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Appaji— the name says it all. One of the most popular personalities in the campus, Appaji is a man about whom little is known. Ping! recently had a face-to-face with him, which was undoubtedly an experience like never before. Here are some excerpts of his interview.

What is your full name and what do your friends call you? Is the “Ji” added to your name to show respect or is it actually in your name?
No, my name is Appaji itself. My complete name is Nallgopu Narayana Appaji. My friends either call me Appaji or Appaji Garu.

Tell us something about yourself.
My native place was Rajahmundry in A.P. Till 5th I studied in English medium and from 6th to 10th in Telugu medium school. I opted for PCM in +2 level. I pursued B.Sc. in Computer Science and then I started working as a lab faculty to support my father. Thereafter I began working at the CMC Authorized Training Centre, Masab Tank, as a lab faculty, where I was later recommended as an administrator by the officials, owing to some administrative crisis. Following this, I applied for an administrative assistant post in IIIT-H. I joined this institute on 19th September 2001. Here I started as an administrative assistant and was then promoted to Assistant Manager after 5 years.

Sir, you seem to do all the work from top to bottom in the administrative office. How do you manage it all? How many hours do you work in day?
Managing all this work is not as difficult as it seems. Though some pressure is there but it is easily manageable. In my case I schedule my time and prioritize the tasks. Also I try to multitask as much as possible. The first thing that I do in office is to check my mail. I work for about 8 or 9 hours a day. If the workload is huge I try to complete it by working overtime.

You have been in the college for a very long time. So what difference do you find between the students of the previous batches and the current batches?
Ah..! It has been 10 years since the first batch of IIIT-H passed from the institute. So a generation gap is certainly there. A lot of social and economic changes have taken place over the years. The students have not only gained a greater degree of freedom but have also become responsible.

Sir, you seem to be very popular in the college. Students consider you just next to the Dean Academics. How do you feel about it? What are your views about it?
Actually, it’s all because of the experience that I gained in the institute during these 10 years. Therefore, I know a lot about the administration. Also, earlier the staff was less so most of the procedures, clearing and resolving issues were done by us manually. So I am quite well versed with the procedures to be followed while doing any task. This is quite helpful when people ask for guidance regarding any issue.

When any of the students, staff have a doubt they say “Ask Appaji!”. Whom do you refer to when you need to know something?
Oh! In my case, I don’t need the kind of guidance that students do. I know whom to ask what in case I have doubts. Mostly I refer to the Dean Academics for academic issues.

We see that you remain active throughout the day? What is the secret of your energy?
There is no external source! It’s my personal interest and satisfaction that boosts my energy and enthusiasm. Also I know that IIIT-H is a good institute dedicated to the welfare of the students. This also acts a source of inspiration for me.

Students always complain a lot about the IIIT-H administration process. They say that it is like a government office. What’s your say on this and how do you feel it can change?
To this I would like to say that it is a misconception of the students. It is just that in the institute the students have to handle all the tasks by themselves. There are no intermediates to get the work done, which is quite different from their earlier years. Now they have to go through a formal process before getting any task done. The system of mails and portals is very unusual for them. Also earlier the strength was very less but it is increasing now. So obviously the workload has also increased and it takes time to do all the work.

The PG students of IIIT-H want to know about the GATE scholarship that the institute offers. Please clarify the status of this scholarship?
Regarding this issue I would like to mention the procedure for obtaining these scholarships from AICTE. Earlier all the information was conveyed through forms and papers. So for the year 2010-11 the college completed all the paperwork in time and sent it to the AICTE. But then in the same year AICTE changed its policy and wanted all the data to be filled online. Even then the institute did all the work in the given time frame. But due to some technical problems the scholarships haven’t been granted yet. However, the institute expects to get the scholarships for the year 2011-12 and is working to get them for the 2010-11 year.

The students complain that the grades for some subjects aren’t released on time. Please brief us on the procedure of grading and why do these delays take place?
Actually the issue is that between the odd and even semesters there is comparatively less time, and in between we have to a lot of work like compiling attendances etc. So in this case it may take some time to release the grades. Other than this I don’t think there is any considerable delay in releasing the grades.

Who are your friends at IIIT-H?
I talk to everyone, so there aren’t any specific people to be tagged as friends.

Tell us one good and one bad thing about the present generation.
Good Thing- They want to learn so many things and want to have everything in life.
Bad thing- They do everything in a very unorganized fashion..

Rapid Fire Questions:

Name a movie you like the most.
Hera Pheri (I really liked Babu Bhaiya’s character in it.)

What are your hobbies
Watching Television – shows like Comedy Circus, Dance India Dance etc. Also I like to read comic story books like Tenali Ramalinga stories.

What is your motto in life.
Whatever I do, it should be the best! Also my aim is that no one should be able to criticize my work.

Name a famous personality whom you’d like to meet.
Given such a chance I would like to meet S.P.Balasubramanyam. I am inspired by the way he lived.

A change that you’d like to see in IIIT-H.
Things should function more smoothly and punctually.

Who according to you has been the best Prof. in IIIT-H?
Prof. Sangal as a Director, Prof. Kamal as an academician, Prof. C.V. Jawahar and Prof. Govindarajulu as a teachers.

Tell us one un-achieved goal in your life.
I eagerly wanted to pursue MCA degree which I couldn’t.

Would you like to opt for a job change?
No, not at all. I’m very comfortable here.

Describe the following as person in one statement:
Mr. KSN – He’s good at teaching how to work. I’ve learned almost everything from him.
Mr. Y Kishore – He’s very kind, good natured and responsible man.
Prof. Kamal Karlapalem – He’s completely work-minded.
Mrs. Grace – She is very comfortable with her work and does everything that she is required to do with responsibility.

What is a message that you’d like to convey to IIIT-H students?
Since the beginning, IIIT-H considers each and everyone as a family. This spirit should be picked up by the students. We must share everything openly and ensure that a healthy environment is maintained in the college. We are all like small leaves in the IIIT tree and must try to serve our part in the best manner possible.

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