When they fell for Jog

From the albums

When they fell for Jog

This photograph was taken on a baby brownie camera in 1949 when I was 19 years old. I was studying in the intermediate course in Maharani’s College. Compared to our youngsters today, we were a mature lot, wearing saris, with neatly braided hair and an overall adult bearing.

Bengaluru was truly a garden city in those days and Maharani’s College grounds was an idyllic place for a girl like me, venturing out into the world after the security of school life. Huge lawns and spreading branches of trees and well-qualified teachers like Kamala Nair and Padma Bai made higher studies a heady proposition.

Moreover, it was the meeting place for new friends and exciting activities. We travelled by bus to college every morning and returned the same way in the evening. These red buses picked up women  from various corners of the City. One morning, I missed my bus and was left to mope for the rest of the day at home for there was no other way I could get to college; no auto rickshaws or scooties.

Besides studying we enacted plays, sometimes under the trees, and our sports teachers — Shantappa and Muniyamma — kept us on our toes two days a week with games and exercises. We also had competitions in various fields, like dance, music, painting and elocution. Excursions and trips were a part of college life and we had the opportunity of visiting many interesting places.

I remember a one-day trip to Nandi Hills when the driver stopped the bus half way and declared that he had run out of petrol. Our Chemistry lecturer, DV Ratna, who was in charge, was at her wits’ end while we girls waited for a miracle to move the bus forward (or backward)!

And how can I forget our memorable trip to Jog Falls! Bhagya, our Physics lecturer, was in charge and some 20 of us from the Intermediate class took a train to Shimoga (or Sagar, I forget), where we sojourned for two days, and packed in a trip to Jog Falls as well, the highlight of the whole excursion.

We caught the Falls in all its glory and felt completely intoxicated by the cascading waters amidst rich green forests and mountains. However, our History lecturer, Gangamma, hardly enjoyed the trip for she was worried about tigers roaming the forests and making a spring at us, whenever the bus stopped by the roadside.

After my MA in English Literature from Central College, I drifted away to teach in Delhi University for 30 years. When I returned in 1993, things had changed and I had to adjust to a retired life.

Sad to say, there was no way I could have kept in touch with any of my friends in the picture, though recently I heard that Manorama is in the City. As for Bhagya, I chanced upon her obituary some years ago. Sita Subbiah from Coorg, who was the reigning beauty of the college, has also passed on.

Recently, I happened to visit Jog Falls during December — as I stood there, I was disappointed by the trickles of water that were supposed to be ‘Raja’, ‘Rani’, ‘Rocket’ and ‘Roarer’.
 Memories of my enriching visit to the place more than 60 years ago came back to me and I wondered at the passage of time and felt nostalgic.
 

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