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.