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A consolation and a tribute

A consolation and a tribute
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Gollapudi: A Consolation and a Tribute, the creator in his wisdom creates a handicap only to crown it with unimaginable glory.

Gollapudi: A Consolation and a TributeThe Creator in His wisdom has outbalanced the handicaps he had given to mankind by blessing them with unimaginable consolations. Here are a few. The major consolations for the scorching heat and sultry hell of a killing summer are two very redeemable pleasures-mango and jasmine. One answers the delight of the palate while the other enriches the sensory pleasure of every discernible person. Particularly Telugus, not a family misses avakai and no woman barters the pleasure of decorating her plait with jasmines. Talking of ‘palate’ it was saint Thyagaraja, in one of his pancharatna keertanas, extols the Lord saying “kanakana ruche nee roopamu’’ (it becomes more and more tasty as we look at you again and again). His choice of words is significant. He doesn’t call it happiness, bliss, glory, pleasure but ‘ruchi’-taste. Of all mundane pleasures- the one and only one that comes into the purview of each and every person- the pleasure of the palate is the basic pleasure. It easily surpasses all the other pleasures. While every other one reaches the subject at an intellectual or as per his vasanas the only one those doesn’t warrant any effort by the subject is that of palate. This creation of keertanas is not cerebral but comes from the heart of a rishi. Hence it has survived 160 years.

The world’s greatest ironies have their innate consolations, which outweigh an otherwise demeaning handicap. The great American author and activist Helen Keller was blind and deaf. But she survived 88 years, thanks to her teacher Anne Sullivan, who broke her isolation and taught her an altogether different communication skill. She eventually became a role model for several thousands of such incapacitated people.

I can never forget that great piece of art, Hollywood film “My Left Foot’’ which bagged several Oscars for its sterling message and thrilling melodrama. Great actor Daniel Day-Lewis (who acted the role of a brat in “Gandhi’’ in the early half of the film wherein Gandhi and his friend, Father Charles Andrews, were accosted while on their walk on the pavement. When his mother shouts at him, he replies that ‘he is cleaning the neighbourhood’) enacted the role of Christy Brown, a true story of an Irish man born with cerebral palsy. He could not walk or talk. However he started utilising his left foot and at ten wrote for the first time the word ‘mother’ with his left toe. He eventually wrote his autobiography called “My Left Foot’’, an astounding work, not as much for the content but for the sheer will to achieve the feat. The film with the same name was a piece of art that virtually stunned the world. It bagged Oscars from almost all departments (1989) for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, Best supporting actress, a great tribute paid to the resilience and will power of an otherwise differently-abled person.

And then, who can forget that fine actor and great man who acted in the legendary ‘Superman’ series, popular all over the globe, Christopher Reeve. An unfortunate accident had virtually shattered all his dreams but he proved to the world that in spite of any tragedy, there can be light at the end of the tunnel. An accomplished actor, the accident turned him into a film director, producer, screen writer, author and most importantly a social activist. He fell down while riding a horse in 1989 and was immobilised from neck down. He lived the next 15 years on a wheelchair with the support of a breathing apparatus, a team of specialists attending on him round the clock. It could have been the perfect recipe for depression or hitting the bottle. Not so for Christopher Reeve.

He launched head on into the rehabilitation programme, fought for medical and insurance cover for such ill-fated patients, encouraged stem cell research, and started Christopher Reeve Foundation. He created awareness all over the world and lived through trauma and pain, becoming a role model, directed a few movies focusing on the need of activism. He narrated the HBO film-“Without Pity- a film about abilities’’. It was an astounding life of self-discipline and resilience. He emerged as yet another rare hero of a different type, collecting 42.5 million dollars for the cause. He died at the age of 52. His wife Dana headed the foundation and continued the good work of her deceased husband. She was diagnosed with lung cancer and died at 44. I will say this again the creator in his wisdom creates a handicap only to crown it with unimaginable glory. Coming to the mundane level, mouth watering avakai and ever blooming jasmine are the major consolations of scorching summer.

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