27 Sep 2015: Varanasi Nagalakshmi’s story collection released

From Left: Dr VS Sarma, Varanasi Naga Lakshmi, Sree Ramana, Dr KB Lakshmi, Prof E Siva Reddy, Dr J Chennaiah, K Ramachari

Varanasi Nagalakshmi’s story collection unveiled on Sep 25, 2015

Noted Telugu writer Varanasi Nagalakshmi’s short story collection Vekuva Pata (Song of the Dawn) was released on Friday, Sep 25, 2015 at a well-attended meeting in Ravindra Bharati, Hyderabad. She had earlier brought out two collections of stories – Aalambana (Prop) and Aasaraa (Support); and a collection of songs – Vaana Chinukulu (Drops of Rain). The illumining Foreword to Vekuva Pata was done by Katyayani Vidmahe, recipient of Sahitya Akademi award for Telugu literary essays (2013).

Dr KB Lakshmi, former Editor of Vipula and Chatura magazines presided. She observed that Varanasi Nagalakshmi had identified herself with Nature and penned her stories and songs with that inspiration at a time when the urban life was far removed from the beauty, peace and harmony of Nature.

The inauguration of the book was preceded by rendition of the songs penned by Varanasi Nagalakshmi. The music was composed by renowned maestro K Ramachari and the songs were sung by the students of the Little Musicians Academy owned & run by him. The singers included Varshini, daughter of Nagalakshmi. And the book was dedicated to Dr VS Sarma, a leading ENT surgeon – Nagalakshmi’s husband.

The chief guest was Prof Elluri Siva Reddy, VC of PSR Telugu Open University. He remarked that in the name of progressivism, the space for the classical and the semi-classical touch was being edged out in many a literary meeting of our times, barring the likes of the present one. The music composed by K Ramachari for the lyrics had captured their meaning, he said. The imagery in the lyrics was reminiscent of Kalidasa’s Megha Sandesham, where every sloka was a mural. “Anyone who loves Nature can’t hate anyone,” he observed. “At a time when the light classical songs are woefully deficient in the force of language and meaning, Nagalakshmi’s are a welcome exception,” he continued. “Maybe because she is a woman, she is able to pen the lyrics with a natural tenderness and sensitivity stemming from the love of Nature,” he felt.

Guest of honour and editor of Bhakti magazine, Sree Ramana, patted Nagalakshmi for the healthy dose, not instigating type, of feminism in her stories. He congratulated her on her self-drawn art in the book. “Why should everyone be expected to write only on the daily desperation and tragedies screamed in the newspapers? Don’t the readers have a choice for or a right to optimism and humour?” he questioned.  “The adverse influence of various isms together with the much touted ‘social consciousness’ is sought to be imposed as the sine qua non for the modern short story and poetry but most of such works woefully lack in quality,” he bemoaned. Declining human relationships due to technological advancements and globalization formed part of the themes in the book. “Nagalakshmi has her original and unique style,” Sree Ramana appraised. The cultural finesse and touch of refinement in her works was an imprint from her grounding in fine arts, he considered.

Another guest of honour was Dr J Chennaiah, Chief Secretary, Telangana Saraswatha Parishat. He made a bird’s eye-view of the 19 stories in the collection. Nagalakshmi wrote on the familial themes, yearning for domestic cohesiveness and harmony. Her aim was restoration of the human relations in the present milieu of domineering mechanization that tended to rend the fabric of human relations apart. ‘Equality’ of professional and financial status could, paradoxically, lead to ego problems among the spouses, and a spirit of give and take was needed to save the conjugal relationship. A soft feminist, but never a misandrist, Nagalakshmi voiced non-discrimination against the female child. Chennaiah complimented Nagalakshmi for her sensitive handling of women’s problems and for advocating inter-generational harmony for an orderly and stable society.

K Ramachari, who like his guru PV Saibaba teaches the meritorious for free, was full of praise for the softness & clarity in Nagalakshmi’s lyrics. “I would love to have and more from your pen for my musical composition and practice by my students,” he addressed her.

In her aesthetic vote of thanks and in her measured and mesmerizing voice, Nagalakshmi made a brief tour through her creative journey and thanked each and every person and thing that helped her grow. In these days of mental turmoil, as a writer, she said she tried to probe and analyse her mind and heart deeply to understand the causes of such turmoil – in order to regain happiness.

The greatest tribute to Nagalakshmi’s persona came from Pothuri Vijayalakshmi, who in her welcome, spoke of her as a graceful portrait drawn by God!

The programme was given a fitting finale by resumption of the musical performance. Overall, the combo event was a visual, intellectual, auditory and soulful delight.

Vekuva Pata | Varanasi Nagalakshmi | Pages 248 | Rs 150

For copies:
     Navodaya, Ph. 040-24652387
     Telugu Book House, Ph. 9247446497

Report by: U Atreya Sarma, Editor (News & Events), Sep 27, 2015

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