In a walker's paradise

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In a walker's paradise

This photo was clicked in 1951-52 at Lalbagh when I was an officer of Syndicate Bank, Gandhi Nagar, and staying in the Canara Hostel.

   The hostel was on the first floor of a building in Basavanagudi. This picture has the inmates of the hostel and the founders of the hostel — late HS Kamath, who was my first cousin— Rangaswamy Joish and DS Nagendra Rao. It was clicked by  EKG Studio, established by Late Sri Krishnaiah in 1905. The studio is now run by his grandson, EG Chandan.

Most of the students in the hostel were from BMS College of Engineering, established by late BM Sreenivasiah in 1946. This private hostel was started in 1949. Apart from me and DS Nagendra Rao, an officer of Canara Bank’s head office, the others were students. MG Sharma was a student of IISc.

Looking back, there is a bouquet of sweet memories to cherish. Nagendra Rao and I used to go to the bank by bus. The students used to walk to college which was near the hostel. Those days, there were no fans in our hostel or the banks.

   On weekends, some of us used to hire a cycle at Rs 3 per day to South Parade, (now MG Road) and watch Hollywood movies. The famous theatres then were Globe, Plaza, Rex, Opera, Imperial and BRV. After watching the movie, we used to have lunch at Vidyarthi Bhavan in Gandhi Bazaar. We also frequented Gandhi Bazaar for hair dressing. Bengaluru was definitely a garden city with a beautiful climate then. There was a good Boulevard at South Parade. I used to walk from City Market (KR Market) to the hostel at Basavanagudi.

After 1952, I went to Bombay.  In 1958, along  with my wife and two children, I came on a Dakota plane from Bajpe airport, Mangalore to HAL airport. The cost of the ticket was Rs 45, which is unimaginable now. I opened the first branch of Syndicate bank, Cantonment area on No. 1 Cavalry Road (now No 1 Kamraj Road). I was the manager in this branch for five years.

During this period, the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, came to Bangalore. She was seen with the Congress president K Kamaraj in a procession at South Parade.

   Also, during the period, the then President of India, N Sanjeeva Reddy, came to Bangalore and our bank’s chairman TMA Pai garlanded him. The students went on to pursue different professions.

    SK Nayak became the chairman of Mathura Refineries and MV Kamath and KR Pai went on to pursue medicine and are practising in Chikpet and City Market.

Now  AV Pai, PR Nayak are 86-years-old and DS Nagendra Rao is 90. HD Rao and GM Rao are above 80 years. Some are staying outside Bangalore and some have passed on.
   As for me, I lost my wife Varija when she was 79.

   I am now 87 and leading an active retired life with my two sons and their families. But I still remember those days with joy and nostalgia. 

Pangal Keshav Nayak (As told to Anushka Sivakumar)

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