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It was during his early phase in the RSS in the 1970s that Narendra Modi started getting drawn to someone who may have had the greatest influence on his life-RSS pracharak Lakshmanrao Inamdar. One anecdote of how Modi endeared himself to Inamdar is particularly interesting. Inamdar had asked him to keep a bundle of notes worth Rs 50,000 during a three-day RSS camp in a remote area in north Gujarat. Not sure how to protect the money, Modi dug a pit at a spot where the RSS leaders used to sit during the day and buried the bag of money there. On the fourth morning, when Modi pulled out the money from the pit in Inamdar’s presence, his mentor was wonderstruck.

In the context of TRS’s participation, KCR told me ‘Pranabji, you know my ambition. I want a separate Telangana. Which portfolio you give to me is not important. Whatever you give, I will gladly accept. But for God’s sake, please consider a separate Telangana.

It was my lifetime ambition to become a hero. After completing my intermediate I went to Chennai and met Dasari Narayana Rao. I got a role in superstar Krishna’s film Neramu-Siksha. I was one among the 170 junior artists who stood in a scene for a song. I got frustrated after doing small role. At the same time, I came to know that I passed my intermediate. Dasari suggested me that I should complete my graduation before acting in films. I also had a thing for BA degree as NT Rama Rao’s title card used to have ‘NT Rama Rao BA’. I returned to complete my graduation. During that time, Neramu Siksha got released. Though I was one among 100 people, my villagers recognized me and started clapping and whistling for all my scenes. They used to say ‘mana reddy babulu (my nick name) cinemalo vunnadu’. That response made me realize the power of mass media like movie. I decided that I should complete my degree and join films again.

Our house-help, Seema, used to come dressed in trackpants and t-shirts, rather than in the traditional saree or salwar kameez. I was rather curious and asked her why she dressed that way. I was surprised to learn that she was a marathon runner and also practised karate. She came from a small family in Bengal, was a single mother and, in order to make ends meet and provide a good life for her son, she would do these small jobs on the side, whilst following her dreams of running. It made me think that I should NOT be complaining about being busy and start doing something. So I began running with her; she showed me how to go about it and I haven’t stopped running since then.

After he was the C-in-C (Commander-in-chief), he wanted then Major Srinivas Kumar Sinha to be his aide-de-camp (military assistant). The military secretary noted that a military assistant must hold the rank of lieutenant colonel which required a minimum of six-and-a-half years of service. Sinha was only a major with five years of service. On learning this, Cariappa backed off the idea not wanting to break the rules.

It was unheard of for Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa to use his power and status for personal purposes. Once Cariappa went to the Rajput Regimental Centre to pay farewell before he retired. He brought his son and daughter with him, and both of them stayed at the commandant’s house till the next day. According to the rules, children were forbidden to attend the officers’ mess. As chief Cariappa might have taken them to the mess but he did not.

During the 1965 war with Pakistan, Kodandera M. Cariappa (Field Marshal)’s son K C Cariappa was a Squadron Leader. He was shot down while carrying out air attacks in Pakistan and was taken prisoner. On realizing the identity of the wounded soldier, Radio Pakistan immediately announced his safe capture. Pakistani General Ayub Khan himself contacted Field Marshal Cariappa, who was living a retired life at his hometown, with information about his son’s safety. When Gen. Khan offered to release his son immediately, Field Marshal is reported to have scoffed at the idea and told him to give his son no better treatment than any other POW. “He is my son no longer.” the old Soldier is reported to have thundered. “He is the child of this country, a soldier fighting for his motherland like a true patriot. My many thanks for your kind gesture, but I request you to release all or release none. Give him no special treatment,” the Field Marshal is reported to have said. He also said “The POWs are all my sons, look after them well.”

To talk about winning professional victories in certain events is very different to when you win a gold medal for your country because I remember standing on the podium, the feeling that you get when your national anthem is sung and when I landed at the New Delhi airport, every single person stood up and applauded me and I had tears coming out of my eyes and I said this is the proudest moment of my life.

Being an athlete it was very difficult for me to accept. When you’re playing for 6-8 hours every day, you simply can’t believe you’ve cancer. I too was escaping from the same and I continued to play. Then the doctors told me if I continue to ignore my health then it’ll be difficult for you to survive. I thought the doctors are probably lying because I wanted to play and continued to neglect my health and then my condition deteriorated and so did my performance in the sport. With no alternative, I had to go for treatment.

My mom and dad took me to a cricket game at Eden Park back in 1997 I guess. It was a time when I really didn’t know what cricket was and I think it was an India Vs New Zealand game. Ever since I always wanted to play for New Zealand against India. I grew up in New Zealand, so all my heroes were New Zealand cricketers and to wear the same shirt that they wore was always the biggest picture for me and still is to this day.

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