A glorious past

From the albums

A glorious past

The photograph was taken at the St Anthony’s Primary School ground, where I studied till 1962. I was in class two or three then. We used to walk to the hockey ground (now Chinnaswamy Stadium) and watch inter-school hockey tournaments for the Lokur Cup. I remember Vece Paes (father of Leander Paes) being the school hockey captain then. He was my eldest brother’s classmate. The school did extremely well in hockey and had won the Lokur Cup many times.

  There have been many hockey players from our school who have represented India. The Lokur Cup is no longer played. Instead, there is the ‘Fr Vaz Memorial Inter School Hockey Tournament’.

Later on, I joined the St Joseph’s Boys High School and studied there from 1963 to 1969. The standard of education at that time was excellent. There were no distractions like television or cinema then. We used to spend a lot of time playing.

  Today, a child’s life is packed with studies even after he comes home. We were asked to study only after we played for sometime. We are all in touch even today and frequently meet each other. We try to catch up with our teachers as well.

Old Bangalore was a very cool place. I used to stay on Museum Road. Most of the year, we wore a jumper or a pullover.  The ceilings were very high and no fans were needed. Bengaluru was dotted with trees. It was truly was a pensioner’s paradise and a garden city. Our teachers used to tell us that the City is a time-keeper in itself. At 7 pm, the lights used to dim and people would retire to bed. We also used to hire cycles for about 50 paise for an hour from a man named Pinto (We called him ‘Cycle Pinto’) and used to go on long cycle hikes during summer upto Bannerghatta.

 Sometimes, we hired cycles for the entire day. We would go for swimming at the summer club in school as well.

Today, children aren’t playing enough and the City doesn’t have enough space or playgrounds for them.The existing playgrounds are also used for other purposes. Now, I live in HRBR Layout and find kids playing on the road because there is not enough parks or playgrounds.

After PUC at St Joseph’s Commerce College, I joined the National Defence Academy, Kharahvasla and later was commissioned into 18 Cavalry. I used to play hockey in the Army and played the game for passion, upto the age of 44. I miss the days I spent in old Bangalore.

Col Francis Machado(As told to Anushka Sivakumar)

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