92-year-old man from Hyderabad writes Ramayana in Dwipada Kavyam

HYDERABAD: At 92, when most people find it challenging to write without a small tremble in their hands that comes with age, Perepi Mallikarjuna Sharma has beaten the odds by writing hundreds of pages of the Ramayana in a new form.

Although the Ramayana has been translated countless times into numerous regional languages since Sage Valmiki first wrote the epic, Sharma explicitly used the ‘Dwipada Kavyam’ or couplet metre to recreate the saga in his own words from Lord Rama’s birth to his pattabhishekam.

At his desk in his Borabanda residence in Sanathnagar, Sharma would pore over books, without needing a magnifying glass, and make remarkably well-organised notes in his writing pad, which he would later feed into his desktop computer. The work takes time, but he doesn’t complain.

“My mother Perepi Rajamma first told me the Ramayana story at home while I sat on her lap and listened. I’ve spent much of my life being enthralled with the Veda Vyas Adhyatma Ramayana and Valmiki Ramayana. Many of the interconnected stories piqued my interest. I learn something new and fascinating each time I reread the Ramayana,” says Sharma.

The nonagenarian had always wanted to write the Ramayana in the Dwipada metre when he was younger, but he had to put off his dream project since he had to care for his family and ensure that his children — two of whom are in East Africa — got the best education possible.

Writing a few couplets every day for 15 years, Sharma has finished the ‘Sri Brahmasutra Ramayanam’, which he began at the age of 77 after he retired from the state forest department. For the past 15 years, his daily routine has centred on getting up at 5 am and finishing his life’s mission, something that has kept him at his computer for several hours each day, usually well into the wee hours.

In ‘Sri Brahmasutra Ramayanam’, Sharma shows how the morals of the epic are relevant today and how everyone can gain from learning about Lord Rama’s life. “The Sri Brahmasutra Ramayanam spans 557 pages, contains 13,167 couplets in the Dwipada metre, and is divided into six kandas (parts), from the Bala Kanda, Ayodhya Kanda to the Uttara Kanda, each of which focuses on the epoch moments in Lord Rama’s life. Each couplet in the Dwipada metre is connected by prasa (alliteration). I hope my book will help my grandchildren learn Ramayana stories in the same way that my children did,” he said.

Having a purpose and a goal is critical at any age, but as one ages it becomes even more essential because some activities demand more effort, focus, perseverance and determination, all of which Mallikarjuna Sharma possesses in spades.

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