The Park Hotel, Beach Road, Vishakhapatnam: Jan 6th to 9th ‘11
The affluence of middle class India is apparent from the effort and expenditure incurred on a beach-front wedding that an Indian couple of US wanted to have that we witnessed while at the starred and the only beach front hotel of Visakhapatnam. Once again the World Bank funding was in evidence at the Vizsakhapatnam airport; during our 2006 visit to India we had to cancel Visakhapatnam because the flights were cancelled due to floods by the rains. So it was a big surprise to see a very modern airport for perhaps the best city of our entire trip to India. By far environmentally clean we could at least have our leisurely sea side walks, although there were some sections that tend to be eye-sores.
The entire trip to Visakhapatnam was to visit relations. It was an immense pleasure to visit 94 year Parthannayya, the oldest of the Kocherlakota clan and 89-year old Lakshmi Vadina in their immaculately landscaped house that appeared decades back in a Telugu classic movie ‘Sagara Sangamam’. Indira and I were delighted to see the exemplary life style of a professional retiree in India after a lifelong service in the merchant navy of India. As the oldest surviving member of the merchant Navy Parthannayya was felicitated by Visakhapatnam Club for his role in the 2nd world war and thereafter in Independent India. His narration and handing me the write-ups was extremely enlightening. We were invited by vadina to accompany her for a dance-drama recital at ‘Kalabharathi’ where we witnessed ‘Draupadi-vastra-apaharanm’ by a troupe from Hyderabad. We saw the movie actor Gollapudi Maruthi Rao among the audience. It was a 2-hour spectacle galore!
Dr. Shalini, Parthannayya’s daughter-in-law hosted for us a dinner at an upscale restaurant “TYCOON” that vadina, Pathannayya and granddaughter Devika visiting from Australia joined us.
Another highlight of our visit to Visakhapatnam is to meet Indira’s eldest brother retired Cmdre Rajaram and Indira’s older sister Annapurna at their residences. At Raja’s place we were hosted for lunch and were joined by Indira’s sister and brother-in-law Dr I. S. P. Rao. Indira’s vadina took immense pains for this luncheon get-together joined by their son Raghu and his spouse Indira.
While we are in Visakhapatnam we called Dr MS Raju, Director of Pallavi Hospital who had been sick for a while. His wife answered the phone and informed that Dr M.S. Raju died on December 14th. When enquired she told that her sister and our friend Veena of Ole Miss, Mississippi is there with her family. Then we talked to Dr Raju Mantena when he told us that they will be visiting their new home under construction. We arranged to meet their family at the construction site. There is lot more to do before the unit is completed for occupancy. I also contacted my train friend a young builder and developer Mr Vishnuvardhan Rao. I could talk to him but unavailable for meeting and greeting during our stay.
Next day we had lunch at Indira’s sister’s place and I went through several publications of Dr ISP that traced the archeological and historical glory of Telugu luminaries dating back to several centuries.
Driving past Indira’s college where she earned a B.Sc Honors and M.Sc in 1962 and her hostel facing the Bay of Bengal where she lived in 1958-62 with her sister and her older brother late Dr. T. Venkatram.