Re:I want more! More!

rveluri@smtpgate.anl.gov
Sat, 30 May 98 14:02:02 -0600


An Objective and Obviously the Most Unbiased Look At the
Atlanta Sahitee Sadassu

( A very long post.  You are fore-warned: Please  Read At Your Own Risk)

My Dear Absentees:
         
I am really glad I made it to the First Telugu Literary Symposium in  Atlanta. 
And, 
I am doubly glad that I have read two reviews of the Sadassu, both  highly 
slanted! If I
were not one  of the fortunate attendees,  like the lost soul Kanneganti Rama
Rao,  
I would have to swallow hook, line and sinker,  these "reviews(?)"  posted by
Paalana & Jampala V( I know what V stands for,  but  won't  let the cat out of
the
bag, yet!) Chowdary.
             
The Symposium started about 45 minutes late, because  vangoori  CiTTen rAju  and
pemmarAju vENugOpAla rAvu had a fierce, almost fist-fight as to who should 
first go
to the podium!

ciTTen rAju, having 'rAju' as a part of his name, made a highly unreasonable
demand 
(my opinion!) that he, should take the role of  the  legendary upanishad king
janaka to start
off  the aswametha yaaga, sans horse, because shooting horses is a crime in this
 US of A 
but,  shooting bull is not!   He began alluding to  the brihadaaraNyakOpanishad.
On top of it,
he started reciting the  kaarikaas that  refer to the creation of the four
castes
by the prajaapati.

vEnugOpaala raavu,  being of secular mind, refused to listen and relent.  
Since, 
he is the  'brahma,' the prajaapati, the ominicient Creator of this 'midhya'
namely, the  
Symposium, he should  have the  first and the last say. As this fight was going
on, people
who did not pay for the registration, started printing their name labels at a
desk opposite
to the original registration desk, which wasmanned by one viswanAth. This
'counter' 
registratration went on  with the connivance of  kiDAmbi raghunAth, who was
suspected to be a staunch vaishNavaiT  with secret ambitions of hijacking the
show to 
New Jeresey!  Some people who pre-registered  were denied admission, because
they
have not filled in the  application properly, although the said application 
appeared in the
electronic media umpteen times,  posted by a dozen or so enthusiasts, who have
the 
foggiest notion about the whole affair!  Those who failed to fill in  the
section on their 
religious affiliations, political preferences, caste, sub-caste, etc., were
denied admission.
Some were genuinely embarrassed! They did not know where to mark their
sub-caste, 
since there were only four slots on the registration form, for the four major
castes first
cited in the purushasooktaM. 
  
Pandemonium prevailed.  Suddenly, some one by name paalana came in the disguise
of  paalana  with  an unshaven face and flowing hair, almost resembling the
satya saayibaabaa,
(minus the beard!).  This person, rushed into the hall with two of his pupils in
silk saffrons,
both  suspected  to be mlEcchaas, started driving out all the holy cows, sans
gold ornamnets 
on their  horns, that were reserved for the yaj~na.  He claimed that he was the
yaaj~navalkya,
and shouted that his  maitrEyi  is still resting in the microtel motel! One of
them spoke 
German more fluently than Telugu!!
             
At this point pee. vee. jee. raavu  and vaM. ci. raaju  made peace with each 
other such 
that they could get rid of this fake yaaj~navalkya. The meeting got a start 
with about  
100 tired literary enthusiasts, a few of them from the motherland, who looked
totally lost,
because they were never invited to sit on the stage, as was the custom in the
mother land!
They were in a shock to find not a single chair ( I'll talk about the Chair in a
bit!) on the stage.
             
Finally, the meeting began  without an official prayer. The fake yaaj~nvalkya
started reciting:
"yasya j~naana dayaa sindhOr - agaaDhasyaanaghaa guNaa
sEvyataamakshayO dheeraa@h .....,"  then,  for got and filled in with 
"gODa  daaTitE adEsandoo!" But,  some one outside the hall started reciting at 
the top
of her  voice, "nEnu saitam prapaMcaagniki samitha nokkaTi  dhaarapOSAn..."  A
few of the 
attendees  thought,  that it is a prayer befitting the occasion! She was labeled
as a 'feminist'
and was unceremoniously shoved out!
             
One of the highlights is that a  pupil of  paalana-look-alike, started  asking
the folks, their 
family names and entered them  into a database in the making on to his Toshiba. 

According to his yet to be published report,  there were about 65 brahmins, 6
kshtriyaas
(not  including chiTTen rAju and his family, vaanapalli manga raaju and his
family!),
9 reDDIs, 7 chowdaries(not to be confused with the Bengaalee baaboos!).
Unfortunately,
the  affiliation and the caste sub-divisions of the rest of the attendees was
totally  shrouded 
in mystery, and is left as a research topic for the posterity! 

(On the second day, some one was whispered  that  one of the un-classified
fellows was actually
registered as Mohammed Ghouse  Rats-Tayeeya, and he was suspected to be a
Pakistani agent
employed by the CIA.)

As to the proceedings, the less said,  the better.  The theme was exactly the
same as some one 
has predicted way back in one of these lists. By the way, what was his
prediction?  

Every one, reiterated, directly or indirectly, that telugu is the greatest  of
the languages
that was ever invented by the homo sapiens. (One must not forget that there  was

dEvabhaasha, invented by the gods for the benefit of a few!) No body provided
any proof 
as to why  telugu was touted as the greatest of the languages. It could be
traced to some
British conspiracy, or to the classical explanation of Brownian motion!  But,
all of them 
agreed , that they have  to seriously strive, at any cost, to preserve and
freeze the telugu
culture for  posterity. Some one from the audience even offered to import 
sesame seed oil,
red peppers from gunTooru, and salt from danDi for this sacred act of
preservation.  A 
motion to use vinegar instead, has been unanimously rejected for religious and
unknown
cultural reasons.
             
Almost every one present read poems, short stories or songs. Some  came too
close to 
sinaarE's gajaLLu. There was a long poem read by a new poet waiting with his
other  works
on the assembly line,  entitled 'paaTalO EmuMdi nA boMda.'  It was given
standing ovation
for its complex and highly sanskritized alliterations  and anupraasa! Every
critic in the 
audience thought, that this poet has a great potential,  political future, and
could even be 
our next j~naanapeeTh awardee, if and only if  he immediately returns to India,
finds a 
mentor and publish there at least one book a year, like aabdeekaM!
             
On the second day, again this fellow paalana who disguised himself as paalana 
forcibly
occupied the stage and started reading his jamukula paaTalu and would not
relent. The
audience enjoyed, but the organizers wanted him to quit. He went on!  Actually,
he felt
that he was in ganjaam or some where in those tribal areas, and started driving
on the
wrong side of the sadassu! He used simple and basic monosyllabic words  from 
the
east coast, akin to savara bhaasha! in his poems. Purists were shocked and got
scared
because there were not a single  sanskrit word in the entire piece!!  Yet, he
had the gall
to call it poetry! One chando-enthusiast was seriously trying to apply the
classic rules of
prosody to find the verse form,  but was completely lost. I have stealthily told
him that 
this is an old vRttaM, known as gaddaravikreeDitam!
             
On grounds of poor statistics and bad logic, only one person rejected the idea
of
putting even a single chair on the stage,  although he did not object to  either
the mike or 
the rostrum, or to the import of palm-leaf mats from aakiveeDu or gOkavaram, in
lieu of 
Chairs!  He even cited the poor state of the Polish, the sad situation of the
Sicilian mafia, 
who never could  put a single Chair on the stage; and questioned why should we? 
His 
voice was lost in the din, but he made his point in the most resounding fashion!
             
Almost all the folks who were awarded prizes were absent. One  fellow  from
Atlanta,
a member of the organizing committee, who was present to take an  award  of
third  prize 
for his brother, (the prize is a certificate on a foam plate  signed by the chef
 who cooked
 the lunch!) was mad and stole a gold medal that came all the way from India,
and ran  
away.  The gold medal should have gone to some one in Austin Texas, who
registered but 
never showed up!  ( Several Austinites were happy that they have bagged almost
all the 
prizes second time in a row, were drunk with joy, found  jay-walking in the
Atalanta Downtown!
Their absence was severely felt the second day!)  A  police report was  lodged
by the 
organizers. Until the medal is recovered, the first  prize winner who will have
to be satisfied
 with another certificate signed by the assistant chef who fried  paapads and
prepared saambaar.

velcEru naaraayaNa raavu held his court during the first night at the
micromotel, and it
seems,  it went on and on into the wee hoursa of the next morning! Those who met
naaraayaNa raavu for the first time got thoroughly flabbergasted and remembered
nothing
of what prof. velcEru said! Those who knew it, never made to the show!!   All
these folks, 
made it to the second day a couple of hours late!! (We were told that iMdragaMTi
padma was 
taking notes at every opportunity!)           

For my part, I have brought my imported vaikuTha paali ( also known as 
paramapada 
sOpaana paTham!), minus the dice (gavvalu) and there was no one to play. I have
played 
against  myself, improvising with Georgia peanuts as dice,  and  have  been
bitten by
the big snake twice, even though, I cheated my  imaginary opponent several times

during the games!
             
Finally, A quiz to Kanneganti Rama Rao: ( Kanneganti Chandrasekara Rao is
disqualified 
from participating!)
             
1. The 'V' in Jampala Chowdary's name:
             
a) Venkanna b) Venkayya c) Veeraiah d) Victory  e) none of the above
             
2. How many toupees did Bapa Rao wear during the two days?
             
a) none b) one  c) two   d)eleven  d) several but they are optically invisible
             
3. Did Veluri mention sinaare even once, with a glitter in his eye?
             
a) Yes b) No c) Veluri started reading the 102 pages of maTTI manishee aakaaSam
and fainted after the first page 
             
4) Who won the first  prize for guessing the name of  Suresh's wife?
             
a) Suresh b) Suresh's wife c) The 'Iceman' for the Wedding Cake  d) The
proprietor of 
Haveli Restaurant e) Not me
             
That's about it.
             
Have fun.

V R Veluri