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Making a change

Dilip Gurjar Jan 3 2018, 22:05 IST
(Back row, from left, kneeling) Raghunath and Sridhar Deshmukh. (First row) Venkataraman Sastry (2nd), T C Sundaresan, (in front) Suma J, (behind Suma) Vasundhara and (next to Suma) the author. (Extreme right) Ruma, Himabindu and (behind the author) Suresh.

(Back row, from left, kneeling) Raghunath and Sridhar Deshmukh. (First row) Venkataraman Sastry (2nd), T C Sundaresan, (in front) Suma J, (behind Suma) Vasundhara and (next to Suma) the author. (Extreme right) Ruma, Himabindu and (behind the author) Suresh.

This picture was taken during the Clear 'Parthenium Campaign' of which I was part of at Jayanagar Shopping Complex on Gandhi Jayanthi day on October 2, 1989.

I am involved in the Humanist Movement.One of its organisms was a pacifist group called 'The Greens'. We conducted many campaigns and worked in the neighbourhood to resolve water and sanitary problems, among others.

In the 'Parthenium Campaign', we educated the people regarding the evil effects of parthenium, how to eradicate it, take precautionary measures and also took signatures from them and forwarded to the then State Government to take eradication of the deadly weed Parthenium on a war footing.

In the picture, you can see the shop names 'Typing and Cyclostyle and Electronic Typing'. Both are now obsolete technology. We, the members of the group, also brought out a monthly neighbourhood newsletter 'Hello Neighbour'. Most of the volunteers were students and youth. The campaign was very successful and many joined impromptu.

Going back a bit further, my romance with Bengaluru started way back in the late 60s when my brother Suresh Gurjar got a job at Kirloskar Asea.


Whenever he used to visit home for holidays, he used to narrate about a paradise on earth called Bangalore. During those days, Bangalore had only meter gauge and very few platforms. We had to change trains either at Guntakal or Miraj stations from meter gauge to broad gauge to go towards Mumbai. It became fully broad-gauge in the mid-eighties.

Bangalore then was indeed a paradise! I was staying in Jayanagar 9th Block near Raggigudda Temple. The auto drivers had a different avatar than the brash ones of today. Though they were no saints, they were no rouges either! Jayanagar 9th block was then considered outside city limits and so was the HAL airport and we had to cough up one and a half times the meter fare. They would sometimes refuse to ferry us too!

My office was first housed at Sabari Complex, next to the now defunct Imperial Theatre on Residency Road. I used to reach my office in two-wheeler Chetak in flat 15 minutes. Today the same distance on the same route will take not less than 45 minutes- so much so for today's traffic!

Very close to our office was an old Edwardian hotel- Victoria Hotel, opposite to Mayo Hall. Today the landmark hotel is demolished and Central Mall has come in its place. We used to chill out there. It was a very popular for its open space, greenery and natural surroundings.

There was an open-air theatre in Bannerghatta Road. We frequently visited the place. Today it is beyond recognition. We used to return back home late night and though the roads were deserted, it was safe. The problem was in case you were lost after 7.30 pm you would not get a single soul on the road to ask for directions.

During those days we had to wait for seven years to get a LAN connection from BSNL. If we wanted to make an STD call, we had to go to the telegraph office either at Jayanagar 4th Block or at Basavangudi.

Today I cannot recognise my old Bangalore. It has lost its old heritage and culture. However, my love for the city has in no way diminished. One of the volunteers of 'The Greens', Suma, is now a practising paediatrician. Hima Bindu is a Chartered Accountant and Suresh is an entrepreneur.

I quit Blue Star as DGM and now I am a financial planner and advisor trying to educate today's youth and homemakers.

Dilip Gurjar
(The author can be contacted at gurjardilip2008@gmail.com)

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