I'm reproducing below the copy of a mail (with an addendum) that I'd sent to my classmates - the class of '72 of the Sainik School Kazhakootam - on learning about the passing away of Mr. K Bhaskar Rao, our Arts teacher. He was all of 83 years and was residing with his son - also an SSKZM alumnus - at Kochi, when the end came in stealthily in the middle of the night of 21/22 Oct. Simple and straight forward, he brooked no nonsense from his cadets whom he loved tremendously.
1. I got this sad news about Bhaskar Rao sir's demise while travelling
and hence, had not responded then.
2. Another of that set of committed teachers that we're privileged to
be with, during our childhood, has passed into the mist of time.
3. I was trying to recollect as to what was the aspect about life that I'd
learnt from him. I was no 'art' man and drew the absurd triangles that stood
for mountains with an apology of a sun peeping through a couple.
A boat, loaded with a few guys sitting with oars and a guy standing at one of its
ends with the pole - acting as the rudder - was a must on the blue colour that
apologised for a river! I don't think I could ever graduate from that template and
if I did, I do not remember!!
4. What I remember about him was that he never ridiculed nor made fun of
my substandard and idiotic 'creations' in colours. For that matter, I don't
think he ridiculed anyone of us at all and left us to ourselves! Probably,
a single stroke from a young boy's brush could help him identify a potential
artist that required further concentrated efforts on his part in shaping his future
and he was fairly convinced that I didn't require it at all!
5. I remember him in his starched white half sleeves shirt and trousers moving
around the classroom and during study periods. The aroma of the 'supari' that he
chewed is faintly remembered and he was definitely kind hearted and reasonable.
6. So, he actually was a mentor but if that be so, why did I laugh with the others
when a few seniors passing by our class cried out fairly audibly, the word 'Choops'?
(A nickname that he got tagged with because he pronounced the word, "tubes"
that-a-way). I, still, don't have the answer after so many years! Probably, it's my
childishness that had prodded me then to behave in that manner.
7. He also instilled the aspect of cleanliness in us. Before the end of each class, he
insisted that we kept the porcelain palettes - into which we squeezed out the colours -
clean so that the succeeding class started afresh!
8. RIP Bhaskar Rao sir! May your family have the fortitude to bear with the pain. And
sir, they don't make them teachers like you anymore. My prayers and tears.
9. There's a tremendous feeling of sadness that is felt when anyone of that era passes
away, wonder whether it's a phenomenon localised in me?
10. Take care all of you. Affly, Rajeev.
Despite my not-so-encouraging artistic proficiency, he used to depute me on painting competitions at Thiruvananthapuram whenever I'd volunteered, which I must confess I did more in the hope of meeting my folks after the proceedings! And his action was purely because he didn't have the heart to break a small boy's heart!!
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