Saturday, December 6, 2014

An inkwell from the past ... An heirloom ...

I have a surprise for you,” said Shruti one evening, and increased the suspense and went on to say, “… it is an heirloom.”  I waited … I didn’t know what it could be … an heirloom?  Whose heirloom?  Then Shruti took out a packet from her bag and gave it to me … I opened it and saw a sort of glass thing with two compartments … “it is an inkwell … Prof. Amritavalli asked me to give it to you … it belongs to her grandfather … Masti Venkatesha Iyengar,” said Shruti, “Prof Amritavalli said, since you like and use fountain pens and all and since you also work with Kannada literature, this inkwell used by Masti would be valuable to you and would be safe with you”  … Oops … I opened my mouth in surprise and it remained like that for quite some time … good that I didn’t drop the inkwell …  I mean, I was holding an inkwell that belonged to Masti Venkatesha Iyengar!!  It can’t get better than this … one of the best gifts a fountain pen lover can get … Masti would have used it regularly … yes, confirmed Shruti, till he went on to use fountain pens with ink reservoirs …



Masti Venkatesha Iyengar (1891-1986) was one of the foremost writers of Kannada, who consolidated Kannada literature as it was entering the Navodaya phase … he moulded the short story in Kannada during this early phase by working on the narrative, points-of-view, voice, etc. and modernized it … so much so that he is known as the ‘Father of the Short Story’ in Kannada … his stories have set the trend for short stories in Kannada literature … he also wrote novels and plays and poems and was presented with the Jnanpith Prashashsti, the highest literary accolade in India … and he wrote his stories and novels using the pen name 'Srinivasa' ...  and that is another connection ... 

And these are some pictures of the inkwell ... 








So, actually owning an item of Masti’s writing paraphernalia … is a blessing … what more could a literature student want … I haven’t started using the inkwell … I have cleaned it up, but I do not know if I would ever use it … who knows I might use it one day, when I feel I deserve to use the same inkwell as used by Masti …

Thank you, Prof. Amritavalli … for this unexpected and invaluable gift … I was just thinking, a little bit pompously maybe, you have handed over one Srinivasa's heirloom to another Srinivasa ... much cherished … 

And thank you Shruti for being this charming courier ... and generally pampering me ... 

1 comment:

Vardhan mittal said...

Quite a delight for you aint it?