Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Poem I wrote for my sons to gift to their Uncle.



Meet my Uncle Mr. M,

He is our family’s precious Gem.

He is a merchant of diamonds,

Popular in all wealthy-households.


He is the best among diamond traders,

With most pleasing manners.

He knows what is good and best,

No one can beat him in a Gemology test.


He is a great traveler,

And a world travel record holder.

He knows every town, city and resort,

Better than any travel agency expert.


He likes his food hot and spicy,

Whether it is biryani, pizza or chopsuey.

He adds to every recipe the right spice,

To make it taste a lot more nice.


He is a photographer par excellence,

Every snap speaks of his intelligence.

The amateur and the professional seek his advice,

Kind hearted, he instructs them for no price.


He loves cars & is an excellent driver,

With him, you will enjoy the drive & feel safer.

He knows all about the engines & specifications,

So the confused come to him for clarifications.


He is a walking computer,

His knowledge on any subject is super.

His wisdom and intelligence are extraordinary,

He is ever ready to share this with anybody.


He has information on current cinema but hates the movies,

And he loves to hate actors, action, songs & stories.

One exception is actor Suman whom he likes,

And sees his movies any number of times.


He reads the newspapers thoroughly,

And criticizes the politicians and governance wisely.

He hates politicians and leaders of today,

Whether it is Naidu, Srinivas Yadav, Bush or Thackeray.


He constantly assures you entertainment & treats,

He keeps up every assurance and never retreats.

Meet my Uncle Mr. M,

He is our family’s precious Gem.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Our family, with the Presidents of India.

Top photo: My father Sri N. Bhaskarachary is greeting Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India. I am the shortest person in the photo, holding on to my father’s pants. My brother Lakshminarsu is behind me and my mother Smt. Eshwaramma behind my brother. And my sister Hemalatha is resting in my mummy’s tummy. The other important person in the photo is Dr. Burgula Ramkrishna Rao, Chief Minister of erstwhile Hyderabad State (holding a walking stick).
Bottom photo: My father Sri. N. Bhaskarachary is greeting Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrshnan, the second Presidnet of India as he is being introduced. Others in the photo are Sri. K. Brahmananda Reddy, Chief Minister of AP State, Sri. J.V. Narsing Rao, Dy. Chief Minister & Sri. G. Venkataswamy, a Minsiter.

P.S. You may click on the following link to reach several of my photo-articles / blog posts on Kothagudem, Singareni Collieries, Bhadrachalam, Godavari River, Parnashala, Kinnerasani and Papikondalu:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Welcome to 'SRILEKHA", our house!

In the above poem, ‘Srilekha’ is the name of our house. ‘SriSriLaRa’ is short form of names of members in the home. That is my sons Srikanth & Srinath, my wife Lalitha & me Raghu. And this blogspot is named after the family,!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Story of Love and Cruelty.

Renu’s reunification became imminent as the Chief Reception Officer of TTD was glancing through the donor accommodation requisitions received that day at Tirumala. It was by chance that Renu peeped over the officer’s head and read the requisition of Niranjan requesting accommodation for Mohan. Renu knew Mohan’s family very well because she was with them for many years at their Krishnanagar and Hyderbasthi houses. She liked everyone in the family because they treated her well and as a matter of fact adored her. As days passed by she liked Mohan’s youngest son Karthik best and fell in love with him. Their relation was a strong one. There was friendship, companionship, understanding and more than all blind love. Days, months and years passed peacefully and happily for her. The only times she did not like were when they had to visit Srilekha, that is the house of Karthik’s aunts. At Srilekha she had two enemies who were bent upon separating her from Karthik. These two aunts tried to harm her every time she visited Srilekha but somehow she was lucky and kept escaping. 

The relation with Karthik became stronger day by day and Renu started looking much lovelier with a constant cheerful countenance. Karthik too loved her so much that he always held her close to him. Then suddenly a year ago at Tirumala it was destined that Renu should get separated from Karthik. It was an indirect attack on Renu. Karthik wept a lot, a little due to the pain of a tonsure and perhaps more as Renu was shrieking in agony. No one came forward to unite them. Renu was dragged away but she was not hurt. After that Renu lost contact with Karthik. 

Renu tried her best to forget Karthik but she could not. He was always in her heart reminding her of the wonderful times they had together. She comforted her agitated mind saying to herself ‘you are in Tirumala at the door step of God, keep praying and God shall reunite you with Karthik’. She never lost hope and that lucky day at the Reception Office she saw the requisition from Niranjan announcing Karthik’s visit to Tirumala. The next few days were a drag and a period of anxiety.   On 11th August, the day of Karthik’s arrival she positioned herself at the Reception Office. The moment she saw Karthik she was thrilled and met him. He had grown taller and become more handsome. Karthik too was happy; the moment she went to him he put his hand fondly on her head and stroked her head softly. 

But this happiness was not to last too long because the aunt from Srilekha noticed their reunion and was not happy. Some time after settling down in their Cottage, aunt Lalitha of Srilekha pulled Karthik towards her and separated Renu from him. This time Renu could not escape. Lalitha-aunty instead of letting Renu go away picked her up between her thumb nails and crushed her to death. 

MORAL: All love stories are not happy ones, some are like the lives of Louse.   

If the story appears offensive to you, I am really sorry. Please note that killing lice/louse is not a crime under any law in any country!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Surprise! Silver Anniversary Party!

I just returned from a surprise 25th marriage anniversary party hosted to Sunitha and Gopi. Sunitha is my sister-in-law, my wife’s sister. All are happy with the dinner party; it was very successful in every aspect and especially in the surprise element given to Sunitha and Gopi. Gopi being busy with the General Elections-09 was perhaps planning a party at a later date. In the meantime their eldest daughter Sravanthi who is in U.S.A. and is unable to come down has planned the party for her parents at Secunderabad through her cousin Dr. Sudheer. Dr. Sudheer is my nephew, my brother Dr. Lakshminarsu’s eldest son. Dr. Sudheer’s wife Dr. Lavanya took the entire responsibility of making arrangements for the party; that is selection of venue, menu, decorations etc. The anniversary is actually on Saturday, 25th April but it was decided to host the dinner today, on 26th April, as Sunday would be very convenient to all the guests.
The venue is in an exclusive banquet hall close to our house. About 15 families were invited telling them to keep the particulars of the party a secret from Mrs. & Mr. Gopi. Sunitha and Gopi were invited to the party by my brother stating that it is a get-together to celebrate Dr. Sudheer’s new Car procurement. The surprise was a big one for the couple, they came to know that it is their anniversary party only on entering the banquet hall and everyone started congratulating and wishing them the best!
PS: Sometime after posting the above blog I came to know of an anti-climax to the surprise element. I have learnt a lesson and I wanted all of you to know – never never invite persons who cannot keep secrets to surprise parties. I understand 7 hours prior to the party one of the invitees called up Sunitha to enquire about the evening party and the surprise was out to them. However we are all happy that the party went off very well.

What's So Funny!?

I like this photograph!
 and would like to collect as many 'Captions'
 as possible for it. Could you please contribute!
Thank you!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Our Family Deity.

Our family deity is Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy of Nampally Gutta. The temple is situated on a hill at Nampally village near Vemulawada in Karimnagar district. The temple is 145 Kms. from our residence at Paradise in Secunderabad. Sri Narasimha Swamy is an Avatar of Sri Vishnu and one of Hinduism's popular deities. He is in the form of half-man and half-lion. He has a human like torso and a lower body but with a lion-like face and claws. He is known as a great protector of his devotees. The purpose of his Avatar was to kill his devotee Prahalada's father Hiranyakashipu who was torturing his son for praying Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu had a boon that he cannot be killed by any God, man, animal, during day time or night, indoors or outdoors. Hence the Avatar of Sri Narasimha, half-man & half-lion. Hiranyakashipu is killed during twilight on the threshold of his house by placing him over his lap. Since the time of my forefathers, all their descendants, wherever they are, have prayed and continue to pray Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy of Nampally as their Ilavelpu/Kuladevatha and Ishta-daivam.
We sincerely pray at many temples of all Gods and Goddesses in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad on regular basis. We go on frequent pilgrimages to Yadagirigutta, Nacharam, Chilkur, Vargal, Mangalpalli, Warangal, Vemulawada and other nearby temples. We also visit Tirupati almost every year.  We have visited almost all other important temples in Andhra Pradesh more than once that is Bhadrachalam, Annavaram, Srisailam, Basara, Kalahasti, Kanipakam, Vijayawada, Mangalagiri, Kotappa konda, Simhachalam and many more temples in the State. We have also gone on pilgrimage to temples in other States like Madurai, Srirangam, Tanjore, Kanyakumari, Kancheepuram, Chidambaram, Thiruvananthapuram, Udipi, Kolkata, Varanasi, Badrinath, Puttaparthi, Shirdi etc. And also many other temples in places we have visited on holidays or for business. My youngest son Srinath who is in Birmingham visits the Tividale temple every week. All these temples in above places are of every known Hindu God and Goddess. We pray at all these places and fulfill our vows for receiving divine blessings.
However for some auspicious occasions we also have to compulsorily go to the shrine of our family deity and pray. This is a custom we learnt from our parents and they from their ancestors. In the good old days of our forefathers they travelled for miles and days by bullock-carts to reach Nampally and comply this tradition. We are very comfortable with personal transport these days but unfortunately we find it difficult to upkeep this tradition. Our visits to Nampally shrine are less frequent now; but compulsorily for the Kesha-kandana/Puttu-Ventrukalu/First haircut Ceremony of all male children in the family. The first five-locks of hair are cut by the child’s maternal uncle and then the head tonsured by a barber in the temple premises. A few locks of hair are placed in the temple Hundi. Our visits to the family deity have certainly reduced but Nampally Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy is always in our thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My hobbies and their status.

Since childhood, encouraged by my parents, on my own or the influence of friends, I picked up innumerable hobbies. I take great interest in each of them and enjoy them. Some of these hobbies have been a part of me from a very small age; some are picked just a few years ago and Blogging for instance just now - 4 days back. Some have been with me for years and then faded away for one reason or the other. I recollect my hobbies and their status here:

Stamp collection: While in 6th Standard and on a School excursion to Madras, I saw my friends buying stamps and bought a packet of 100 world stamps. On returning home my father showed me his huge collection of stamps which I have not seen before and his collection became mine. My contribution to the collection is less compared to my father’s. By virtue of his position in his company, every department in the Head Office collected stamps from Indian and foreign postal covers and passed them on to my father. Then, there are many stamps and First day covers we have bought from Postal department and authentic philatelic dealers in Bombay. With my DXing hobby I collected considerable stamps from various world radio stations. Exchanging stamps with friends was done very carefully. The collection is in thousands, it is invaluable and expanding at a very low rate now.

Coin and Currency notes collection: Fairly good collection. One large coin album and one medium size currency album. Mostly collected from my three trips abroad, my nephew Bablu’s trips abroad, brother’s foreign patients and bought from local Numismatic dealers.

Magic: While in middle school, started learning some tricks from books, tricks with glasses, coins, hankies and numbers but mostly with playing cards. My sister Hemalatha was my partner in demonstrating these tricks to friends and children all around and we loved their admiration. Later, after growing up I bought a number of books and video CDs mostly on playing card and coin tricks, bought a variety of card decks and practiced a lot. I know more than 100 card tricks and a few coin tricks. Most tricks look the same and all of the family, friends and acquaintances have already seen me performing at outdoor picnics or parties at home. Now I perform mostly for small children. Brother’s grand-daughter Sudhiksha and sister’s grandson Akhil are my regular audience and fans.

Reading: Started in school with story reading classes and books as gifts from daddy. Then the comics craze, Enid Blyton books, reading daddy’s collection of Perry Mason Novels, James Hadley Chase, Alistair McLain, Arthur Hailey, Somerset Maugham and read every novel that came my way. All this slowed down once I got a job. Then it got restricted to reading while traveling on official trips or when friends recommended a good book, gifted one or loaned one. Now it is plenty of magazines and three newspapers a day.

Entertaining: I consider most important dates, happenings and meetings in the family apt for small or large cerebrations. I ensure that such events occur often and in the best way possible. Invitees are normally appreciative of the care we take for the all round success of these parties.

Cooking: Took to this hobby after marriage. Enjoy preparing a variety of Indian and International dishes, once or twice a week. I have a good collection of cookery books and many downloaded cookery ebooks & recipes. All my preparations are with proven recipes and with assistance from my wife Lalitha handing over the ingredients & other preparatory work. Apart from normal cooking I am quite successful with baking, grilling, microwave cooking, vegetable carving etc. At every party I have a few preparations of mine; which are sincerely appreciated.

DXing: I have pursued this hobby for 5 years while at engineering college where we had a communication receiver set and during vacations from a 5-Band Jhankar Radio at home, with a special outdoor antenna built by me. Established contact with over 60 International radio stations after listening to their programs. Once out of college this hobby came to an end. As certificates; I have QSL Cards, membership cards and letters of correspondence from all these Radio stations.

Photography: Have been handling cameras from a young age and was interested in collecting family photographs, and arranging them in albums. Grew up handling a Kodak box camera to Auto-focus camera to SLR/Digital cameras. As you know; with digital cameras the hobby is easy and inexpensive. It has become a regular activity for me now.

Gardening: With a large portion of our garden lost to the Government in Road widening, we are only left with a small area for gardening. There are just about 70 ornamental and flowering plants and 8 trees and a gigantic flowering creeper encompassing the house. I am busy every morning for about half an hour in taking care of the garden.

Games: Played cricket, Table-tennis and Shuttle badminton for about 16 years. Played for KCC (Kothagudem Cricket Club) of Singareni Collieries for 2 years in various inter colliery and district matches. Now all this has stopped. However I love watching all quality sports and games on TV.

Computer activities: Spending too much time on this activity now. Even when I am not at the computer the poor thing is downloading something for the entire family round the clock.

Walking : A short, 5-day routine every week but at times I skip for days with childish reasons coming from me or my wife who accompanies me.

Other hobbies are watching TV – mostly News and English movies, listening to music, shopping, eating out, long car rides and annual short outstation holidays.

However one hobby that became an obsession of my sons Srikanth and Srinath from their childhood to their college and even now when they are employed has never interested me. You can easily guess! As children it was initially video games on TV, then Computer games and now PlayStation games!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Anxious to vist Bhadrachalam!

Photo @ the time of Bhadrachalam-bridge inauguration by the President of India Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan:  My father Sri. N. Bhaskarachary is greeting the Presidnet with Namaste, as he is being introduced. Others in the photo are Sri. K. Brahmananda Reddy, Chief Minister of AP State, Sri. J.V. Narsing Rao, Dy. Chief Minister & Minister Sri. G. Venkataswamy.
Early next month, 90 members from our family circle including me will be leaving Secunderabad for Burgampahad and Bhadrachalam to attend one of my nephews wedding ceremony. The bride is from Burgampahad and hence the marriage is taking place there. Many of you would know Bhadrachalam because of Sree Seetha Ramachandra Swamy Temple, Lord Rama’s fervent devotee Bhakta Ramadasu and two very grand annual celebrations there, Vykunta Ekadasi and Sree Rama Navami Brahmotsavams. We would be travelling by two buses, a distance of 330 Kms., to Bhadrachalam, passing through Kothagudem which is at 290 Kms., and Burgampahad at 324 Kms. Burgampahad is on the right bank of river Godavari and 6 Kms.  away, is Bhadrachalam on the left bank. There is a long bridge over the river connecting these towns. Our trip is of two days and all members are looking forward to this event as a combination of happy wedding celebrations and pilgrimage to Bhadrachalam.
For me, my brother and my sister this trip is nostalgic and of great interest. This is a re-union with familiar places, familiar people   and familiar language. We were associated with the nearby town of Kothagudem for over 27 years. The railway station at Kothagudem is called ‘Bhadrachalam Road Railway Station’ because this is the last railway station en-route to Bhadrachalam town. One has to alight here and proceed to the pilgrim town by road. My father worked for the H.E.H. The Nizams Railway and the Govt. of India, Central Railway, for 16 years and then joined ‘The Singareni Collieries Company Limited’ at Kothagudem as Chief Industrial Relations and Personnel Officer. I was born at Secunderabad soon after my parents shifted to Kothagudem. So I was named Raghu, after one of the names of Lord Rama - the presiding deity at nearby Bhadrachalam, which is Raghu Rama. Raghu is great-grandfather of Rama and a great emperor, conqueror, and a righteous person, so popular was he that though Rama belongs to the Ikshvaku dynasty, he is said to belong to the Raghuvamsha (dynasty) and hence Raghu Rama. My sister was born few years later at Kothagudem. Brother and I had primary school education at Kothagudem and my sister, her entire education up to graduation there. While pursuing our middle, high school education at Secunderabad and professional courses at Manipal in Karnataka, brother and I used to come home during vacations and visit Bhadrachalam at least twice or thrice every year. Before the construction of the bridge over Godavari at Bhadrachalam we used to go to Burgampahad by road and from there to Bhadrachalam by Steamer - a sixty seater motorized ferry, when the water levels are high. If the water levels were low, we used to go from Burgampahad to some sandy surface point in the middle of the wide river in a row boat and from there to Bhadrachalam by Steamer over deeper waters. 
These places fall in Khammam district, the most beautiful land in Telangana area. The land is very fertile here with greenery everywhere. Part of Dhandakaranya – a large forest area is in this district. There are beautiful lakes like Kinnerasani, Wyra and Palair. Mighty rivers Godavari and Shabari flow here. Beautiful Eastern Ghats dot the landscape and are more prominent at Papikondalu with Godavari flowing amidst the hills. Thousands of tourists visit Papikondalu, Bhadrachalam and Parnashala.  Industries are plenty, about 1/3rd of the States coal mining production and power generation is from here.
Having said so much of this place it would not be proper if I do not write of some unpleasant conditions here, so I would just mention two. Summers are very severe here, the saying goes that along Godavari one doesn’t require fuel to cook food, the sand on river banks is so hot that it is enough to cook anything. You would see well- built, handsome, armed policemen everywhere. This is to counter the Naxalite movement which started here decades ago, thrived and has now spread into the neighboring States of Orissa and Chhattisgarh.  
Several years ago we all shifted back to Secunderabad, the native place of my parents, the native place of my paternal and maternal grandfathers and the native place of my father’s maternal grandfather. But our attachment and love for Kothagudem and its surrounding places never diminished and we continue to visit these places, friends and acquaintances, though fewer times and at longer intervals. We are once again emotionally charged up and are eagerly looking forward to the forthcoming trip.
P.S. You may click on the following link to reach several of my photo-articles / blog posts on Kothagudem, Singareni Collieries, Bhadrachalam, Godavari River, Parnashala, Kinnerasani and Papikondalu:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

God save us from rogue politicians and rogue TV Channels.

Thank God! The last phase of election campaigning in Andhra Pradesh has come to an end today at 5PM. Never before the election campaign was so long, so fierce, so noisy and so obscene. Road shows became fashion of the day, causing problems to traffic, traders and to the mobs that were mobilized to please the politicians and their politically worthless movie stars.  For votes; for power, principles were sacrificed, arch rivals have come together, enemies have become friends, sincere party workers interests were sacrificed, all possible manipulations were done by these proven treacherous leaders. Ignoring the installed power capacities or the power borrowing capacities of the State, tallest promises of free power, assured continuous power and so on have been made.  Rice at Rs.2/- a Kg., Oil and food grains package at an unbelievable low price, free LPG gas, free Medicare, free TVs, free education form KG to PG, employment to each and every person whether educated or not, free monthly Cash to various classifications of poor families in multiples of thousands of Rupees, free land of 2 acres or 5 acres to all the landless farmers and the poor, free this, free that, free everything. I wonder how all this would be possible, God save the State from bankruptcy.  All this, and politicians jumping from one party to another for greed, every  politician invariably  making accusations against each other every time they open their mouth, political parties making their spokespersons specially  their  female spokespersons speak in harsh and filthy language created an unbearable scenario in the State during the last three months. All this was brought to every house by the various ‘Private TV-Telugu News Channels’ that have mushroomed, in minutest details and by discussions, noisy debates, jokes, cartoons and their own twisted, perverted and biased comments to please their political bosses and irritate the viewers.  Now that the final polling is coming to a close I hope the politicians and specially the TV News channels will  mellow down and learn to behave decently until the results are announced and thereafter. May our politicians behave decently, behave responsibly and offer good governance and bring all-round prosperity to the State.  And God save us from the irresponsible, ill-reporting ‘Private Telugu-TV News channels’!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Praying for rains!

This summer; and specially today, Hyderabad is very hot. This climate will last until about 20th June and there is no doubt about it. This situation makes me desire and pray for frequent summer showers and cool breeze! The very thought is so pleasant and refreshing!

On a breezy morning…

On a breezy morning, Amidst plants and flowers, As the Sun was rising, The feeling was joyous! Happily as we strolled, Pic...