2017 was a year filled with unexpected incidents and strange occurrences that changed our view points in many ways .We started the New Year in Pradeep’s house with a New Year party. January was a month of series of mishaps at home front. We had our dish washer broken, garage door spring broke, had a major water break in the master bath which made us change the carpet for the bedroom. In the third week of January our dear sister-in-law Dr C. Seeta Devi died in Guntur. We attended a few gatherings and saw a dolls display in Sreelakshmi’s house for Sankranthi . The Sankranti function arranged by Telugu association was good and well attended. I continued in the HTSM board for the second year and became the vice chair. KR and I decided to take up the project of cleaning the cubicles in the H TSM community hall and create a dolls exhibition with museum technology of narrating the display in several regional languages. It is similar to the SV Temple museum we saw in Tirupathi. This was a different venue we explored for all handmade dolls from India, reached out to several sponsors for donation. In spite of the digital age, the vendors and their dealings with their hackneyed systems was tough to handle. Our friends in Chennai and our niece in Hyderabad were instrumental in making things move forward. We had permission to use three cubicles.We got them cleaned up and prepared for display of dolls that came beautiful. Several people complimented on the project. The project was finished by July end and was inaugurated on July 30th. The attendees included a mini cosmos representing local buisinessmen, personal friends and senior members of our Indian community from all sections of India.
In spring we called for the annual spring fest with music extravaganza with pot luck lunch to be held in our back yard park. About one hundred and fifty people came forward to participate. We were very disappointed when we had to postpone twice and cancel due to rainy forecast. Our bougainvillea bloomed beautiful first time. In spring we went to Orange beach to our resort for one week. One of the trees fell on the roof of the house but lucky to note the damage was minimal. During this time HTSM executive board was busy importing three priests and firing two priests, one board member and the grounds keeper. Since one of the three priests left for India the third priest could not be fired. This caused fractions in the community and the temple has an attorney who interprets the bylaws to suit his clients but not stand for the law itself.
In September Indira completed seventy five years on 22nd. In celebration KR gave a gift in the form of a three week trip to South America to visit Costa Rica, Peru and Chile. The trip was good and one common feature to keep this continent unified is their language and religion. We found Peru is rich in minerals and handicrafts. Our visits to the Inka ruins at Machu Pichu and sacred valley were memorable. Lima city with population of twenty five million has traffic congestions of any metropolitan city. The magic water park in Lima was out of this world with illuminations synchronized with music and the laser show. Cusco a mountainous city at eleven thousand feet elevation was beautiful and visitors needed to take cocoa pills to combat altitude sickness. Santiago, Chile had a four day holiday to celebrate their independence day. Unlike USA all offices, shops and commercial centers were shut down all four days we were there from Saturday to Tuesday which reminded us of our native country.
We attended the AGM (Annual General Body Meeting) conducted by the HTSM Board. There were about sixty to seventy people in attendance. There were three resolutions motioned and voted on with 95% majority. To our amazement the board did not accept the resolutions and the person who moderated the resolutions did not want to accept. Thus the life members to whom this temple belongs and to whom the board is accountable refused to follow the bylaws. Elections were announced for two life members and five people contested. The life member list in the website has no contact information. The board had to send out the ballot papers and the elections are postponed. From January 1, 2018 the board is chaired by a nonboard member since his three year term ended on December 31st.
On November 1st, KR’s book of two volumes that came out of the press was released to the international markets. We celebrated the event at home by inviting friends with children for Saraswathi Pooja conducted by Vijaya Sarathy. Temple fired Vijaya Sarathy, from September 1, since he is not qualified as stated by the chair. Remember Vijaya Sarathy was on temple payroll over 20 years. People in the community are using his services and saving money of $200/- by not paying the temple for outside services. We could not go to Birmingham in the first week of November for attending the annual ECTC conference where KR had been the advisor.
In November our children came to visit us for Thanksgiving but could not stay for our golden jubilee celebrations. December 11th was our 50th wedding anniversary. We invited our friends to celebrate with “meet and greet” lunch party on November 25th. Zeba a professional interior decorator from our community decorated the hall, Rambabu did the catering and Vijaya Sarathy did the blessing. One hundred thirty people attended the party. Uma and her children Neil and Rekha stayed for the party and left the next morning. Like every year we decorated our house and park with 25,000 lights for Christmas. We were scheduled to go to Pensacola to our resort for one week before Christmas. Due to unexpected events we did not go. This is the first time we cancelled a trip to a resort ever since we owned on since 1981.We harvested six cauliflowers from our winter garden first time in Jackson. We had one time harvested in Pittsburgh, PA. As 2017 comes to an end in a cold freeze,we hope all of you had a good Christmas and wish a happy new year 2018
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Thanks - KR Rao
K. R. Rao Ph. D., PE., Fellow ASME, FIE, Chartered Engineer (India) 360, Woodhollow Cove Brandon, MS39047 Tel: 601 992 1379; Cell: 601 212 3694