Literary Shelf

Passion for Penning

Decades ago a Telugu poet of great eminence averred that poetry is a thirst unquenchable. He did not say thirst for writing. We can as well re-phrase the idea as a passion for penning.

The penman under consideration is Voleti Srinivasa Bhanu. Born in 1953 in Parvatipuram the border town between Andhra an Orissa. He got his education in Board High School and went to the nearest college in Bobbili and nearest university in Waltair (Visakhapatnam) and did his M.Com. He gave up his job in the Railways as Senior Traffic Inspector when it was time to get full pension. He took to penning and earnt laurels as a poet, short-story writer and journalist and article wrier for various newspapers.

I would start with Bhanu’s devotional rendering of Saint Kulasekhara Alwar’s (of the twenty scared Alwars) composition Mukundamala. He rendered only sixty-three bits into Telugu and got them illustrated by the famous Baali who drew line drawings comparable to the pictures of eminent Baapu. The original composition is made in devout veneration for Lord Sri Krishna. It s transformed into Telugu bits which seek the blessings of Mukunda. Maala is the garland on the Lord’s chest. Only eleven parts of Bhanu’s rendering are translated into English here.

Worshipping the wielder of the wheel, Lord Murari, the slayer of the demon Mura, and begged him to save us. No worry any longer, no fear of sin, no thought of Yama, the destroyer any longer. Leave all worry and reach Narayana, the almighty. (17)

In the wide ocean of Samsara, family life, in the great typhoon of griefs and comforts in the whirlpool of my, mine, my people, the desires of the body- all lead to the sinking owing to madness. (18)

Endless, limitless, having powers unlimited and imaginable, the earth is an insignificant grain of pollen, oceans are less than drops of water the little flying droplets. Fire before him is a spec of a minute firefly. (29)

Exhalations of His breaths are the sky for him, little insects in small holes are the millions of angels are comparable to Parabrahma (30)

The destroyer of all fears of human life, his advice is all pervading goodness, extremely beloved by the devotees, drink the Sri Krishna’s medicine. (38)

For who have forgotten or set aside your feet, Kesava, of what use are all those bathing in the Triveni – (the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati)- is just the bathing of an elephant. (40)

In my past life, a single call, a prayer to Hari would have wiped away all great sorrow, all tribulations and all such would have been wiped off! But alas! Not having that sense, as a consequence I had to have this birth. (41)

Make me serve the servant of your servant’s servant, O, Lord! (42)

Ignorant and stupid are we. Otherwise we would have went behind begging with a begging bowl to the very ordinary fellow with ignoble desires and heinous wants. (44)

Different from jeeva and prakriti, the radiance of consciousness is discoursing on the sublime and celestial nature of the divine Srihari1. (46)

Bhanu wrote on sever genres and reported much for journals and periodicals in Telugu.

He wrote a column for a journal entitled Idi Kadha Kaadu for a journal with penname Tejaswi. His Pogabanikathalu, rail stories won him Turaga Ramakrishna Award in the year 2010. He translated Dr Anji Reddy’s autobiography written in English. Now Bhanu’s three more books “My Unfinshed Agenda” are in press.

Bhanu is poet of eminence too. Here are some samples:

Dad’s Hanky

Smelling sweet, when new,
Dad’s pocket would be having a fourfold hanky
That has seen a fistful of life!
In that it embraces all the tribulations Dad has silently endured
Making all the lines it has in its eyes, it has measured in that his whirlpools
In the island of the life left on the day the month’s salary received
In the purse the small change heckling
When the law court’s notices hiss like dreadful serpents
It becomes empathetic between Dad’s palm and face.
Between the melting asphalt road forming little pools
Under the scalding heat through which Rudra’s eyes make the umbrella’s holes
Descending through the primordial serpent Adisesha
I saw the wedding card of the elder sister under His hood
When the elder brother put his first pay in her palm
Eyes glow like lamp wicks in mother’s eyes
Dad’s hanky affectionately is used by mother to wipe his eye glasses.
Culling and preserving experiences with footprints of feelings
When it gets sweaty drying up the stains on dad’s forehead
It aids Dad with another hanky with a fresh aroma.

Doggie’s Love

No flower, no berry
No shade, no nest
What makes her so proud!
Behind our apartment, in a corner in the compound
Stands an A(shoka) tree towering high
To look at her standing stiff and proud
She appears like a giant’s nose as though
Aiming to touch the high sky
No show of disobedience or irreverence
Nor a whit of desire to show disrespect.
Like the eyes of Indra, the Angel Lord
All over her leaves, leaves, eaves, leaves
Aren’t I walking leading my doggies Julie
Early in the morning would take her out …
Not a bird on her
The tree looks like one aiming a gun firmly
Wouldn’t care even noonday Sun
Glaring with eyelids majestic
No way to talk about her gumption
Even in darkness looking at the stars and the moon there
Appearing as if she would sweep the mould on that rafter…
A(shoka) a great name … in reality a mound
No flower, no fruit
No shade …. No nest
Not even bird would perch on it!
For my Julie, with silky soft hair all over
For her grand and loveable is that A(shoka)
She wouldn’t obey me – here under no control at all
I try to wield the doggies chain firm, but I am dragged
She’d stand at the tree’s trunk in the ground
Inhaling her delectable fragrance
Julie would go round and round as though measuring her girdle
Would be in a trance inhaling the fragrance of a mukhmal hanky
Kuy … kuy… .She goes on expressing joy
Digging the earth under the tree with her paws
Would stretch herself head to foot -twanging herself like a bow string
Right in in front there a mango tree
But Julie is not interested in it at all!
She goes around A(shoka) her darling
One day, in the morning
I did not have the doggie chain in my hand
Julie that could not held fast is not there too.
Some paralysis … even the town did not wake her up
Her breathing, her life have gone
I walk alone … empty handed and desolate.
Through the morning dew I walk with misty eyes.
Across the road, in the park, stood the A(shoka)
The unseen Julie must still be dragging me to the tree trunk
Till my feet smelt the leaves dropping drops of dew
Till the mukhmal hanky touched my feet, Julie has been taking me along.
The leaves are shedding cold drops
As those from the ones grief stricken.
High is the A(shoka)
I stand like a dwarf under her.

Lift in our Apartment

Dayachesi talupu muyyandi! Please Close The Door
In all languages
Following the politeness in the gawky request
It goes on and on …
It greets everyone where milk packets drop droplets
From every one though silently.
When the deafening horn of the school bus blows from the compound.
Thrusts the granny in the kid’s mouth and the wrapper on the chocolate
The empty guthka pack thrown out by the
Who goes up to open the overhead tank
All these crushed by walkers go on changing shapes like amoeba.

When granny goes out holding lighted agarbathi to worship her Tulsi.
Reading for time pass the advertisement stickers on those wall…
Without closing
nostrils seeing the dust and waste bins
Extends her friendly hands our apartment Lift.

You and Your Little Finger

Since the time of thinking of estimates and guesses
Since the time when there is no beginning or end
For forms and names – since there is no being ad non-being
Unreachably unachievable
Being in not being, being though non-being
You are! You are there!!

Moving the limitless universe and teaching movement
Inaccessible to measures or calculations
Are the nature of the end of Your little finger!

Like a star in the firmament
Like a little insect in the honey-bee’s comb
Amidst the night when even leaves are not seen
Like the punnaga that’s opening up
Hanging by the tip of Your little finger
Like those that move and still don’t move
I too am there!

Holding Your little finger
Getting caught up on the turning shape on the potter’s wheel
In You, with You
Without difference from You and me
I whirled!

Telling myself in a way I understand
To be brief in my words
You are there! And Your little finger!!
My walking holding Your little finger is there!

What occurs when and where and how
I am not aware of, I don’t know,
But You are there and me holding Your little finger!

Full blown flowers, fruits ripe
Getting freedom, breaking the bonds with the tree
Like one that falls
In moments of weakness
Gathering thoughts and creating feelings
Roamed I in the fair
Where multi coloured nets
Realizing suddenly that the fair and the nets are nor different
Knowing that in one the other exists
On the shaven head hair white and black grow
Taking many births in the colour-net-fairs
Taking many deaths in many births
At the moment when I go out struggling
Felt I that someone touched my heart string
When peeped into that a radiance without light
That consciousness beyond touch
The little finger I felt!

That knowledge
Whirling around fast
Made me stick like
Clay blob on the potter’s wheel,

You are the eyes all over, even now
Making the universe and the cosmos moving, teaching movement
All beyond calculation
It is all at the tip of your little finger I hold firm

Like a star in the sky
Like the little fly in the honey-bee’s comb.
Not being visible even to the leaves
Like a punnaga
Moving things holding your little finger’s tip
Being a prisoner in the heart
In the circle of Dhyana
Like the crew under the screw-driver
I am getting driven into the inner layers.

To be Continued


More by :  Dr. Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B.

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