METRO PLUS

The art of juggling

G. Kameshwar

G. Kameshwar  



G. Kameshwar, dons many hats effortlessly — that of a software architect, philanthropist, poet, blogger, writer, wanderer…



He sees art in good engineering, poetry in well-written code, and storytelling in a successful business presentation.

Meet G. Kameshwar, a software architect who's also a poet; a blogger who conducts weekly storytelling sessions of the Mahabharata (300-odd hours logged and counting); a writer and wanderer who draws inspiration from the mythical and the mundane alike.

The storyteller

A quiet, unassuming man with neatly combed silver hair and metal-rimmed glasses, it's Kameshwar the IT Consultant you see at first glance. But, all it takes is five minutes spent reading his slim volume of sweetly insightful poetry — Seahorse in the Sky recently published by Writers Workshop — to get a glimpse of the poet within. And, half-an-hour over coffee spent discussing the many versions of the Mahabharata and his yatra to Neemsar, where the 18 Puranas were written, and you've gotten to know Kameshwar, the Storyteller.

“A tremendous number of yagnas took place in Neemsar, and Soota told the Puranas orally during breaks. Going there was like a pilgrimage for a storyteller,” he says, eyes shining with enthusiasm as he talks about the journeys that resulted in his two travelogues Tulu Tales — A Soota Chronicle and Bend in the Sarayu – A Soota Chronicle.

These earlier writings — including his translation-of-a-translation-of-a-translation of a work by Ramana Maharshi — spoke to a rather niche readership, but, he believes that his poems, like his blog, reach out to a wider audience. “They're observances of everyday life that anyone can relate to — the day-to-day existence of an elderly couple, the equation between my wife and teenage daughter, the experience of being caught in a traffic snarl,” he says of the collection written over the last nine years.

In typical Kameshwar style, he draws parallels between the poems — short and deceptively simple — to minimalistic programming code. But non-techies, don't be put off — Seahorse in the Sky is truly good poetry in the old-fashioned sense, filled with deftly-drawn word sketches, gently ironic observances of human nature, and sometimes poignant, sometimes funny stories, crafted out of the fabric of our daily lives.

And the best part is that the proceeds from the sale of the book go to charity — specifically to Rasa, the centre for children with special needs, founded by his wife Ambika Kameshwar.

“This is one small way to contribute towards the big project Ambika is planning in Velachery for Rasa — Care for Life,” says the principal consultant at Tata Consultancy Services, adding self-effacingly: “It's not like this is going to make that much of a difference, but it's a spoonful, adding to the ocean.”

Creative contribution

This isn't Kameshwar's first creative contribution to the charity — his epic undertaking to tell the entire Mahabharata orally began at the Rasa Theatre Arts School in 2002, and his telling of the battle sequence (45 hours or so) is given as a gift in disc format to donors or sponsors at Rasa. “I've studied the original text, and read the various regional variations whenever I have time, as well as spin-offs by Kalidasa and others,” he says of this labour of love. “The storytelling sessions continue at my home — one hour every week, with the occasional break for vacation!”

It might be, he says, the most extensive oral re-telling of the great epic. For this software engineer-poet-blogger-storyteller, it's just another way to channel his unending enthusiasm for creative self-expression of all sorts.

DIVYA KUMAR

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