Turning back the pages

From the albums

Turning back the pages

In 1964, we had organised a farewell party for Dr T Manickam, the then dean of Bangalore Medical College and head of the department of ENT, Victoria Hospital. Those days, the people working at Victoria Hospital also used to work as professors in Bangalore Medical College.

This photograph was taken at the hospital on the eve of his promotion as the special officer of ENT at the directorate. I had recently been transferred from Karnataka Medical College and was the in-charge of his unit.

Though this was the first time I had come to live in the City, I was posted here in 1956 when I was a final-year student in Mysore Medical College. The authorities of the college had shifted the annual day to host a party to welcome us and Dr M Shivaram regaled us with his humourous speech.

We had visited the Mental Hospital (now NIMHANS), which was then headed by Dr Govindaswamy, a surgeon and Dr DLN Murthy Rao, a professor of psychiatry. Their lectures were very interesting and made many of my classmates opt for psychiatry as a career. Dr Sirsi of Vaccine Institute took us to the Indian Institute of Science to give us a glimpse of the virology laboratory.

That time, I stayed with my sister in Annayappa Block, Kumara Park and would cycle through Gandhinagar to reach the hospital, which is located at the end of Wilson Garden. Going via Cubbon Park was difficult as it used to be riddled with puddles and poodles. Also, the silence of the place in the early morning hours was eerie. Passing through Gandhinagar then was equally frightening because the City was reeling under the impact of the recent murder of Belur Sreenivasa Iyengar and family, who used to live there.

Coming to 1964, I lived in a house allotted to me by the rent controller on Vanivilas Road. This house was considered inauspicious and I was advised not to occupy it because one of its earlier occupants, Mokshagundam Krishnamurthy, had been murdered in the early 40s. But I lived there happily till 1968 till I went to England on a Commonwealth Scholarship.

Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, which was started in 1955, gave me many memories to cherish for life. During our free time, a classmate, who was the grandson of Dewan Madhava Rao, would drive us from the then newly-formed Kengal Hanumanthaiah Road to the South Parade (MG Road) area in his baby Austin car. We would have a cup of coffee at Koshy’s and amble across South Parade from EGK Sons to Oriental Pharmacy and feel a sense of pride like we had achieved something big.

As the secretary of the IMA, I used to arrange lectures and seminars frequently. Even senior doctors like Dr Shivaram, Dr Rama Rao and Dr Narasimhachar would actively participate in the deliberations. This is in sharp contrast to the present-day meetings.

In 1976, I came back to Bangalore as the senior professor and head of the department of ENT, Bangalore Medical College. I worked in Bowring Hospital, Sri Venkateswara Institute of ENT and also St John’s Medical College Hospital on deputation of the Government. I was lucky to present papers and take part in international seminars in Edinburgh, London, Tokyo, Chicago, Singapore and Bali. Except for a brief period in 1985 when I was posted as the principal of KMC, Hubballi, I have remained in the City ever since.

Bengaluru has grown enormously over the years and all its roads are brimming with vehicles and people. Sometimes, it takes half an hour to commute a distance of one kilometre! Due to family circumstances, I retired voluntarily from service and am practising as a consultant in Saraswathi Hospital and Sevakshetra Hospital run by Canara Bank Relief and Welfare Society.

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