BANGALORE: As far back as I can remember, my father loved collecting books. There were two shelves that came with us whenever we moved, as my father was transferred from one job to another. They were all books on history, published in places far away, lavishly illustrated, hard bound and wonderful smelling, even if they were much older than me. When my father was a young police officer, he would order these books, as my mother told me later, from a travelling salesman of the Standard Literature Company. He would come to every small town my father happened to be in. By the time my brother and I came into our parents lives, my father was always too busy. The books stayed in his shelves, except on Sundays when he would take them out, dip into them, but I never saw him read in a very engrossed manner. There were other things always that called him away. When I was older, and in school in Odisha, my father's books came to fascinate me. They told me of lives and worlds farther away than anyone could imagine. It was history that didn't seem important enough to do well in exams but proved valuable in filling up endless lonely hours, as I realised much later. Many years later and far away from my father, I wonder if it is too late to tell him that I owe my life and love for stories to him far more than he realizes.
My father Dhingri Nagaraj is a well known comedian in Kannada industry. Being his son is a plus point today. It is because of him that I could become an actor. Surprisingly, he had no clue about my film nor the launch. Only a couple of days ago, he saw my posters, came to my office and was glad that I am doing something. He was always worried about my future because I never listened to him. He wanted me to be a scientist or join the services but I took up visual arts, which he didn’t say no to.
During my college days, he used to get worried about my future. But was reassured when I started a charity foundation in his name two years ago. I am fulfilling my dreams of being an actor because of his blessings.
I have maintained a respectful distance from my father in the sense that I don’t talk much in his presence. It was only a couple of days ago that we talked a lot after a long time. I never would want to misuse his name anywhere and I will be happy if tomorrow he is known as Rajvardan’s father Dhingri Nagaraj.
— Rajvardan is an actor
— Anu Kumar is an acclaimed author