POEMS OVER 50 YEARS – Book review on “Maruteeyam”

The book is an anthology of poems penned by eminent writer, actor and litterateur Gollapudi Maruthi Rao over fifty years. In varied moods, flavours and moments, they capture the poets’ mindset. Being familiar with almost all the literary genres and cultural trends, Maruthi Rao is uniquely positioned to comment on society and life in contemporary society. Though Telugu people have long been familiar with Maruthi Rao as a playwright, dialogue writer and scriptwriter for films, columnist, television show host, this book introduces readers to the poet in him. The poems reflect his democratic and humanist leanings, as well as his love for Telugu culture. Take for instance his poem Sampadakuniko lekha , in which the poet writes to an editor seeking his help in tracing out the missing young girl ‘Vibhava’ (name of the year) who may have got lost in the concrete jungle and cannot find her way back as she cant see any of the familiar signs and landmarks –mango trees, the muggu in front of the houses! The collection poems on Love, Hospitals, Spring, Ugadi, Freedom, Flowers, Songs. Maruthi Rao has also attempted some Haikus.

-The Hindu, 15th Mar 2013

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Stories and Essays- Book review on “Pellala Puli”

The Book is a compilation of 8 fictional stories and 31 essays. The essays were published earlier in magazines and ezines. The essays deal with various topics like ‘The book that changed me’, Atheism and rationalism’, one lost faith in caste and found it in food!’ naxalites and gated communities, optimism, and many more. The tone is personal, and untrospective.

—Hindu News paper, Friday, 14th Feb 2014


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The Musical Genius of Sri Adibhatla Narayana Dasu

Apart from being a distinguished Harikatha Bhagavatar, Sri Adibhatla Narayana Dasu was a versatile genius Musician, Litterateur, Linguist etc., and he excelled in everything that he laid his hand on. He was also an accomplished Vainika, Poet and a great Composer with a tremendous command over Laya aspects and his contribution to music was colossal, being reflected in his works and compositions. Music and Literature were like his two eyes and he was a staunch believer and follower of the definition of ‘Gandharva Veda’ – ‘gitam vadyam cha nrityam trayam sangita muchyate’. Further he also felt that ‘Sangitam’ is ‘Samyak Gitam’ and ‘Sruti’ and ‘Laya’ are the most important elements of music as connotated in ‘Srutir mata Layah pita’.
His practical goal was to follow the theory ‘Sabharanjakam Sangitam’ (Music is that which entertains the audience). Since Harikatha was a rich and comprehensive, consummate Art with equal importance for all its component arts of singing, dancing, composing, narrating, literature etc., Narayana Dasu made Harikatha his way of life and contributed immensely to all the aspects of the arts underlying it. He has the credit of having given shape and direction to the Art of Harikatha in Andhra Pradesh. He was an adept in Ata (Dance), Pata (Song), Mata (Talk) and Mita (Pluck) and hardly had any parallel to him. A jack and master of all Arts, he impressed the learned and the lay alike in all the fields of art he had delved into.
While his accomplishments were several in the various fields he had mastered, a focus on his life and contribution as a Harikathaka, Musician, Composer and Guru unearths an interesting view of his Genius and reveals to us the invaluable inputs he had added to the rich treasure of Carnatic Music. He had not only composed in several popular and rare Raga-s and Tala-s, but composed some really unique and exquisite musical works, never seen or heard before and some forms he had innovatively created in the process. However, the music world knows very little of the man and his gigantic contribution.
The book “The Musical Genius of Sri Adibhatla Narayana Dasu” aims at not only revealing these obscure facts, but also in discovering a legend and his legendary works and his total contribution to the field of music. Study of music in allied arts like Harikatha would certainly bring to light more interesting and useful information on the performance aspect. Thus, this book is a humble attempt to explore and document the life and valuable contribution of the Musical Genius – Sri Adibhatla Narayana Dasu to the art of music.

Dr. Vyzarsu Balasubrahmanyam

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“The Musical Genius of Sri Adibhatla Narayana Dasu” available in digital book with Kinige. Print book can be ordered for a discounted price from kinige.com. For more details, follow the link:
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Introduction to book “Poems to Note”

Poems to Note” is written by Dr. Velchala Kondala Rao. The author, in his foreword, says the following about the book:

“These poems are composed, taking the contemporary context of men, matters, systems, practices, cultures and institutions mostly relevant to India, but also relevant to a large extent to the entire world.
There are poems of general and universal nature and also poems which are location-specific, time-specific, culture and civilization specific. They are all composed in four lines akin to the poems composed in Telugu by the famous poet “Vemana”.
Some of them may even appear and sound almost identical to what he has rendered, but so do many other compositions of many other authors of universal intent and content. Thoughts and ideas on values and virtues mostly appear and sound alike when they are dealt with by many an author with identical sense, sensibility and sensitivity. They may almost coincide both in norm as well as the form, but for that reason not the same, the very same.
The compositions are mostly in the genre of free verse, where deviations from the normal rules and regulations of poetics are more in vogue for various reasons. That does not mean that one can be was licencious in deviating but rather has to be frugal as I was in doing resorting to them only in a dire exigency and emergency, when either the theme was at stake or the rhythm.”

Read some of his poems here:

Why spend so much on the statues of the dead?
Of what use is that when their values are forgotten, the virtues?
The words are forgotten, the deeds
Can that help you in any way, say, Prema?

You may win a point but may lose a friend arguing hot,
Of what use is that winning a point , losing a friend?
Hence first befriend, then mend or amend
That is the right way to blend, tend, Prema.

However much you may concentrate
On matter and material, read, research ,
You will neither get the real wealth of peace nor the myth of truth.
Seek not with the mind but with the heart, you will get them, in truth, Prema.

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“Poems to Note” is available with Kinige in digital form. Also, print books can be ordered for a discounted price on Kinige website. For more details, check the following link:
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A child’s viewpoint – Nanigadi PremaKatha

Once up on a time, not very long ago, lived clever and smart Little Nani. But in order to prove lhat he was not only clever and smart but also old enough to play with his valiant older cousin Chinni gadu, he has to complete a set of tasks: he must fall in love with a princess, make her fall in love with him, save her from the spell of the evil sorcerer -and then many her! This Telugu novelette (a translated version has also been published) by Vasundhara, first published by the monthly magazine, Bharathi (October, 1985) reflects the social circumstances of a typical orthodox middle class Telugu joint family in the 1980s. In an interesting narrative close to real life, the boy describes how he saves a girl from a still­ existing social evil -dowry.

The Hindu, 6 September 2013

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Prakrita Gatha Saptasati – An Introduction

Prakrita Gatha Saptasati is almost 2000 years old literature which was composed in Prakrit.
These gathas were compiled by Hala, the Satavahana Emperor. The Satavahanas were the Telugu rulers. This book consists of 700 stanzas about love depicting the varied phases of South Indian rural life.
Mr.Weber, the German scholar brought out the first revised edition of these Prakrit gathas in 1870.  The book was later translated into many languages including Telugu by various scholars.
Mr. Radha Govinda Basak translated the 700 gathas into English and the same was published by Asiatic Society of Calcutta in 1971.

There was a mention of rivers Godavari, Tapati, Narmada, Yamuna and Vindhya mountains in these gathas. One can know the traditions and rituals of those days by reading these gathas.

Mr. Deevi Subbarao, prominent poet, had rendered the Telugu version of these gathas. The same is available on Kinige.
Print book also can be ordered for a discounted price. For more details, follow the link given below.

ప్రాకృత గాథా సప్తశతి On Kinige

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Beyond Coffee

Beyond Coffee” is anthology of short stories by reputed author Khadeer Babu. This book has 10 stories which were not published anywhere earlier. Though the 10 stories have different backgrounds, a common thread that is ‘search for one’s own self’ ties them in union.
Mr. A. Gandhi, the editor of Peacock Classics, opines that one should not find it too difficult to read the stories of Khadeer Babu. Mr. Gandhi felt that Khadeer Babu do not write stereotyped stories and there will be no single dull moment in his stories.
Muktavaram Parthasarathi, a reputed translator, felt that these stories are fables. They reflected the human nature allegorically. At a time when the values are considered as individual and relative, these stories are to be treated as modern fables.

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An Extract from the book “Live Life King Size”

Live Life King Size” is anthology of translated stories in English. The original stories in Telugu were written by Mr. Janardhan Amballa. These stories, written over period of about two decades, cover a wide spectrum of topics. Mr. D. Rangarao had rendered English version of these stories.
The following is an extract from the story “Stretching Far”.

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“Shall we go to the movie ‘Dil to Pagal Hai’ running at Nataraj?” asked Pavan. He wondered how long he should be satisfied with idle talk at the bus stage.
“No, Titanic’ is my choice,” Shruti expressed her preference.
“Haven’t you been to that movie yet? I went with my colleagues long time back. I don’t mind a second go if I have your company.” Pavan did not want to let go the chance. ‘Who will anyway bother about the movie’ he said to himself.
“Okay. Please book tickets for the late show next Sunday.” Shruti gave the green signal.
Pavan’s mind travelled faster than wind. His mind danced in tune with Shruti’s ‘steps’ and did many more things in the theatre. He took a long time to recover from the thrill and excitement he experienced in the company of Shruti.

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The friendship of Pavan and Shruti soon extended from the bus stop to cinema houses, to parks and to shopping centres.
Commencing with little gifts Shruti graduated to receiving gold ornaments also from Pavan. Shruti too reciprocated with jeans, ties, shirts and the like to Pavan the moment she received her salary.
“For how long will you tempt me?” Pavan asked Shruti fondly.
“What am I tempting you with?”
“Should I spell it out?”
“Are you trying to make me take the first step, woman that I am?”
“Will your people agree to our marriage?”
Pavan made a direct plunge.
“You will know if you ask. What about your people?” Shruti too did not mince words.
“I raised the topic casually with my people. There doesn’t seem to be an objection. When should we meet your people to talk to them?” Pavan was in tremendous haste.
“My word is not opposed in my house. I’ll ask my father and let you know on Saturday as to when you could visit us.” Shruti.
“I’ll await your arrival here on Saturday, with all eyes open.”

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Create a Future

(An extract from the book “Fire Within” authored by Mr. V. Venu Bhagavan)

There is an order in the world and we have three gods indicating that order. That is Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara. That is the future, the present and the past. We can say the God is Generator, Operator and Destroyer.

Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the preserver and Maheshwara is the destroyer. That means, you need to create a future that inspires you in the present. Such a future, such a goal will transform your being into the present moment.

Imagine you are waiting at a railway station on a chilled & drizzling night to receive an old lady who is a distant relative coming to see your city. You have no interest either in receiving her nor accompanying her for the next two days and showing her the entire city on your bike. But you have to do it as your father has asked you to do so. Now, an announcement is made that the train is running an hour late. Then, what would be your state of mind in such a helpless moment? Frustrated, angry?

Now imagine yourself in the same situation once again with the only change being that the one who is arriving is your uncle’s beautiful daughter coming to see your city. You not only have to receive her on a chilly night, but you would also have to accompany her for the next two days and show her different places in the city on your bike. Now, what would your state of mind be? Excited?

The future is not yet but it is now and here. The situation is the same, the weather outside is the same, but the weather inside you has changed. This is called inside out. If a car has a problem in the engine, changing the paint or polishing will not help. If the engine is tuned first, then paint and polish have some significance.

The future is empty and meaningless. That means we can create any meaning you want. The future is an absolute potential. It is like an empty fertile land. You can sow any seeds of your choice. If you do not sow any seeds, by default weeds will grow. And if you are lucky, maybe a fruit tree also would grow, but life is too precious to be left to chance. By default the past enters your future. By design you can create a future and live the life you love.

The challenges of our time require a whole new mind set. Invest in yourself now and create your future.

Past is non-existential, so is future. Past is no more and future is not yet, only the present is. And that is why it is a present.

Life is like a game of cricket. You can have any goal to achieve, yet you must focus on the ball and play fully then the score board changes automatically. But imagine what would happen if you look at the score board every time you face the ball…Yes, you get bowled.

The most important thing before creating a future, a vision is to develop a sense of self. A sense of purpose, sense of our own unique talents. Before creating a future or a goal one must ask himself/herself What work tap into my core genius? My unique ability? My energy?  What’s my calling which I have been longing for a long time deep within?  Acquiring answers for such questions needs deep reflection.

The chapters on self-image can help you to get a glimpse of your real work of life.

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