Dr. R.N.S. Rao

Duration: 39Mins 27Secs
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Uncorrected Transcript

Interview with: Dr. R.N.S. Rao
Interviewed by: Vatsa Kumar
August 23, 2012
Archive Number:

VK: My name is Vatsa Kumar. I am the Secretary for the Foundation for India Studies, the organization that is doing the Indo-American Oral History Project in collaboration with Houston Community College as well as the Houston Public Library. We are doing this project so that we can talk to many of our community leaders who have come and settled down in Houston over a period of 30 or 40 or 50 years and we want to capture their history, their story in their own lives. So this afternoon I will be interviewing Dr. R.N.S. Rao who is here with us to tell us his story. Now, Dr. Rao, welcome to this program, Indo-American Oral History Project. We are very delighted to have you, and I am in particular very happy to interview you, because I have known you ever since I came to Houston in 1978. So I have known you for almost 34 years, but now I want others to know more about you and your accomplishments and things like that, that you have done in this area. So tell me a little bit about yourself first and then we will go into more details.

RR: Okay. See, I came here to the States in 1959. Before that I was in Bangalore, working for the Public Works Department. I was the assistant to the chief engineer, technical assistant to the chief engineer for about eight years. Before that I was working for about five years as a county engineer for PWD in the Shimoga District; it’s a rural area. I went to Government Engineering College and now it is called the University College of Engineering. I got my BE there in 1946. Afterwards I had training in Ooty for the land conservation. Then after 1958 or so when I was in the chief engineer's office I was deputed to Ooty to work for my Master's degree in Engineering, Master’s of Engineering.

VK: Okay, you said that you were deputed, you were asked to go do your Master’s Program. Where was that, did you say?

RR: Roorkee University.

VK: Roorkee University.

RR: In Uttar Pradesh. And after I came back after the one year training, my friends were saying, why can't you go to America? And I said, no, I can't do that. But they said -- a couple of my friends, my classmates, they had gone to Connecticut and they came in there and said, now you can easily go, there's no problem getting a visa. So one of the friends called the Head of the Department of Civil Engineering at University of Connecticut and said, Rao is a friend of mine; and is much better than me. Then he said to me, okay, they will give you admission. Then for money, Canara Bank had given a loan of 5,000 rupees at that time for my tickets and so forth.

VK: Okay, Dr. Rao, I want to interrupt for a second because you have said such valuable things -- information that we never knew. For example, I heard you say that you came here in 1959 and that Canara Bank gave you a loan of 5,000 rupees, I am sure this was some 50 years ago. Not many people in Canara Bank itself may know that, that was the bank that gave you the 5,000 rupees. I am sure Canara Bank would be really happy to hear that, and we will make it a point to make sure that they will hear this straight from you. So that is the purpose why we are capturing such information from you so that we can know and we can pass it down to our next generation. Very good, go ahead. So you said that you came to Connecticut. So let's pick it up from there.

RR: In Connecticut, when I came there, one Mr. Shivalingappa, who had come a year earlier to the same department helped me. He was making fun of me, “why did you come all the way? we don't have anything here”. Then, we went to the dorm. Room was there, but food was not there. He used to cook rice in a bowl in the lab. When the college closed, we would go to the lab and cook rice there, and the rice would be with chutney and curd, and that was our meal for the whole day.

VK: Okay. Now, that's very interesting and very disturbing also to me when I read stories of people like yourself who came here in the early 50s and they could not go to the Main Street restaurants or anything like that and get any food. So I know that they struggled, but this is the first time I am every hearing from anybody saying that you cooked rice in the laboratory. I am sure if the school had found out that that's why you were going to the lab, over the weekend the lab is not working, you just go there to cook Indian rice, I don't think they would have allowed you to continue your education. But anyway, and then you cooked the rice and mixed it with curds and some other items, and that was your food.

RR: No, no, we had separate vessels for cooking, and we used to use the Bunsen burner, and then heating it on the burner, and then you had to make sure that everything is clean and wiped out and so forth.

VK: Right. I know that we use Bunsen burner for conducting the experiments. So now you were using Bunsen burner to cook rice. That itself is a very fascinating piece of information for all of us. Okay, so you used to cook over the weekends in the laboratory and of course you have to survive and go to school and all that. Okay. All right, then what happened? So you finished -- you are studying in the University of Connecticut.

RR: It was an interesting place for me, because there were a lot of things to learn.

VK: Absolutely, yes.

RR: So even starting from wearing topcoat in the cold weather. The professors were very nice. There was one by the name of Dr. Scottron, my advisor to tell me what to do and so forth. And then at the end of the two years I finished my Master's degree, then I had no money to go back so I had to work. I have to get a job. Of course we didn't have any car. Then I was thinking of a doctoral degree. And I applied at 10 or 15 places, finally I got one in South, and they gave me a scholarship; I don’t remember the university’s name, probably it was a university in Louisiana. I was so happy, and I went to my advisor and told him, Dr. Scottron, I got this admission. I want to have a recommendation. He just looked at me and he said, no, I won’t give you a recommendation. He was really upset. Then he asked me to sit down and said “you don't know the South. Those people don't know how to treat even me, they don’t treat well. So I don't want you to be subjected to that racial slur, therefore don’t go to this one, I will fix you somewhere else”. Then he got me a seat in Rutgers University in New Jersey, and there I went to get my Ph.D degree.

VK: Okay. I think you did your PhD. at New Jersey, at Rutgers. So if I understand clearly, you were about to take up admission in one of the Southern states like Louisiana and Dr. Scottron told you, no, they are not going to treat you really well so I will get you admission somewhere in this area so stay here. And you did stay and get your PhD at Rutgers University. Down the road I am going to ask you a question, you said that there will be racial issues and all that. I am going to ask a few questions on that later. But now, so you got your PhD and then you got your doctoral at Rutgers University, what did you do after that?

RR: After that I was looking for a job after getting the PhD degree and applied to other places. The Prairie View A & M University offered me a job. The salary was very low, but they offered me a job anyway. I was happy and told my professor. My professor's name is Dr. Jumikus. He is from Germany. He didn’t know Black people. He actually was Estonian. He said to me, the Dean of that College, asked him “what is Dr. Rao’s attitude towards other people? I was little bit hesitant, you see, I said, Rao is an academic person and he is applying for a job as an instructor, and you must ask -- the question you must ask how is his training and all of that; instead he was asking this”. Because, he didn't know that at a predominantly Black school. I am the first person, non-Black, to be hired there, so these people were not sure. It seems Dr. Jumikus had replied, “Rao is a very mature person, so, don’t worry”.

VK: Okay, it looks like you had very nice professors that helped you get you admission to the right university and then they were also helping you to make sure that you don't go somewhere where you may not be liked or you may not be accepted very willingly. So I think you are very, very thankful to those professors and your advisers, right? Now, your background as far as when you came here and you got your Master’s and you got your PhD, and now you got a job in Prairie View. So at that time did you know anything about Texas at all or it was just a job somewhere in the United States, how did you feel about it?

RR: I didn't know where Prairie View was.

VK: So you did not even know where Prairie View was.

RR: I called them and they gave direction. I came to Houston and stayed in a hotel, then rented a car. They gave me directions, I went there. They treated me very nicely. The Dean came and I got my luggage and so forth and took me down to the campus, introduced me to the President of the University and everybody and so forth. Then they offered me a job. The salary was low, but I didn't know what the salary was. So he asked me, we are going to give you a job, what salary do you expect? I didn't know what salary to expect so simply I kept quiet. No, no, no, the President said, we are going to make you an Associate professor from Assistant professor, and the salary was also a little bit raised. Even then I was a little bit hesitant. Then, they said, “we will make you the head of the department.”

VK: Okay, so you came looking for a job, they offered you a job and then they raised you to Associate Professor and then you really became a Dean. You are really fortunate Dr. Rao, weren't you, that they gave you a wonderful opportunity to start your career with, and although you thought that your salary was low, it was probably not that low, but because you didn't know how much to expect. You didn't know whether you were paid too much or too little, you didn't know, so you just accepted what was offered to you.

RR: Right.

VK: That was very, very nice of you. And I know that you served at the Texas A&M Prairie View for many, many, many years to follow.

RR: 26 years.

VK: 26 years you worked there, and I think you still live in that area, in the Prairie View area. Now, I want to switch gears a little bit and then ask you, you had the job at Prairie View and you came through Houston, but did you ever think of going back to Houston at all or Prairie View kept you interested?

RR: No, Prairie View, I am thankful to the people. It all started with the President. President used to come to our house for coffee, and I never expected that. I am just an ordinary person. The President comes to my house, the Heads of the department come to my house, the Dean comes to my house and so forth. It was all little bit too much for me, coming from India where there are these hierarchies. Once I went and asked the Dean, Mr. Wilson, “I want to ask you why you are not getting the Honor Societies? He said “ I don't know. You must ask for it.”  Can I ask for it? Go ahead and do it. Okay. I just went and found out about the Honor Society, Engineering Honor Society. You can't get the Honor Society unless the programs are accredited.  Then, I went to the Dean and said “Mr. Wilson, it seems that it is not accredited. Why?” He gave me full liberty. Then I wrote to the Accreditation Board, what are the requirements to get the accreditation? And all the requirements; how many library books should be there, what should be the staff and faculty member; what are the subjects they teach etc. So the President was interested. It was the first time that they really paid attention. The whole University was at my beck and call. The head of the Library came and said, “Dr. Rao, whatever books you want, you may list and we will order.” They ordered and got the books. They asked me to come to the library, “these are all the books you wanted.” And I was a little bit amazed at the swiftness. And at the end of the nine months they gave me a full one year salary and almost $5,000 increment. The people were very nice, the professors. Then I asked him, “Mr. Wilson, I don't know, if the other departments know about the accreditation programs and can I have the freedom to go and inquire at the other Universities?” He replied “ Sure. If you want to go any University to inquire on this one, go ahead and do it. Okay. I didn’t go anywhere farther, so I went to the University of Houston and UT , Texas at Austin, and I wrote letters all the three department heads, and they asked me to come over there. And I went there and they asked me what the program was like. And I came back and took the curriculum and said “  these are the courses and these are activities to satisfy the accreditation”. And then after that the President said, okay, we will pay for the Accreditation costs. So when they applied for all  three Civil, Electrical, Mechanical departments, only, my Civil Engineering department got the accreditation for the first time; others didn’t get it, because there were not enough faculty members. So the Dean called me, Dr. Rao, just keep it quiet because other departments feel depressed and so forth. So it's very good, we will work it out. So for the next two years we worked to get the other two departments accredited.

VK: That's very interesting because -- I just want to share with you that -- I told you earlier that I know Dr. Rao for over 30 years, but till this minute I did not know all the details of his career as a Dean at the Texas A&M Prairie View University and also how he was really responsible in getting the accreditation, which is very, very important, as we all know today. And congratulations, Dr. Rao, you did some remarkable things at the University, and no doubt the University gave you one year’s salary, although the term was nine months. And also they gave you, you said a lump sum $5,000. That's fantastic! I hope such things continue to happen now, and you also mentioned that they treated you very well. Many times we hear from people saying, oh, they didn't treat us well, they did that, they did something, something, that would not be pleasing to them. But so far you have not said anything like that. You have been very appreciative, very complimentary of what others did for you. That shows you are an absolutely delightful and nice person. Now, I want to ask you one quick question concerning your University experience. What was the subject in which you specialized in, that you were teaching at the Texas A&M?

RR: Okay. My specialization back in India is Water Resources.

VK: Water Resources. 

RR: So dams and irrigation.

VK: Irrigation, okay.

RR: When I came to Roorkee University, that was water resources development, that is the Master’s of Engineering. When I came here to Connecticut my Master’s was in Hydraulics.

VK: Hydraulics, okay.

RR: Then when I came to New Jersey, it was Soil Mechanics.

VK: Soil Mechanics, okay.

RR: I got this one -- Dr. Jumikus was my professor. Dr. Jumikus is a very strict person. Once as a graduate student when I made a spelling mistake in a report, he was so mad. He gave me a C in that program. Dr. Jumikus, why you gave me C? “Well, you made that mistake, you are a PhD student, you are not supposed to make that mistake.” It didn’t affect me, but my friends are all flabbergasted, “hey, you are the best student in the class, how come you got a C?” But actually, he gave a C for the Lab report, not in the course program.  

VK: Now, you said that the Dean, the professors and all your colleagues used to come to your house, you say, our house, when you said our, now who is the other person that you are referring to?

RR: Okay, when I was in Rutgers University Anasuya joined from India and she worked for a Master’s Degree in Rutgers.

VK: Did Anasuya come as a student or were you married back in India?

RR: I was married back in India.

VK: When was that?

RR: That was in 1958.

VK: 1958, okay.

RR: So in  1959 I came here.

VK: 1959 you came here. Oh, you were married when you came?

RR: Yeah.

VK: Okay, but Anasuya joined you later.

RR: Later.

VK: Okay.

RR: She had a Bachelor’s Degree, she was a high school teacher.

VK: Right.

RR: So she came here and she went for a Master’s Degree, Master of Education, she got that one, and she finished that one. From there we came to Prairie View.  Anasuya said, what should I do here? Why can't I go to school here? I said sure.


So she applied to the three closest universities, and she got admission in Texas A&M and also in University of Houston. The question is, University of Houston, to come from Prairie View is a long distance; we didn’t have a car. To go to college is much easier. So we picked up Texas A&M. She was the only girl at that time in that PhD program in Texas A&M. She was making fun of me..” you people work for getting a job; I work just for the sake of education itself.”

VK: Now, that’s an interesting fact. I know that -- I have met Anasuya as well, and she could not come here today for the interview because she was not doing well, but we will definitely interview her some other time separately. Okay, now, apart from the education, I want to touch the other areas of your life and activity, because I know that you have a very fulfilling life and a very enjoyable life. One of those things that come to my mind is first time I came to your house in 1978, when you were celebrating Vinayaka Chaturthi. And the house was just full of people that I didn't know any of them. So tell us a little bit about that festival and what created interest in you to do that. Tell us a little bit more about that.

RR: When I came to Prairie View, the number of Indians, Kannadigas were only two families I knew; one is Sreenath family in Dallas and another one is RamKrishna family in Austin. So every weekend we used to go there or they used to come here. Then we made it a point every Indian or Kannadiga comes here, we must meet. The best way to do it, you do it in India too, will call you, one way of inviting the people. So anybody who comes to Houston area, Kannadigas, they used to come to our house, no invitation is necessary. So if you know somebody, you bring them to the house, and we have the function. So that's how the Kannadiga group developed. First 10 or 12 families, that is after you, came in, we would sit together and discussion is going on that we form an association, and finally we decided to form an association, and you happened to be the Secretary of the group at that time.

VK: I want to add a little more about the annual Ganesha festival that you used to do in your house. And I was brought there by one of my friends, so that's how I started coming to your house. That was in 1978. And for years to follow, every year I would see some new faces, new people. And I know at one time there were almost 200, 300 people. So the number of people speaking Kannada that you knew or they knew you kept on increasing. And your house, we could feel, we could just come there for the festival and spend all day there, we used to do that. That was a very interesting event, and you used to take Lord Ganesha procession through the Prairie View, and take him to the tank and immerse him in the tank. That was very interesting. Then your association with the Kannadigas itself increased and you started interacting with them. And as I understand, as I know very well, you were the very first President of Houston Kannada Vrinda. Tell me a little bit about that, because I may have missed something, so tell me from your perspective what do you think about the Kannada organization being started in the early '80s, almost 25 years ago? 

RR: It was a very small group, and we said, I don't know anything about organization and society and so forth. I had a capable Vice President, Mrs. Jay Rao; very capable Secretary, Kumar.

VK: You are showing hand at me, so that must be me then. Yes, I was the Secretary, yes.

RR: So with their help, we worked together. The bulk of the work is done by the Secretary Kumar. And then the other activities; one thing, Meenakshi Temple.

VK: Yes, yes, tell us about your involvement with the Meenakshi Temple, because I know that you were very actively involved with the temple right from the inception, so tell us a little bit more about that.

RR: Meeknashi Temple, some few people, some six or seven people, so we used to meet once a week or once every 15 days in somebody's house, and I also joined with the Hindu Worship Society, Dr.Sindwani and others, so I worked with them.

VK: Yes.

RR: And when we worked with Dr. Sindwani, his wife, Dr. Mohini was working with the Ramkrishna Mission and I was involved with Ramkrishna Mission at home and I found out from Dr. Sindwani that his wife is working there. She has taken a room or something in the Jewish Community Center.

VK: Okay, Jewish Community Center.

RR: Jewish Community Center.

VK: Okay, okay.

RR: Jewish Community Center. So she gave me a chance and I was there for a year or so and then I left. Then I was associated with the Theosophical Society and because I was associated with that I got associated with the Chinmaya Mission.

VK: Well, I know at that time you were associated yourself with the Vedanta Society, the Chinmaya Mission, the Houston Kannada Vrinda, Theosophical Society, and many other organizations. O.K, then given that you didn't even live in Houston, living in Prairie View is almost like 40, 50 miles one way. And we admired your interest and your patience and enthusiasm to come and work here and be a part of so many organizations. It's a good example for us and all the younger generation to emulate. Now, I want to ask you a couple of more things before we wrap up. I have not seen you, at least here, get involve in politics, sports, and music, things like that. Tell me a little bit more about your interest, or you are not having interest in these areas, tell us a little bit more about that?

RR: Now, politics, I was interested in the local politics, in the city. When I went to Prairie View, city was not there. I was not involved in politics, except dining at Democratic Party and voting and things like that, but then I was not deeply interested in politics. And politics of Houston, city politics, I was away from that one. Music, I enjoy, but I had learned not much of music. I don't have the talent. But I know people who have the talent.

VK: Now, we know that although you yourself are not an artist, a musician or a painter or anything, you supported and continue to support all the artists and all the art organizations in Houston, that itself is a great thing that we have to recognize in you, and you continue to do that, which we all know. Now, we know your extended family is out of Houston. Anybody that comes to Houston area, you come to know that they are here, either you invite them or your wife Anasuya will invite them. We come and spend almost all day with you. That's very generous of you. Now, just a while ago you mentioned that you are a Democrat. Are you still a Democratic supporter or have you changed your party?

RR: No, usually -- the Democratic Party appeals to me more than the Republican Party. Why? Democratic Party caters to the needs of the middle class and the lower middle class, whereas the Republican Party mainly looks at the top layer. That is my opinion. I may be wrong, okay? But to get the votes, they had to come down, we had to go up and so forth. So I was not able to get involved in that. But otherwise, apart from the party affiliation, politics as such doesn't interest me much. Because moving forward, there's going to be tussles and things like that happening; I have seen that happening. I just kept away from that one. Otherwise, this work keeps me good. Example, Chinmaya Mission, they have now asked me to continue there. Even Gaurang Bhai wrote a letter to me and so on. But the main thing is my health went down and of course I am driving and other things came in the way. Meeknashi Temple, I haven’t gone for a long time now. Yes, I was the first. I formed the first group, Thiagarajan was the Chairman of Meeknashi Temple and Kannappan was the Secretary and they asked me to become the Treasurer; first Treasurer of the Meeknashi Temple Society. And I worked for that one for a while; four year term. I told them, it was too much on me, I can't work on this one. Then Anasuya became the Secretary for another four years.

VK: Well, I am really very amazed the ease with which you pull these names. For example, you mentioned about Thiagarajan and Kannappan, Gaurang Bhai and all those things. And I have to admit that probably I would not be able to remember any of these names a couple of years from now. I am amazed. We are very, very happy and thankful to you that you were able to spend some time with us this afternoon telling us a little bit about your life. This is very important for us, because down the road, people would like to know who was the first Indian that came to Prairie View? What did he accomplish? What was his contribution to the city, to the community, to the University? There will be no such documentation if we did not interview you today and request you to share the knowledge with us. So we are extremely grateful to you for that. This is a program that is brought to you by the Foundation for India Studies, and the title of this program is Indo-American Oral History Project. And we are also thankful to Houston Community College and the Houston Public Library for their participation and involvement with us in bringing this program together. Now, Dr. Rao, I would like to request you to say a few things, if you knew something and you would like to share it with us, please do so, we would be very, very happy to listen to you.

RR: Okay. The question is, first of all, who am I, the good part of it, the better part of me, it’s not entirely me, it’s a contribution made by my friends and so forth. So many people contributed for that. Nothing what is mine, there is nothing there, but still people honor me, people respect me and so forth, it's God-given gift for me.
In India, we go to temple and you don't know much about religion and so forth, we used to go to Ramkrishna Mission because it was very close to my house, but going and just coming.
After coming here, we know the value of those associations. So immediately I came here, I asked where Ramkrishna Mission Center is. I got Mohini Sindwani and worked it out. Then MTS came in and I told Thiagarajan, “hey Thiagarajan, I am not a very religious person, why do you want me to get involved?”. He said “I want you to be there as Treasurer. We want money and when people see you, money would come easily”. And so I got involved in that. I was also involved in that back at home also. Then when I went there, they’ve got a 40:56, so they drew me in there; there were degrees, second degree, third degree, up to 32nd degree. Both of them went up to 30th degree. Then the question is, once in a year the meeting is held nationwide, and I go to that meeting. Later we were not able to go, so we just stopped. And these contributions made me what I am. There are certain people involved, not big people. One of them is a young boy, 8-years-old boy. He came, was working in the small houses in India, he used to come early in the morning, we never used to lock the door, he used to come inside,he used to wake me up and so forth. I don't know who that boy is, okay, I am thankful to him. And there were some people who worked at the PWD office, so many people working there under me, most of them are illiterate but culturally they were very good. They used to come and ask me for everything. Once one of them came to me, sir, I am going to conduct a pooja in my house, I have asked the Acharya to do that, we want you to come. I said okay. So he was so happy I am going. He went and told the Acharya, so we are going to do the pooja. So the next day I went to his hut and in the hut they had made platforms.

VK: Platforms, yes.

RR: That one he had put a mat.

VK: Special seating.

RR: Brought some fruits and milk for me. So that type of devotion, I can’t get it. But that taught me something, it's not education, it's not your position, but the interest you show. And there were many other people. I told you about the professors. These professors seemed to have got more confidence in me than myself.

VK: Right.

RR: And my bosses in India, people always talk about bosses and stuff, but my bosses, they were all very good and very kind to me. They just gave me whatever I want, okay. And they put more confidence in me in doing anything. I myself didn’t have that confident. And more than that, in India, many of them may not realize that, we have grown up with some ideals in life, to follow day-to-day; being truthful. That has got an effect on me than anybody else. When I came here, that one put me in a very good position. People began to like me, not because my behavior was much better than what they would find here. In Connecticut people used to invite me weekend. They wanted to have a foreign student in their home so I would go to them in the weekend, they used to prepare vegetarian food, Indian food. Most of them were Christians and they used to take me to the church and so forth, introduce me to the congregation. And so all these things I never expected. That is really what I wanted to tell you.

VK: But I think what you just now done Dr. Rao is to show respect and homage, pay homage to those people who helped you, who were nice to you all along, including some of your friends, and the young boy that you mentioned in India, 8-year-old boy that used to come to your house and people down there, as well as your professors here, in college and everywhere. It is only a reflection of what you are and what you are giving to them, Dr. Rao. I think if your attitude or behavior was not acceptable, I don't think any of these things would have happened. So you are an absolutely exemplary person since I have known you for so long. I can definitely say that we are indeed very, very grateful to you that you have taken the time --

RR: One point I want to make.

VK: Yes, yes, dr., go ahead.

RR: Regarding the discrimination in this country.

VK: The reason I did not bring up that topic as point of discussion with you, the discrimination, is because I do know even if somebody had discriminated against you, you will not remember that or you will not make it a big deal, or you will not keep it in your mind, you would not propagate it, that's your nature, I know, but if you want to share something.

RR: The only question is, it's a good thing. My friends were saying “ why do you praise America like that?” Nobody has insulted me, nobody has. In fact, they went the extra length to make me happy, help me and so forth. I have nothing to complain. One person said, he rode in a bus from Minnesota to Tennessee, on the way, in the bus station, they couldn’t offer him even a cup of water. That were the kind of things in 1959, '60, '61. By the time I came to Prairie View in 1963, Rule  was passed, people were afraid. So when I came here I went to Bellville Hospital, a big sign says, only Whites. They told me, oh, Dr. Rao, it is not for you. Now they have removed those signs and so forth. Medical Center there was a bathroom, Whites only and so forth. It was there in 1964.

VK: '64. But look at 1964 and now look at 2006, I think things have come around so much and people have become more caring for each other. Although we still have incidents like the 9/11, the high school shootings, these are very small number compared to the number of good things that you see happen to you and that you do to others is so much -- such big numbers compared with the one or two stray incidents that happen here and there. Anyway, we do not have to deal with that kind of situation anymore, and we are really, really happy. And we wish you a very successful life. And just before closing, I know you have retired and you are enjoying retired life. Do you have any suggestions for me, because I am also now retiring, or I am probably going to retire, tell me, what should I do?

RR: No, you are doing a great job! See, retirement, unless you have active day filled up in your life, retirement becomes boring, because you must fill up some activities. It may be a little bit hectic and so forth, I know how hectic your life is, but still you don't have time to sit down --

VK: And do nothing.

RR: No, it makes you sick also, if that does not happen. We called Kumar, he doesn't reply and so forth. It’s fine, he is busy. He has to be busy. It's the only way that keeps his health good. So is my uncle, who is 104 years.

VK: 104 years?

RR: Yes, he is still working. He goes to other activities, competition and other things. And even though he was bent this way, of course his sons and daughters have helped him, but still he goes there. That keeps him healthy, still he is working. He visits people and so forth. So keep healthy. One thing is, don't retire.

VK: Dr. Rao, you are telling us not to retire but to keep an active life so you would stay young and you will stay healthy. And Dr. Rao, on behalf of the Foundation for India Studies, we wish you a very healthy and a very long life! And we are extremely pleased that we were able to meet you today and talk to you!

RR: Thank you so much!

VK: Thank you! Thank you very much!

RR: Thank you all people!

VK: This program is brought to you by the Foundation of India Studies and it's Indo-American Oral History Project, which is also supported by the Houston Community College and the Houston Public Library. We will see you again at the next interview. Thank you and you all be safe.