It was the midsummer in South India, where I resided most of my life. That was a small town, where beach gives cool breeze. But the summer was as hot as any part of the state. The sun was blazing in the sky, yet, I was enjoying the cool of the day in that old Police Inspector’s Bungalow. They were built long back when British were ruling the country. They have bulky stone walls, and with sun proof Bengal tiles, the ceiling was too high, with teak logs from one end of the wall to the other. The doors were so big and there was no dearth of light or for fresh air.
Our Bungalow was in the middle of vast green compound, with grassy land. There were five variety of Mango trees. The fruits were of rare veriety, like, Suvarna Rekha, Bangina palli, Rasaalu, (Ataulfo) Keitt, and Kent etc..
My room was on one end of the bungalow, where I used to spend so many hours in reading, painting, or while listening to the radio. There was a table fan, on my table, chair, and a cozy bed with a mosquito net to evade any crickets or mosquitoes in the nights. I had an attached bath room with large container called water drum, which was filled with water to its brim by the ‘orderly’ a police constable to work in our home.
My dad got a carpenter to build a book shelf (which is with me still with me in my home) for me and I filled it with full of English Novels of Pearl.S. Buck, Thomas hardy, A.J. Cronin, Denis Robins etc, and books of Telugu literature, and Novels of Muppalla Ranganaayakamma, Malathi Chandhur, Chalam, Viswanaatha Satyanarayana, etc. those were classical novels, except a few romantic novels of Denis Robins, where the heroin was all ways stunningly beautiful, but from a poor back ground comparing to the back ground of the hero. The story would rotate around the theme how the hero woos her to love her and win her in spite of her moody rejections and hurdles at the end of the story.
Now a day’s many modern novelists like Yadhanapudi Sulochana rani and Yandramudi Veerendhra Nath were just imitators of these novels, as the present Telugu readers could be easily deceived thinking that these are the best ones as they never read Denis Robins etc..
Of course most of our lives are just imitations of others, and imitating the plots of others also need skill and talent sometimes.
I used to have some bounded novel books, which were published in weekly magazines, which were cut off and collected and bounded into books. I used to enjoy my lonely hours in my room; there were strict orders from me that no one should disturb me by entering into my room without tapping on the door and asking for my permission to enter into it. My family used to treat me as a princess of the house. I enjoy being alone with my books.
I used to have a very close friend Radha; we used to talk hours together without any subject of concrete nature. We were so comfortable in each presence. No hard feelings or envy, harsh words in our friendship. Three years were friends, from 1970-1973, in Kakinada, A.S.D Women’s Government College.
Sometimes we both go to movies, sometimes to different isolated spots where the lush of green trees, with beautiful sceneries. Or vast Reservoir water basin bed was our solo picnic spots. The long drones of sandy beach were one of our favorite spots. Those were the days of no fear, people used to respect each other, no fear of the girls to travel alone, people used to respect the girls who were studying in college. We enjoyed full freedom of life, the life was secure, no threatening incidents anywhere as it is now in 2013, where fear of fellow beings is prevailing all the time.
We both used to take mango pieces with salt and chilli powder, and coconut white pieces in a box to eat on the banks of these Reservoir water banks, or a small pool of water in those lush green spots. We both liked to discuss the Telugu literature and go to the Town Hall Library to study and write assignments for the class projects. Srungara Neishadam of Srinaadhudu, Bhagavatham of Bammera Pothana, Classical works of Nannaya, Thikkana, Yerra pragada along with Appakaviyam, Chandhassu, Bala vyakaranam, and Prouda Vyakaranam, Gurram Joshua, Vemana were our topics to discuss and debate.
We never missed our Telugu Literature. Our lecturers used to teach us well, they were the experts of the subjects. and so we never miss the literature classes. I studied, the Modern Poetry and Old poetry in my English classes along with Macbeth, and As you like it of Shakespeare, St. Joan, Boswell, Macaulay, Kim, Twentieth century essays, and many more books. We never feel like missing even one single class except some non detailed classes which were so boring as the lecturers were too.
Besides we studied European History which was my favorite subject, The Indian History was taught by some boring lecturer, and that never gripped my attention. Economics was the subject I found not so very interested except the Banking section. Teachers were all that made us to be interested in the subjects. The better the teaching the better was my interest in the classes and the subject.
My friend Radha took ‘Music’ to learn the instrument VEENA, instead of Economics, only in these classes we were away from each other in the college premises. Radha had not of much liking for English subject too, so I used to allow her to sit at the back of the rows, while I used to select a seat in the front line of the class to listen to the lectures intensely.
There used to be one Mrs. Babu Rao ( Nirmala) as our neighbor in our bungalows) her husband was also a Police Inspector,. She used to full fill the place of my beloved aunty Kanthamani, whom I lost in touch with after she got married and left our home. So I used to see my aunty in her, and used to visit her on my way back home from college. She too was very fond of novels and we both used to exchange many books between us. she used to have a small little baby girl, and when she was crying, one day , Radha and me named her as Chitti babu Veena ragam, saying that she is crying like that. We used to name every one and used to giggle a lot. Giggling was our hobby most of the time.
There is a Railway Station (Town) near our houses, so we both catch the Diesel train, to go to college. The Driver of that train was a father of another friend who lived at the Port Railway Station. Her name was Mano Ranjitha, who used to sing so well. Once she invited me to her church on one special event , there she sang a Telugu Song, Naa loni prema jyothini velunga neeyumaa.. prajali ke..” That was the first solo song that I ever heard in my life for the Lord Jesus Christ. I was so enchanted by that song and filled my heart with unknown peace. Later I asked her for the lyrics of that song tried to learn it at home, with her help, and I believe I could sing it. Its a favorite song of mine, even now.
We used to college in a Diesel train, the driver was the father of my friend Mano Ranjitha, as he knows me very well, he used to stop the train for me to embark it whenever I was a little bit late to catch it. Even when he saw me on the other side of the rail track he used to stop it for me till I cross the track right in front of the train, and used to wait till I got into it. I used to feel very proud to have a driver uncle.
More than two years, Radha and me used to travel in that train, and then reach the Port Rail way station and disembark; from there we used to walk a little distance to reach the bank of a small canal of the sea. There we used to get in a small Theppa..(