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Home Eminent Columnists

Eminent Columnists

Buchi Reddy was a builder. He was also pug-nosed, beady-eyed, strongly built on the lines of a rather square SUV. The elegant lines were well-concealed in his normal cream terry cot bush shirt and terry cot trouser accompanied by a pair of well-used sandals. Earlier, he was Buchaiah, a mestri by profession who had done well enough along the way to take up projects of his own and had acquired a Reddy to his name after dropping the ‘Aiah’ part. More dignified, more ‘with it’ he thought.

He stood with one foot on his old scooter, looking up at the building he had recently completed, with a frown.
The building looked, to a purist, like a large multi-colored cake one usually sees in small bakeries in the by lanes of the Old City. Bright orange colored walls competed for attention with bottle green doors and violet lines along the windows. A purist would also have gently shuddered, put on his glares and moved along quickly.But in this part of the town, the three-storied building was sure to be appreciated.

Twenty three 2-bedroom apartments of 650 sft each along with 14 shops on the ground floor and 7 more in the cellar meant for parking. A pent house on the terrace was the crowning glory. Building more than 15,000 sq ft on a 220 square yard plot was an act of wizardy as most was without sanctions.


The frown had nothing to do with the esthetics of the structure. He was completely satisfied with that. The frown was in trying to figure out how he could lease out the two hundred sq ft in the basement meant for parking and the two other apartments on the rear side of the building that overlooked the colony drainage.


The solution presented itself in the form of Thirumala Prasad [TP]. An acutely spectacled gentleman, about the same height as Buchi Reddy, one would have missed the steel in his effacing demeanor if one did not look carefully enough.
“Yes Sir,” Buchi Reddy said.

“I would like to start a school in the two apartments,” said TP and added, “The nursery and kindergarten section will be in one apartment, the middle and high school in the other and in the next three months, I will take the 200 sq ft in the cellar parking for the junior college as soon as I get the required permission from the authorities.”


“Would that not be too small for a school of so many classes?” queried the builder with a drop in his jaw line.
“Don’t worry Sir,” replied TP, “the 2 bathrooms will be converted into 2 classrooms and each bed room would accommodate two classes with benches facing the opposite walls.”

“2 classes in each, 10x 12 bedrooms?” asked the builder whose jaw continued to drop, “And where would the teachers sit?”


“Yes Sir,” nodded TP, “The teachers never sit. In case a staff room is needed, I will accommodate it in the corridor. The school will run from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm and after that we will start the tutorials for engineering and medical entrance exams. In fact, my wife wants to start a tiffin room in the morning till 8:00 am in the basement right away too.”
“How many students do you think you will have here,” queried Reddy, trying to regain his composure.“We hope to have 500 as we start and, of course, it will increase soon,” said TP.

“What about games and recreation for the students?” asked Reddy, liking this man more and more by the minute.

“Games? Sir, when the school runs, all the other apartment dwellers will be off to work. Their vacant parking area should suffice,” said TP, adding, “What is important is that we need a few toppers in both the streams of education we are training for. That is important. Who really cares for the kids?”


Month: November 2010.

 

I am in my mid-forties and have been a chain smoker for the past 15 years or so. I have consulted a doctor to get rid of my smoking addiction. The doctor says that I have heavy facial wrinkling which may signal Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which usually occurs in smokers. Under these circumstances, would you suggest a facelift? - Pavan.
Puffiness of face or solid edema of face can occur in patients with long standing lung diseases. It is necessary to see the skin thickness before saying if at all any skin rejuvenating procedure would help or not. Kindly consult a dermatologist for proper assessment. If there is no skin edema one may try skin rejuvenating procedures such as non-ablative photo facial, micro-dermabrasion, peels or any other procedures.
 
I am a sports person and have always been keenly involved in sports a lot, mainly tennis. I have varicose veins on my left leg which bothers me physically sometimes but not always. Is treatment always necessary? What procedures are available to treat varicose and spider veins? I am asking this since it looks very ugly when I have to play tennis. Please suggest a
remedy. - Anupama.
Varicose veins are tortuous appearing or prominent appearing veins on the legs. They may be physiological in people with strenuous work or exercises. They can also form/occur if there are defective valves along the path of these veins. They are common in patients who have prolonged sitting or standing posture in their occupation. When there are no symptoms there is no need for treatment, a simple method of foot end elevation (that is, to put the feet in elevated posture when reclined on pillows) helps the patient. Elastic stockings also help patients. In case of recurrent itching, pigmentation, or swelling of the feet one may plan medical management with drugs such as pentoxiphylline or oxerute, topical calcium dobesilate etc. Surgically one can go for extirpation of the vein. Sclerosant agents can be given into the vein. Laser treatments or intense pulsed light therapy can be used for smaller spider veins. You may consult a surgeon or dermatologist for further management.

I have a blister which is filled with clear fluid and is less than one-half inch in diameter. It is also accompanied by pain, redness and itching. Initially I was not worried about it, but now with the pain what do you suggest I do? - Shiva.
There is no description of site of the lesion, whether this is the first time etc. Since this seems to be an acute problem I suggest you to immediately contact a dermatologist.

I injured my left hand in an accident a couple of years ago, and have six stitches on the upper side of my arm. It has left a huge scar. I have heard that radiotherapy works wonders for this. Would you suggest that or surgery to make the scar a little less visible than what it is now? Please help. - Carole.
You must be having a keloid or hypertrophic scar on your arm. You can go for intralesional triamcinolone acetonide injection which reduces the scars considerably. You can try topical silicone gels or sheets as well. There are several newer scar reducing topical drugs which can be helpful in reducing the scars. I would suggest you to meet a dermatologist for appropriate choice of treatment.


Month: November 2010.

This time we will take the road that leads to two of the most popular temples in Andhra Pradesh; the Satyanarayana Swami temple at Annavaram and the Kanaka Durga temple at Vijayawada.

ANNAVARAM
Location: Annavaram, East Godavari
Deity: Annavaram Satyanarayana Swami

This temple is dedicated to Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swami and is built atop the Ratnagiri hill. The temple is of recent origin and resembles a chariot. From the foot of the hill there is a path laid out in stone steps. There is no Sthalamahatmyam (epigraphic record) in the temple and the temple has its own choultries. The river Pampa is considered sacred and runs close to the temple. Devotees bath here and then go to the temple since the temple has no tank of its own. There is also a pathasala (school) for students. The Satyanaravana Vratham is dedicated to Vishnu Sahasranamam, which has to be performed on the Bhishma Ekadashi day at Annavaram.

There is a yantra here based on the Tripad Vibhuti Narayana Upanishad, and is a part of the Devarshi Sakha of Atharvaveda. The shrine is constructed in two stories, the lower one contains the yantra and the upper one contains the vigrahas of the Lord. The garba griha has four entrances. The center is like a panavattam under the Shivalinga, three peethas are constructed here and on top is the chiselled Beejakshara Samputi of the yantra. At the apex there is a monolith pillar and on top is the idol of the Lord with the goddess to the right and Shivalinga to the left. The idols are exquisite and covered in gold.

On the ground floor of the sanctum are the idols of Aditya, Ambika, Gananatha and Maheswara at the four corners with the Lord in the centre forming the Vishnu Panchayatanas. The main temple is constructed like a chariot with the four wheels. In the front of the main temple is the kalyana mantapa decorated in modern style. There are other shrines dedicated to Ramalaya, Vana Durga and Kanaka Durga. Goddess Vana Durga is said to be seen here every night going around the temple, guarding the Lord. The temple is built according to shilpa shastra and reminds one of the Prakriti (universe). The chariot acts as a symbol of the saatloks (seven worlds) underneath, and the seven above, with the sanctum at the heart ruling the universe. The wheels depict the Sun and the Moon. Thrikala archana is performed every day, to the yantra as well as the idols. Salagramas and Sri Chakram in crystal are worshipped along with the idols.

There is an interesting legend about the discovery of the idol. According to the legend, the Lord revealed himself in a dream to a person, wherein he told where his vigraha was abandoned on a hill without worship; and that the local people must consecrate again. The local people discovered the idol at the foot of a tree, worship was offered and the idol was installed at the present spot. The idol was discovered a little to the northeast of the main temple.

There are many festivals held in this temple including Kalyanam, Devi Navaratri in September, the Swayamvara Vardhanti of Sravana Sudda Ekadashi Day, Srirama Kalyana, the Kanakadurga Yatra, the Prabha Utsavam, the Teppa Utsavam and the Jalatoranam.

KANAKA DURGA
Location: Vijayawada
Deity: Kanaka Durga

The temple is located on the Indrakiladri hill. The deity Kanaka Durga is regarded as Swayambhu or self-manifested, and hence very powerful. It is said that Adi Sankara visited this temple and installed the Sri Chakra here. This temple occupies a prestigious place in the scriptures. Many stories and legends regarding Shiva and Sakti are enacted around this place. The temple was constructed during the Regime of Moghal rulers. According to Sthalapuranam, Moghal Ruler Thanisha with the assistance of his Ministers Akkanna and Madanna managed the temple with head quarters at Kondapalli.

At the temple, the enchanting 4-foot-high (1.2 m) icon of the deity is bedecked in glittering ornaments and bright flowers. She is shown with eight arms, each holding a powerful weapon, in a standing posture over the demon Mahishasura and piercing him with her trident. The goddess is the epitome of beauty.

According to legend, Mahishasura earned the favour of Lord Shiva after a long and hard penance. Lord Shiva blessed him that no man or deity would kill him and only a woman could kill him. Pleased with this boon he became arrogant and started terrorizing people and killed them mercilessly. He even attacked gods and conquered the heavens. After their defeat the gods took refuge under Lord Brahma and they decided to create a woman who would possess the ultimate power to defeat Mahishasura. Pure energy was used to form Goddess Durga.

Kanaka Durga is specially decorated as Balatripura Sundari, Gayathri, Annapoorna, Mahalakshmi, Saraswathi, Lalitha Tripura Sundari, Durga Devi, Mahissura Mardini and Raja Rajeswari Devi on each day of the Narvarathri festival. The chief deity of the temple is portrayed as blessing the visiting devotees in various forms (avatars) during the ten-day festival. A symbolic representation of the 10 forms of triumph of good over evil is depicted. This form (known as ‘Alankaram’) of the day is chosen as per the astrological star of each day, in accordance with the lunar calendar. On Vijaya Dasami day, the deity is taken in a swan-shaped boat around the Krishna River, popularly known as ‘Theppotsavam’.

Though a ghat road is there, most of the pilgrims prefer to climb the steps leading to the temple, which is an arduous task for women and children. Some devotees climb the hill, decorating the steps with turmeric powder and vermilion to redeem their pledge of Metla Pooja.

Adjacent to the Kanakadurga temple is the shrine of Malleswara Swamy on the Indrakiladri. By ascending the steps on the hill, one comes across little images of different deities; prominent among them are Kali, Shiva, and Krishna.

Month: November 2010.

The former State of Hyderabad is known for its exemplary achievements in the system of governance and administrative reforms. The theory of separation of powers was hailed as a landmark and became the corner stone of the system of governance of several western democracies.

Moulavi Mushtaq Husain Vaqar ul Mulk was the pioneer of the scheme of separation of judiciary from the executive. Sir Ali Imam, the State’s Sard-i-Azam (Prime Minister) played an important role in the introduction of the scheme. The ruler, Nizam the VII, accorded his approval through a farman (royal decree) promulgated on 29th Shaban 1339 Hijra / 8th May, 1921.

Mirza Yar Jung, the then Chief Justice was of the opinion that all the previous judicial reforms paled into insignificance. This was the one reform for which thirty-two crore people of the Indian sub-continent were waiting for quarter of a century, which would not have been possible without the intellectual and favourable inclination of the Nizam.

The farman stands out for its comprehensiveness, clarity, assertion, discretion, concern for the common man and an urge to keep pace with the changing times. This progressive and revolutionary measure was enacted in the “feudal” State of Hyderabad long before it was adopted in the “progressive” provinces of British India.

Month: November 2010.

In one of his visits to England, Sir Akbar Hydari, Finance Minister to H.E.H. The Nizam, was much impressed by the progress of Wireless and Broadcasting Services and submitted a note to the Executive Council which made the Government think of the development of broadcasting in the State.

Colonel Hardinge, Marconi’s representative in India was requested to submit a report on a private transmitting station assembled and erected by Mahboob Ali of Railway Mail Service. Mahboob Ali was paid for his private wireless machinery and his running expenses, and his private station was converted into the State Broadcasting Station from 3rd February 1935. Mahboob Ali himself was made the Director and later deputed to England for three months training on the subject and to visit BBC Studios. He entered into a suitable contract with the firm of Marconi and dispatched machinery under his personal supervision for the transmitting stations in the State.

Interesting Programmes were aired from the point of view of both recreation and information. News bulletins were included and apart from quality entertainment, the needs of women and children both in urban and rural areas were considered in devising programmes. Programmes were presented in Urdu, Telugu, Marathi, Kannada, Arabic and Persian languages.

Month: September 2010.

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AP - Facts

Mir Alam Tank was constructed in just two years. Constuction was started on 25th July 1804 and it was completed on 8th June 1806. It was built under the supervision of H. Russell of Royal Engineers of the Madras Regiment.

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