Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Book launch of 'The Renaissance Man - Doc MV Sridhar' at Uppal Stadium

The book launch of 'The Renaissance Man - Doc MV Sridhar' was held fittingly at the Uppal stadium Hyderabad which provided a fabulous backdrop to the event. The clubhouse overlooks the lush, green ground to the side and it was a superb setting for the book. Dr Pushpa, Sridhar's mother said this was Sridhar's favourite ground - it was where she wanted to host the launch. VVS Laxman, Doc Sridhar's unabashed fan was there to launch the book as the Chief Guest, with Venkatapathi Raju, CV Anand, G. Vinod, Dr. Neeraj and me as Guests of Honour. Dr Pushpa joined us on the stage. The event was at 11 am.
The launch of 'The Renaissance Man' by (from left) G Vinod, CV Anand, Dr Pushpa Maturi, Md. Azharuddin, VVS Laxman, Venkatapathi Raju and me
Suresh offered to pick me up and that was a huge relief for me. Shobha and Anjali joined in and off we went to the stadium - a little earlier than we thought - we were there at 10 am. As we entered we saw Sagarika's parents Shankar and Rama Melkote arrive at the same time. Uncle gave me a big hug and said he loved the book. 'Unputdownable' he said. Aunty said she liked it too. That was a good start.
Anjali outside the clubhouse
Sagarika, Bobby, Narsing Rao, Ravinder Singh and others were working at getting the venue right. Lakshmi of Akshara Book Store had deputed her man Vijay to ensure smooth sale of the books. Mahendra was overseeing things. One could sense the moment growing bigger.
The All Saints gang - Venkatapathi Raju, Masood Ahmed, Joseph Fernandes, Brother Joseph, Azhar, Denzil Balm and Noel David

Soon the cricketers trailed in - Noel, Kanwal, NP Singh, Yuvraj, Venkatapathi, Chamundi, Ramesh, Parth Satwalker, Nanda Kishore, Ramesh Kumar, Pragyan Ojha, Akshat Reddy. From All Saints there were Joel, Joseph Fernandes, Bro Joseph, Denzil Balm, Masood (who came from the US), Madgusudhan Suri and others. CV came dressed nattily, VVS arrived, Vinod arrived. Neeraj came with his recording equipment.
Joe, Bro Joseph, Azhar, Raju, Denzil and Kanwal

I saw Das who gave me the project, VV Subramanyam who had thoughtfully and kindly put up a pre-event article in the Hindu that day. There was Ramaraju, Benhur. Dr Pushpa and several of her relatives.
Lamp lighting - CV Anand, G Vinod, VVS Laxman, Dr Pushpa, Venkatapathi Raju, me and Dr Neeraj
Veena Kondapalli who wrote a poem for Sridhar. Yogesh, Ajitha, their son Yash, Eunice who was compering the show.
On stage with Doc
Chandu, Sanjay, Vardha. Pankaj came. Mythily and Chanti my sisters, Shrinjay and Shashank my nephews, and Mythily's friend Nagalakshmi came as well.
A view of the audience from left - Kanwaljeet Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Narsing Rao, Noel David, Dilip, Bro Joseph 

As the guests were being called on stage there was a quiet presence in the audience and we saw Md Azharuddin quietly make his way and sit in the second row. We invited him to the dais. All it needed was a call from Dr Pushpa inviting him and he came - beautiful. were all invited on the stage, lamp lit, a prayer song sung and the proceedings were on.
Azhar speaking
The book was released up front and the media took pictures.
Me at the mike
Dr Neeraj opened the proceedings with a short speech and a fantastic video that he had made a year ago 'Sridhar we miss you' - a tribute by the OMC batch of 1982 to their dear friend Sridhar. It was the perfect set up for the morning as everyone turned emotional as they saw Doc smiling, laughing, singing and were wiping away tears.
VVS Laxman speaking

Dr Pushpa who sat next to me was in tears. You can watch it here. It set the mood perfectly as everyone could see snippets of Sridhar's life, pictures, videos, voice overs, singing...it was like he was in the room. Many got emotional and I could see them drying their tears.

Me and Laxman - nice pic

After that emotional video, CV Anand, who was Vice President when Doc was part of the HCA administration spoke about Doc and his contribution first. He spoke about how he first met Sridhar, how Sridhar invited him to the HCA, how they worked on the ground, the relationship he shared with Sridhar. G Vinod, former Labour Minister and President of HCA, who was a great friend of Sridhar spoke about how Sridhar had some wonderful qualities and was a great friend and professional. Venkatapathi Raju, former Test player and a great friend of Doc spoke and recalled how Sridhar pushed them to do better, the camaraderie in the team.
Reading excerpts from the book

Azhar, who was senior to Sridhar at our school All Saints High School, spoke about how he knew Sridhar from the time he was 10, how his father and Sridhar's grandfather worked in the same department and how he just came because Sridhar's mother invited him, Dr Pushpa spoke after Azhar and thanked everyone and gave us mementos.

I spoke next - mainly bout why the book came to me, the reasons why I was the best person to write it, the process of writing it and my discoveries along the way.

With the family - Sagarika, Andy and Arnav to the right

VVS Laxman spoke last and spoke with lots of emotion and passion for a full 25 minutes as he reminisced his early days with Sridhar, how Sridhar mentored him, pushed him to grow, made life more bearable for him, kept them all in good space, how Sridhar had advised his father when they asked him whether Laxman could pursue both cricket and medicine at the same time. The entire two hour video can be watched here with all the speehes etc.


The proceedings lasted over 2 hours.
Ms Rama Melkote, me and Shankar Melkote

Then we signed copies - Laxman was as usual very obliging and spent a lot of time with people, signing copies, taking selfies and so on.
Bro Joseph, Clement Michael, Noel, Joseph Fernandes

I signed several copies myself. We all enjoyed a fabulous lunch hosted by Dr Pushpa after that. It was a morning full of great vibes.
Ramesh, Vijay, Parth, me, Laxman, Yuvraj, Nanda, NP Singh

The book is available at Akshara Book Store, Jubilee Hills. It is also available at amazon at this link

Shashank, Anjali, Shrinjay, Chanti and Mythily at the Uppal stadium
You could also write to the following email or address to obtain copies
- Global News  - globalnews.hyd@gmail.com
- Dr Maturi Pushpa, Plot No 29, BN Reddy Colony, Road No 14, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad - 500 034
Ph 98495 65000, email maturipushpa@yahoo.co.in


Karrileaf said...

I am seeing this a bit late. Very nice writeup. Been following your writing and books for some time. You take me back to school day memories of Hyderabad cricket of the 80s..
As a school kid, I was hoping Doc Sridhar would one day play for India. Worked for Satyam while he was around where he excelled in multiple roles.
Look forward to reading this biography about someone who excelled in everything he did.

Ravi Kumar

Harimohan said...

Thanks for writing in Ravi. You should have come for the launch. I am sure you will enjoy reading the book. Many more memories of Hyderabad cricket captured there. :)

Karrileaf said...

Just Ordered the book Hari. Eagerly looking forward !!

Ravi Kumar