This past weekend we visited family members. First we went for a day to Mudenaipalli, Gopal’s father’s home village. We spent time with Rao’s second cousins, who are his main family who are still there.
One highlight of this day was when Kavi was taken around town on a motorcycle by Gopal’s third cousin, named Budgie. He took Kavi to a cool drink stand where Kavi got a soda. All the while, Budgie proudly told everyone he met, “This is Bhogeshwara Rao’s grandson, Kavi Dayaneni.”
We went to Rao’s childhood home, but the house is in disrepair–no one lives there. The roof has fallen in. Here are a few photos of the somewhat sombre scene:
Then we spent two days in Machilipatnam, where Gopal’s mom Suvarna has an aunt.
Ila wrote about the beach there in her blog. Machilipatnam is on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. We went to an area of wetlands, where they are planning to dredge out a deep port. We got to take a boat ride on the wetlands. The mangroves are just now growing back after a tsunami hit in (And we all know that removing wetlands to put in a port is a bad idea, ecologically!) In addition, the main road to Machilipatnam from Vijayawada is under construction; they are going to make it twice as wide. We saw houses demolished and the earth torn up all up and down the road. The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh is the one credited with the huge expansion of Hyderabad, and now he’s planning to do the same with Vijayawada. All of this area will be changing drastically. For now though, it’s still very much like old India: Kavi counted 30 bullock carts on the road, mostly pulling huge loads of sugar cane.
This town is also where Rao went to two years of pre-college. We had to go around and see his old haunts. Here is Kavi at Krishna College, which it looks like has not changed since Rao went there.