My Life Memoirs-4
My Life, Full of Beautiful Memories
5. MY STUDIES IN ANDHRA UNIVERSITY
VISAKHAPATNAM (1955-58 )
My father wanted me to study law. I always dreamed of being an English teacher, so I wanted to join B.A. (Hons) English Literature and language. My brother applied to both on my behalf. He always took care of my studies. I got admission in both. My brother took me to Vizag and got me admitted in three year B.A. (Hons) English course. I was to stay in the University ladies hostel in Maharani Pet.
The hostel was an old building facing the Bay of Bengal. Each room housed six students. For three years, I had the privilege of hearing the sea and watching its beauty and its unlimited blue. I enjoyed its various moods.
I had six great teachers- Prof. Sreenivasa Ayyagar, Prof. B.Muthuswami, Prof. K. Viswanatham, Dr. Ilasen, Dr. Indusekhara Sastri and Dr. Raghava Chari. They taught us old English, Middle English, Cheaucer , English prose- old and new, poetry- old and new, Shakespeare, Modern Drama, Elizabethan literature and so many aspects of English Literature. Prof. Viswanatham used to make jokes and make his classes lively.
Ms. Krishna, Ms. Lotika Gupta, Mrs. Kanaka Mani, Ms. Indira studied along with me. I remember certain names of my class young men- A.L.Narayana Rao, Koteswara Rao, Rama Mohana Rao, Akurati Venkateswarlu. I never talked to any of them. And I was foolish enough not to approach my professors and seek their guidance.
I met Prof. Muthuswami once or twice after I left the University. He was kind and helpful. He was like a father figure. His daughter Adi Lakshmi was my junior. Prof. Ayyangar’s daughter Prema, Registrar K. Gopalaswami’s daughter-in-law Lakshmi Devi were my seniors.
In the hostel my best friends were Ms.Suseela Peters (my senior) Rajeswari – studying History (Hons); Manoharam (law student); and Akhtarunnisa Begum (social work student). Suseela Peters was an expert on Shakespeare, an avid reader of literature though she came from Chemistry faculty. I had high regard for her. She was loving and caring. She used to call me funny names, very affectionately: -Dusti, Trasti, Trasti Sresti. She was very religious and a fine human being.
Rajeswari was with me in Hindi classes and Intermediate. She was a quiet person. Many mistook us to be sisters and we never corrected them. I know her mother and sister, who were very humble and loving people.
Manoharam was doing her law graduation. We were roommates. She loved me and always took care of me like my elder sister. She used to insist that I should eat nutritious food and she used to procure eggs and fruit for me through a friend – J.S.R. Krishna who was also – a student.
Akhtarunnisa was a rare person, always pleasant and smiling. The word ‘anger’ was not in her dictionary. In her loving company, I too shed most of my anger:- I used to get angry over trivial matters before. Her father, a doctor, instilled very good values in her. I was lucky to have such good friends and- I am proud of my association with them.
After many years, I met an old hostel mate, – Manjula (political science) in front of my house and took her home. In course of our conversation about our university days, she apologized to me saying that many in the hostel deemed me a proud peacock because of my dignified demeanor and gait, and because I didn’t talk to anyone and everyone those days. May be, I gave that impression to many people. but I don’t regret it.
After three years of study, in the final examination my performance was not satisfactory to the examiners and I got only 49% marks. I needed at least 50 to be able to teach in any college. I was disappointed with my result. No one in my family found fault with me as they loved me as I was. I took 10 years to appear for M.A. (English) preparing on my own and improve my qualification and eventually enter a college to teach. Perhaps I was only academically mature by then.
My B.Ed. Training
My father took a wise decision to seek admission for me in St. Joseph’s Training College, Guntur. As I didn’t study in a regular school, the training helped me to know the students and how best I can teach a class. English and Social Science Methodology, Psychology and such other subjects were taught to prepare us to be good teachers. My Principal Sr. Anna Maria was a quiet person and, spoke softly. Sr. Theresalena was the head of English Dept., Miss Pothan- the Psychology teacher was our hostel warden too. Sr. Theresalena took special interest in me, supervised my classes as a trainee and gave necessary advice. She was the one who taught me that I should always look into the eyes of the person I was talking to. She was very pleasant and friendly.
Sr. Anna Maria appointed me to work with her for two years. It was like a campus recruitment. After two years Sr. Regina would replace me when she completed her M.A. (English) in the same University.
That summer before I started work they sent me to a summer special English course run by the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL) Hyderabad in Ooty (April-May 1959).
The trainees were all senior English Lecturers from several states of India. I was the youngest and about to begin teaching. The teachers were mostly British. Mr.Bruton, Mr.Barren, and Mr. George, a German and a vegetarian. They taught us phonetics, literary appreciation and how to teach English as a second-language. Those two months of training have been useful to me throughout my teaching career- thanks to St. Joseph’s college and CIEFL.
Ms.Velma Dayal from Nagpur became a good friend to me there. I remember two people in my batch. P.L.N.Sharma who used to say- Komalamma-every man of forty is a rogue. I used to laugh without much knowing what he hinted at and Shaik Moula whom I met in later years when he came as the inspector of schools to my institution in Hyderabad. He was a good person and sincere in his work.
Ooty climate was strange to me, sometimes clouds passed between you and the other person in front of you. It rained on my head and I found other people standing, a little bit away from me untouched by rain. I enjoyed my stay there, especially as I, found so many rose bushes everywhere.
Komala Venigalla, wife of Sri Inniah Narisetty is a retired Assistant Professor of English from Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad. Written on Modern Women covering various aspects of their lives in contemporary world. Traslated M.N.Roy’s Memoirs of Cat into Telugu. Contributed articles to Misimi Telugu monthly.