Re: I want more! More!

Venkateswara Rao Veluri (vrveluri@worldnet.att.net)
Sat, 30 May 1998 20:27:16 -0500


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  motherland!  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 s7nake 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
> 
>