with Rao sir and Nandu master
Rao sir inadvertently wanted to live his dreams through me and actually considered me to be like his son. I however, did not in those days fully comprehend the intensity of his desire to make me a good mridangist. Though I loved playing, I somehow knew that I was not cut out to take it up as a profession. I left home after twelfth and adopted a profession that kept me away from classical music. It was only when I went home on leave that I saw him and could always spot a strange sadness whenever our eyes met.
I was on leave a couple of years back when the news of his being at the hospital reached me. He was asleep when we entered the ward ... a frail reflection of his real self. We were told that he was not in a position to recognise or communicate with people. A peculiar emotion .. a mixture of grief and guilt came over me ..... and I mentally requested for forgiveness ... for not being the person he wanted me to be. I almost got instant deliverance as he slowly opened his eyes, gave a weak smile and raised his hand as if to bless. He passed away in a few days.
African Safari III follows ......