Thursday, April 26, 2007

Should I?

I some times feel dejected and feel I should not be working so much. Nobody cares about your work, in fact!

Then, there are the others who worked without letup even when they were not expected to. This Mr. Ramachandra Rao, whom I could call a friend was one like that. He was 95.

He went to the publishing house, collected some addresses and was making a mail packet when he collapsed. He was taken to the hospital and he found his way from there to the promised land. Never to come back.

A few days before that we spoke on the phone. I told him that translation of his book is finished and asked him to send some one to collect the same. I also asked for the money. He owed mw a lot. He asked me how much I should get. I said that he knows it better. He said he will come personally to take the book and also perhaps settle the account. Usually he used to kind of make an appointment and used to be really on time. This time he said he will come at six in the evening. Never mentioned the day. I will now wait till he comes.

This man was a great soul. There were not more than 20 people in the memorial meeting. Those who spoke never really knew him well. May be Subbarayan and me were the exceptions. Mr. Bharadwaja, the organiser was of course an exception beyond my imagination. He was the only man feeling bad about the departure of the person.

I feel bad that a man like Ramachandra Rao is not cared for. Nobody knows him. The erudition and the scholarship. The diligence in whatever he did, at the age of 95 was a model for dull heads like me. At that age Rao was still writing and producing the video documentaries as seriously or more seriously as a young man. It is a paradox. I struggle and do all the things that I am doing now. When I die like Mr. Rao and everyone else, no one mourns. I am not talking about my family and friends. I am talking about the world which considers me as a writer and creator of mental material etc. The question is, should I not bother about any one noticing and patting on my back, and continue to do my thing? Should I give up now because it is all of no consequence? I am in affix!

Do we do things because we want to do them? Do we do things because the world will notice and appreciate us? It is both. You do your thing and feel relieved. You have to do it! It urges you to come out with it, the idea! Then, if others notice and say a good word about your effort you will be doubly happy. Simple! This appreciation is the force that drives all the endeavors in this world. I remember the dialogues in the Telugu stage drama Keertiseshulu. The protagonist is a stage artist. He is left in the lurch in the hour of need. He talks about what kept him stuck to the acting. People clap because of the excellence in his present performance. The dialogue then is about the claps. He says these claps of people made him to continue as a performer.

When in esnips I find that many people are coming and seeing my collection of books and music etc. I feel I should do much more there. The same goes with my site on tripod. Why am I doing these things? Not because I know computers or internet. Because people will see what I feel and what I do!

I am at a loss! May be I will quit all the activity and turn my energy to some thing more useful Definitely not to me! It should be useful to people!

Once again the problem starts. Do people appreciate what I do there either?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Vegetables in your family

I was having food with both my children, when I recollected this anology from childhood. I am sure it was my father who told it to us then.

It is said there are vegetables in your family.

Vegetables in the Family

A son is a cucumber.
He can be and will be useful in many ways.
Cucumber can be eaten raw, made into a chutney with some salt and pepper even without cooking. It can be also made into salad, curry, sambar, pickle and many more things. It is for the father to make proper use of the son. After all it is the father who trains him.

The daughter is a Brinjal.
It can not be eaten raw.
You have to make a little effort to make it eatable.
A little bit of spices and it becomes so tatsty that you will forget all the other vegetables. It can be added to any other vegetable and cooked too. Many dishes can be made with it.
Father or the mother has to keep the daughter in good humor. Then she will be better than even the son.
The daughter is as good as you are. If you are cold. She will be cold too.

The daughter -in-law is a bitter gourd.
Whatever you do to enhace it's taste, the bitterness still remains.
Not that it is not tasty. It is! But, a lot of effort is needed to make it tasty.
You have to like it along with the bitterness.

Do I have to add that this is all old thinking. This also essentially Indian thinking. But, pray tell me has the story changed?

Friday, April 6, 2007

RVR - A great man

I did not know Prof. RVR Chandra Sekhara Rao so very much.
He was the Vice Chancellor of Ambedkar Open University. May be that time it was only AP Open University.
One day I went there to record a lesson.
Paradox, all the other days people used to come to us to record things, all kinds of things. I was not very particular about teaching Zoology without the benefit of seeing my students. I had already burnt my fingers in trying to teach.
The recording was over.
Then, my good Friend Umapati Varma proposed that I see their VC.
I was not very serious.
He was after all a great educationalist and an expert in many things. Apart from paying my respects what could I talk to him?
I was surprised that he already knew me. Great people are like that, I thought.
After a couple of minutes of talking he got up from his office chair and came and settled on a couch. I think that is indication to his staff that he was in no mood to see office matters. No one came in after that.

I really do not remember wht we talked on that day.

When departing as a courtesy I said " I have perhaps, wasted your valuable time."
"No. It Was Satsangam. ( A good meeting with good discussion)" he said.
I was dumbstruck.

later whenever he came to our office on any kind of work. he used to make it a point to say hello to me. He was a great and VIP kind of man. Me, a fledgling of an officer. He showed a brotherly love towards me.

On one of those days when he visited me in my room, I was seeing an electronic encyclopaedia on the computer. Being an old timer he was not much aware of computer and the things related. When I told about the content of the CD he was delighted like a child. He asked me hundred questions. I took pleasure in showing him my possession. You have some thing, that excites a famous and knowledgeable man! He was almost child like when exploring the things on the CD.

I vividly remember his asking about the painting " Last Supper of Jesus". May be, he was reading about it or was very serious about painting in general.
Interestingly, the painting was available in the encyclopaedia. To my surprise Dr. Rao became an encyclopaedias and started reeling out facts about that painting in particular and painting in general. He told about the number of people originally painted in it and told that a man's picture is deliberately removed from it. If you look into the picture, you really see a gap there. The history of the picture mentions about retouching or restoration, but not about this fact.

Leaving aside the matter I was impressed by the interest and the enthusiasm Dr Rao showed on that day. Such enthusiasm becomes contagious. you cant help being impressed. We spent a lot of time that day with the Encyclopaedia.

I left Hyderabad. Dr Rao left India. He was the chief of an international organisation with HQ in Canada. I came back to Hyderabad. He also came back to Hyderabad. It is not a wonder if I remember him. Interestingly he remembered me. He came to our office. I never knew that he was to come. He came all the way to my room in the office looking for me, and was asking my PA for permission to see me. I was stunned when he walked in. He spoke to me with the same child like enthusiasm. He enquired what was I reading those days. He remembered that I read. He was carrying an interesting book. He promised to pass it on to me once he is finished with it.

I was thrilled to know that such a great man considers me a man worth talking to.

I am a useless fellow. I did not even to bother to keep in touch with such a nice man! Where is he now? I saw the painting "Last supper" and immediately Dr Rao came to my mind.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

It is not my work!

Managers understand this. Workers would understand it much better.
I have been a manager myself.
That too in a Governmant department.
All the appointment orders carry a sentence " any other work assigned from time to time" at the end of the work you are expected to do.
In spite of that we keep saying " It is not my job!"

There is a beautiful story narrated to me by my good friend Late sri Mallik ( B.Mallikarjuna Rao) about this problem.

Read it and use it if possible.

The Palanquin bearers.

Once there was a rich man. Since there were no cars in those days, he had a palanquin and four people to carry it around.
The rich man also had a big herd of cattle.
One day the most favourite cow of the rich man was lost.
The rich man asked the palanquin bearers to go in search of the cow.
May be he has sent the cowherd already.
Our friends, the palanquin bearers, like the employees of the present days said

పల్లకి మోయుట మా పనిగానీ ఆవును వెదుకుట మా పనిగాదని బోయీలనిరి.
" Our work is to carry the palanquin and not searching the lost cows."
The rich man promptly asked for the palanquin to be made ready and started the search himself.
Do I have to say that the bearers were carrying him?