miscellany

Living out a dream at 81!

Living out a dream at 81!

Can you imagine a person, 81years of age, interested in mountaineering, wildlife photography, horse-riding and who drives as long as 800 km from Bangalore to Goa on his trade-mark bike, a blue RD CAO 9422 with ease?

What’s more, he also has a passion for vintage cars. Little wonder that youngsters have taken a liking to this “grand old man of Bangalore”, R Chakravarthy, with whom they ride motorbikes, visit wildlife and picnic spots regularly.

“We admire the spirit and grit of the octogenarian”, says one of them.

Born in 1933, Chakravarthy worked with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as a designer for Marut, MiG and later ALH (helicopters) all through the 60s and 70s. Although he retired over twenty years ago, he is still full of energy and exuberance.
“Biking and flying were my childhood dreams. I was delighted to get a 11 HP American bike, the Red Indian Chief, from one of the scrap merchants in the City at a young age. These bikes were abandoned by Americans stationed in Bangalore during the Second World War while returning home after the war”, he recalls.

Natural glider

Chakravarthy joined the Government Flying School at Jakkur on the outskirts of Bangalore to give wings to his flying dream. Even as he worked for designing aircraft, gliding came to him naturally. He would take passengers with him, especially at Nasik where he spent 14 years upon his transfer to HAL’s MiG Division. Of course there were some nervous moments. Once he crashed a Tiger Moth and accidentally switched off the engine while landing the Aeronca aircraft.

“I once received an electric shock while gliding. But the worse was the Tiger Moth crash that resulted in my hospitalisation”, he says. His mother was so concerned about his daredevil acts that she sold his bike without informing him. But all this did not deter him from being in love with the fast and amazing machines. He bought another bike in 1985 while in Nasik - the RD -350– which he still rides and enjoys so much so that he was part of the fifth annual Independence Day ride organised by the Bangalore RD350 Club and Bikers of India this year.

Work and fitness

Chakravarthy values work and fitness. He drove a bus for three months at Nasik when HAL workers struck work in the year 1980. “I was the only deputy general manager in HAL (Bangalore) who would ride the bicycle everyday from my residence in Kumara Park to the Helicopter Complex on the Airport Road, a distance of 12 kilometres,” he says but rues that the current generation is not giving enough attention to fitness and sports.

 “Our young people are our future. They have the energy to take the nation to glorious heights but what matters is attitude”, he says. Any message to these youngsters? “Don’t crib, give your best and you will find life highly rewarding”, says this “young bachelor”.

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