British-Asian writer Meera Kamala pays tribute to Jnanpeeth Award winner Prof. ONV Kurup
I walked up to him with my childish enthusiasm and great love, when I got to meet the legendry ONV Kurup for the first time at the inauguration of the Malayalam version of “Kurunthokai.”
I had a chance to give an introductory talk about the original Tamil version of the book in the presence of this great lover of Malayalam language. I was a bit nervous as I got a chance to meet one of my most favourite poets. But as I got near him, I realised that we knew each other long ago, much longer than my worldly existence could recollect.
“Meera I really envy you that you could speak well in Tamil, despite being a Malayali,” the words he told me after listening to my Tamil introductory speak, still reverberates in my mind. But to realise that he is no more among is something that I still could not fathom.
I was blessed to continue that cordial relation from there and we talked briefly about various things whenever we got a chance to talk. He was a teacher to me, an inspiration and a motivation to write what I am writing today. A phone call that he had made to Surya TV, where I was working then, to say a few good things about one of my poems appeared in Deshabhimani, made me a more serious writer. Just to think that ONV is reading what you write, made me more responsible and careful in what I write. I was slowly moving up from just being a scribbler to a more serious student of poetry.
May be it is once in a life time that we get to see such blessed souls, who are creative, content and most of all humane. ONV took a generation with him, holding them by their hands and told them what this wretched world has on offer and on the same time described them the moments, the tiny bits of pleasures that made our life worth living.
“For souls to be connected, we do not need to be physically near, in fact we do not even need our physical existence. Meera you cherish what you love and celebrate life with love and music,” he said once when I gave a parting kiss on his forearm at London Kings Cross Station where he was travelling to New Castle with his wife and daughter. I mediate on this and made it my philosophy.
Sir, you are not going any way. For my soul to connect to yours, I do not need your physical presence. I know you are there, as caring as always and as inspiring as you always been, not just to me and my generation but also to the future ones that wish to live a life of love and happiness.