Madikeri: Up-and-coming cricketer Ashwath Aiyappa, whose brilliant career was sadly cut short in a drowning tragedy with his dentist-brother Dr Akhil Kuttappa near Suntikoppa in the district in April 2014, had penned a book carrying a catchy title, ‘When God Bowls a Googly’, before his death.
At that stage, he was only getting set to have the book released on one of the days that followed and was even regularly rehearsing his dedication speech for the launching programme on his mobile phone. The originally-planned date of launch was April 17, 2014.
Welcome at Hotel Coorg International
Advocate K P Balasubrahmanya
Anupama Mundanda nee Puchimanda and Muneer Ahmed
A section of the audience
Muneer Ahmed, Jagadish Belliappa, Anupama Mundanda and B G Anantashayana
The book being launched
The still-grieving Kodimaniyanda Madappa couple
The audience in tears
Anupama who released the book
Raghu Madappa, a pillar of strength and equanimity, speaks to mediapersons
It appears that the launch was postponed because of the Lok Sabha elections. Both brothers wanted to fulfil their duty as citizens of India by casting their votes here in Madikeri. After voting, they, being so attached to their family roots, had gone to visit and greet their grandmother at Chettalli on her birthday.
Thereafter, they went to see the scenic spot of Chiklihole in Kambibane. While in water, Ashwath saw his elder brother Dr Akhil drown in the river and rushed to save him, going by sheer reflex and in spite of his being not proficient in swimming. In the process, both precious lives were lost.
Unfortunately, Ashwath’s passing away delayed the release of the book for some time. Finally the day dawned when it was dedicated to the reading public in Bengaluru early this year.
Ashwath’s admirers and well-wishers wanted a formal launch to be held in his hometown, Madikeri, as well. The Press Club of Kodagu sponsored a well-organized function in Hotel Coorg International on Tuesday, March 10.
The event was emotion-packed but dignified at the same time. Prominent citizens turned out in good numbers to pledge their solidarity with the still-grieving parents of the cricketer-siblings, Kodimaniyanda Raghu Madappa and Anita Madappa, who were present on the occasion.
Krishnaveni Prasad Muliya made an invocation which was a fitting prelude as a tribute to the departed duo. Muneer Ahmed, JD(S) leader, president of the Madikeri taluk Kannada Sahitya Parishat, former city councillor and former MUDA chairperson compered the programme, spicing his interludes with Kannada vachanas and quotes from poetry to suit each point.
In his introductory remarks, B G Anantashayana, editor of Shakti Kannada daily and member of the Karnataka Madhyama Academy, who supported the initiative of organizing the programme in a big way, said that people gave birth to various kinds of persons, who would achieve the pinnacle in life only towards the fag-end of their lives.
“It was sort of a reverse process in the case of Raghu and Anita Madappa, the noble parents of two gems of Kodagu, Dr Akhil Kuttappa and Ashwath Aiyappa. While Akhil carved a niche for himself in his own way, Ashwath put together all his experiences, questions and spiritual answers in the form of a book.”
“Death, when it happens will definetly happen. Anita and Raghu gave their children everything – health, wealth, education and comforts. A writer says that somewhere we have to rediscover our own life. Some day we have to accept death as a reality,” he said.
“Society is full of people who may have lost their children, lost their wives, husbands or parents. Somewhere there would be a need for people who could bring in hope and peace. I wish Anita and Raghu will hold the torch-light of hope to console other souls in grief and become role models,” Anantashayana added.
In the absence of Shankar, under the aegis of whose academy Ashwath had bloomed as a fine cricketer, his wife read out a message. Author and advocate K P Balasubrahmanya gave an introduction to the book, quoting from scriptures and also comparing the brothers to Ram and Lakshman and even Koti and Chennaya.
He drove home a special point that there were words in the dictionary like ‘widow’, ‘widower’ and ‘orphan’ when the husband, or wife or parents respectively are lost, the lexicographers obviously were lost for words to describe the parents who lost their children, since nowhere one could find any suitable word for so bereaved persons.
As a word of consolation to the parents who had lost their young children, Balasubrahmanya cited the examples of great persons like Sankaracharya, Swami Vivekananda and Jesus Christ, who had died in their thirties and of English poet Shelley, who died even earlier at 30.
The grief and agony that the Madappa couple had undergone was similarly beyond description. Yet, the memories of Ashwath and Akhil would last forever, he added.
The book was formally launched by Anupama Mundanda nee Puttichanda, the pride of Kodagu and the first woman hockey umpire from India to officiate in about 90 international matches. She too spoke on how epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata co-related sports and spirituality.
Video clippings displaying the tributes to the two brothers from a few important persons were screened. They included Jacob Mathew, the executive editor and publisher of the Malayala Manorama group of publications, who has known Raghu Madappa from his college days and has ever since remained a steadfast friend of the family.
Another was the message from a Dental faculty associated with Dr Akhil Kuttappa. The role played by spiritual guru Shri M in the two brothers’ lives was also highlighted during the programme. When sentimental tributes were paid, most of the audience could not help being in tears.
The finale was in the form of screening of a short video clipping, ‘Our Sons and Heroes’, narrating the evolution of Akhil and Ashwath from infancy into fine young men, with a song of the same title, specially written and set to music.
Press Club president Jagadish Belliappa thanked everyone who contributed to the success of the programme.
Read about the tragedy: