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Engineer-teacher-ruler, mother-teacher-master

Rama and Ramakrishna Rao, the net savvy couple, finds their stay at Paderu during a stint at the ITDA as their best, says RAMESH SUSARLA.

A REPRESENTATION of a matured administrator, he deftly handles the most complex situations arising out of varied socio-economic, geographical, and cultural conditions, but makes the working of the Guntur District Collector look extremely simple for an outsider watching him function.

Yes, it is our very own K. Ramakrishna Rao.

Be it the chilli market hotting up due to prices sliding down, or exchange of bombs by rival groups, or giving a patient hearing to grievances with a pleasant smile, grasping and analysing situation in seconds to deliver quick decisions is the hallmark of the technocrat-turned-administrator, Ramakrishna Rao.

A product of Andhra Pradesh residential School in Kodigenahalli, Anantapur district, where the cream of society used to find its roots, his affable nature, making himself accessible to the commonest person, and zeal to satisfy everyone who approaches him for help, sets him apart.

Ramakrishna Rao and his better-half, Rama, the tech-savvy couple, believe in meticulous planning of time not to compromise on any aspect of their life.

For the health-conscious Ramakrishna Rao, the day begins with an hour's play of shuttle badminton.

A chemical engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology IIT, Kanpur, Ramakrishna Rao's goal was the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the stepping-stone was a post-graduate course in the IIT Delhi.

The best part of his early days of finding a career avenue was that he catapulted from a humble teacher of Physics to a celebrated lecturer within almost no time in the national Capital, though he took it up just as a part-time assignment. And, what's more interesting is that he obtained his post-garduation too in Chemical Engineering from Delhi IIT.

The proverbial woman behind his success is definitely Rama, who provided the much-needed inspiration as a distant relative, to make him excel at the UPSC exam.

Teaching is her passion, but not at the cost of attention towards her family.

She enjoys teaching English for two hours at a local school only after their son Siddharth goes out to his school.

A cursory look at the district editions of the vernacular dailies to catch up with the developments precedes the badminton practice session and is followed by a glance at the happenings around the world over the TV.

Then it is time for a quick breakfast. "It is idli on most days and bread toast occasionally," he says.

For the couple who diligently practice vegetarianism, the dinner has begun with a veg. clear soup, an obvious choice, at the Dine with MetroPlus at D.V.Manor in Vijayawada. Green rainbow salad with a couple of vegetable gold fingers as appetiser was the perfect match.

Oven-baked rotis, dhal thadka, potato kofta, followed the starters at the dinner.

Thanks to his moorings in Anantapur district, consuming lots of buttermilk during the day has turned out to be a habit for Ramakrishna Rao.

A mix of roti and rice, for health reasons, is the usual lunch on the two or three days he gets to eat at home.

A voracious reader of books of all kinds, he enjoys Telugu small stories. The couple, despite being Kannadigas, speak a fluent Telugu, perhaps much better than those typical Telugus. Of course, Ramakrishna Rao, having had his schooling and plus-two in Anantapur and Guntur districts in Andhra Pradesh, speaking a chaste Telugu is no surprise.

In her Upper Kindergarten their daughter, Meghana, and son Siddharth like only Telugu songs on the TV.

Beyond 10 pm, the family gets some time for itself. Going though the New York Times on the net and surfing for scientific articles is an obsession with him. Rama also joins him in surfing the net on her system. A keen listener of BBC from his student days, he has reverted to listening to radio over the net.

Listening to music and downloading bits from various websites is his hobby and finds only a couple of days in a week to spend with kids.

Imparting education in an informal way to provide comfort in the process of learning to the school children has been his goal. He is making efforts to implement his plans and thoughts with the help of experts in the field.

He believes what is available in the classroom - teaching aids and books other than those pertaining to the class - would make all the difference, rather than buildings and infrastructure, he feels.

Their five-year courtship, as explained by them is akin to a distance education programme.

"I am the villain for children, while papa gets all the hugs, as I scold them whenever they go wrong," says Rama in a lighter vein.

She derives immense satisfaction from the way she is able to look after kids and spend quality time with them. Cooking? Yes she does cook very well and has mastered aapam and a few of the Kannadiga specials, says Ramakrishna Rao.

Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

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