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Mangalore: Low-profile Visit Brings Ravi Shastri to Family Roots

Daijiworld Media Network – Mangalore (AF)
with additional inputs from Manohar Prasad / Udayavani
Pics Astro Mohan
Report coordination: Richie Lasrado

Mangalore, Jun 26: The celluloid and cricket worlds have always had special links with Mangalore.

Guru Dutt Padukone, Atma Ram Padukone, Girish Karnad, Shyam Benegal, Jayadev (and Rohini nee Oak) Hattangady, Shankar and Anant Nag (Nagarkatti in full form) - all hailing from the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin community - had their family roots in and around Mangalore.

Mangalore-born Aishwarya Rai is one of the major contributions of the city to the world of B's (Beauty, Bollywood and now Bachchan). International supermodel Sheetal Mallar, Bollywood artiste Leena Das, director Lawrence D'Souza, Sandalwood artistes Pandari Bai, the late Kalpana, Leelavati, Jayamala, Radhika, music directors V Manohar and Guru Kiran - the list is long. (It should be noted here that the mention of names is not comprehensive but only of a representative nature.)

Similarly, Mangalore's most prominent contribution to Indian cricket was the late stylish wicketkeeper-batsman Budhisagar Krishnappa Kunderan, with his family roots in Uchil-Yermal near Udupi. Not known to many is the fact that the debonair cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar was born in Mangalore, since his mother hailed from this city. Then we had the Alva brothers, Raghuram Bhat and others.

But among the current cricket celebrities, there is a star Mangalorean. The name Ravishankar Jayadratha Shastri may not ring a bell. But mention 'Ravi Shastri', it will warm the hearts of cricket-lovers all over the world.

Home-coming

It was a day the people of Karvalu, a small village in the Yarlapadi in Karkala taluk won’t forget in a hurry.

Towards the end of last week, the Shri Vishnumurti Temple here was buzzing with activity as former cricketer Ravi Shastri along with his family visited the temple to offer special prayers.

Shastri’s wife Ritu, father Dr Jayadratha Shastri, a medical practitioner from Mahim in Mumbai, mother Laxmi Shastri were accompanied by their close relatives from Mangalore, former Lions district governor Dr Santosh Kumar Shastri, Kavita S Shastri and veteran journalist Manohar Prasad.

Karvalu has been the ancestral place of Ravi Shastri's family for several centuries. He had been advised by several priests to offer prayers at the Shri Vishnumurthi Temple which explains his visit. Shastri's earlier generations later moved to Inna, also in Udupi district.

Many were sceptical about his visit, given the bad weather conditions. The visit had been kept under wraps until the last moment, and hence it was quite a pleasant surprise for the locals when Shastri made his way into the temple after travelling by car from the Bajpe Airport.

As the news spread, the local leaders of Yarlapadi and Bailoor rushed in to welcome Shastri and his family. He was felicitated on the occasion with garlands and shawl.

Memorable

Speaking on the occasion, Shastri said that the visit to the place of his ancestors will ever be etched in his memory. He also expressed his wish to visit the temple every year with his family.

He further said that it was a memorable experience for him to learn about his ancestors and the rituals practised in his native village. ‘The traditions followed here have really enhanced our self-confidence. The natural beauty of the place, the serene atmosphere, the simplicity of the people is wonderful to experience,’ Shastri said.

‘The people of this region have made a name for themselves in various fields at the international level. The culture of my native place has had a strong influence on me. Though I do not know Tulu, I can understand Kannada,’ he said.

Shastri and his family also paid a visit to the Naga Bana to offer special prayers and later went to Bailoor Government P U College, which event warmed the hearts of the students.

Bailoor’s Dr J Dineshchandra Hegde (who had been the college mate of Dr Jayadratha Shastri in Chennai and also his cricket team mate), gram panchayat president Udayakumar Hegde, K Ananta Pattabhi Rao, K Venugopal Rao, Dr Ramakrsihna Nayak, Prakash Nayak, J Sudhir Hegde, K Ramesh Rao, Manmatha Hegde and Satish Shenoy were present.

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