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Time: 5.30 pm: Venue: The vast 5-acre premises in Kommadi; a few women troop into the portico of the Manduva house standing in the centre of verdant expanses. Spreading out an huge plastic sheet, they unroll the mats and begin practising Yoga. No, it is no Yoga Kendra. It is the residence of Mr.Venu Gopala Krishna Murthy, (simply Venu garu for his friends). The health enthusiasts thus gathered are housewives from the friendly neighborhood. There is a session in the morning too, we were told. The class is only one of the many community activities that take place at the home that is aptly named Ashirwad. Yes, it is copiously blessed with peace and prosperity.

It is lonely at the top, they say. Mr.Venu seems to have proved it wrong. With each ascent he made on the ladder of success, he has only gathered more friends, building a boundless ‘family’. Perfectly in step with him, is his life partner Mrs.Krishna Kumari, who silently contributes her mite to society. Profiling Mr.Venu has to be done in 3 ways as he is a successful businessman, self-less social activist and stoic spiritualist. That is the order the giant unravels his eminent journey.

The genesis
I hail from Eluru, where my father Sri.Ranganayakulu, ran a small business. My mother Smt. Koti-ratnamma complemented him in every respect. I was brought up, along with a brother & a sister, in a pure and blissful atmosphere.
I could not pursue higher studies due to unavoidable circumstanc-es. With a burning passion to earn money, name and fame, I set foot in the world of trade at a very young age.

The first step
My uncles, who spotted that spark in me, honed my skills, taking me into their firm Sri Kusuma Haranath Engineering Company in Vijayawada. The flourishing company, which was dealing with agricultural pump-sets etc. was already running 12 branches and I was sent to Vizia-nagaram for further expansion. The next 35 years, I lived there, building business and goodwill.

Hard work
That was the time I extensively toured Vizianagaram, Vizag and Srikakulam. I knew all of them like the back of my hand and had built ties with every possible public department and earned a good name for myself and our company. I feel proud that the city even now draws water from 10 high end pump sets that I had fixed. My children, however, did not want to continue in this business and have moved to construction. We launched Pavan Builders in 1989, shifting base to Vizag. Notable among the 30 projects we took up with great success are Pavan Enclave, Pavan Arcade and Pavan Commercial complex. We have done a pioneer work, adding to the city’s skyline.

No business can ever be described as hassle-free. So was mine. The satisfaction of earning adequate wealth to give livelihood to at least a few people makes you forget the hardships and hurdles.

Success mantra
Hard work, keeping up human values and team work are the key. I believe in equal distribution of work to the team members.

Welfare activities
This was the best treasure I inherited from my father, whose heart was with the poor.
I might have pursued trade with passion, but my interest in the welfare of society ran parallel. Gradually, turned my attention to service and welfare activities.

Aid to students
I set up Gopala Krishna Foundation 10 years ago to give aid to the needy students. As many as 980 students are benefitted by it. I spent Rs.65 lakh till now.

Sneha Sandhya
Society has slipped from the Vasudhaika Kutumbam vision to a frog in the well perception. Neglected elders, self-seeking children and diminishing family values- all this ran like a film on my mind’s screen.
I conceptualized Sneha Sandhya, an organization for senior citizens in 2004 and today it has 580 life members. We support and entertain one another. I also founded Age Care Foundation which dispenses healthcare not only to the senior citizens but also to the needy through free clinics.

I was the Founder-Chairman of the Netra, a Charitable Eye Hospital in Seripalli. This small dispensary set up under the aegis of Rotary International grew into a Rs.3 cr-hospital. I toured across the country, studying eye hospitals and even underwent a15-day training in Madurai.

Spiritual pursuits
I have been following Shri Ram Chandra Mission that offers a simple method of meditation for nearly 14 years.

The best of the three
I, without any hesitation, say that earning money is important if you want to share it with the less blessed. The spiritual pursuits are important for peace.

Unforgettable incidents
Though I never coveted it, my work has been duly recognized. At one go, I got 40 pumpsets fitted in farms of Annamrajupeta village. In appreciation, Sri.P.V.G.Raju, the Vizianagaram Maharaja blessed me.The second incident was when Sri.Shankar Dayal Sharma, the then Governor, came to grace the Rotary Club Silver Jubilee event organized under my leadership.
I earned many awards and rewards during my tenure as the President of Vizianagaram Rotary Club. We could construct the club building too. Once the legendary NTR patted me for my good at a farmers meet I organsied.

On the GenX
The present generation is any day smarter than ours and are bestowed with high IQ & abundant opportunities. My only regret is that they are highly materialistic. I wish they showed a little more care and concern to their fellow beings, rising above the confines of caste, creed and gender.

Personal note
I got married very young and my wife Kumari is my pillar of support. While my days were occupied with business activities, she raised our two sons – Narasimha and Mallikarjuna Rao and daughter Lakshmi with great care. We have a exemplary married life. A fellow with ego can never earn his family’s respect . So I don’t nurture it.

I come from a family where even the accounts of Dhobi were written by men. So there was no way I could have gone to school and study. We were married at a very young age and we set up our family in Vizianagaram.
By the time I crossed 20, I was a mother of three. It all happened so fast that now it looks like a dream. I brought up the children single handedly as he was busy building his business. But my children were so disciplined and well-behaved that I never felt that it was a task. If I could head and efficiently run Inner Wheel Club at Vizianagaram and Vizag, and pen my views (she is a writer) it is purely at his behest and with his encouragement. Never does he say no to whatever I do nor does he use a harsh word. Though I am very unambitious, God has showered me with everything best. I am extremely happy with the service he renders to society.
I am with him in each and every step he takes.

HE IS THE BINDING FORCE: Both my parents come from a modest family background, with no college education, but have been the pillars of support to all of us. Their unconditional trust and support to us in every aspect of life has been the most important factor for our success so far. My father's positive and confident approach to life has taught us to deal with many opportunities and situations. They have always been the reason behind our family-bonding and relationship. They are the living examples to exemplary parenting.

Our parents repose unflinching trust in us and have sacrificed all their lives and made all out efforts for us. They were always concerned about our future in business and family life. They have been guiding us with lots of patience. No doubt, they are our role models and I pray to God that we too emulate their nature, lifestyle and most importantly, meet their expectations.

When I came into this family I saw him as a workaholic who encouraged his sons in the family business and even gave us, daughters-in-law, space to do our own thing duly supported by our Athamma. Now at the age of 80, I see him take a backseat in the business and content devoting his time in support of girl child education and helping the needy.....a true philanthropist he is. -JAYA LALITHA, DAUGHTER-IN-LAW THEY ARE ALWAYS THERE FOR ME: I am so happy to get an opportunity to say a few words about my father-in-law and mother- in-law, who are just like my parents. They are always there for me in my tough times and give me valuable suggestions. They always motivate me with their lifestyle. I am thankful to red magazine who for the first time gave me the opportunity to express my feelings about my parents-in-law.

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