Dr. Potu Narsimha Rao

Duration: 49Mins 20Secs
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Interview with: Potu Narsimha Rao
Interviewed by: Sita Mutyala
Date: July 19, 2011


SM: Okay, today is Tuesday, July 19th in 2011. My name is Sita Mutyala, I have been living in Houston for the past 13 years and we are here as part of the Indo-American Oral History Project which is part of Houston Public Library Oral History project, speaking to Dr. P.N. Rao, and we want to keep one thing in our mind which is very important is we want to capture how Houston impacted immigrants’ lives and also how immigrants impacted Houston as a city? Very happy to be here.

All right! Dr. Rao I am so happy that you are here and I am here and the Oral History Project is giving us the opportunity to discuss about you and your life and your life in Houston especially, okay. We want to talk about you and your life. Where were you born and raised and please tell us briefly about your growing up and education before you came to United States?

PR: Okay. I was born in a small village in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, India in 1930. I had my elementary school education in our village. Then high school in Sattenapalli, which was our taluk headquarters and my intermediate in Guntur and the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at Bapatla College, Bapatla. Then, I went to do my Masters in Indian Agricultural Research Institute, it's called IARI, New Delhi. After that education I worked about five years at the same Institution. In the meanwhile I got married, and had a daughter, and in 1960, I came to the United States to do my PhD.

SM: Wow! Very good, 1960, about 51 years back. Okay, that’s the one I want to talk about next. Can you tell us about how the idea of coming to United States formed? Was it your mission, was it your family’s interest, or what? What was your motivation? What was your motive in coming to United States?

PR: As I said, I had my Masters degree, married, and had a daughter. My salary at that time was Rs. 290 a month. We could not pay all the bills and I applied for a job which would pay me another Rs. 100 more, but my boss did not allow me to go to this interview. I thought I could have got that job. It would have been a little bit more convenient. So before that, I had no idea of going abroad, because I thought we were settled for life in Delhi. But, this particular instance made me feel as though I had no freedom. So that was the last straw on the camel’s back.  I said to myself that I am not going to sit here and do whatever he says. I am going to leave the country. It was a difficult move because I already have a wife and a daughter and it was hard to leave them. Finally, I left them with my wife’s parents. It took  me nearly 18 months before they could join me. So that’s the story.

SM: How old were you when you first came to USA?

PR: I was 30-years-old. I came on a boat from Bombay to Genoa in Italy and then crossed   the continent on train. Another boat trip to cross the English Channel, and from Southampton, England to New York I came on Queen Mary, which is a floating hotel now in Long Beach, California. It took me three weeks.

SM: Three weeks!

PR: Yes.

SM:  Three weeks on the ocean.

PR: Yeah.

SM: Okay, all right! Now, when did you come to Houston? I am sure you had a lot of choices, why did you choose to come to Houston?

PR:  After getting PhD, I worked at the University of  Kentucky Medical Center for five years. Because of allergy problems my wife was having, I moved to Denver, Colorado and worked at the University of Colorado Medical Center for about three-and-a-half years.

Then a colleague told me that there was a  possible  job opening in Houston, at  the  M.D. Anderson Cancer Center , which is a quite famous institute. So I contacted the Head of the Department of  D.T., who called  me back for an interview . That’s how I got this job. We moved to Houston in 1971 to become a faculty member at the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

SM: Okay. So in 1971 what was your first impression when you arrived to Houston? I know you already lived in the United States for a few years, but when you first entered into Houston what was your first impression?

PR: We moved from Denver, Colorado where we lived for three years. During the first six  months we felt  Houston weather oppressive and wondered  why did we move to Houston? It was so hot.

SM: Oh, yeah! What month did you move to Houston

PR: We moved in November.

SM: November. But even then you thought it was hot.

PR: But still Colorado is much cooler and I still like Colorado.  But you get used to it. Houston is a great city.  M.D. Anderson is an internationally famous institute. It's a privilege to be able to join that institute.

At that time there were very few Indians in Houston, only about 100 at the most. We used to meet at University of Houston India Student Association, where Indian movies were screened. That’s the one place where everybody gathered.

SM: So that was one of your memories of your early days in Houston.

PR: We came  to Houston for  professional reasons, but I think moving to Houston was one of the best things that I ever did, because it started my career, but family-wise by that time we already have two daughters and one son and this is where my son found out a girl, our  would be daughter-in-law. Also, the schools-wise , two of our children went to Rice University and my son went to Baylor College of Medicine.  This is an educational center, particularly for biomedical sciences, this is one of the best places to be.

SM: Very good, and where and what was your further education after you left India? So you must have done PhD here.

PR: Well, yeah, that’s the University of Kentucky. I had my Masters degree in New Delhi, but I did PhD in Cytogenetics at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. That took me about three years.  At that time my Student Visa was extended for another 18-month for practical training. While I was doing that my advisor or post-doctoral advisor suggested that if I wanted to continue my research they could sponsor me for a Green Card. So that is when we decided to stay.

SM: Triggered.

PR: Right, otherwise, before that I had no idea of settling down here. But with very least effort on my part they proposed my name for immigration. I got the Green Card and later on I became a faculty member at the University of Kentucky.

SM: I know we touched a little bit but I want to you to describe your professional background and experience a little more? I know you had some experience.

PR: See, my basic degree was in agriculture. I come from a farmer’s family and from the beginning I wanted to do agriculture in a scientific way. So I went to Bapatla,  where I did my Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. After that then I went to New Delhi to do Master of Science in genetics and Plant breeding.. Then I came to Kentucky to do my PhD in Cytogenetics.

SM: Cytogenetics.

PR: In 1963  I was appointed as a Research Associate.  Then after a couple of years  I was given  an Assistant Professor’s rank until 1955. At that time my wife had serious allergy problems in Lexington, Kentucky. Ohio Valley was known for its ragweed  pollen and other allergens. So my advisor suggested that we   move to Denver,  Colorado , where  allergens were less. That’s why we moved to Denver, to join the University of Colorado Medical Center as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. I was there for three-and-a-half years. While I was there, we did some very basic fundamental research about why cells divide? Why one cell divides into two, what is that it needs for a cell to become two cells.  So the work I did at the Medical School in Lexington really formed the foundation for the research that we did in Denver. In our  studies,  we cultured  normal cells and  cancer cells  in tissue culture dishes, and observed their  growth, i.e., increase in cell number and size. And one of the goals was  to study the biochemical changes during cell growth.  When cells were growing in a dish, they were all of different ages, like in a human population – very young , middle aged and very old.  If you want to do any biochemical studies, one cell is too small to handle. So that’s why it is important to make them all go in step, i.e., in synchrony. All are at the same point in their life cycle.

Such synchronized cell populations are ideal to study the biochemical changes during cell growth.  We developed techniques that helped us to synchronize cells at various points in the cells life cycle. This knowledge helped us to make some fundamental discoveries   in cell biology after I moved to Denver in collaboration with a colleague, Dr. Robert Johnson, who got his PhD in Oxford, England and came to work with my senior professor, Dr. Puck.  He brought with him some samples of Sendai virus.  It’s an influenza virus. If you add this virus to the cells, they fuse forming multinucleate cells.  So we tried to fuse very early stage (young) cells   with very late stage (old) cells  and see how they coordinate with each other. This work turned up very interesting and we published in the journal ‘Nature’, one of the prestigious  scientific journals. So that made us internationally known in our field.

SM: That’s how you came to Houston?

PR: That’s also helped us to be able to come to Houston.

SM: Really good. Well, what adjustments you had to make to live in United States and in Houston. Now I am talking about in terms of life in both family and a professional life. When you first came to United States, how did you overcome that cultural and language barriers and what did you like and what was it that was terrifying?

PR: First of all, the very step of leaving your country was terrifying. I came by boat and landed in New York Harbor.  In those days you had to carry your chest x-ray films with you and I had TB in 1954.

SM: Oh, that medical exam that you need to pass.

PR: Yeah, back in India, before you get your Visa,  you  have to go to a doctor and get a chest x-ray done. You have to carry that report and x-ray films with you. So when we landed in New York, I had two other friends from India, who joined me as cabin mates. I was stopped at the Immigration check point while others were allowed to go. They were concerned about my x-ray report. They thought that I could be having an active TB. People with active disease were not allowed to enter the country. They said that they were suspicious and needed further tests at the Stanton Island Public Health Service Hospital. Not knowing what’s going to happen, I gave my bags to my friends and asked them to put in the New York Greyhound bus terminal, so that I could get them back later.

So they took me to Stanton Island, and I was there for five days, not knowing what’s going to happen. They did all the tests. Fortunately, everything turned out to be negative. And then when I came back to bus terminal and try to claim my baggage, they were not there.  So I went to Lexington with just a shirt on my back, and about $30 in my pocket.  Until then, I was so worried   that I might be sent back if the tests were positive. I borrowed money to come here and I had no way of paying my debt if I were sent back. That would have been a disaster.
Luckily I arrived in Lexington, Kentucky, where my professor was waiting for me. He was such a nice person. He made reservations for me in the dormitory. As soon as we got there, he went downstairs to the laundry room and brought the linens and pillows. Then he made the bed for me, which was a pleasant shock. You could never expect that in India.

SM: Yeah.

PR: He was so nice. Knowing that I lost my baggage, he offered me some money and his cloths, which I could not accept.  He was a very wonderful person. It took me 18 months to bring my wife and daughter to America. When they came, our generous American friends brought us many gifts to start our family in a new country.

SM: This is all in Kentucky you're talking about?

PR: In Lexington, Kentucky. Before my wife came, they used to invite us for dinners, Christmas parties.  When my wife came they brought us pillows, bed-sheets and utensils. That was extremely nice of them. When my wife was expecting, an American lady took my wife to the doctor regularly for prenatal care because we did not have a car.

SM: Wow!

PR: And every month she used to take her for the examination and at the time of delivery another American friend, Mrs. Donna Kelly , stayed with my wife until the baby was delivered.  In those days husbands were not allowed in the delivery room.

SM: Yeah.

PR: This lady stayed there whole night and she became a godmother to my son. So we have had wonderful friends. We are still in touch with them. So we had a great experience.

SM: Okay.

PR:  Because I could speak English, adjusting to the American way of life was not difficult for me, but for my wife  that was  totally a different  experience. We had very good friends that made our life easier. Since we didn't have a car, they used to take my wife to  grocery stores . They also taught her cooking American dishes.  In fact, as long as we were in Lexington, my wife didn’t do much Indian cooking as she was not familiar with it even when she was in India.  She learnt Indian cooking only after we moved to Denver, where we came in touch with more Indian families.

SM: Okay.

PR: That's how she learned cooking from them.

SM: And by the way, when did you move from Denver to Houston?

PR:  We moved to Houston in 1971. At that time there were about 100 Indian families Only  two Telugu families owned a house and the rest of them were   mostly students and bachelors.  There were about 14 or 15 Telugu people in Houston at that time.  At that time Houston was not this big.  I always tried to stay close to my workplace  and also to good schools.

SM: Okay. So what do you like the most in your Houston life? I know you touched it a little bit, what do you think, what do you like the most in Houston life and what do you think you're missing here compared to your life in India? What does the City of Houston mean to you and how did it feel to you?

PR: Houston is an international city. In fact, when I was in Lexington, Kentucky, I came for the first time to Houston in 1965 to attend a meeting. Then the Astrodome was under construction. They were predicting that Houston was going to become an international city and they were right. This is a great cosmopolitan city , which is a home to many cultural and ethnic groups.  One of the most important thing from my point of view is the Medical Center. There are so many institutions in its campus- two medical schools, dental and nursing schools and many hospitals. This provided  me an opportunity to inter- act  and collaborate with other scientists at  Baylor College of Medicine and  UT Medical school.

To us the children’s education facilities  was an important issue.  When we moved to Houston,  my daughter was already in the middle school and everybody said that  Bellaire High School  was the best in town.  We tried to buy a house that was zoned to Bellaire High School.  That’s why we bought a house on the west side of Stella Link. If we were to buy on the east side of Stella Link, that would be zoned to Lamar High School.  It is such a nice location close the best schools in town. My son  could complete his education  from elementary to medical  school with in a two mile radius.

SM: Very good! I know you accomplished a lot and received quite a few awards. Which ones are the most significant and fulfilling awards and accomplishment in your point of view?

PR: My research career-wise, we made some important discoveries in cell biology. We discovered  a  new  phenomenon.  I will describe it to you. You heard about chromosomes. Chromosomes become visible   only when a cell comes to cell division, which takes less than an hour. Human cells   in tissue culture dishes usually have a life cycle of 20-24 hours.  That means these cells divide and become double in number every 24 hours.  This applies to cells growing in culture dishes but not in the body.

When the cell is not in division the DNA in the nucleus is dispersed as fine filaments and is  not visible under the microscope .During division nucleus breaks down and DNA condenses into rod-like structures called chromosomes. We discovered   that when a cell in division (mitosis)  was fused with a non-dividing (interphase) cell, we induce chromosome formation in the interphase cell.  That’s what we call it premature chromosome condensation phenomenon.

SM: Very good! I know you mentioned  that you were already married and you have three children, but I want you to go ahead and complete telling about your children and grandchildren. So you have all three children in Houston and how many grandchildren do you have and what professions the children are in?

PR: Well, All  three of our children and their children are living in Houston. My eldest daughter,Anu, was born in India, she was about two-years-old when she came. She went to dental school, she is a dentist and she married a boy from Hyderabad and he is an Anesthesiologist, and he works in the VA Hospital now. My daughter is a dentist but doesn’t practice full time, she works part time. They have three daughters; first daughter, Meena, she just joined the medical school in El Paso, Texas. Her second daughter, Rohini, has finished freshman year in Rice University. She is working on a research project dealing with gold nanoparticles. She has got three more years to go. She probably  wants  to go to medicine or something, we don’t know. Her youngest daughter, Krishnaveni, she is now in the 9th grade at the Bellaire High School.

My son , Srinivas, did M.D. at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He is a radiologist, diagnostic radiology. He married his high school sweetheart, Claudia, of an  Italian family. She is also MD, PhD and they have two boys and two girls. Their first child, Raj, is going to Business School  Honors Program at UT, Austin. They have two daughters, Kareena, and  Marisa . Their youngest is a boy, Anthony. He is in an elementary school. Our youngest child is Sandhya, who is an attorney. She is legally blind, but in spite of her handicaps, she finished undergraduate studies at Rice University and finished Law School at Stanford University in California. That’s why I took an early retirement  and moved to California to help her complete her law studies at Stanford.  I reached a certain point in  my research career  and I was ready to quit and help my daughter become independent and self sufficient. I took my retirement when I was 61.  Now I  have spent 20 years in retirement.

SM: Yeah.

PR: We lived  on the Stanford Campus for three years. After she finished the law school, she did one year clerkship in Galveston Courthouse. Then  she found a job in downtown Houston, 515, Rusk Avenue, in the  Federal District Court as a Staff Attorney. Now she had put up more than 15 years of service.

SM:     Wow! Very good!

PR: Because she is handicapped, she is not married. So we three, my wife and I, my daughter live together.

SM: Excellent! At this time I like to capture your opinion on the inter-ethnic and inter-racial and inter-religious marriages.

PR:  We are the senior most in Houston Telugu community. When the question of children’s marriage came, we asked our daughter, Anu, what she wanted to do? Since she is not an outgoing type, she was willing for an arranged marriage.

SM: How old was she when she came to United States?

PR: Two years old.

SM: Two, okay.

PR: Yeah. Even though she grew up here, she is not an outgoing type. In those days,  there  were not many Indian boys  in Houston. So her marriage was arranged,  she got married in 1983. But, when the time came for my son, we asked him, would you like to have an arranged marriage? He said, no way. So we said, find yourself . He said   that he knew a girl ,who was his classmate at Bellaire High School. Interestingly, her father and I worked   together at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Both families agreed, it was  not one sided.  In fact the girl’s father said,” if it's not agreeable to everybody in the family they were  not willing for this marriage.” They thought that my wife  might have some reservations. She did not. So Srinivas and Claudia were married  five  months later. So far so good.

So the thing is now we are in a cosmopolitan city, all ethnic groups. In India we always have arranged marriages within a community, within a caste. That is not possible here. I think the only way is  that children should find somebody they like and  we have to go with it.

SM: Okay. Can you describe your social life or anything for us, all the years what was your – what is your involvement in farming, or sustaining of any social, cultural, religious or political organizations in county in Houston?

PR: I am more interested in my own research, I didn’t have much time, because the scientific research is very demanding and it’s a full time job, the day and night, you keep thinking about projects and all that. So I am not interested in joining any religious or political   institutions. But mostly we have social contacts with many friends. We go to many functions in the temple, but I am not actively involved in any management of these things.

SM: Okay, what about your contribution and involvement in main stream political, social, economic environment in Houston?

PR:      Not  much, I have to really to be frank because I never had time when I was working and when I retired mostly I spent with the family and friends.

SM: Okay, in the same line you’ll see in the cosmopolitan city, all these years, what kind of interaction you had with non-Indian communities like colleagues and neighbors, etcetera, any kind of any interaction.

PR: In fact my experience is, when we were in Kentucky, we had wonderful interaction with American families, they were close friends, they were very good . We had very cordial relationships. We are invited to many of their homes and churches. We had long lasting friendships with some -- you don’t have to deal with the whole city but a few friends make all the difference. So we learnt a lot from them.

I found out that in general Americans are most generous people. In my case they went out of their way to help us and we still keep in touch with these friendships. Because I came in the 60’s, we had excellent interaction with American families. When my VISA application was sponsored the quota for India was 100 people per year.   When the immigration rules were relaxed it jumped to 20,000. A large numbers of Indians came to America . The more Indians there are the less contact with Americans. That is my experience.
When we moved to Denver, Colorado, we had more Indian families. Our contacts became limited to the Indian community. We lost touch with the American families.  Then we moved to Houston, we got even more narrow and we knew only Telugu people, we don’t know any other people. So we got narrower and narrower in our social contacts. Now there are so many of us, we limit ourselves to relatives and close friends.  Unless you are actually involved in some political or religious organizations, you don’t come in contact with many of  them.

SM: Okay, now I am going to ask a touchy question. In all these years, whether it was in profession or is it in the State of Houston, have you ever thought you were discriminated, you don’t have to go into the confidential details or anything, but I feel it’s important fact to know  these things first.

PR: My personal experience is, in general if you work hard and show that you are capable of doing things, this country is still very good for immigrants. The discrimination is a human nature. Even  among their own people they show  discrimination. Even within a family, sometimes you see discrimination  or preference for one or the other.

So I never felt any outright discrimination, but sometimes, particularly when it comes to appointment for higher positions or awards, or  endowed chairs , some politics play a role.  Sometimes, not being white has some disadvantage. That’s of course, a human nature. In general it didn’t affect my career too much.

SM: Okay, very good! I think we might have touched on this already, to what extent do you think you have integrated into mainstream American society and culture?

PR: I think we are pretty much integrated because we are not isolating ourselves. We mix with American families, we work with them. So I think our kids are even more integrated than us, but I never found myself isolated. Pretty much now I am living here for about 50 years or 51 years, we are more or less full  fledged Americans now.

SM: Okay. Have you ever thought that you do not fit here and you want to go back to India?

PR: It never occurred to me.

SM: Never occurred to you.

PR: In fact, there were a couple of instances when we had to decide to stay here or go back.  A cousin brother of my wife, a retired military officer and an influential business man said that he could help to find a good job for me if I were to return to India? I said, I never liked somebody arranging a job for me. And the other thing was my colleague, Dr. Robert Johnson, was going back to Cambridge University in England. He asked me,  whether  I would go along with him? I said that I would stay in America or go back to India.  I am not going anywhere else. I never felt at anytime the necessity of asking myself, why did I come here? Or do I want to go back?  It never happened.

SM: Okay. How do you identify yourself, Indian, American, Houstonian? How much of, if you have any, a feeling about loss of Indian cultural identity?

PR: See,  being here so long you have become part of this culture. In order to be integrated into this community you have to accept some of the local habits and customs. Indian identity is still with us because we were born and brought up in India. But as we see our kids have less and less of Indian identity. By the time they come to third generation or so they have may even less Indian habits and culture in them than. So this is bound to get diluted out.

SM: Yeah. How do you describe the Indian community in Houston; in Indian community what kind of role is played by language, religion and ethnic background?

PR: Indian community. Say it again?

SM: Yeah. How do you describe the Indian community in Houston? In Indian community what kind of role is played by language, religion, and their ethnic background; we are talking about your community in Houston?

PR: I don’t know.

SM: How do you describe the Indian community in Houston?

PR: I think the Indian community is quite a vibrant community. There are lots of professional people and they are getting more and more involved in politics. See in the beginning when in the 60’s and 70’s mostly they used to go to professional colleges like lawyers and doctors, but now more-and-more are going into businesses and in politics. That’s one way we have to get involved in the local politics and thus become integrated into  this society.

SM: When did you become an American citizen of United States, was that a quick decision or very well-thought a long time decision?

PR: In fact, I got my Green Card in the 60’s, when we were in Kentucky, then we moved to Colorado. From Colorado we moved to Houston in 1971. Until then there was no pressure that we have to become citizens, but we were wondering what are we? Do we belong here or do we belong to India? That’s the question. Are we going to go back to India for good? The answer was no. Once we decided that we were not going back, I said, we would take citizenship. So that’s why we became US citizens in 1978 or 1979 .

SM: How often do you go to visit India?

PR: Once in three-four years.

SM: Three or four years, okay. Martin Luther King Jr. said once, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Can you tell us about some of those challenging times and where you stood, have you ever attempted or thought of influencing some of the public policies in Houston or Texas or United States, tell us about it?

PR:  I was more involved in the field of my research interest by interacting with scientists from many countries, and by playing a leading role in organizing meetings and symposia  but not in politics. In fact, we have Gordon Research Conferences held in New England area  every summer. These meetings are for one full week, where they discuss latest discoveries,  those not even published. I actually organized one. I took the initiative and started a new conference meeting on genetics,  which is still conducted every other year. For this conference I invited some prominent people  doing basic research . Two of them later got nominated for the award  of Nobel Prize.  So my involvement was mostly in academic and scientific field, not in politics.

SM: Okay, all right. At this time of your life, I know you mentioned very briefly earlier, your children and grandchildren are all in Houston, how do you feel regarding their lives in United States and the future of Indian cultural and religious values in America?

PR: Yes, my grandchildren. I said my daughter-in-law is not an Indian, she is an Italian, not even a Hindu. So when it comes to Indian values and Indian culture for example, my grandchildren can’t speak the same language as we do. I  have learned about Indian culture and  religion, by listening to the discourses by priests and pundits. I never read  any books on Indian philosophy or  religion. I gained my knowledge by listening but not by reading. Whereas our kids don’t have that opportunity and they can’t read the Indian languages. Besides, they don’t have that much interest. We did not really push them hard to learn the Indian language or read the scriptures. Naturally, they are not knowledgeable in Indian culture.  In a few generations they have less and less of Indian identity.

SM: Tell us about this attractive and interesting book you authored and published, ‘The Journey of a Lifetime’, can you show it to the camera.

PR: Yeah. I wrote this book when I was 50-years-old for the benefit of my grand children.  When we were growing up in India we had our grandparents, aunts and uncles, who told us about our ancestors, who they were and what they did.  But our children  growing up here don’t have that opportunity. There is nobody to tell anything like that. So I wanted that they must have some idea about  how we grew up and what situations and what kind of conditions we grew up and how we did studies and playing, about  marriages, and social  and cultural systems. I tried to depict as much as possible  our life in India. When I am not there they could still read and say where grandfather came from, what kind of person he was.

SM: So this is your life story, autobiography?

PR: Actually, I tried to describe our life and activities as children so that they may have an idea  of how we grew up without radios , televisions, cell phones or iPads  and  yet turn out to be productive citizens.

SM: Yeah, it has very important and very good information even in the back you have someone advise us. In that line I want to ask you, I know that things have changed a lot in India and in Houston as well, today, after living in Houston for so many years, what advice would you give to someone who is coming fresh from India to Houston?

PR: I don’t know what to advice. First of all one thing they come here for studies, and I feel that hard work pays. If you do a good job, you should not have any problem, and still I say honesty is the best policy. Don’t try to take any shortcuts, okay? And then if you are in a good position, treat your subordinates  with respect and  be kind to them. If you are hard working and honest in your dealings you would be successful.

SM: Excellent! And at this point I want to give you an opportunity, anything that you want to capture that I might have missed in my questions?

PR: I think you were pretty good, and the only thing I didn’t mention about is my personal philosophy, that is the last page in my book.

 When I was 50-years-old, I started thinking about life and its purpose. We are people, we are different from other animals because we have well developed brains and intelligence. We can think about things that we do not see or feel. So we  try to analyze and understand what life is all about. What is the most important thing in life? That’s what I try to think about it as a scientist.

I thought, to live is to be happy. Everybody wants to be happy but to achieve it one has to lead a disciplined and principled life.  No excesses of anything, all in moderation. One can be happy by serving others either directly or indirectly by taking an active part in social, religious or political enterprise. Do everything in a fair and honest way and to the best of your ability.  Try to keep the enemies of happiness under control. They are anger, lust, jealousy and arrogance.  Anger is the worst of all. That’s my philosophy, and I try to follow that as far as possible.

SM: Excellent! So I want to thank you Dr. P. N. Rao and Foundation for India Studies and Houston Public Library for this great opportunity. Thank you so much for the interview!

PR: Thank you very much!