Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Babayya’s Centenary

In our family and circle of relatives, it has never happened before that any one had reached a hundred years. Several, like Damerla Prabhod Chandra, Mallimadugula Kodandarama Swamy etc. have reached up to 97 or 98 but had unfortunately not touched 100.

So, when we heard that Babayya (Dr.Damerla Venkata Rama Rao – Venkatram to all the family and relatives) would be completing his 99th year and will be entering the centenary year on June 12th this year, we were all very thrilled. When we were told that to suit the great grand occasion, his children and grand children have decided to hold a function and invite one and all, we were very happy.

On 12th morning they performed Ayushya Homam at the residence of babayya’s eldest daughter, Meenakshi and Vangala Satya, at Gatchi bawli, Hyderabad to wish him and our aunt Smt. Savitri a long and prosperous life. From Visakhapatnam, myself, my brother Durga Prasad (Tukki) and sister in law Shanti attended the function. From Srikakulam Sujatha and Srinivas made it a point to go to Hyderabad, to attend the function, which was very heartening. In the evening we all gathered at the community park at Quiet Lands, by about 7.30. The pendal was decorated with all white walls and canopy and a riot of fragrant and colorful flowers. Babayya and Kakki were made to sit on the dais. It was so wonderful to see the elderly couple sitting there smiling benignly, and looking like newlyweds!!

Giri Raj, my uncle’s only son introduced the occasion, and his father, narrated the way they got married in Yanam (French territory) and how he brought the four children up. Chitra Sood, babayya’s eldest granddaughter and daughter of Meena and Satya spoke about her grandfather, how he never wanted to grow old and how he made his grandchildren call him Madurai daddy, instead of Tata. My three cousins Meena, Sarasamma and Geeta spoke shortly about their father. Other speakers were kakki’s sisters, Shanti and Sarala and sisters in law Mohini Giri and Lakshmi. After that I traced the history of Damerlas with the help of notes prepared by Mr. D.V.R. Rao (Nani) and a few anecdotes of babayya’s childhood pranks told to me by my father and grandmother. Apart from our relatives and family members who made it a point to travel long distances to attend this function, there were several friends too.

Babayya’s great grand children, - Sarasa and Geeta’s grand children put of a show of dancing and singing, which was well appreciated. The next day happened to be the birthday of Varsha, Geeta’s granddaughter. So a large birthday cake has been cut by the two birthday babies!

There was a huge spread of different items for dinner which the guests enjoyed very much.

Adurthy Vijaya Murthy (jijji)

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