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Suave Sir, mesmerizing Ma'am

Very formal, yet so liberal, literary buffs, Ramanujam and Shanthi made their lives happy with no conflict of interests, says MUBIN SULTAN


"A teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops."

-- Henry Adams

INFLUENCERS IN their own way, Ramanujam and Shanthi are teachers dedicated to their profession, institutions and the language, which is dear to them -- English. Dr. Ramanujam is a Reader in English at the prestigious Andhra Loyola College, while Shanti is the adored ma'am of students and sisters at city's famed Nirmala High School. Though hailing from two distinct metros of Chennai and Mumbai, the couple chose to enhance the Anglo-lingual dexterity of Vijayawadaites with their service for over two decades now.

"Vijayawada has the beauty of rural peace even while it is advanced," says a modest Ramanujam who refused lucrative job offers from various advanced countries, thanks to the strong bond he shares with the Loyola institution and Vijayawada city.

Besides teaching, the couple has a flair for writing and run columns in a local newspaper. Shanti takes pleasure in the game of Badminton; she represented Nirmala High School in the GRIG tournaments. But, Dr. Ramanujam confesses, "It is embarrassing but I have played little in my student days."

Triggers probe

Ramanujam's love for the language surfaced during his student days when his letter to a newspaper triggered an investigation. The then Chief of Army directed the area commander in Chennai to get in touch with Ramanujam to elicit more information about the issue pertaining to Pay & Accounts wing in Nasik which he highlighted in the letter. The publication of his stories in Wodehouses's style further encouraged him to take up a diploma in Creative Writing from IGNOU.

The aura around the couple was filled with appetizing aromas of Parotha Baluchi, Paneer Chatpatte and Dal Makhani, vegetarian specialties of the Dastar Khan food festival of D.V.Manor. Waiters dressed in splendid Pathan suites, enriched the experience of having authentic Mughlai cuisine during the holy month of Ramzan. Tearing the parotha in a typical Tamilian style, Ramanujam explained that old habits die-hard. He apparently couldn't cease to be a perfectionist ever since his grandmother taught him to be one. Though hailing from Mumbai, Shanti's presentation of herself is as emblematic as any traditional Tamil woman.

Guide to Ph.Ds

Besides guiding Ph.D and M.phil research programmes at JNTU, Hyderbad and Madurai-Kamaraj University, and Madras University, Ramanujam visited many American Universities and is an Honorary Advisor to the Research Board of American Biographical Institute. Also popular as `The Dragon' for his honest reviews, Ramanujam is also contributor to famous Magazines like Book Review, Literary Review, The Hindu Sunday Magazine and many more. Many of his short stories also appeared in the reputed magazine, Span. And, Ramanujam is an essential ingredient of growing literary activity in Vijayawada and Shanti always adds flavour.

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