Monday, April 18, 2016

Colony – Proddatur Diaries

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

The original layout of my colony was no more than 4 streets by 2 lanes.  I really never checked into the original planning for my colony, but I have to believe that they wanted a planned community in my town of Proddatur.  When I left my town for Chicago, we had very few cars and a few scooters and motor cycles.  Most of us just walked to wherever we were going into town.  I still remember there was a bicycle rental shop at the beginning of Gandhi Road, where you could rent a bicycle by the hour for I believe a quarter of a Rupee.  In those days renting a bike was a luxury, which you saved for longer distances like going to Rameswaram.
I went to school outside of town, to boarding schools.  Early education in Horsley Hills and the last couple of years in Penakacherla (stories for some other time).  You can Google both and they are both wonderful places.  I was home for the holidays and whatever little time I had in town, it was full of wonderful memories and as usual it went very quickly.

Prabhu, Balu and I were in the colony and Maruti right at the edge of the colony on Jammalamadugu Road.  Many of our other friends lived outside the colony.  We have very few streets within the colony, but we rarely ventured outside of our own domains.  For some reason, our domain was ours, and the evenings we used to hang around some sand dunes (big plies of sand before they used it for construction).  We would sit around and chatted the night away.  It is amazing that we never got bored of discussing just about nothing.
We were growing up in an era without a mobile, internet or television.  The only phone we had was a landline in my house, which had little use as we needed others with phones in their homes.  The room in my home with the phone was aptly called phone room.  You never really could speak to anyone privately, as everyone at home was around to listen to every call.

I had many friends, my own and my brothers.  Both were different group of guys and girls; few of them were common friends.  Outside of me both groups were in different space, seldom crossed paths with each other.
Ramana, my brother was a year younger than me, was my best friend.  We grew up together.  It did not matter where we were but, he and I were always together.  When he died in a motor cycle accident my connection with Proddatur, and also with India was broken.  It was and is sad that he passed away so young, and in such an unfortunate incident.  Life is such.  Both Sampath and Deepak, his great friends and mine because of him, both died in road accidents.  All three were great guys and great friends.  I can’t say enough about their loss, and mine.  Each of them died young and some 25 years or so later, life goes on but for me their brotherhood is still missing.  Our colony I hope is still full of brotherhood and family, which we grew up with.

It has been a few years since I went home.  Although I have home on my mind, for some reason I have stayed away.  Since Ramana’s death, my affinity to colony has never been the same.
Going back to the old days, it is amazing to think we had such engaging time, all without any kind of entertainment.  No television, but only an occasional movie.  It was only the guys and conversation, and only god knows what kept us engrossed.  It is fascinating to think that growing up did not have any influences except family and friends.  Today if my kids are left alone for a few minutes they get bored, whereas I a reflecting on years with only school, family and friends.

I still remember that I only knew very few families in the colony, although it was a fairly small area.  For some reason it was not important to nose around people I did not know.  I don’t remember any gossip, only hanging out with my own circles or people.  We were so engrossed with our own list of daily routines, never really had time to think of nosing around.
Colony was peaceful.  We never saw any fights within the groups of guys or girls.  If someone was fighting or yelling, they did so without anyone else noticing.  By and large the gang of guys did well in school and stayed out of trouble.  I don’t remember having any major discussion and what we will end up doing.  Life just moved on at a very quick pace; school, junior college and college and then I got on a plane to Chicago.  I never really thought too much about what I will end up doing and where I will land.  Life just has been happening.

Colony was the comfort zone, which continues to be with me throughout my life.  I am never really concerned about what might happen.  Whatever fate will bring it will be.
A lot has changed with my family and friends.  My grad parents, my father and my brother have passed away.  My mom, three or my brothers and my only sister (in the USA) and their children, all my cousins and their children, and my extended family have spread over the world, but I am sure everyone agrees that the comfort living in the colony (make it two lives for me) will remain with all of us.

I must admit, whenever I speak to my mom I regularly check on what is happening in the colony.  This is the curiosity I did not have when I lived there.  I check the internet to see what’s happening and I have joined the Proddatur groups on the Internet.  I sure am hoping to go back and spend some time in my old colony and perhaps even find something to add to it.  I know it is not the same place, and not the same time.  What I left behind might never be, but it is still my old colony.  It is a place colonized in my heart.
Someday and very soon I intend to go home and hope to retrace my old memories, and perhaps create some new ones.

My inspiration for Proddatur Diaries.

For a quick reference on my home town and if you would like you might want to browse  My full name is Dhanireddy Sreenivasulu Reddy.  My home town is Proddatur, in Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh, India.  The long name shorted to Vasu Reddy.  The town now has about 220,000 people in the greater municipality area and growing.  My grandfather, Dhanireddy Pedda Narasa Reddy, moved into town sometime in the 1950’s and as long as I can remember we lived in the “COLONY” and in the same home by grandfather built.  Although I have made the greater Chicago my home away from home, I still identify my life with the colony in my old town.  I know much time has passed and much has changed (and the change is continuous and constant), the tales of the town remain fresh and the memories of childhood and formative years, are always in the forefront of my thought process.  There are many of my childhood friends and two of my brothers still live on town (my family still in our old house), and many of the friends and family around the world.  All of whom are still very dear to me, and still great friends.  Each and every one of them are well accomplished and their children following the path of my contemporaries.  My Proddatur Diaries are fond recollections of the town, colony and my folks and my people.  If anyone who would like to help add to the Proddatur diaries, please send me an email at  My intentions are to try and capture the essence of my home, my colony and my town.  For everyone, my friends, my family and my town folks, and all my readers, I hope this will bring back their own memories of home town.

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