March 1, 2024

The incredible friendship I got in 'Paderu'

(Renowned Telugu novelist Siramsetty Kantha Rao garu is sharing here his exquisite tour details of Paderu and its adjacent places.  In the above picture writer with Alajangi Muralidhar garu )  

My dear literary friend, soft-spoken Muralidhar Alajangi, who works as an 'Economics' lecturer in Paderu Government Degree College, has invited me many times for the past two and a half to three years to visit his college and the natural beauty of the nearby areas, but I could not go due to my personal needs.

They called me on 18-02-24 and said “You are leaving on 21-02-24 and reaching Paderu by evening. We are making accommodation arrangements here for you" and hung up the phone. I was shocked that I could bear the love of my friends but not even a teaspoon of their anger. I called Mr. Tatolu Durgachari, the employee, and inquired about the transport facility to go to Paderu.

To that he said, 'A bus leaves from Paderu depot every morning at half past nine and reaches Bhadrachalam at half past seven and eight at night. Overnight stay here and depart for Bhadrachalam at 07.30 am in the morning. It will return to Paderu at half past five in the evening via Koonavaram, Motugudem, Seeleru, Darakonda and Chintapalli. So if you take a bus from Palvancha at 6 in the morning, you will reach Bhadrachalam at 7 in the morning. Have something to eat here and sit down! They will have lunch on the way and reach Paderu in the evening.

As said by that friend, on 21-02-24, I got up early in the morning at half past five and took the bus and reached Bhadrachalam at seven o'clock. The Paderu bus left exactly at the stated time. Had lunch at Seeleru at half past twelve and returned by bus and reached Paderu at half past five in the evening as planned. As soon as I got off the bus, I called my friend Muralidhar.

Within five minutes they reached me on the bike of their friend Appal Naidu.

The three of us drank tea there and reached the librarian Mani Kumar's room in the college staff housing complex directly adjacent to the college. Muralidhar, who introduced me to them and left me with them, immediately left for Chodavaram, which was his  residing place.

Mani Kumar became another son with a little introduction. What is special is that Manikumar's hometown 'Kakarapadu' is located in the suburbs of Sarabhavaram, the hometown of Sri Vadrevu China Veerabhadra, a writer who has a special place in the Telugu literary world and is like a giant in various literary branches. Their father knew Veerabhadradu very well. 'Aha! This is the greatness of world of literature. Somewhere, some kind of relationship comes to entwine. 

In the same premises, the 'English' lecturer of Koteswara Rao, a village near Koonavaram, was also introduced. From that night, for four days, Mani Kumar took care of all my food, meals and accommodation. It can be said that among today's youth, such cultured young people are very rare. I humbly congratulated their parents for bringing them up with such discipline.

Muralidhar went and told Mani Kumar and Koteswara Rao what to do for me the next day in the dark.

According to that, around five in the morning, a student named Purushottam, who was studying in the final year of his degree (Special English), Koteswara Rao, took his bike and came for me. As I was already up and ready, I immediately got on the bike and drove seven km there. At the peak of 'Vanjangi' Bholingamma mountain in the distance.. I immediately got on the bike with the hope of imprinting in my mind forever the beauty of nature that creates milky white on the hills covering the slopes. 

The bike runs on smooth tarmac roads with curves and bumps like the urine of a running bull. In the dark on both sides of the road, 'Nakkatoka' dry grass and various wild bushes stood like schoolgirls and students welcoming an incredible guest and welcomed us happily. Forgetting myself at that welcome, while strolling through the aerial streets, my driver took the vehicle and reached the ETDA on a hill bend. He stopped in front of the crew.

 There we took two tickets at the rate of fifty rupees per person and proceeded further and at a distance of five km from our destination, we stopped near a jeep parked at a corner. We parked our two wheeler next to it. We negotiated the rent at the rate of 200 per man and boarded a jeep with some others. The jeep driver's name is Prasad. good person Three km. The journey in that jeep will remain one of the scariest journeys I can remember in my lifetime.

The hill on the right side of the jeep going up was excavated with JCBs and poured till the last edge of the valley which was hundreds of feet deep on the left side. I was worried that the jeep running over the red dirt and small rocks might slip into the valley at any moment. When Nena was in trouble, the jeep stopped where we had to get off.

As soon as you get off the jeep, you have to walk up the rocky path to reach the view point of Bholingamma Peak which is about 720 feet high. While the lines of light on one side were running full of hills, we tiredly overcame the maze and the rocks and reached there within thirty and a half hours.

Reminding us how insignificant we are as human beings when nature does not favor us even if we approach the viewpoint without any effort.

It was not snowing at all that day. He who has learned to be satisfied with what he gets, should not be disappointed in any situation and find happiness in what he gets. As we reached the peaks of that vast mountain, there were many young men and women, like the army of monkeys sitting on the hills in the Kishkindha Kanda of the Ramayana.

While we were spending time taking photos of the wonderful scenes around the Mema hills, the black child changed the clouds to golden color, opened the doors of the clouds and radiated black rays to the ground, visible and invisible, immersing all the people there in a wonderful color. After spending an hour and a half there, we happily started climbing the peak.

Before we reached the plateau from near the view point, I spoke to two shopkeepers who were sitting there with cigarettes, chocolates and biscuits about their hardships.

As soon as I reached the room at eight o'clock, Muralidhar from Chodavaram came directly to me while taking a bath and getting ready.

They chat for a while and say "I'm in college come on!" He said and turned back.

Meanwhile, Mani Kumar said, "Let's have breakfast!" Saying that,  he took his Rajdhoot out .

After having breakfast, Murali sir showed me around the whole college. At the end, I was taken to the seminar hall where there was an extra class for the children and I was introduced to the lecturer there. The lecturer looked at me and said, "Since you have come anyway, say four good words to our children, sir!" 

I spent half an hour sharing some things according to my knowledge with the children and took leave  from them.

Computer sir Dilip was already waiting for us outside the college by bringing his car.

Along with us English lecturer Amit, Dilip sirs and three other students got into the vehicle.

Immediately the vehicle sped towards Balda Caves in Koraput District, Odisha State.

By then it was 11.30 am.

( To be continued )

English translation rendered by Murthy kvvs

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