I am filled with awe and excitement, sharing what follows with my fellow rasikAs here at Rasikas.org. Let me fill you in on what this is all about.
A dozen years ago, Dwaraki Krishnaswamy, a musician, teacher and composer in Bengaluru gave me a wonderful gift. She happens to be the grand daughter of Mandayam Srinivasa Iyengar, a freedom fighter and friend of Bharathi. When she told me that her mother Yadugiri Ammal had written a book about her childhood memories of the poet called bhArathi ninaivugaL, my first question was: where can I find this book? She said it had been out of print for many years but she kindly offered me the only old copy she had for me to read. I was so moved by the book that I asked her permission to photocopy it. Thanks to her, I could share the copy with relatives and friends. She said at that time that they were trying to get the book reprinted and I was happy. I don't think it happened
Soon after I translated Sanjay Subrahmanyan's interview from KAlachchuvaDu here at Rasikas.org and it was well received, I felt that I should translate a precious book like this so that others will get a chance to read it. A pity, I could not locate my copy anywhere
I felt sad.
Recently, while looking for old memorabilia, I came upon this little treasure and am I thankful!
Bharathi is mighty. A child is precious--a sensitive child, more so. The families in the community were one during the freedom movement. Great adults figured in the lives of children. Their lives were simple but their thoughts and imagination were fueled by the fervor of the adults around them.
Many books have been written about Bharathi but this one is unique. A fine-tuned mind of a child who was filled with curiosity and verve had the good fortune to interact with Bharathi!
Yadugiri Ammal wrote this book in 1938-39. It was not until 1954 that it got published by Amuda Nialyam. She knew the book was coming out but did not live to see the book.
Amuda Nilayam is very much there in Chennai's publishing world. How I wish to see this book in reprint!
I will type her introduction to the book as an epilogue since I prefer the child telling her story first!
As I did with the interview (and our young Srinivasaraghavan did with his grand story of Shreya and Hari, the CM idols), I will bring this translation in installments).