A camaraderie like none other

From the albums

A camaraderie like none other

This photograph was taken in 1975 when I was a member of the ‘kho kho’ team at Mahila Seva Samaja (MSS), Basavanagudi. Ours was a very strong team and we used to win almost all the tournaments of the year. In fact, we were a terror for the opponents.

 To rewind a bit, I studied at a government school in Kengeri before joining MSS. There were not enough facilities there for sports but the sports masters decided to conduct a ‘kho kho match’. They selected many arbiterily and left me out. I was very upset. Soon I joined MSS in class eight and there were ample opportunities for sports. I decided to play ‘kho kho’ and make up for what I had missed.

 In 1974-75, our team at MSS won three tournaments in a row. We had done much better than our seniors and brought laurels to the school. We were also adjudged runners-up in a number of tournaments. Our headmistress and the sports secretary were very happy and wanted our team photo to be published in the newspapers. The headmistress arranged for the team photo-shoot along with all the trophies that we won throughout the year. This photo was published in ‘Deccan Herald’ and ‘Prajavani’ at that time. To celebrate the victory, we were also taken to a restaurant and given a sumptuous treat by our sports secretary. 

We had a very good time playing every match and would come for practice sessions regularly, both during school days and holidays. After we passed out of school, we began missing each other. Most of us continued to play for our respective college teams and some of us represented Bangalore University ‘kho-kho’ team as well. After 10th standard, I completed my PUC and BA in National College and went on to finish my Masters in Psychology from Bangalore University. I was always interested in athletics and bagged a few medals in Junior and Senior Championships during college.

    I have three sisters and one brother and my brother and I used to enjoy watching cricket matches together. As a girl, I was never questioned about my love for sports and ‘tomboy’ attitude. As my sisters were older to me, they had a lot of restrictions but I enjoyed being the youngest as it came with certain freedom. 

As for the Bengaluru those days, it was very quiet. The roads were almost deserted and we were scared to come back home after 5.30 pm. We used to admire the rose gardens near National College and one of the places we used to meet was Bharath Cafe in Jayanagar, which is now shut down. We relished the ‘bhel puri’ there.  I used to miss out on a lot of classes as I had to attend sports camps but I used to study after school and college since I knew that my father will not let me play if I didn’t score well.

    As for our team, some of us were lucky to meet each other during our college days. To celebrate our re-union we have planned on getting together. Fortunately, all of us are as spirited now as we were decades ago when we were members of the kho kho team.

Harini Raghavan
(As told to Anushka Sivakumar)

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