The pearl is gone to provide lustre elsewhere

SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: When the Rajkumar household awoke this morning, it sure must have felt like just another day.

The milkman would have arrived at the time he unfailingly does, each single day. The newspapers would have landed at the door, like they always do. Coffee would have brewed, hot and strong, in the kitchen. Breakfast would have arrived at the table, for all to partake of.

As usual.  

A little towards noon or so, the most important member of the family begins to feel a certain discomfort. In the chest. His breathing becomes laboured. And the family goes into a tizzy.  

Phone calls. Frantic pacing up and down the rooms. Dazed gesturing. The ringing of more telephones. A bit of screaming.

Sounds. Of many kinds. Of men and women and children in the family scurrying about. To find help. To seek succour. To reach out to the man who’s slowly losing touch with the here and now.  

The doors swing open. Hurried steps. Worried faces. A silent prayer mumbled perhaps to avoid anything untoward.

For the day.

And then, the Karmic inevitability. Death.

The death of a family member. In this instant, the Pearl himself. 

As I switch channels—Kannada and English—on my television, trying to pursue the aftermath of the death of a man who I, like a few million Kannadiga men and women before me, didn’t even contemplate would die one day, I see scenes, mostly expected, of men and women raving and ranting, attempting to lend expression to their pathos; trying desperately to provide some kind of a grammar to their grief.

A kind of grief that had no known extrapolations.

Until this day. It was all too sudden. The death of Rajkumar. A man, who, with his on and off screen persona, gave you the impression that he was going to be here forever. His goodness of character; his courage of conviction; his decency of thought; of action; of speech. 

The manner of his smile; the method of his diction; the rare mystique he possessed; the charisma he was endowed with; his very being that lent an almost incomprehensible dimension to the way he lived; all these so magically consumed and concealed the fact that he was human underneath it all.  

And that his body was mortal too like every other. And that his heart too had arteries that were susceptible to clogging. And that some day his bones too could be diminished of the marrow that courses within. And that the emotions inside him, the type that is an inevitable baggage that we as human beings carry through the journey of life in our mental hold alls, would gnaw and tug and claw. Even at him.  

And more than anything else, that age, infirmity and disease would come knocking at the address that for long was known to belong to a man who supposedly seemed never to pass away. Either from the face of this earth or from the cumulative consciousness of the people of Karnataka. 

Rajkumar is gone. Perhaps to inhabit another world. Perhaps a better one than the one we live in. Where he will turn on his charm again. And switch on the magic. The kind that is possible at the hands of only those men who originally belong to a certain stratum, a certain echelon, the kind those mortals born of ordinary wombs cannot even assimilate. 

And Rajkumar, if you please, was born special. No doubt.

DR RAJ KUMAR: the full coverage on 

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