A wonderful web of literature
A good book, the eminent poet John Milton said was the "precious life blood of a master spirit embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life".
The essence of Milton's words can only be understood by bibliophiles addicted to soul nourishing words immortalised between book covers wherein they both lose and find themselves.
It is this love for literature from all over the world that prompted avid book lover and collector of precious books Tirupati Kiran to launch a first-of-its-kind website www.kathaaprapancham.in.
The site features Telugu translations of great writers from different languages with author profiles, reviews and links to other works.
The reader here is introduced to different facets of writing undertaken by the author enabling comparison with others in the same genre as well as a holistic understanding of both the author and his works.
Begun nearly seven years ago, the popular website with an average of over 1,500 views per day has works of great literary luminaries of the Telugu language, lesser known works of authors and gems of prose and poetry that enrich our life with the beautiful imagery that emerges from powerful writing.
RK Narayan, Ruskin Bond, Jeffrey Archer, O Henry, Maxim Gorky, Jhumpa Lahiri, Amrita Preetam, Mulk Raj Anand, Dr CS Nanjundiah and a host of literary luminaries can be found here.
The former Telugu film script writer based in Tirupati, is equally fascinated by Pilaka Ganapthi Sastry, Sripada Subramaniam, Tilak, Shankaramanchi Satyam and other writers whose works are featured among a long list of works sourced over a decade.
"Books for me are a treasure beyond compare, a world all of their own.
A discussion or dialogue pertaining to well written prose or poetry is most enriching and those visiting my website have a wonderful experience discovering some of the jewels of literature.
It is like having a complete meal," Kiran avers. With support from friends Mythri, a writer and Monica, a software engineer, he has built up an enviable collection of books digitised and made available online.
His friend Karri Sriram also encouraged his pursuit he States.
He has over 50,000 books carefully preserved on hard disks as of now even as he goes about adding fresh works of writers old and new to his formidable collection.
Stories written by the legendary actor Late S. V. Ranga Rao carefully collected from old weeklies, "Ramaneeya Sri Ramayanam" written by Mullapudi Sreedevi wife of popular writer Late Mullapudi Venkataramana, a series on "Mahabharatam by Navya editor Jagannatha Sarma and" Maa Tirupati Konda Kathalu" by Gopini Prabhakar are among works that readers have enjoyed on his site.
A rich body of work connected with children's literature is greatly cherished by him.
Featured here are short stories by Madhurantakam Rajaram and other writers of children's literature.
"Children should be exposed to great literature. Unfortunately our schools, parents, teachers and grandparent are not devoting enough time to story -telling, which contributes to their overall development.
Listening to stories told and dramatically enacted make a great impact on children. Kiran says.
His love for literature coupled with encouragement from friend and well known story teller Deepa Kiran inspired him to take up story-telling in schools and other institutions.
He has also opened a book store in Tirupati and forayed into publishing.
His book "SV Ranga Rao Kathalu was released at Eluru at the unveiling of the actor's statue in Eluru by his family members and was very well received.
His first venture into publishing that of Gopini Prabhakar's "Tirupati Konda kathalu" earlier serialized in a Telugu daily was so popular that all copies were sold out in the first four months of publication.
Attending film and literary festivals all over the country he was pained to see that works by Telugu authors remain largely unknown to the world while works of writers from other vernacular languages in English got them international acclaim.
He has with him catalogues of British Library books from 1910 and copies of the New Yorker magazine which have works of many South Indian writers but none from the Telugu states.
When the book on the film "Bahubali' post the film's release was displayed prominently at the Jaipur literature festival Kiran was elated.
"We need more literary and film festivals that will result in greater interaction between literary personalities and readers.
We have writers who have written works reflecting our culture and traditions and those replete with great alliterations, idiom and history which are confined only to the Telugu states.
I want to introduce these works to the world just as I want to introduce the writers of the world to Telugu readers' says Kiran. It is this dream that led him to source existing translations and get fresh ones done for the English website that he plans to launch later this month.
As stories get digitized, translated published and told, Kiran's love of books has opened up a whole new world where literature bridges the gap between nations.