Meghana, winner of Padutha Theeyaga Contest recognized
On Sunday 10 August 2014, Maitri has organized an exclusive event to recognize the finalist of Paadutha Theeya at Sri Krishna Vilas, Cumming.
Attended by about 80 people including Maitri Members, friends of Pothukuchi Family and several others this event was a ‘gift’ to Meghana for Telugu Community in Atlanta.
More than 20 people have congratulated Meghana and wished her on winning this title. Narender Reddy, President of HTA, Phani Dokka, singer, writer and a mentor of Meghana, Ravi and Sasikala Penumarti, Sandhya Yellapragada, President of TAMA, Mahesh Pawar, former President of TAMA, Ravi Ponanagi, Jouranilist, Madhav Durbha, Writer, Udaynada Padi, YuppTV and were among those who praised Meghana for her passion for Music. Several young singers presented kirtanas, classical music and film songs.
Narender Reddy presented a HTA Shawl to Meghana, while Viju Chiluveru, Coordinator of Matri presented a Plaque. Aparna Pothukuchi, who is an equally talented singer was also recognized on this occasion.
Parents of Meghana, Hari and Uma Pothukuchi shared their experiences about the entire contest and how Meghana made it to the Finals. Click here to view photographs. See flyer below that was published to promote this event.
Maitri acknowledges Venkat Chennubhotla for providing audio equipment, Sunil Kuturu for taking photographs and Srinivas Durgam for operating the Sound system.
NATA 2014 Convention – Senior Citizens Committee
In collaboration with ‘Maitri’ – Club for Seniors Citizens
An Interactive Session on ‘Preparing for Golden Age’ – Tomorrow’s Independent and Detached Senior Citizen
Attended by about 50 seniors this event was a genuine and simple interactive session organized without celebrities. Mr. Narender Reddy, a well-known community leader and current President of Hindu Temple of Atlanta, in his welcome note said that ‘Maitri’ has been doing commendable job for Seniors and he is proud to have associated with the organization during special events. He also said, “We all become seniors and get older. However, living without too many attachments will lead a wonderful golden years of life”.
Ashok Teja Suddala, a well-known lyricist and poet said that we become old when that thought comes into our mind. He shared some of his writings specially related to this occasion.
Later Dr. Mangaraju Vanapalli, an well-known Orthopedic Surgeon, gave out several tips to Seniors. He stressed on the need to focus on Preventive Healthcare. Dr. Mangaraju explained how ‘community living’ helps the concept of sharing and caring. In fact a group of friends have though about developing a Seniors Community in Atlanta. He suggested ‘Maitri’ to pursue the project and take to next level.
Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, a non-senior Cardiologist, gave tips for a healthy heart. He advised regular exercise and healthy diet. Mostly importantly he said, “A healthy mind makes a healthy body”. He gave lot of information about free healthcare provided by GAPI Clinic at Global Mall. He came forward to provide free advice to visiting parents and those who do not have insurance.
Dr. Apparao Chaparala, another Doctor stressed the need to stay away from too many attachments after retirement. He said that seniors should start living a life of detachment.
Mr. Mohan Reddy, Dr. Sujatha Reddy and Dr. Tulasi Vanapally also spoke and gave valuable suggestions to the attendees. All seniors were very happy to be a part of this event.
All speakers and other seniors were recognized with plaques and shawls. A trivia was conducted and winners were given out medals.
Mr. Mohan Rao Devu, Co-Chair of NATA Convention Seniors Committee a Senior and a regular Member of Maitri said, “I am proud and honored to be a part of this selfless organization. In this group I enjoy the company of Seniors form different background. It is a great platform for knowledge sharing and keep yourself young”.
Viju Chiluveru, Chair of the Committee hosted the event along with Mr. Devu. Mr. Chiluveru thanked the speakers, audience and NATA for facilitating this great event.
Phani Dokka received Dr. P. Venugopala Rao-‘Maitri’ Award for Art and Literature for 2014
‘Maitri’ announced its annual Award few weeks before NATA Convention 2014 was held. This year’s award went to Sreenivasa Phani Dokka, a well-known young writer and singer from Atlanta. The award was presented on Sunday July 6, 2014 at Georgia World Congress Center during NATA Convention. Maitri, along with the family of Dr. Venugopala Rao Pemmaraju, established an award for Arts and Literature during 2013. Last year’s award went to Dr. Nyayapathi Shivananda, a renowned portrait artist living in Atlanta. Dr. Venugopala Rao Pemmaraju, a retired Professor from Emory University, was the first Telugu person to come to Atlanta in 1966 along with his family and was a father-figure for the entire Indian-American community. Dr. Rao was very passionate of Telugu Literature
and introduced Telugu to North America through magazine and his writing. He wrote several books and used to contribute articles to many magazines. He was a regular attendee of Literary Meetings (Sahitya Sadassu). Dr. Rao was close to Dalai Lama. With the efforts of Dr. Rao His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama has been named Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory University, the first university appointment accepted by the 1989 Nobel Peace Laureate and leader of the Tibetan exile community.
Dr. Rao loved nature. His hobbies included gardening, painting, sculpture and collection of rare books. Dr. Rao attended Maitri meetings and facilitated several talks by renowned personalities. Dr. Rao has two daughters, Dr. Saleena Dakin and Nalini Koch. Phani Dokka, the recipient of the Award, had an emotional attachment to Dr. Venugopala Rao and considered him as his Mentor, Guide and Philosopher. In fact, he wrote an exclusive poem about Dr. Rao in which he narrated his association with him.
The Award Presentation was held few minutes before NATA Atshtavadhanam in front of several captive audience and literature lovers.
Viju Chiluveru, Coordinator of Maitri gave a brief introduction about Maitri and the Award and requested audience to observe a moment of silence and pay tribute to Dr. Venugopala Rao.
Later he requested Dr. Managaraju Vanapalli to speak about Dr. Rao. Dr. Vanapalli said “It is impossible to speak about such a legend in few minutes and briefly recollected few extraordinary moments he remembered about Dr. Rao. He said that Dr. Rao played a key role in establishing India American Cultural Association (IACA) and helped several Telugu Organizations in the country. Dr. Rao loved Literature and Arts beside his own subject Physics. Later Mrs. Lakshmi Rao Pemmaraju was invited to present the Award to Phani Dokka. She presented the Gold Medal while Dr. B. Krishna Mohan gave away the Plaque.
Phani, said that he is very fortunate and blessed to be the recipient of an Award named after a Legend he was very closely associated and adored. He read out a poem he recently wrote after hearing the news of his Award. This was a very touching moment of the Presentation ceremony.
‘Maitri’ Remembers Legendary Dr. P. V. Rao. Names an Award.
‘Maitri’ paid a fitting tribute to Dr. P. Venugopala Rao Pemmaraju, a legendary figure of American-Indian Community in US, by organizing a Cultural Evening on Saturday, September 21, 2013. In remembrance of Dr. Rao, Maitri has initiated, ‘Dr. P. Venugupala Rao-Maitri Award for Excellence in Arts and Literature’, an annual award carrying a Gold Medal and a Plaque’ presented to Indian-American artists or writers living in US. This year’s award was presented to Dr. Sivananda Nyayapathi, a well-known Profile Painter in Atlanta. Dr. Sivananda, a highly talented artist and winner of more than three dozen awards, was very close to Dr. Rao. One of highly-acclaimed works includes Dr. Rao’s painting.
Maitri is a club catering to Visiting Parents and seniors. Started in late 2009, Maitri meets twice a month at TAMA office in Alpharetta. Activities of Maitri include Group Discussions, Visits to Temples, Special Sessions on Yoga, Preventive Health Care, etc. Maitri recently published a Book ‘Janani’, a collection of stories and poems written by the members.
The cultural show, held at Berkmar School in Lilburn, showcased several Indian Classical Dances and Music. Kuchipudi Dances Garudadhwani Tillana and Parama Prushudu Gopala Baaludainaadu by students of noted dancers Sasikala Penumarthi and Revathi Komaduri were well-received and applauded by all audiences. Select melodious telugu songs by amateurs singers led by Ram Durvasula and Srinivas Durgam kept the audience glued to the seats. A dance by Vishwadha Gunda to the song ‘Om Namo Siva Rudraya’ was a highlight. A Bharanatyam dance, Pushpanjali by Srinidhi Vangala was appreciated by dance lovers. The event was inspired by Lakshmi Vedala, who connected India Home to Maitri. Lakshmi Vedala, who earlier visited India Home in New York felt that Atlanta deserves such a home for seniors.
The show was held as a fundraiser to help two other voluntary Organizations – One is Shantiniketan – a Rehabilitation Center for Handicapped Children in Adilababd District in Andhra Pradesh, India while the other one is ‘India Home’ a center for Senior Citizens in New York City. Funds were raised as donations from community and sales of tickets for the show. Raised funds were split into half and given away to the organizations. Janardhan Pannela, the coordinator for Shantiniketan said, “I am overwhelmed by the support our people have showed to the kids back home. He hoped that the funds collected will be useful to buy a van for the kids”. Aditya Patel, who flew from New York City to attend the program, said he was very proud and happy to be part of the program. He gave a presentation about India Home highlighting the activities of him Organization.
The program was attended by community leaders like Dr. Ravi Sarma, Narender Reddy, Dr. B.K. Mohan, Dr. Sreenivas Gangasani. Dr. Sarma and Dr. Mohan while speaking on the occasion remember Dr. Rao’s services to various community organizations. Dr. Saleena Dakin, younger daughter of Dr. Rao, who flew from Virginia remembered her father and said, “My dad was a true guiding spirit to next two generations and several more to come. Dr. Rao always loved and encouraged people in following Indian Arts and Literature in US”.
Mrs. Lakshmi Rao, wife of Dr. P.V. Rao, presented the Award to Dr. Nyayapathi Sivananda in the presence of several people on the stage. Ravi Ponangi, Atlanta Contributing Editor of India Tribune recalled the good deeds of Dr. Rao. Ravi Ponangi was one the few who interacted with Dr. Rao in the past decade and produced a short video film too.
Viju Chiluveru, Coordinator of Maitri said that he is very proud to have been associated with Dr. Venugopala Rao who attended the Maitri club regularly. He also said that Atlanta Indian American Community always came forward to help noble causes like this one.
Earlier Narasimha Rao Oleti, Mrs. and Mr. Satyanarayana Murthy and Rathnakar Elugunti received awards for their contribution to Maitri Club. Dr. Tangirala Satyanarayana Reddy, Co-founder of Maitri and co-founder of GATA proposed vote of thanks.