Category Archives: Blog

Raising standards all the time

“Mr. Mitchell had always been a perfectionist and Mr . McGrath said that he suspected that Mr. Mitchell was raising his standards all the time.  The janitor would find reams of  copy in his wastepaper basket.”

– from Chronicler of the Unsung – Joseph Mitchell by Richard Severo from the book The Last Word

The Last Word
The Last Word – A celebration of unusual lives Edited by Marvin Siegel Foreword by Russel Baker

Well, I guess that’s what everyone should be doing if she wants to excel at whatever her passion be!

Joe Cocker – With a Little Help From Friends

Veecumsees is a theater complex on Mount Road, the present Anna Salai, almost opposite the USIS in Madras the present Chennai.  That theatre complex is supposed to be India’s first multi-theatre complex.  Its not there anymore.  They say Amma pulled it down or acquired it.

Safire, Blue Di (Blue Diamond) and Emerald are the three screens open to the public. Blue Di had a special feature – continuous shows. With R
s2.90 or was it 2.25 (?) ticket you could walk into the theater and watch the shows as many times as you want to until the last show ends at about 12 ot 1 AM.  If you wanted to stretch your legs you could step out into the foyer and enjoy a smoke or a coffee and then go back.  But we are not discussing it here.

Woodstock was a movie, that one had to stand in long ques because there were very few who used to get out of the Blue Di theater. Such was the magic of that 70’s music. Almost every young person those days, who knew pop, rock, acid rock and stuff like that were into it.

Yes, there were many a times we used to bunk classes just to enjoy and sing along. Santana, Jose Feliciano, Joan Beaz et al had the whole world sing along to their tunes.

How many know that Joan Baez’s song “Bangladesh’ was banned in India then?

Woodstock itself was banned. I could get the tapes of Woodstock a few years ago. But now Youtube fills in the gap.

Joe Cocker and their ilk represent an era. It is sad to know that he is no more.

Joe Cocket
Joe Cocker 1944 -2014

Here is Joe Cocker with john Lennon and Paul McCartney’s, “With a Little Help from My Friends.” You can hear him here.

Here are the lyrics:
With a Little Help from My Friends 
What would you do if I sang out of tune?
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
I get high with a little help from my friends
Gonna try with a little help from my friends

What do I do when my love is away?
(Does it worry you to be alone?)
How do I feel by the end of the day?
(Are you sad because you’re on your own?)

No, I get by with a little help from my friends
I get high with a little help from my friends
Gonna try with a little help from my friends

Do you need anybody? I need somebody to love
Could it be anybody? I want somebody to love

Would you believe in a love at first sight?
Yes, I’m certain that it happens all the time
What do you see when you turn out the light?
I can’t tell you but I know it’s mine

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
I get high with a little help from my friends
Gonna try with a little help from my friends

Do you need anybody? I need somebody to love
Could it be anybody? I want somebody to love

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends

Vivek Murthy becomes America’s Surgeon General, so what?

So what?
How does it help India?
Fine. He is man of Indian origin. Being an Indian and if you are Asian Indian you are proud.

However, I do not understand what all this euphoria is all about?
Every time, someone  of Indian origin, gets into lime light in that land of dreams , the browns in India are euphoric. He’s one of us they claim. Good. But does s/he think s/he is one of yours, is my question to them.

The initial stories, at least this story here doesn’t fill in his back ground.  So we do not know from which part of India he is from and how he is going to help, if at all?

Obama says, Vivek going to take care kids, Ebola and other things but the guys who want guns in that country do not seem to like him!

I think its time the Asian Indians begin to look for our their own stars like perhaps this Nirupama Rao here!

My List Of “Top Ten Books”

That was the question before me.  Where do I begin?  That pestering question was around me  like a monsoon mosquito buzzing around. Why a mosquito you ask?  Why not a fly?  Fly does not bite though it could kill you.  When did it begin?  On 29th of August, some time around noon I think. We all affectionately call him TRS and apart from other things he is a voracious reader and he tagged me.  Where you say?  Facebook.  That’s where.  For the ”top ten books”.

There were others too.  But I am not mentioning here because here I am going talk about only the English books.

It is a great advantage to be born into a family of letters.  That is until someone comes and asks you for a list, like TRS does here, to list the “Top Ten”

Here is my first one in the series.

Physics for Entertainment.

Yep.  A non-fiction book.  Actually a set of two books.

 Yakov Perelman - Physics for Entertainment
Physics for Entertainment was published by Raduga from the former USSR.

This is the book that kindled in me a certain scientific temperament.  It helped me understand things better and equipped me with the right tools to understand life as it unravelled its secrets to me.

I tore off a page from one of my used rough note book, made a container out of it, and with the lighted candle, boiled water in that paper container!  That was just fantastic don’t you think?

Then I understood how this little bird you see in this picture constantly keeps dipping its head into the glass of water?! Like a perpetually thirsty bird!  I think a whole generation was inspired by this book.

Yakov Isidorovich Perelman was the author of this book.  It is unfortunate that this author died of starvation during the seize of Stalingard, by the Germans.

Yakov Perelmen - Physics for Entertainment
Author of many scientific books and editor of magazines including Nature

This book was translated into many Indian languages.  One of them was in Telugu నిత్యజీవితంలో భౌతికశాస్త్రం.  (nityajiivitaMlO bhautikasastram).

So there you are TRSthis is the first book in my “top ten list“.  I’ll try to post them as and when I find the time.

Gratitude Challenge – Day Five

It was again late in the evening and we were visiting Guntur.  I just heard about the new school there.  I do not remember if there was a power cut or some local problem.   We, that is I and a couple of boyhood friends, went visiting.  It was dark.  Some of the students were already sleeping on bed spreads laid on the mat.  *Maamma (మామ్మ – meaning granny in English ) was around.  This was sometime around 66 – 68.

I used to visit Tenali which happens to be mother’s native.  She was born there you see. I used to visit Tenali, Guntur during my holidays.  Had some real good fun there and again life taught me many lessons during those visits.

There was a call for me one evening from Ms. Devi, (to them anyway).  She is one of the founders of the school at Guntur I was referring to earlier. For me she was always Mangadevakka (మంగాదేవక్క – Manga Devi Akka meaning, sister Manga Devi).

Manga Devi
Dr Nannapaneni Manga Devi

I went to visit her in the morning.  Akka is always direct.  She told me that a publisher had approached her and wanted her to prepare a text book for the primary classes.  I have heard of this publisher and he is known for readers and supplementary books aimed at the primary classes.  Quite casually, she suggested me that I should write the book.  That was like a bolt from the blue. I do not know what gave her the idea that I could write a reader / text book for the primary classes.  I said, “I will think it over”.   That is one way of wriggling out of that unsavory condition.

I?  Writing or preparing an English primer?!  She did not relent, until I began.  Her refrain was always the same.  “It is there in your genes.  Do it.  You can do it”.  I yielded and I did, on a old Remington typewriter (I still have it) with her support, guidance and inputs and directions.  And the best part is, the publisher paid me for it.  That way it is Dr. Nannapaneni Manga Devi, the founder of  Sri Venkateswara Bala Kuteer, Guntur who made me write my first book , if I can call it a book.  Later I was visiting a lambadi farmers’ thanda in the interiors of Nalgonda district and I found that book there.  It reminded me of Mangadevakka.  If she hadn’t, perhaps I would never have .  Thank you Mangadevakka.  Thank you once again.

*mamma   by the way is Mangadevakka’s mother.

***

I later met him at Vijayawada. We had some common friends.  Tall and lanky guy.  With a certain rustic charm about him. Even today he reminds me of a farmer who is more comfortable in a farm tending to his cattle and farming.  A rustic villager who enjoys reading a poem when he has the time.  With quite a sharp wit and a heart full of love.  With boundless energy. I do not know what he saw in me but he felt I should write.  That my writings should help the younger generation. This was almost a decade ago.  Without his relentless perusal, my columns wouldn’t have appeared in Andhrajyothy‘ s weekly supplement Diksuchi  that used to come out in the form of a pull out magazine, in those days.  Now it is part of a broad sheet.

I believe it is the first time in the annals of Telugu magazine publishing a two page colored spread out was out-sourced to a single columnist.  That column was ePadam. (ఇ పదం)  At the same time I had to also contribute to an other column and that was Career Corner .  Again in the same diksuchi ( దిక్సూచి).  Those two columns appeared for a few years and ran into couple of hundreds.  The editor then was K Ramachandra Murthy and it was Kiran G  who was looking after “Diksuchi“. Katta Sekhar Reddy   who is the CEO  of  Namaste Telangana  now was then with Andhrajyothy.  Thank you all friends.

And this gent did not leave me there.  Along with his wife (I truly believe she was brought into this world just for him) he appeared at my home one morning with a basketful of vegetables.  They went into my kitchen and began to cook.  All the time they made sure I was with them and giving me instructions on how to go about cooking those veggies. I had noting to do and I was helping them with an open mouth and trying to absorb what was happening around me.  You know what?

That morning they went to the Erragadda Ryot Bazaar and bought all those vegetables just for me as if they had nothing else to do.  They have two beautiful daughters who need her attention.  He had an important job and is in a responsible position with a major Telugu news publishing entity,  Andhrajyothy.  But still they made enough time to take care of my health and want me to live longer.  Oh my what a great couple!  Gratitude  you say!

Ramineni Srikrishna Prasad_AnilAtluri
Ramineni Srikrishna Prasad

I began this with “I later met him at Vijayawada.”  Actually, we met at Madras, when he was still a student at the SV University.  He visited our book store then. We did not know then but we remember now, the where and how and the who of it.  Thank you KP, thank you for everything.   Gratitude you say!

***
Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty five and then you lose count.   They were willing to pay in advance to book a copy.  It was just a weekly magazine. Not a book, not a novel of fiction. Why was that?  It was a serial that was appearing.  That had the whole Telugu reading world in its grip.   Needless to say he had changed the commercial dynamics of the Telugu publishing industry.  I know of publishers who offered him blank checks.  He went on to create history whichever portal he had entered.

He was contributing to The Hindu, the largest circulated English daily newspaper  in South India and the only Indian English news daily that was publishing simultaneously from different places in India.  He was a regular columnist in that daily and his column was reaching a few million readers especially students and their parents.

I used to follow his column and one day I found something inconsistent with the style of his narration.  I emailed him with my opinion and suggestion. He called back.  He was planning to publish that column as a book and he enquired if  if I would be interested in doing the job.  I had my hesitations. I said I will try. He couriered me the complete script.  I took my time.  Did a few chapters and emailed it to him. I was damned sure he was not going to call back and that was that.

One fine morning he calls me to inform that the whole work I had sent had been forwarded to the publisher.  I said, “No you shouldn’t be doing it. You should have someone else to go through the copy”.  He said, “I liked what you did Anil garu. It must have reached the printer by this time and they most probably are printing it.  Please tell me how much I should pay you.”  I did not know what to say.  It was not money, it was not fame that I was seeking then.  I wanted a break from the enormous stressful situation that I was in, living 24/7 with a terminal patient at home.  I said, “No, I am not accepting any money”.  He was equally emphatic, “I do not accept anything free”.  Then he found a solution.  He would gift me a set of his books. We made a deal and I was happy about it.

One more surprise was in store for me.

He acknowledged my services.  In fact he added something in there which I felt I did not deserve and I changed it to read as it appears in that book today.  He is none other than Yandamoori Veerendranath, the playwright, the master story teller, the author, the film director, the Chartered Accountant and …

Yandamoori Veerendranath
Yandamoori Veerendranath

Thank you Yandamoori garu.

Note:  This is the fifth and the final part of the Gratitude Challenge (Day Five).  This is a post that I posted on my Facebook wall and I felt that confining it to that SMN is not right and that it should reach out to more people.  That is why you see it here.Well, I guess that sort of sums up for the day five and it is over.  You will not be burdened to follow because this stops here.  Thank you being here.

Gratitude Challenge – Day Four

He was my father’s contemporary.  He was my father’s friend.  Many do not know that he was the man who published “vishalandhra” (విశాలాంధ్ర)  from Madras which later became the Communist party’s Telugu daily newspaper.  He is the man who brought to light Guradazada’s ‘dEsabhakti’  (దేశభక్తి) poem penned by his own hand.  He was the editor of “Soviet Land” a periodical published from Madras.  He was one of the founder members of “arasam” (అరసం – భ్యుదయచయితల సంఘం).  A chapter of “Arasam” came into being in Madras and my mother was one of the founder members of that chapter and it used to conduct its meetings from our bookstore.  The literary giants of the day used to attend those meetings and so were the film personalities especially from the Telugu film industry.  It was left to me being the youngest of them all to spread the mats, arrange for refreshments.  I also used to prepare the invitations.  Invitations were nothing but post cards sold by the Posts and  Telegraph department.  I had to write the program and post them.  During those days he used to visit our book store and spend long hours in the evenings after his office hours.  He was Setti  Eswara Rao. I did not know then that he had been observing me keenly.  It was he who first mentioned that I had a gift and I should hone it.  He was referring to me and my reading habits and my writing skills.  That is the second time in my life someone mentioned that I had a certain talent.  A talent to read and write.  Of course, he did not mention it to me, I do not know why, but he always took an interest and encouraged me to write.  There were times I used to scribble and throw them away.  That is until a few years ago.  Unfortunately I do not have any of his pictures at this time and this will have to do.  Yes, I am grateful to Setti  Eswara Rao garu.

Gurazada By Setti Eswara Rao
Gurazada By Setti Eswara Rao

***

It was in 1987, on February 13th the Government of India issued a commemorative multi colored postal stamp on my maternal grandfather “Kaviraju” Tripuraneni Ramaswamy.  His daughter Chouda Rani is my mother.  Atluri Pitcheswara Rao is my father. (He was a naval engineer, he served the Royal Indian Navy and subsequently when India won her independence he became part of the Indian navy.  He participated in the Royal Indian Mutiny, against the British).  I am their only child.  My father passed away while I was very young.

During an interview with BBC
Smt Mohini Giri, during an interview with BBC

So my mother and I were at New Delhi to attend the postage stamp release function by the the then President of India Giani Zail Singh. Smt Lakshmi Raghuramaiah  wife of  Sri. Kotha Raghuramaiah who held many prominent positions in the GOI, had made an appointment with the founder president of the War Widows Association. So we went to visit her.  After a few minutes of chat she chose me to be the topic and was asking my mother about me.  At the end of the discussion she had only this to say to my mother.  “With your love for your only son, you are stifling him.  Leave him with me and you will be proud to be his mother.  Please listen to me”.  Of course I do not know what hidden talents (which I am not aware of ) she was impressed about, but she is an other person in my life who in as many words made a deep impression about my own self-worth.  Here is a total stranger, an elderly person, who had seen a world at much higher plane and found something in me that to this day haunts me.  Gratitude, yes certainly for letting me know something I did not know until then.

***
“Start immediately. Stop.  Mother Serious.”  That’s why telegrams were dreaded those days.  The minute they see the postman at an odd hour visit you by on his cycle with a pink document folded and sealed, one is always terrified.  I remember one particular instance. That telegram came late in the evening almost when it was night.   The minute my father opened it and read it out my mother started weeping.  It informed us that her mother passed away.  Those were the days of Telegrams and Wires.

My father had a friend who was into international trade.  Exports and imports.  He used to travel abroad quite often.  He used to send me beautiful picture postcards from all those countries he used to visit.  That was his way of saying, that I was in his thoughts. Madras is the only international airport in the peninsular India then and the gateway to the world, at least to those who could afford to fly.  During one of his returns to India, invariably he visited me and took me out.  He had something to convey to his importer in Europe.  He took me to the GPO (General Post Office), on Mount Road, they call it Anna Salai now.  That is the first time I was exposed to a Telex machine and international communication.  He is the first exporter I ever came across.  I filed it away as an other memory.  Period.

Later I came to know a lot more about International Trade and commerce and many other components of the trade.  I knew what was a Fax.  I knew about ships.  Containers. Precision. Strict Quality Checks. Pricing.  Vendor Negotiations.  International markets. Different Cultures across the continents.  Penalties for delays.  LC’s.  Red LC’s.  Open LC’s. Packings and packagings. Services.  Cargo. Flights. Samples.  Foreign Exchange.  Dollar Terms.  Taxes.  Licences.  Permits. Quotas.

And it was not the mundane affairs of the transcontinental commerce alone.  It helped me sit up and open my eyes and observe those human creatures that clothe themselves in billion shades of grey and white and in between.  I am a good listener and have always been one but with this man I have become a better listener.

All this was made possible by one man’s implicit faith in an other human being and his deliverables.  He was always pushing me to my limits.  He knew more about me than I knew about myself.   Every time I thought I reached my limits, he used to nudge me.  A very small nudge.  That nudge helped me leap.  Thanks to him today I am a totally different man.  Today I can very confidently claim that I do not need any nudging.  I can reach out and cross limits beyond my very own limits set at the horizon.  I set them, I tried them and I reached them successfully, every time.

Aditya Pamulapati                                                                                                                       Aditya Pamulapati

Love you Aditya.  I do not know where I would be without you in my life.   This is not Gratitude.   This is sheer unadulterated  celebration of joy and of friendship.  Thank you dude!  

Note:  This is the fourth part of the Gratitude Challenge (Day Four).  This is a post that I posted on my Facebook wall and I felt that confining it to that SMN is not right and that it should reach out to more people.  That is why you see it here.Well, I guess that sort of sums up for the day four.  It’s been hectic and one more day to go.

Gratitude Challenge – Day Three

All I remember now is that I wanted to watch the  movie Arangetram directed by K Balachander. It was being screened in Krishnaveni theatre at that time.  Sometime around ’72.

Remember those good old taxis of Madras?  Amby (Amabassador car for the uninitiated), Fiats and an Austin here and there along with a few standard Heralds were plying as taxis then on the roads of Madras.  One fateful evening, way back in the 70’s, I had my usual cuppa tea at Hameediya Hotel and Bakery, acorss our book store and was crossing the famous Pondy Bazaar, (I read somewehre online in the past few hours, it is Asia’s busiest retail market with lakhs and lakhs of footfalls) to reach our store the other side.  There was a cyclist and a fiat taxi to my right and the cyclist was a middle aged man.  To cut to chase, I wanted the cyclist to avoid the taxi and thus it so happened that the left rear tyre of the taxi ran over the big toe of my right foot.  Well, I did not fall or anything, but with that bleeding toe trailing a stream of blood, I crossed half the lane and entered the other lane. That is when they noticed that I was leaving a trail of blood across the road.  They were Muhammad Ali of Taj Watch Co, our neighbor and, Taji Prasad – popular for his sports column in Andhrajyothi weekly, who was chatting with my mother.  Before they could reach me I reached the store and sat down on front extension.  Needless to say, there was a lot of commotion all around.  It was Taji Prasad, who very gently as if I was a piece of Waterford Crystal Glassware, bodily lifted me and placed me in a taxi that rushed to pick me up from the taxi stand around the corner.  Obviously, the mother and son duo were popular.

But that is not the what I want to share with you all.  It is Taji Prasad and his love and affection towards me, that I want to share.  It  still drenches me when we meet and the meets are quite rare now a days.  In spite of time and distance he is still there in my thoughts.  That warm touch, it radiates a certain energy and that fills oneself to the brim and at times overflows.  Gratitude, you say?

అట్లూరి పుండరీకాక్షయ్య

He is younger than my father.  I still call him peda naanna (పెద నాన్న).  A unique way to relate to a paternal uncle, a father’s elder brother.  It was my “peda naanna” that my father in his last minutes wished us to take him to.  We did, but then it was too late.  It was my ‘peda naanna’ again who sat next to me and made me do all those things that help the soul “rest peacefully”.  Again it was my “peda naanna” who insisted on me going through all those rituals when my mother passed away. He is Atluri Pundarikakshiah    It so happens that today is his birthday. He was always there and he would be always there.  Gratitude you say.

Dr Ramana V Dandamudi
Dr Ramana V Dandamudi

There are doctors and doctors and many doctors and there are those who charge that they simply are out of one’s reach.  There are some who are always there as if they they are born to be with you when you need them the most.  In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana there are a few kids and their parents who are alive today because he made sure that they would fight and win the toughest battle against a disease that is at times terminal.  Some of these kids were looking into its eyes and this doctor *Ramana was right there next to them and gave them a great life to live and spread happiness around.  There are times when I saw him give them his undivided professional attention, offer his expertise, medicines and I knowof instances where he parted with money too when the patient couldn’t afford to..you know what.  And he allowed me to be a part of some great things he did to those patients and the families around.  Gratitude you said.

Thank you that is all for today.

Note:  This is the third part of the Gratitude Challenge (Day Three).  This is a post that I posted on my Facebook wall and I felt that confining it to that SMN is not right and that it should reach out to more people.  That is why you see it here.Well, I guess that sort of sums up for the day three.  It’s been hectic and two more days to go.

* Dr Ramana, offers his expertise at Little Stars Children’s Hospital, Plot No 30, Nagarjuna Hills, Near Brisah, Panjagutta, Hyderabad – 500082 .  Ph:  +(91)-40-6666 2345, +(91)-95050 78600

Gratitude Challenge – Day One

She threw me a challenge.

That’s right, she did it yesterday. But then she thought it was a “challenge”.   I don’t think it is. It is so simple for me. Here are my reasons.

1- Am grateful to my parents for teaching me so many things. Especially my dad Pitcheswara Rao Atluri. Though I got to know him for only may be 5 or 6 years. But he is still around who inspires me to do the things that I am doing now.

2 – To my mother, a young housewife who became a widow, fought against extremely tough odds all alone to bring me up and offer me the best within her means.

3 – To my wife who loved me more than anything else in her life , even while fighting valiantly a losing battle gave her all to offer me the best she could until her last breath from a bed she knew she would retire early from this life.

I am also grateful to all those men and women who continue to teach me what life is all about and help me lead a full and better life.

Oh I guess I will have to nominate two individuals for this “Gratitude Challenge” and I nominate Sai Padma (Six wheelchairs donated to AU library) and Rajagopal Kantamneni  (Rareman with a rare mission )to take up this “Gratitude Challenge”

Oh I forgot to mention the person who threw this at me. She is Aparna Thota and I thank you Aparna for this opportunity.

 

Gratitude
Gratitude is the memory of heart

 

Note:  This is a post that I posted on my Facebook wall and I felt that confining it to that SMN is not right and that it should reach out to more people.  That is why you see it here.  Thank you for visiting.

Why do Indians feel proud about preferring English over their mother tongues?

It is the same with me too..I love my Telugu an other Indian language but that doesn't mean I hate the other languages..we use English primarily to conduct our business..

Answer by TR Santhanakrishnan:

Duh!  We don't.
I speak English to communicate with the world and do business with the world.
The most delightful moments in my life involve speaking in Tamil.  Trust me.

View Answer on Quora

The Sage

Do you know the only family in India that has two postage stamps to its credit?
The Indira Gandhi family.
Mother and son.
Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
Are there any other families that can claim that uniqueness?
Yes, only one.
That is the Tripuraneni family.
Father and the son.
Tripuraneni Ramaswamy and Tripuraneni Gopichand.
OK.
But who made it possible?  Who brought that uniqueness to Andhra Pradesh?
It is not a commitee, it is not an institution, it is not a party, it is not a society, it is not a trust.
It is one man.
To be more precise a sage.
I am privileged to know this sage.
I am privileged to have this sage’s love and affection.
That sage is none other Tripuraneni Hanuman Choudary.
You can see me with this sage here.

Tripuraneni Hanuman Choudary
The Sage

Footnote:
I
am privileged to have received both the albums – one of Kaviraju Tripuraneni Ramaswamy and the other of Tripuraneni Gopichand.
An other unique distinction bestowed upon me.