Behind the Physical

Meghana Tummala is known by the the easy laugh, the dark hair and the ever-present smile.

Less visible but as important are the other things.

She’s bilingual. Telugu was taught to her by her parents. She learned it and English simultaneously: Telugu at home, English at school. She is fluent in both.

She and her brother are very close. They fight, as all siblings do, but it’s never serious, always for fun.

She likes all kinds of art, both to view it and create it. When she is drawing, she prefers to draw more realistic: she draws noses or eyes or mouths. When she is painting, she prefers to go more out of the box: not just what is seen, and very colorful.

She prefers sunsets over sunrises, because she likes the night. When asked why, the reason is simple: “Because of the stars and the moon.”

Her favorite movie when she was little was “Monster’s Inc.”

“That was my movie; I loved it,” she says.

The main characters in “Monster’s Inc.” are Sully, the blue fluffy monster with purple dots, and Boo, the tiny human girl who has wandered into the monster’s world. There’s a scene where Sully puts Boo to sleep in his huge bed. He tells her to go to sleep with hand motions: you (he points at Boo), go (his fingers walk across his other hand), to (he points into the air with a clawed finger), sleep (he rests his head on his hands and shuts his eyes, pretending to snore).

Her uncle, who she calls Nana, or “Dad” in Telugu, reenacted that scene for her. It was when she was a kid, almost every time after he told her a story and it was time to go to bed.

She remembers the motions – she demonstrates, flawlessly. It is her favorite memory from before she was five.

She smiles as she tells the story.