Monday, March 28, 2016

LIFE OF A POET ~ PT

We are world travelers today, my friends, as we make a transatlantic flight to Hyderabad in India, to speak with the poet we know as PT, and meet her beautiful family.  PT writes at  Thoughts Unleashed,  and has been with us for some time. We are long overdue in getting to know her better, so pull your chairs up close, pour yourself some chai, and let us immerse ourselves in PT's world. We will do a bit of sight-seeing while we're here, so get ready for some beautiful scenery!




Latha




Sherry: It is such a pleasure to be chatting with you, so we can all get to know you better. As there is so little information on your blog, we have a lot to chat about. First of all, I must ask: what does PT stand for?

PT: PT is my pet name given to me by my husband during courtship days. No one else knows the full form. I am revealing it to you today...PT stands for Pony Tail...the way I used to tie my hair in those days. For all others I am known as Latha.

Sherry: That is so sweet! Latha it is! Give us a snapshot of your life, wont you? Where you live, your family, whatever you would like us to know about you.


Latha: First of all, Sherry, thanks so much for including me in your interview series.  I am truly honoured to be part of the group.

I come from a normal middle class family, both my parents were working, they were in teaching Profession. We are 4 siblings, I have two elder sisters and one younger brother. All are married and settled in Hyderabad.



This photograph gives a glimpse of my family to you all. We regularly meet on specific occasions like festivals-celebrations etc. This photo is taken during my elder sister's daughter's marriage.

Sherry: You have a wonderful family, Latha. It is so lovely that you all live in the same city, to make getting together easy.


My Husband Prabhakar


My daughters


Latha: Prabhakar is a banker. He works for a multinational bank, outside India. We are married for the past 25 years.  I met him for the first time when I was just 16 and after 4 years of courtship we got married in 1990. We are poles apart in personalities ,  he is very disciplined, follows rituals very faithfully, whereas I am quite random and least bothered about formalities.

Now I realize why they say love is blind and, of course, now, for me the statement “opposite poles attract each other” is an established truth.



Our Family


I have two daughters, the elder one Lahari, the younger one Vaishnavi. Habitually Elder one is more like her father and younger one like me. Life exhilarates in their presence...we often enjoy together  going to movies-shopping, eating Chat on road side...doing anything... everything.



                                                    Lahari                             Vaishnavi

Sherry: What a lovely family you have, Latha!

Latha: am totally a "Hyderabadi". I am born, brought up, finished all my education in Hyderabad only. 


Hussain Sagar Lake with the famous monolithic 
Buddha Statue in Hyderabad)


I got married quite young at the age of 20, when I was doing my PG Course. Immediately  after my studies I have joined, Geological Survey of India (1992), after working for more than 5 years there I have joined AMD, i.e., Atomic Minerals Directorate, Since 1998 to till today.

Sherry: (I am enjoying this visit so much!) In chatting, I discovered you have a very interesting field of employment. Will you tell us a bit about it?

Latha: I have done my M.Sc. PhD in geology, from Osmania University, Hyderabad. Basically I am a geologist, presently working in a Petrology Laboratory, where I study rocks under a microscope to understand their mineralogy, texture and genesis.


Me, working in Petrology Lab



Me during a public awareness Programme 
about Atomic Minerals

Sherry: I have always loved rocks. What an interesting occupation you have. Would you tell us a bit about your love of rocks?

Latha: From childhood onwards, I am a nature lover, and have a fascination to collect rocks. Their varied colors and different surfaces/shapes/structures used to attract my eye, so whenever I get something appealing to my eyes, I used to collect them and keep them with me. Sometimes I even bought some stones and rocks at exhibitions.

Previously, only boys were allowed to take up geology courses, due to involvement of hardships during study and during the job. I think I am lucky that the moment I completed my 12th, I came to know about the college (Bhavan's New Science College), that started taking girls in the geology course. After going through the syllabus of the course, without a second thought I immediately joined the course.

You won't believe it, but ours is the first batch of girls to enter the geology course. I have done B Sc (Honors) Geology, among the first batch of girls graduating from Osmania University in 1989.




Me, at my Osmania University Library


There was never a single moment when I thought I have chosen a wrong profession. Every time I see rocks under a microscope, I feel so elated. You have to see it to believe it....Rocks are so beautiful.




A schistose rock with calcite, quartz,
and mica under a microscope


Sherry: I share your wonder at their beauty, Latha. And it is wonderful you are one of the first women to graduate in the program. You are a trailblazer!

Now, looking back, would you tell us a little about your childhood? Is there someone you feel had a significant influence on your becoming a poet? 

Latha: I grew up in suburban setting (Old City), not too many miles from where I live now, and really had a wonderful childhood. I am like omnipresent in all my neighborhood, playing, talking, helping everyone around in their daily chores. For example, one of my friend's father use to have a vegetable store, I remember how me and my friend (we were ~10 years old then) use to manage the store in absence of her father. 

I use to play a lot of outdoor games very typical of those areas, such as koko, maram peeti, hide and seek, marbles, gilli dandu, flying kites and lot of other interesting games which only children of that time knows. The sophistication and modernization has brought down all those games only to memories.  



The busy world of the Old City of Hyderabad
     


Roadside shopping in the Charminar area

I owe lot of my intrapersonal skills to all those people of different genres and cadres. I understood life's intricacies by observing all those around me which I wouldn't have understand otherwise as both my parents are very well educated and were employed in government sector which is comparatively rare in those times.
Books are the only option during that period when I was in high school (82-84), graduation (86-89), during vacation. I am a vivid reader, if I start a book I used to finish that book by evening (200-300 pages), as we have to pay the extra rent if cant return the book in the library on the other day. I have almost read all poetry prose available in Telugu by the time I completed High School. 

There is some great poetry written by poets like Sri Sri, Tilak, Krishna Shastri in Telugu...and a number of contemporary poets ...whose poems I used to read regularly in weekly magazines which inspired me to write in similar lines...I don't know how much I have succeeded but, yes, that is the time I started writing poems.

Sherry: What made you choose poetry instead of prose? What do you love about poetry?

Latha: Probably when I was 12 years old, I have written my first poem (1982). I mostly use to write in Telugu (my mother tongue). My medium of instruction was also Telugu up to 12th class. When I have joined graduation in 1986, the medium of instruction changed to English and during that period I started seeing rocks...I got some new friends, new environment,  all of which has inspired me to write more and more about all the things around me. Slowly I stated writing in English too, once I picked up the language. But serious writing stated only when I stated blogging in 2009-10.



Me, during a poetry competition in office

Sherry: Would you like to share three of your poems with us, and tell us a bit about each one?

Latha: It's very difficult to choose and select. Most of the time, the poems which I thought were excellent expressions are not received that well by others, while sometimes when I thought "what a stupid write", people have liked it. I don't know the peoples' pulse, I think, I just write whatever comes to my mind.

This poem "Heaven....with you" is one such poem about a person in love. I am not specific about the person but truly I am a Love Buff. There is nothing like love in life....which totally transforms you and evolves you as a person. This poem is one such ode to love.

Heaven... with you                               

Unfathomable heart..unforgettable impact
Your love makes me more intriguing than any thought

They say life goes full circle
For me ....you are 0 degree...you are 360

Wandering  through the world
Wandering in your memories
For me...both are same
Because ...my world begins and ends with you

Never bothered where it will lead
Never bothered where I will reach
For me you are the path ...you are the destiny

Why do people struggle I don't know
How do people relieve I don't know
For me you are the pain ..you are the joy

I never bothered it's hell or heaven
Because for me... it's hell without you
Heaven... with you



Sherry: A beautiful ode to love, Latha. Thank you. 


Ganesh Chaturthi Celebration in my House,
Decoration of Mandapam done by my hubby

Latha: And if you ask me to choose one more poem then probably this poem Life is all about that....unexpectedness, comes to my mind. This is so true of me my inner feel...

After going through so many ups and downs, I am rather philosophical in my approach towards life and relationships. Rather I would say that I am detachedly attached with all the worldly things, though I do all duties without any hindrance. 

Life is all about that....unexpectedness


You can never expect
When and where you are born
You can never anticipate
How and why you are going to die

Life is all about that....unexpectedness

Whom will you choose as your love
Who will be your kith and kin
Whom will you meet on your way
Who will be your partner till end

Life is all about that ....friendliness

You can never predict future...
You can never proclaim desire
What you are going to gain
What you are going to lose

Life is all about that...impudence

Never estimate what time holds for you
Just go with the flow...
Life decides its own course
Life goes on its own pace...


Sherry: Going with the flow is a serene way to travel, my friend.

Latha: Ah, finally, I will give this poem on rain, one of my favourite things. Rains are like god's messages. I really enjoy the  rainy season, seeing the dark clouds, getting drenched in rains, are two most favourite things of mine. Not only me, my whole family enjoys the rains. We all will be in either balcony or on roof top if it’s raining. Alas, of late it’s not raining in Hyderabad, and I am feeling that I am half dead.

It's really weird to imagine life without rains ....


Rain...Rain...Come Again!    


Quenching thirst of parched earth
Descending down from the eternal skies
Rains definitely reflect…
Nothing can stop them from hugging
The grasses the gorges
The mountains the ridges
Flowing down the boundless territories

Rains definitely inflict….

Nothing can constrain them from moving
They never think when…where
They never bother why…. how
Just fly with the breeze
Just flow with the feel

Rains are mellow of the nature
That invites life into life
Rains are melody of the future
That invites love into life


Sherry: I love this appreciation of rain! When did you begin blogging, Latha,  and what impact has it had on your work?

Latha: I first found out about blogging through an article published in a magazine  about different kinds of blogs. Being curious ...I tried to create one blog (I think named  PT's Poetry). Later on it changed to the present form. First  I started posting and, in the beginning, contributed mostly in the form of articles which are nothing but my random thoughts.

Later on I came across with Indiblogger, Haiku Heights, Poets United and Poetry Jam and other sites. Haiku Heights was my most favourite one, I really use to enjoy writing in three lines on given word. Somehow after the closing of that site I feel I lost that streak writing crisp and sweet poetry. Poets United has given me another platform.

Sherry: We are so happy you found us! Who is your favorite well-known poet? What do you love about his or her work?

Latha: That’s a hard one to answer.  Presently I am not into reading much. In Telugu, I love the works of poets I have already mentioned. I learnt about Khalil Gibran through a friend after going through his work...I really became a big fan of his writings. His writings really inspire me. Otherwise I mostly read from contemporary blogs... awesome poetry in some of these blogs.

I specifically remember the 3 line verse of MagicalMystical Teacher, exemplary work of Jae Rose, Björn Rudbergs Writings, Locomente, Sumana, Mary, Old Egg to mention a few.

Sherry: All faves of mine as well. Smiles. What other things do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

Latha: Hey to be frank if I get time....I can go on writing. I really miss writing most of the times due to lack of  free time as well as free mind. I have a tight schedule, every day I get up, cook meal for myself and my two daughters (as Husband works at other place, he keeps coming  and going), reach office ~ 9.00 AM. till 6.00 PM office...Microscopy-computing, meetings-teaching...a lot of other activities, then again coming home, spend some time with kids, go for walk, come back cooking, eating,  sleeping. It's a kind of routine.  

Somehow I squeeze out time in between to read, listen to music, watch TV and browse the net, including visiting my blog, and write. Most of the time my poetry is instantaneous!

Sherry: I so understand. You are very busy! Is there anything you would like to say to Poets United?

Latha: There is a poet hidden in every person...a little pat once in a while, a word of encouragement now and then ... that's all it takes a poet to write and present it. Poets  United is giving a platform to all those poets, including me, to sharpen their skills through all these interactions, comments, variable themes and valuable guidance. My heartfelt gratitude to all those who are directly or indirectly involved in Poets United.

Sherry: Thank you, Latha, for those very kind words. And for such a lovely visit. I so enjoyed hearing about your wonderful life, and getting to know you better. We all look forward to enjoying your writing for a long time to come.

Well, my friends? Wasn't this a lovely visit? I so enjoy our trips to India, a country that lives in my heart. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!



37 comments:

  1. Thank you Sherry for the post! I enjoyed learning more about PT....and enjoyed the poems she selected to share....

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    1. Thank you so much for all those good wishes!

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  2. So much colour and life - and happiness- in this interview..thank you both..as well as your personality, family and writing your career had me smiling..I thought of slicing a rock and seeing the layers..perhaps this is how you write? How wonderful it would be if we could understand your mother tongue - I wonder how it effects how you write - if it is still there in the layers..in the history and the words that come out..which all seem to wonder at the world - lovely to get to know you and thank you for the mention - an honour also ;)

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    1. Wow.. wow..and wow! I see some beautiful poetry in this comment...you no need to understand my mother tongue. You have already understood me through my poems!
      Poetry has only one language, universal!

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  3. I feel such a connection to you PT...I too love nature and collected rocks as a child. I wish I still had my collection....and you now study them as a profession. How wonderful! I love your nickname and oh what a beautiful family. I have been enjoying your poetry and hope to read it for a long time to come....another great interview Sherry!

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    1. Yes we are connected and why not...we all are birds of same feather! we all are connected by poetry, that is inspired by nature-emotions-sentiments-feelings and what not everything!

      Thanks a lot.

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  4. Ah, I always wondered what "PT" stood for! Thanks for telling us, Latha! And what a beautiful family photo you shared. Nice that all of your siblings live so near. My oh my you definitely quite a reader if you read 200 - 300 pages in the same day! I enjoyed learning about how you became inspired. I enjoyed all your poems but my favorite of this you shared was "Life is all about that -- Unexpectedness." Such truths you have expressed in that poem! And I liked the idea that 'there is a poet hidden in every person.' Sherry, thanks for another wonderful interview!

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    1. Oh Mary today I am truly overwhelmed with joy...
      Thank you so much for all those valuable words, they are as precious as gold.

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  5. PT you are wonderful! Your poetry is inspiring and your family is beautiful. Rocks have always been favorites of mine. They are so much more than they appear! Thank you. Sherry and PT for sharing a fine interview!

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    1. Aha...so much appreciation, I am just flattered
      Thank you Carol!

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  6. It's so nice to learn about your family and see those lovely pictures PT. Thanks for sharing your poetry, whici is so sincere and full of hopeful thoughts and love.
    Sherry, once again you took us on a wonderful trip to meet a very interesting poet. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you so much for all those good words...I too will join you in thanking Sherry for introducing me to all of you.

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  7. You are all most welcome, my friends. It is my pleasure to visit all around the globe, for someone who stays much at home, I feel connected to the whole world through these visits! Latha, it was truly a pleasure to get to know you better. I, too, love the idea that there is a poet hidden in every person.

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    1. Oh Sherry..I don't know how to thank you, words aren't sufficient...
      It was real pleasure meeting you..talking to you!
      You brought me so close to myself with your interview
      Thanks a lot!

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    2. It was a pleasure, Latha.....I enjoyed getting to know you better. Smiles.

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  8. A truly fascinating interview – and life. Thank you, Sherry and Latha.

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  9. A truly fascinating interview – and life. Thank you, Sherry and Latha.

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    1. Thank you so much it's like a blessing!

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  10. Hyderabad is such a magical canvas to write on...the old city is a marvellous piece of history that never fails to inspire. And the food...just amazing!!!! Always lovely to meet someone from there. Thanks Latha, Sherry...

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    1. Yah very truly said about Hyderabad! I too love the food specially the road side Chat!

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  11. Proud to be your daughter. Your life has always been an inspiration. Couldnt ask for more :')

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    1. Me too dear...Couldn't ask for more!

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  12. At last I'm with my computer, with very slow net. Hope this comment publishes. I am at the moment out of my town, just back from Kashmir. Haven't been to Hyderabad but it's on my bucket list now. This is such a fascinating interview. and so glad to get to know you better Latha. Love the beautiful poems here. And you really have a wonderful profession Latha. Enjoyed every bit of the chat. Thank you so much Sherry and Latha.

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  13. So wonderful to learn more about Latha. Such a lovely life and poet she is. Thank for an inspiring interview Sherry. :-)

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    1. Thanks a lot...you all are giving me a lot of happiness by your valuable comments

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  14. I am really honored to be mentioned by you Latha...Thank you.

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    1. You are always welcome and close to my heart Sumana!

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  15. I wonder how many people have spent more than a few minutes wondering what PT stood for. How cool. And I can almost see your husband giving you the nickname--there is such a sense of play in his smile (which seems to have been infused directly into the the smiles of your children).

    And you are a lover of rocks? Yay!

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    1. hey...thanks!
      You brought all old memories alive!

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  16. lovely lady is Latha - her beauty shines right through to her poetry and she sums up so perfectly the support from Poets United "a little pat once in a while, a word of encouragement now and then ... that's all it takes a poet to write and present it..." Thank you PT for sharing some of your world and I shall savour these lines " "Life is all about that -- Unexpectedness." Great interview Sherry!

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    1. Hey thanks for all those good words...that is what makes me write, that is what gives me the inspiration...All the positivity from the people around keeps me up beat!

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  17. Latha, you rocks! i mean, you can see another world in a layer of rock. this sounds pretty exciting, your job is like a mix of scientist and detective.
    always amazing to read about the lives of the poets in this community. thanks for letting us know you better. :)

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    1. What a wonderful comment...Thanks for making me detective, I think now I can add that too in my portfolio!

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  18. What beautiful poetry Latha and another great interview Sherry. Thank you too for your mention of my blog. It is such a treat to learn a little more about the poets we read.

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    1. Thanks for the appreciation...poets like you inspire me to write more and more!

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