It was years ago. The phone rang. Assuming that it was one of the many calls that you receive through the day, it was my characteristic, dead-beat ‘Hello’. The caller, with his distinct Dakshina Kannada accent, introduced himself as G.T. Narayana Rao. This chief editor of the exhaustive, Kannada to English Science Dictionary, the first of its kind, had promptly called to say he liked the piece I had written on it. I, a nincompoop in science, had meticulously poured over the dictionary in great awe, for, science had never before seemed so comprehensible. So, when GTN called, it was not only a humbling moment, it also felt one had achieved the impossible.
From then, each time I wrote something, GTN was sure to drop off a post card putting down his views. So much so that when it didn’t come one wondered if all was well with him.
“I went for a music concert and it is worth writing about. Will you allow me to write?” he would ask, and there was never an occasion when GTN exceeded the word length we had together agreed upon. Once in a while, he would call to tell me of a book that must be read and then there would also be a packet of book marks that arrived by post.
In these so many interactions over the last eight years, I never got to meet GTN. But he became a significant part of my working-writing process.
As I think now, the calls, the letters, the responses were less a comment on my work, and more on him; a GTN who never disengaged social responsibility from the work newspapers did, a GTN who was deeply passionate about music and literature, and who never hesitated to pay a compliment.
There are some things that always leave me surprised; those lasting faceless relationships.