A memory cherished!

'Smruthi' is a book of writings of the AIR employee Late Kamakshamma consisting of three radio plays. The book was brought out by K Madhusudhan (AIR announcer retd), who is her younger brother and former colleague. When we speak of an individual, we speak of his or her achievements. Here while we speak of Kamakshamma it is inevitable to speak of the AIR Visakha established in 1963.

Kamakshamma worked with AIR as an announcer from 1971 to 2007. That was the time when radio was a part of everyone's life, from the poor to the rich and children too. There was no TV at that time and radio was the only electronic media for information and entertainment.

Kamakshamma though joined as an announcer, she had taken much more responsibilities of organising the programmes and translating the scripts of the then Station Director Krishnamurthy, who is well versed in literature and music. Under his efficient leadership, the AIR team worked very ardently and earned accolades to the AIR.

Since Krishnamurthy was from New Delhi and did not know Telugu, he used to write in English and Kamakshamma, translated them for the scheduled programme to be aired.

With very less technical support, the AIR Visaka staff worked so strenuously and hoisted the flag of success all through winning the hearts of many listeners.

Now speaking of Kamakshamma, her efforts in work and her creative talent in which she skillfully translated the plays and also some scripts of Krishnamurthy have been brought out in a book in her fond remembrance. The book was released on July 7 in Visakhapatnam. Two plays 'Kartavyam Chupina Margam' (Duty Entrusted Path), and 'Naa Samadhi' (My Tomb) are plays of Krishnamurthy and the third one 'Chillarandi…Chillara' (Petty Change) penned by Kamakshamma. All three plays were broadcast two decades ago.

The first play is about Karna from Mahabharata. Karna's dedication and devotion to friendship in which he finally gives up his life are depicted very effectively. The second play 'Naa Samaadhi' is a story of Muslim boy Qasim and his lady love Saleema, who is no more. This is a heart-wrenching story of failed love where Saleema was forced to marry someone rich and royal. In order to save her from that, Qasim gives her poison on the wedding night. He too wants to die but is prevented by the royal guards. He collects money and builds the tomb of his lady love and spends all his time in her sweet memories.

The third one 'Chillarandee…Chillara' is about the petty change we all need for our daily expenses like bus fare, auto fare, etc. This is a funny play penned by Kamakshamma about the problems of two ladies, who are new to the city of Visakhapatnam. The funny incidents are wherever they go the scarcity of the small change marks a very important role and how they face difficulties procuring it. The bus conductor leaves them in the middle of the way as there is a dearth of change for tickets and in the cinema hall the booking personnel denies tickets for the same reason and at last the auto driver too demands change and finally they leave him without taking the return change they are supposed to. Though it seems funny the real trouble of the people without a petty change in a city evokes a nostalgic feeling in all the readers who have faced similar situations.

The book also contains a detailed essay about the history of AIR Visakha by K Madhusudan. Including this published write up about AIR gives the readers an elaborate account of the establishment of AIR in 1963 to the present where the name has changed to Prasar Bharathi, how the commercialisation has taken over. But still, the AIR maintains its standards in delivering its diligent and entertaining and educative programmes. He writes about all the programmes, which were applauded by the listeners from all walks of life. He also tells us how sincerely the radio works during natural calamities. This is an interesting account very well written by Madhusudan, who himself worked and recently retired from AIR services. Finally, this book 'Smruthi' is not only the memoir of Kamakshamma's writings but also about the AIR Visakha. A fitting great tribute paid to the lady of letters and also known for her love and services, and all the people of the AIR family and writers attended recollected her as one of the great souls of our Steel City. People may pass away, but their letters make their mark on the sands of time for posterity.

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