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Of unique characters and assertive spirits

Of unique characters and assertive spirits
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One of the master-craftsmen of early Telugu short story, Ramachandra Rao is popularly known as Velupillai Ramachandra Rao. Recently Visalandhra...

One of the master-craftsmen of early Telugu short story, Ramachandra Rao is popularly known as Velupillai Ramachandra Rao. Recently Visalandhra Publishing House has republished his much acclaimed compilation of short stories, Velupillai adding two new stories, 'Company Lease' and 'Club Night'. Naresh Nunna uniqueInfidelity of spouse has been an eternal theme in literature through ages. With the steadfast continuity of the patriarchal setup, the extramarital affairs, particularly of the male partners, are depicted diversely in modern paradigm too. But, if the secret affair of the husbands is with the maids, the writers of any time and space outmoded disgruntled stereotypes, called wives. From Dolly (Princess Darya Alexandrovna Oblonskaya) of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, in modern fiction to begin with, to every other woman, they irritate, sob, infuriate on the amorous relations of their partners with the maids. The vehement disapproval does have its roots in the obvious class disparities between the wife and the maid. Amongst the typically portrayed wives, Suneeta of 'Company Lease', in the short story anthology � Velupillai by C Ramachandra Rao appears different and unique too. She does leave her husband, Rajesh after his affair with a servant maid, but it is for his apathy towards his 'mistress', in the post-affair phase. Sounding unbelievable and absolutely fabricated? One of the master-craftsmen of early Telugu short story, Ramachandra Rao, popularly known as Velupillai Ramachandra Rao, convinces the readers with his realistic depiction of Suneeta. When the prolonged secret affair of her husband with a maid Fatima, is found first, Suneeta blows up the bickering to 'undue' levels even to the dismay of the elders of either side, who were made to involve inspite of themselves. The problem is resolved with obvious ousting of Fatima from domestic duties. In fact, Fatima is in the rolls of the company, owned by Rajesh and works at his home. After quite a long time, Suneeta finds Fatima on roads in pathetic condition. In fact, Suneeta wanted Fatima to be out of her house, but not out of her job. With a simple investigation she understands that Rajesh, for the sake of his status, deliberately gets Fatima removed from service. According to Suneeta, illicit affair is a breach of trust in an institutional set-up made up of relative values; whereas the callousness of her husband towards a fellow- being, who provided physical bliss for 10 years is a blow to the basic values of humanity. Fearing her husband's use and throw attitude, she leaves him. Like Suneeta, many of Ramachandra Rao's characters, Kamala (Tennis Tournament), Sendamarai (Velupillai) to name a few, are found with assertive spirit and thus are unique. With his writing nuances, the master writer, particularly with his stories 'Enugula Rayi', 'Nallatolu', 'Gali Devaru', raised Telugu fiction to international standards. His apparently simple, understated, often profoundly realistic stories immensely interested the connoisseurs and colossuses of Telugu literature and art, including Chaso, Mullapudi, Bapu and Nanduri Rammohana Rao. But all, including his hundreds of ardent admirers, have been the disappointed lot, because of Ramachandra Rao's sporadic writings. During late 1950s and early 1960s he wrote only seven stories and it was only in 1987, after two and half decade that he wrote another story. He penned the ninth story (Company Lease, which the writer claims to be his magnum opus) again after two decades in 2008. It is difficult to judge whether the seemingly prosaic existence in the stultified atmosphere in tea plantations where he spent more than fifty years as an echelon, alienated him from writing. But the backdrop to 75 per cent of his stories is the same Tea plantations. Why he seldom writes ? Or why did he stop writing? � These doubts seemed to have troubled the writer himself. 'Club night', a towering example of his writing prowess can be considered as the writer's quest to find answers to these questions.
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