Many of us may know Venkita Kalyanam the man who served Mahatma as his assistant for around five years and it was this man who was around Mahatma when Godse pumped bullets on that 30th January (Friday) of 1948.
It was at this time Kalyanam who was just twenty years old rushed to break the news and went on to call the office of Vallabhai Patel and later to Jawaharlal Nehru.
It was a small job which Kalyanam got for Rs sixty per month and he took that position after Mahadev Desai passed away. On that fateful day it was Kalyanam who served Gandhi his little food in the noon before he proceeded to Birla House.
Kalyanam was a small time freedom fighter and did something against Britishers and was arrested for a while. He worked for an insurance company and then through a contact known to Devdas Joined the ashram.
After the demise of Mahatma he also worked for few personalities like Nehru, Edwina and Red Cross.
Incidentally Kalyanam was born on August 15 of 1920. Kalyanam would spend his time tending the plants and he has a big garden in Teynampet where he would love to spend time with plants. He was active enough to do the same till late 2010 then due to age factor he dropped the work and it was his assistant who is now doing there. Now he lives with his daughter and bedridden with a catheter support.
I had the opportunity to see him last week in his place. I was already told that I cannot take long time with him since he is not too well. I went to him and said Namaskaram. He could not recognise any one since he has a vision problem to the acute stage but could see as an Image.
He told me to sit and I hesitated but he ordered to sit and I was on the edge. I did not speak to him but was awestruck.
This was the man who had seen Gandhi and other freedom fighters. What a moment in life to me? After few minutes I left the place and had a small chat with his family members. I am too happy that I have seen this man and was with him for a while.
He will be celebrating centenary celebration next year. I feel the long mission in my life is complete. Heart filling memories with Kalyanam Sir. My Pranams.
Please enlarge the photos for a better view . (The last photo below on right side is Kalyanam with Mahatma)