A man close to his roots

A person near his roots

Climbing timber, plucking mangoes, going to one another’s home of their native village Konetampettai. These are among the reminiscences that stay afresh within the thoughts of P. Subramani alias Chittamutti, the childhood buddy of S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, fondly referred to as as Mani in his village.

“We went around the village together. Mani’s mother Shakuntala, known as Chinnama, used to call me Chittamutti, and the entire village knows me by that name now. He was loved by everyone in the hamlet. He bore my daughter’s medical expenses,” recollects Mr. Subramani, who nonetheless lives at Konetampettai.

A pall of gloom descended upon Konetampettai, the native village of SPB’s mom. “He was from a Brahmin family and we are from the ST community. But his family was very close to us. We met him when he came to our village a few years ago,” says Jayamma, Mr. Subramani’s daughter-in-law.

The whole village recollects him as humble and pleasant, and an individual who by no means forgot his roots. “He used to ask about every detail of the hamlet. Our families are very close. There is no caste divide in our hamlet,” says Rajendra Prasad, who recognized himself as SPB’s household buddy.

He recollects that each time villagers went to ask him to the hamlet for a operate, he would ask what he ought to do for the village. “His last visit was in August 2018 and he helped build toilets for the school and a RO plant. He was punctual. The entire village is sad to have lost him. Many have been crying since Thursday night. We can never meet such a person,” he says.

A. Bhanumurthy, SPB’s cousin, says they had been like Arjuna and Krishna. “The last time I spoke to him was on September 12. I asked him when he was getting discharged and he said he was feeling better,” he recollects. He says his cousin might by no means harm anyone, even when it was his enemy. “He will mingle with everyone, right from the Prime Minister to an ordinary man.”

An ardent lover of cricket, tennis and studying, SPB was a eager observer too. “He was an authority in Telugu pronunciation. He could sing in any language. He had always showed the keenness and dedication of a student… He wanted to rebuild his house in the village and even approved the plan,” he provides.

His loss has left many speechless. “All the music lovers are in tears. We have lost a great person. Our village will miss him very much,” says Mr. Rajendra Prasad.

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