“People have always seen and loved us together. So much so that once, when I was travelling to Delhi alone, the air hostesses asked me why my wife wasn’t accompanying me and sweetly requested me to bring her as well the next time!
Moving from a life of anonymity and privacy to living in the public eye with lenses and mikes pointed at us at all times, was definitely not easy. My wife was a shy introvert, while I was outspoken and blunt with my words. Both of us had to remould our personalities in many ways to fulfil our roles to perfection and it wouldn’t have been possible without each other.
She has been supremely important to me. She stood by me in everything I did and accompanied me everywhere I went. At huge parties where she knew no one and often felt out of place, she flashed her beautiful smile all through and made everyone feel welcome. She made my professional life easier in her own ways. Every time I got an urgent call in the middle of the night, she made sure the light was turned on, writing sheets and a functional pen were available at my disposal and never once tried to ask me questions. Come rain come storm, we’d always spend the first and last hours of the day together. Despite the fact that I couldn’t talk to her about a lot of my work, even the slightest change in my behaviour would be noticed by her. What always followed was a relaxing conversation that left me in positive spirits. We’d wake up at 4:00am every morning and have coffee, spending at least 20-30 minutes together. After a long day of work, we would have dinner together and step out for a walk. We would sit on the pavement, eat an ice cream, buy vegetables and return home satisfied. It was ‘our time’. When an acquaintance joked about it once, I told him that we step out every night to have our fights. We argue on the way, forget our worries with an ice cream and come back happier than ever. That time spent with her gave me more comfort than anything else.
We had an arranged marriage, just like most others of our time and age. My parents saw her first and then I met her. There was no second thought about it for either of us. Not much later, we got married and moved to Delhi!
When it comes to my professional life, I believe in taking it one day at a time and leave the rest to God. This has held me in good stead throughout my career, even when I was the Governor of Telugu states at a crucial stage. I vividly remember when the bifurcation of the Telugu-speaking states was about to happen and there were speculations about bloodshed and riots in Hyderabad. That moment was exceptionally worrisome for me. But I kept faith. Everybody did their job right, both Police and the politicians. My time at Raj Bhavan was smooth sailing despite the icebergs on the path. I am grateful to Chief minister KCR garu for being so co-operative.
I enjoyed the warmth of the Telugu speaking states and also working with them. Be it Holi, Rakhi, Eid, Dusshera, Diwali or Christmas we celebrated all the festivals at Raj Bhavan with great pomp and fervour.
But our ‘family time’ is just like anyone else’s. Weekends with our grandchildren at NTR gardens, weekly visits to the temple, movies at theatres, looking for toys and books at kids’ stores and shopping at malls has always been a normal affair. I was even photographed trying out a cycle before buying it for my grandchild! But that is how I would’ve liked to spend time with my family, irrespective of my profession!
Every low in life has always led to better things. In the bigger picture, everything has fit like a piece in a puzzle. Back at our old house, where we began our journey, in the comfort of our motherland, away from the paparazzi, this silent, private life is what both of us always wanted and we wouldn’t like it any other way.
Once when I went to a temple in Chennai, a man from Andhra Pradesh approached me and asked if I was ESL Narasimhan’s brother or cousin because I resembled him. I just smiled to wait for his reaction and then revealed I was Narasimhan. We shared a good laugh. Barring these minor hiccups, after the many busy years, life after retirement has been a bliss.”