The crowning glory

The crowning glory

This photo was taken in 1966 in front of our house in 16th Cross, Malleswaram. My husband, CP Sharma, and I had called a few friends and thrown a dinner party on the occasion of his boss Brigadier BM Chakravarti’s retirement. In fact, the child sitting in front on the right is popular comedienne and socialite Ruby Chakravarti.

We lived in Malleswaram for quite a few years and it will always be my favourite place in Bengaluru despite it being notorious for its apartment complexes now. When I first moved to the City, my husband had already been working for electronics and radar development establishment for a while and it was so glamourous to be here.

My elder sister and other relatives were in Meerut, Agra and Lucknow but I was shooting down South to settle down! Our first house together was in Vasanthnagar where our neighbour was Jeevaraj Alva. He was just a boy then but I would go over to his house and Mrs Alva would feed me ‘idlis’ and chutney.

In 1959, we moved to Malleswaram. We first lived on Margosa Road, which was a two-way street back then. But then we shifted to the interiors because my son would run out on the roads and the owner of the building had an office there so we couldn’t ask him to lock the gates.

The rents in Bengaluru were so low those days — for a two bedroom house with a hall and big garden, it cost Rs 100 or Rs 150! The second house we stayed in Malleswaram was owned by P Krishnamurthy and he asked us for just Rs 150 for a large house. My husband was actually embarrassed by the low amount and asked him to take at least Rs 175, and he agreed.

After a few years in Bengaluru, I got used to the fashion and life here. In 1964, my husband’s company Afghan Snow had a beauty pageant for the title of ‘Ms Bangalore’ and Brigadier Kapoor suggested that I represent Rajendra Sinhji Institute as I was quite charming and pretty those days. Initially, there were 15 girls and we didn’t have to wear bikinis or any other swimming costumes.

After the various rounds, there were four finalists, of which I was one. It was held at the Lalbagh Glasshouse and wasn’t a ticketed event. So there were almost 5,000 spectators, but only 30 to 40 policemen.

When the winner was announced, some hooligans jumped on to the stage and started shouting that they don’t want a Chinese or a foreigner as the winner. We ran from there, but couldn’t find our Ambassador car, which we had bought just two years ago.

The next day, the organisers came to our house  and gave me two saris and a crown. The photo with me wearing the crown was sent to my in-laws in Agra and my father-in-law tore it up and burnt it. I asked my husband to ask the organisers for one more but he said his father had said no, so he could not disobey him. Till day, I don’t have the picture.    
Savita Sharma

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