Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bhadrachala Ramadasu is being remembered today as never before!

Sri Kancharla Gopanna (1620-1680 A.D.) is popularly known as Bhadrachala Ramadasu and Bhakta Ramadasu. He was a great Vaggeyakara who transformed the Bhadrachalam Temple in Khammam District of Telangana State into a divine abode.  Vaggeyakara - a Telugu word means a person who not only composes the lyrics but also sets them to music (vak = word, speech; geya = singing, singable; geyakara = singer). His devotional lyrics to Lord Rama are famous in South Indian classical music as Ramadasu keertanalu. He also wrote Dasarathi Shatakam with the allonym of Dasarathee Karunaa Payonidhi (Rama, the Ocean of Compassion), a collection of nearly 108 poems. Today is his birth anniversary and close to his native place Nelakondapalle in Khammam District of Telangana State; a Lift Irrigation Project named after him as Bhakta Ramadasu Lift Irrigation Scheme (BRLIS) is inaugurated by the State Chief Minister, Sri K. Chandrashekar Rao. This project has been completed in a record time of 11 months, to irrigate 60,000 acres of land in the District. The people of the State and in particular of Khammam District are extremely happy. All Telangana State Newspapers and TV channels are full of this news with details of the project, today’s inauguration and Ramadasu’s birthday celebrations. I too am very happy as I have a long association of 28 years with places in Khammam District (now Khammam District plus Bhadradri Kothagudem District), especially with Kothagudem and Bhadrachalam, the temple town.
The life story of Ramadasu is known to all Telugu people and to all those who have visited Sri Sita Ramachandra Swamy Temple at Bhadrachalam. All lovers of Carnatic music who have listened to his Keertanalu would also know about him. The great Thyagaraja when he was young was singing the songs of Bhadrachala Ramadasu at the temples in Tanjore and he also praised the devotion of Ramadasu in several of his Kritis.
For those who have not heard of him, here is his life in short. As I mentioned above he was born at Nelakondapalle in 1620 A.D. not far from Bhadrachalam. He was a great devotee of Lord Sri Rama from his childhood. In his sixteenth year Lord Rama appeared in his dream and blessed him. At that time one by name Tammala Dammakka found the self-appeared idols of Sita, Rama, Lakshmana and Hanuman at Bhadrachalam (it was known as Bhadragiri then) and she provided a small shelter for them for worship. Kancharla Gopanna as Ramadasu was known then became a devotee there and dedicated his life to the service of the Lord. He got initiated into Vasishnavism by Raghunatha Bhattacharya, a great devotee. He got married and entered the Revenue Service under the Ruler of Hyderabad as Tahsildar of Palvancha. Bhadrachalam is near Palvancha and was under his administration. While attending to his duties his attention was mostly in gathering devotees, singing bhajans and offering prayer and puja to Lord Sri Rama at the temple. He was so immersed in these activities that while he was once busy in feeding the devotees, his son fell into a gruel-pit and lost his life. But the Lord heard the prayers of Ramadasu and the boy regained life.
It is said that the great Saint-singer Sant Kabirdas visited Ramadasu and was immensely pleased with his devotion. Kabir blessed him with Taraka Mantra which made Ramadasu sing in ecstasy on the glory of Lord Sri Rama. Ramadasu spent the State revenues amounting to Rupees six lakhs for building a grand temple and for costly jewellery to the idols at Bhadrachalam and for beautification of the premises without permission. For this reason, the King – Tani Shah imprisoned Ramadasu in the historical Golconda fort (which is in Hyderabad). Even in jail, Ramadasu sang sankeertanas that moved the heart of Lord Sri Rama, Who appeared before Tani Shah along with His brother Lakshmana in disguise, paid the money and got Ramadasu released. The jewellery that Ramadasu provided is still with the Temple at Bhadrachalam and the Golconda fort where Ramadasu was imprisoned is visited by several tourists even today.
Ramadasu spent the rest of his life in total surrender and dedication to Lord Sri Rama, singing keertanas with appealing music, heart moving verbose and sublime thoughts. Bhadrachala Ramadasu lived for 60 years and attained kaivlaya in 1680.
The project inaugurated today on his birthday and with his name for it has once again brought forth his life story and along with it prosperity to the farmers of Khammam district and in general to the entire Telangana State.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Wishing a Happy 68th Republic Day!

Happy Republic Day!
Enjoy Your Holiday,
As you please; the entire day!
Start the day;
Watching flag hoisting ceremony,
And the might of our military,
And the great cultural shows,
And the wonderful tableaus!
At our National Capital,
And at your State Capital,
Or in your Town or City,
Remember our heroes,
The great leaders,
And our brave soldiers,
And pray for prosperity,
And peace of our Country.
- N. Raghu.
Happy Republic Day!
- N. Lalitha Raghu.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wow! Unbelievable! Hyderabad is ranked No.5 in the world!

I am astonished and happy to learn that Hyderabad has been ranked as the fifth most dynamic city in the world. This is according to the City Momentum Index (CMI) - 2017, drawn up by a professional services and investment management firm JLL, operating all over the world from its headquarters in London. JLL is a public company whose leaders are committed to creating value for their clients and shareholders. And this report is prepared by them for the World Economic Forum. According to this report six cities of India are among the top 30 in a list of over 150 cities around the world. Bengaluru is No. 1 city followed by Hyderabad at No. 5 and then it is Pune at No. 13, Chennai at No. 17, Delhi at No. 23 and Mumbai at No. 25. CMI is not a measure of the ‘best’ cities in which to invest. It is intended to identify change and highlight which cities or metropolitan areas may be the best at positioning themselves to compete in today’s ever-changing economic landscape.
Hyderabad’s innovation and technology are said to be the key factors for its high position in the rankings. Major factors that characterize the world’s most dynamic cities, apart from technology and innovation, are the ability of cities to absorb, adapt and leverage. It is reported that over 42 variables from the cities were examined. In this study; forty percent weightage was given to socio-economic factors – GDP, population, air passengers, corporate headquarters and foreign direct investment. And thirty percent weightage was given to commercial real estate momentum, which encompasses changes related to construction, rents and investment etc. Environment, housing and livability are additional factors.
All this information and the result surprise me because on daily basis I see and read of several problems in our twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The most prominent being bad roads and chaotic traffic which causes unpredictable delays, tremendous dust and pollution all around us and very poor public conveyance to name a few. Yet we are the fifth most dynamic city in the world ahead of great cities in Europe and USA! And obviously I am astonished and at the same time very happy and proud of my city.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sankranti Festival – 2017.

On this happy occasion of Sankranti Festival, 
I wish you and your family, happiness, prosperity, good health, success and peace.
-N. Raghu.  
సంక్రాంతి శుభాకాంక్షలు
Wish you all a very Happy Sankranti

-N. Lalitha Raghu.

Friday, January 13, 2017

My Grandson, Ch. Atharv’s First Birthday Party.

We celebrated the first birthday of our grandson, Ch. Atharv on this day last month. He was born on 13th December 2015. The Birthday Party was an extremely happy occasion for us and all our near and dear.
I remember happily holding my two sons small and wonderful and I remember playing with them, but most of those times are very vague now. Today my wife, and I as a semi-retired person are having a wonderful time with our grandson, we are enjoying every moment with him with no other priority work. This is also because my son and daughter-in-law are employed.  We obviously love our sons and they are close to our heart but our grandson is much closer, virtually cuddled to our heart! God bless him kindly and richly.
Due to the wedding season or whatever, the photographers took time to deliver the photos to us, and here they are…a few pictures and a video of more photographs and another short video filmed by us. It is so wonderful that these days we can record copiously so many happy moments, to remember forever and share with all loved ones. You may see these and bless our grandson. Thank you.

Musical Video of Photographs:

Camcorder Video:

Monday, January 9, 2017

With these swords we fight and feel like Samurai warriors!

At the outset I offer my sincere apologies to the great Samurai warriors for using their name in this article which is about our war against disease. I have read about Samurai warriors and watched a number of movies about them and I have great fascination and respect for them. In this article, simply to emphasize how we are taking care of our family almost on daily basis I am making a comparison with the Samurai fighters. I request fans of Samurai warriors not to take offence.
Our house is close to a huge lake, Hussain Sagar, the banks of which are a big breeding ground for mosquitoes. The plants, trees and stagnant water en-route and in surrounding buildings aggravates mosquito menace in our area. To prevent mosquitoes from invading our house we have all our windows covered with washable nylon net mesh. Because of this mosquitoes cannot enter our house through the windows but as and when we open the main entrance door or the one to the backyard however briefly; few mosquitoes manage to enter the house. Using the very pungent chemical mosquito and insect spray in the entire room or rooms to get rid of one or two mosquitoes and keeping the room shut for several hours until the smell fades off is not to our liking. Tortoise mosquito repellent coils are also not to our liking as they too are smelly and let off too much smoke. Instead we use the electric plug-in mat and liquid mosquito repellents 24X7 in all rooms though they are not very efficient. Sometimes we have a feeling that the mosquitoes in our area are becoming immune to these repellents.
Now and then we find a mosquito or a family of theirs hovering around us or in front of the PC or TV screen or when we hear their buzzing sound we use the electrically charged mosquito rackets or swatters you see in the bottom two pictures. All that we have to do is waive these rackets like the Katanas of the Samurai; directly against the mosquitoes or blindly in the air and it is instantaneous death to the mosquitoes…just a flash and crackle and it is total incineration of the enemy.
All members of our family have become experts in the use of our modern Katanas and enjoy using them and feel like Samurai warriors! Time has not yet come for us to wear the attire and armour of the Samurai; to combat this dangerous enemy! And hope it will never.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

With lots of love to Grandma!

With lots of love to Grandma,
From Me and Grandpa,
‘A big Seer’!
Ultimately for the family to savor!
- Atharv
(Atharv-My grandson, the boy in the attached pictures)

P.S. Seer is a very delicious Sea Fish. It is known as Vanjaram here in Telangana and also in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In Kerala it is known as Neymeen. Apart from being very delicious, in whichever way it is cooked, it is a fish with hardly any bones. It is a popular fish and naturally among the costliest.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

It Is Official, You Don’t Have To Pay Service Charges At Restaurants!

So, next time you go out for lunch or dinner, have your food and check your bill. It’s very likely that you won’t find a ‘Service Charge’ in it. If you do, tell the restaurant staff that it is no longer valid. The Central Government has made it optional for the consumers. This means that if you don’t want to pay the additional ‘Service Charge”, added to the ‘Service Tax’, you don’t have to do it.
The Department of Consumer Affairs in a notification yesterday, 2nd January 2017, asked the States and Union Territories to “Advise the Hotels and Restaurants to disseminate information through display at appropriate places in Hotels and Restaurants that the ‘Service Charges’ are discretionary and voluntary and a consumer dissatisfied with the services can have it waived off”.
The move came in the wake of a number of complaints that Hotels and Restaurants are following the practice of charging ‘Service Charge’ in the range of 5-20 percent, in lieu of Tips, which a consumer is forced to pay irrespective of the kind of service provided to him.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Wish You A Very Happy And Prosperous New Year 2017!

May this New Year brings you peace filled life, warmth and togetherness in your family and much prosperity! Happy New Year! – N. Raghu.
May this New Year provide you with good luck, good health, good fortune and good times! Happy New Year! – N. Lalitha Raghu.
* * * * *
The attached photographs are of our New Year Eve Party, a very modest one this year…in the absence of many family members and relatives. However we saw to it that we happily bid good bye to 2016 and welcomed 2017 in high spirits. 

To keep you amused on this first day of the New Year; especially family and friends, here are some LINKS to News and Fancy Dress Photographs of us; from some of our many extremely Happy New Year’s Eve parties! At Srilekha, our house…those were the times when our house used to be full with all family members and relatives, filled with laughter. Today we have a granddaughter and a grandson making up for all happiness of those large get-togethers of those years. These “TWENTY THREE LINKS” will open up to hundreds of memorable and colourful photographs; I hope you will be happy to see them: 

Incredible Coincidence!

784533 - This is a number known to our family since 1980. It is a number we all had to remember then and even today, with of cou...