Hearty thanks for celebrating 80th Birthday of Grandpa Somayya Kasani with all of us. Grandpa and we all felt we were in the midst of you. We loved all the messages, poems, best wishes, greetings and video messages that we received. They are very loving, kind messages based on Grandpa's life and friendship with you. Grandpa and we all will cherish them forever.
Meeting over Zoom is new to many of us. Our celebration included family & friends joining from 15+ cities and villages globally including Grandpa's birth place Devaruppala, India. Our world is truly a small village now.
Happy Birthday, Somayya!
Now you have joined the ranks of octogenarians like me! Somayya Kasani is one
of the best friends I have ever had. Somayya possesses some very
outstanding qualities that I and others admire in him. First, he is a very
affable fellow, friendly to everyone and willing to make contact with new
people. Secondly, he’s extremely loyal to his friends and loves his wife,
children, and grandchildren dearly. He is always talking about his
grandchildren, sending them photos he has taken and giving them advice. Third,
he is very inquisitive, always wanting to learn more about any possible subject
whether it be politics, other cultures and customs, philosophy, religion, among
many others things. When he first came to Edmonton, he went back to school to
learn about Canadian society how to use as computer, keeping a I-Pad with him
at all times.
I first met Somayya at a NDP political meeting around 2006 in
South Edmonton. Somayya and his wife, Vijayalakshmi, came to Canada in 2000
from India, sponsored by their three children. He is only about a month younger
in age than me, so the two of us were going to celebrate a double 80
birthday sometime in June, except that the coronavirus got in the way. Somayya
and his wife are snowbirds who spend the winter in United States, visiting
their children, their spouses and their grandchildren and usually returning to
Edmonton in spring to enjoy some of the amazing activities going on. He and his
wife recently celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary in early May, 2020. I
now thank him for sending me a 80th birthday gift. I really
appreciate the thought.
Like me, Somayya is a former teacher and enjoys his retirement
in a variety of ways. Once he returns to Edmonton in spring, he and
I are involved together in many activities. Our most popular meeting place is
Tim Hortons Doughnuts, with shops, sprinkled throughout this growing and
progressive city. Our favorite one is on 23th Avenue and Rabbit Hill Road near
his home. Here we drink coffee and discuss a variety of topics including
politics, religion, culture, and philosophy. Somayya always carries his handy
I-Pad to take pictures of friends, other people and sights, often walking up to
other tables, introducing himself, talking to other people, and, of course,
snapping pictures. This demonstrates two of his unique qualities: his
friendliness and his inquisitive nature, showing his desire to learn more about
people and society. In his search for knowledge, Somayya often turns
to the Internet and copies quotations of famous people from
Aristotle to Einstein, which he sends out on Facebook to family and friends so
they can comment on them. This shows his desire to continue to learn about life
through the ideas of others.
We also have a coffee club that meets at McDonalds on 23rd
Avenue every few weeks, where we spend hours sipping coffee, eating pastries
and discussing the topics of the day. That club consist of four members,
Somayya, Charan, Cynthia and me, but is open to all comers if they would like
to join. COVID-19, has put a damper on these visits,and now even the libraries
and museums are temporarily closed.
Once I moved to Edmonton in 2003, I began to attend the various
festivals. After I met Somayya, we began to go together to as many
activities as possible. Edmonton is Festival City during the summer, but
unfortunately most of the festivals have been cancelled this year, and I’m not
sure if he will be able to make it back this year. So this a reminder to you,
Somayya, of what we have been doing and would be doing this summer if not for
Festival, held on the long-weekend at the beginning of August, is a
multicultural event, consisting of booths sponsored by the over 70 ethnic
communities in Edmonton. The groups set up individual tents to display their
culture, sell a few hand-crafted goods, and particularly sell delicious foods
from their ethnic cuisine. Also, each group might have a stage out front where
dancers, singers and actors performed to the large audiences. It was an
enjoyable experience, but there usually were a couple of problems. You could
purchase food tickets, but to fully appreciate the choices available, you had
to walk round along Hawrelak Park, and let the delicious sights and smells of
the foods sink in to make your decision.
During the last few
years (2010-3019) I went early with my friend, Somayya. We left our homes at 9
am, caught the LRT at Heritage Centre and took it to the University where we
caught an express bus to Hawrelak Park, on Edmonton’s Southside. We arrived
around ten just as they were opening up. We might drop off some donated
food in the large bin at the entrance. Once inside, we walked
to a ticket booth and purchased food tickets.
Then we started our
journey. As we visited the various booths, Somayya was armed with his I-Pad
camera and constantly took photos, which he sent on Facebook to relatives
and friends. The whole trip from tent 1 to 75 usually took a couple
of hours, as we spent time inside the tents to view the historical and cultural
displays. Somayya would take pictures of us, the participants in ethnic dress
and the various displays as well as sometimes purchasing the
hand-crafted products that each group had for sale. The huge Chinese
dragon was one of his favorite shots as well as the Russian and Indian
dancers. Also, the hats. Somayya favored the Mexican sombero.
Somayya liked to try one on and then get someone to snap a picture of him. We
bought food and drinks along the way, but when we reached the end and started
our long journey back, I had to stop at various tents, after I decided what I
wanted. Somayya wanted to reach the Indian tent, which was usually
near the far end of the grounds and take pictures of people he knew
there. After that, I wanted to go back and buy some food, perhaps at the
Taiwan, Italian, Caribbean, German, or Welsh booths. After another hour, we
were exhausted, hot, and ready to leave as the crowds grew larger. As the
line-ups got huge, the waiting time for food increased. Or we could
go to the park area with trees, grass, and flowers and sit down
either on the benches, chairs or grass to rest awhile.
All in all, we had a
very good time, refreshed ourselves with water, pop and Italian ice
cream, before strolling back to the buses to return home.
Somayya and I also
attended The Taste of Edmonton, usually at City Centre Square, where
different restaurants sold some of their favorite dishes, whether it was onion
cakes, chocolate-covered strawberries, deep fried shrimp inside a tasty batter
or various steak or chicken dishes.
Another big event we
visited was Cariwest, which celebrated Caribbean culture. We always went early
on Saturday morning by LRT, meeting under the “Globe”, grabbed two
cups of Tim Horton’s coffee at the shop on 108 St. and Jasper and then watched
the colorful parade. It always started late, but there were so many
participants, large trucks with West Indian bands playing, and, of course, the
costumed competitors from the night before. Armed with his camera,
Somayya ventured into the parade, getting amid the marchers and
snapping pictures of them. Then we would go to the grounds at Churchill Square and
buy some jerk chicken or some other spicy Caribbean delicacies and drinks. One
time, my friend, Ann, who was originally from Trinidad-Tobago, won the prize as
the Queen of the Carnival for her wonderful, special costume, so we had to get
some pictures of her.
Next to Whyte
Avenue. Edmonton puts on the second largest Fringe Festival of theatre
productions in the world after the famous Edinburgh’s Fringe, with close to 200
plays, and with street performers such as jugglers, clowns, stilt
people, and musicians. Also more food booths!
We also attended the
famous K-Day Parade in the middle of July, at the start of a ten-day
celebration, followed by a carnival, exhibition displays, various artists, and
even dragon boat races. We always watched the downtown parade and a couple of
times passed out leaflets for Daughters’ Day in early September.
Daughters’ Day is a
special annual celebration in Edmonton, sponsored by several ethnic communities
in honour of women and girls for their achievements in life. The organization
is dedicated to advancing human dignity and gender equality. Several women are
selected as Daughters of the Year. The celebration is held at City Hall with
speeches by community leaders and politicians. Then the Daughters of the Year
are presented and given awards for their contributions towards society.
Entertainment with singers and dancers follows, along with plenty of
refreshments, most of it East Indian food. Both Somayya and I have played an
active part, attending meetings, setting up chairs and tables, and working at
the booths, handing out pamphlets and selling T-Shirts. He’s always willing to
help out. As usual he is also armed with his ever-present camera.
that Somayya and I were involved in was politics. I am a long-time New
Democratic supporter, while Somayya joined the New Democrats in 2006
thanks to a mutual friend, Bohdan, also a long-time member and professor at the
U of A. Since then, Somayya had been very active attending meetings, serving on
the executives of two ridings, taking part in party rallies and marching for
societal changes for the better. The NDP has been dedicated to social justice
and was the leader in developing Public Medicare in Canada. He campaigned
in several key elections by knocking on doors, handing out pamphlets, attending
meetings, and joining rallies on street corners or near public buildings like
the Terwillegar Rec Centre. In 2015, our candidates,
Richard Feehan and Bob Turner won in their constituencies and our
leader, Rachel Notley, became Premier of Alberta. This shows another great side
to Somayya, his dedication to social justice and his desire to improve the
lives of others.
If there was an
activity, Somayya was sure to attend. Rachel put on a good pancake breakfast in
her riding in conjunction with an art show, so there we were, eating pancakes
and sausages, with wonderful Canadian Maple Syrup on top, and taking pictures
of our fellow supporters and the artists with samples of their work in their
We also attended the
pancake breakfast on Canada Day, July 1, on the grounds of the Provincial
Legislature, and Somayya was , of course, taking pictures of our
politicians who were serving out the food. Somayya was our constitutuency’s
official photographer, so if we needed a picture, we could count on him. It was
a great time, and I know you enjoyed it, Somayya! He always checked
with me during the week to see what activities we would have to go to, so he
kept me on my toes.
One of our favorite
activities was going together to political conventions. We went to
several in Edmonton, one in Red Deer and two in Calgary. The first one in
Calgary, Somayya had recently joined the party. I went down with a group of
people and Somayya caught up to us, going by bus. We had a great time listening
to the speeches, going to the party afterwards, and enjoying a great banquet
on Saturday. When asked to choose a hotel room partner, Somayya
chose to stay in my hotel room those two nights, but in his
excitement, woke up earlier than usual, well before any activities began,
including breakfast in the restaurant!
Somayya is a great
friend who keeps in contact, always encouraging me to
write, which I have done, currently writing my autobiography as well
as many articles, particularly during the last few lockdown months.
Somayya and I also
visit the various markets in town, one in the theatre district off Whyte Avenue
and another in Terwillegar. Here, we have met our local MLA’s, talked to them,
and enjoyed free ice cream!
activities that Somayya is engaged in on his own is walking constantly amd
swimming to keep healthy.
When you return,
Somayya, we will have to plan some more trips such as to the Royal Alberta
Museum, the Edmonton Zoo, the Space Science Centre
and another trip to Fort Edmonton (next year as it is currently
I appreciate your
friendship greatly, Somayya, hope you and your wife and family are doing well.
Have a joyous and marvellous 80th Birthday. Enjoy the cake,
food and speeches while being surrounded by your loving family and friends. I
am definitely one of them.
“ఆంధ్రవూపదేశ్కు చెందిన ప్రముఖ రాజకీయ నాయకుల్లో కాసాని నారాయణ కూడా ఒకరు. ఆయన స్వాతంత్య్ర సమరయోధుడు. పధ్నాలుగేళ్లకే సాయుధ పోరాటంలో పాల్గొన్న వీరుడు. నిజాం పాలనకు వ్యతిరేకంగా పోరాటం జరిపిన ఉడుకురక్తం ఆయన. ఉత్తేజ పరుచగల వక్త కూడా. వరంగల్ జిల్లాలోని దేవరుప్పుల గ్రామం ఆయనది. సాధారణ రైతు కుటుంబంలో పుట్టినవాడే. అప్పట్లో ఆ ఊళ్లో చదువుకున్న అతి తక్కువ మందిలో నారాయణ తండ్రి రామయ్య ఒకరు. అందుకే నారాయణ కూడా ఐదో తరగతి దాకా చదువుకోగలిగాడు. చురుకుగా ఉండేవాడు. ఎంతోమంది గొప్పవాళ్ల ప్రబోధాలు, ప్రసంగాల వల్ల ఉత్తేజితుడైన నారాయణ నిజాం పాలనపై వ్యతిరేకత పెంచుకున్నాడు. అప్పటి పరిస్థితుల్లో ఆంధ్రమహా సభ, కమ్యూనిస్టు పార్టీలో కీలక కార్యకర్తగా మారాడు. జనాన్ని పోగు చేయడం ఒక పనిగా పెట్టుకున్నాడు. 1946లో రజాకార్లు నారాయణ గ్రామంపై దాడిచేసి 440 మందిని అరెస్టు చేసి చెంచల్గూడ జైళ్లో నిర్భందించారు. ఆ సమయంలో నాలుగు నెలలు జైలు శిక్ష అనుభవించాడు నారాయణ.
అప్పటికి ఆయన వయసు పందొమ్మిది సంవత్సరాలు. నిజాం పాలనలో ఉరిశిక్ష పడ్డప్పుడు అవకాశం ఉన్నా క్షమాభిక్ష అడగటానికి కూడా ఒప్పుకోలేదు ఆయన. కమ్యూనిస్టు పార్టీ ఆదేశంతో నిజాం పాలనకు వ్యతిరేకంగా నారాయణ చేస్తున్న కార్యక్షికమాలు పెరగడం వల్ల అతనిపై నిర్భందం పెరిగింది. ఆ సమయంలో ఆజ్ఞాతంలోకి వెళ్లాల్సివచ్చింది(ఆయన జీవితంలో రెండున్నర సంవత్సరాలు జైలు, ఐదు సంవత్సరాలు ఆజ్ఞాతవాసం ఉన్నది). నారాయణ పటిష్టమైన పోరాట దళాలను నిర్మించాడు. ఆయన దళనాయకుడిగా, కేంద్ర దళ కమాండర్గా, జోనల్, ఏరియా దళకమాండర్గా వివిధ స్థాయిల్లో పనిచేశారు. నారాయణపై జెజె తిరుమల్రావు పీహెచ్డీ చేయడం, మల్లికార్జున శర్మ పుస్తకం రాయడం మరో విశేషం.
a brief article about what Edmonton is like
festivals are being cancelled in Edmonton, the City of
Festivals, due to the coronavirus.
latest is the International Fringe Fringe Festival, the largest one in the
world outside of Edinburgh.
cancelled are the Jazz Festival, Rainmakers Rodeo in St. Albert, and the
Shakespearean Festival. Add to that the June schedule of the CFL and the
Eskimos, with no guarantee of even a partial football season.
domino effect continue and take out K-Days, Taste of Edmonton, Cariwest, and the Folk Festival. No pancakes
at the Legislature this year at Rachel Notley`s constituency, perhaps.
museums, libraries, zoo, Fort Edmonton, and Space Science
Centre are closed.
that the closing of school, the malls closures and limited bus traffic,
and Edmonton is resembling a ghost town. Our only
salvation is a vaccine, to prevent a deadly recurrence if things open up too
things in Atlanta?
still writing and have over 140 pages done.
the good spirit. And best wishes to you and your family|
Dear Our Sweet Three: In a Couple of months on June 19, 2020, I turn 80. But here is my email written to you around my 60th Birthday I.e two decades ago. I cannot change anything still. Please receive the message, again.
Dear our sweet Three !!
I reach sixty 60th year mile-stone soon. My journey of life is fine, although there were several ups and downs in between.
Now I feel that I am more fortunate as I am in a position to learn from our own sweet kids for my further life - journey. I teach them with the virtue of my experience and learn from their knowledge. And we grow well all together.
On the auspicious occasion of my Birthday I wish our little but great ones to tell me what I need to learn, for my happy future journey of my life. I value your suggestions more than any body else’s.
I know it is quite natural for people to invite the things they want and not what they need. So most people just tell their companions only things they wish to know but never tell the things that they need to know to avoid conflicts. But we know well that conflicts are the cause to progress. They are not avoidable.
But we have to get good solutions to move on the relatively correct path. Please think for a while and write to me. I shall await for your valuable suggestions.
* Dear Nana - The one key positive difference now as you approach 80 years is that you have 4 lovely grandchildren. We all can love and learn from each other 💓😃 ** Our Sweet Grandkids Vikram, Vinod, Pragathi and Prabhat
Kiran celebrated my 75th Birthday in Edmonton AB 🇨🇦 and my 80th
Birthday in advance, during our Cruise Carnaval trip to Bahamas Island. I enjoy associating with them the most.
Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies University of British Columbia, August 17—23, 2007 , Triennial Conference.
June 5, 2010: Nana attended Pinnacle 2010 IIM USA Global Convention at San Jose, CA. Please Click Here to read Naana's impressions of this event
June 19, 2010 : AmmaNaana attended 5th California Telugu Saahiti Sadassu
Nana attended the discussion on Progressive Movement in the United States by Kate Forrest and Barry Kendall organized by Democratic 21st Century Club in Santa Clara CA, USA.
The Democratic 21st Century Club provides a unique venue for Democrats from all walks of life to come together, listen, learn, and increase our unity.
February 2013 Nana attended Fourth Annual India Summit at Emory University
January 16, 2015 Indo - American Friendship Forum Conference at Hyatt, Olive8, Seattle
January 26, 2015: Nana went to Washington State Legislature as part of IAWW delegation on the invitation of Senator Pramila Jayapal (D) for the celebration of India's Republic day, honoring 60,000 Indo-Americans in the state who contribute every day to make our state great.
Last but not the least attending Nobel Peace Forum Annual event in Minneapolis.
I have created this spot on the web to record some of the letters written by my parents to us, their children. Their letters / email communications have been a blend of many things derived from their experiences and from their extensive reading and interactions with people around them.
Though the content of the blog is purely personal messages relating to the writers and their wards, I believe they may be of use to others. I also believe that there is no thick boundary line between individual and social thinking. And it may also be not uncommon that social thinking becomes individual thinking and vice-versa.
I greatly appreciate various artists whose work I am making use of in making this blog.