Who in the Badettu family did not know late Govinda Rao, the doyen of the Tripunithara branch of Badettu family, who single handedly built the Bharath Hotel chain in Ernakulam which to day is one of the most admired hotel ventures in Kerala? But many of the 4th and subsequent generation descendants may not be knowing him or might not have met him during his life time. He passed away last year peacefully after satisfying himself that he had done what ever is to be done for the family as well as the society at large. The first death anniversary functions were organized on October 17th at his house by his noble children befitting the stature of their father but without any ostentatious events.
Late Govinda Rao chose to establish his hotel business in Ernakulam, possibly during nineteen forties, having seen his cousins in Narnappaya family doing well in Kollam and Alappuzha. He not only made name for himself but also set up separate hotel units for his brothers also in Ernakulam. Though Govinda Rao was one of the five male children of Badettu Srinivasappaya who was the brother of Badettu Narnappaya, his extra ordinary vision and hard work helped the families of all brothers to live comfortably. With limited exposure to them during their heady days, I had seen from close quarters the bon homie among the three brothers viz Govinda Rao, Narayana Rao and Vasudeva Rao who behaved as if they were friends rather than brothers! Unfortunately Vasudeva Rao also passed away within two weeks after the death of Govinda Rao. Badettu family groups are indebted to Govinda Rao for his benevolence in rejuvenating the Padubidri Temple and involving himself with Brahmasthana activities.
At least for one of the branches in Badettu family of Padubidri ( of Venkatarao), Govinda Rao is literally a savior when he liberally helped to buy the Krishna Bhavan Hotel property in Alappuzha in 1980-81 and the 10 children of Venkatrao literally adore him for his help, affection and benevolent attitude through out his life. I have faint memories of yesteryear when, as a youngster of about 16 years of age, I used to take a night boat from Alappuzha to Ernakulam, reaching the destination during early morning around 5 am. The hotel near the Boat Jetty would open only at 6 am and since I did not want to disturb the sleep of Govinda Rao, I would sit on the steps of the Boat Jetty hotel till it opened. Only after a sumptuous breakfast did I go to his house. He was kindness personified unlike my own father who was always serious with strict disposition. It was a pleasure to go along with Govinda Rao to all the hotel units he had and I used to admire his meticulous practices watching from close quarters. His house was a transit point later in life as and when I go through Ernakulam to Alappuzha. Good old days indeed they were!
It was only during his first death anniversary I got enlightened more about this remarkable personality when during the dedication ceremony at the Sarovaram Hotel his son Gopinath narrated a few sweet episodes involving his father. The facts that he was close to Kochin Royal family, he served as a cook in Bombay, he was close to many Kerala leaders, present and the past, his hotel was the first choice for many famous Indian leaders were all news to many of us who attended the function. His well educated sons with engineering and chartered accountancy degrees are able to live up to the standards set by their father is itself the best tribute to the soul of Govinda Rao! Probably Govinda Rao would not have imagined that two of his grand children would become catering specialists involved in close management of the hotel chain, lending it a technical edge over other hotels. He was responsible for changing the image of Udipi hotels. often dingy places with just functional facilities.
While the Tripunithra branch of Badettu family can be rightly proud of the achievements of their pioneering "son" we in the Padubidri branch can also be happy through the reflected aura from this great man. May the Gods in Padubidri Temple and Brahmasthana shower happiness and prosperity to all members of Badettu family.
Answer to the last quiz
Ms Lakshmi, daughter of Nandini and grand daughter of Vankatrao family graduated from IIM Kolkatta after getting her engineering degree and is presently employed by a reputed bank at Mumbai. Part of the credit should go to Ms Archana, daughter of Jayanti and grand daughter of Venkatrao family who graduated from BITS, Pilani with a combination of Science and management (integrated course], presently in the US with her family working as a consultant.
Quiz for the current issue
Who is the first person in Badettu family group with a flying licence?