You may not have heard of Ekalavya.
Ekalavya, as remembered by ancient East-Indian mythology, was a poor boy from the jungle.
His dream was to become the greatest archer in the world.
And the only way to do that then, was to learn from Guru Drona, one of the greatest warriors of all times.
Drona, who was the archery tutor of the royal family, of course wanted his favorite disciple, Prince Arjuna to become the greatest archer of all times.
When Drona refused to accept Ekalavya as his disciple, a disappointed-yet-undeterred Ekalavya went home, and went on to practice archery in front of a statue of Drona he built himself.
Years later, Drona and Arjuna run into a young lad in the forest, who is such an amazing archer that he is able to pierce the smallest of pebbles from thousands of yards away with his arrows. Troubled by Arjuna’s jealous anger over seeing someone so much better than he, Drona cunningly demands Ekalavya’s thumb from his right hand, as his “Guru Dakshina” (tutoring fees), for having used his statue without his permission, and hence having learned from him “indirectly”.
The extremely loyal Ekalavya unflinchingly cuts off his thumb without a second thought, and hands it to Drona, thus making history, while letting Arjuna regain the status of the “greatest archer ever”.
I, Ravi Jayagopal – am Ekalavya.
And my Guru Drona is my father, R.N.Jayagopal, who is a South-Indian film legend who has directed several movies, penned over 12,000 movie songs, written over 3,000 devotional and folk songs, written screenplay and dialogues for hundreds of movies, and is undoubtedly one of the most talented poets and writers of his generation.
Dad, just don’t ask for my thumb 🙂
– Ravi Jayagopal
Unfortunate Update: My beloved father R.N.Jayagopal passed away in May 2008, leaving behind my ailing mother Lalita Jayagopal – who also eventually passed away in June 2010. Mom, dad, can’t wait to see you again in a few years. You will be sorely missed by me, my wife Veena, and your grandchildren Rhea and Rohan.