I did not get a chance to say THANKS to him. It was always a “next time, I have to meet and tell him” and that next time had never occurred.

Both these incidents shook me internally and left a scar of pain, which I need to carry with me as long as I live. I know that I cannot do anything on missing an opportunity to express my gratitude and am not able to find the right words to express how I feel.

While there are so many people who helped me to become what I am during my life’s journey, there are individuals who had contributed in those vital moments of life whom I can not forget forever and these two great souls are of those kind of individuals.

I learnt one of the biggest lessons of my life – Never delay saying THANKS to others who have helped us to become better – albeit little late.

I pay homage to, both Asirvadham sir and Sasanna, though this piece of writing.

Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind – Lionel Hampton

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