What a wonderful world

From the albums

What a wonderful world

It was an absolutely thrilling time as we, the youngsters, in Bengaluru celebrated the end of 1960s and surged ahead with high energy to embrace the 70s. It was the time of highly energising pop and rock music bands like ‘The Beatles’, ‘Rolling Stones’, ‘Beach Boys’, ‘Santana’ and ‘Deep Purple’, laced with the so-called ‘hippy culture’ and epitomised by festivals such as ‘Woodstock’. This was reflected on the beaches of Goa and closer home, on Brigade Road and MG Road. I can go on and on, it was a different time.

    The campus of Central College, where I did my post-graduation, was serene for us natural sciences students, and added to the beauty of the age. This photograph, taken during the class socials of batch 1974 with students, professors, teachers and research assistants, brings back memories of great friendships and bonding.

The unforgettable moments when we shared ‘one by two’ (or other combinations, depending on the number of people) coffee, had discussions in the campus cafeteria or at ‘India Coffee House’ down Avenue Road were part of growing up. This is one of the few times our whole class, along with teachers and research assistants, got together, and we had a professional photographer take the picture. The class was of mixed gender, almost equal in number, and I was about 21 at the time.

We had discussions about absorbing and intense topics of life-cycles and taxonomic names of thousands of anything that was green (or a few other natural colours). It was also a time when we were figuring out who we were and there was an attraction between opposite genders. The boys were more forthcoming with their emotions than the girls; we were like movie heroes! Some of the girls also pretended to be heroines, but most of them shied away.

It was during these years that I learnt a lot about myself – I was forced to give my first presentation and I was very nervous. But now, I conduct seminars for a living! One of my favourite professors was Sheriff, who taught genetics; he was the one who got me interested in the subject.

   The best times of friendship were during the botanical tours to wonderful places such as Malanad areas of Karnataka, Ooty, Kodaikanal and so on. These moments helped me achieve self-awareness and I learnt what’s good for me. Many teachers continue to comment that ours was the best batch that they can recollect and connect with – perhaps because they saw the commitment we had and the warm feelings we all so lovingly displayed towards each other and the learned faculty. Several of us still keep in touch with a few members of the faculty. We still bump into them and many seek wisdom as they are still our gurus in many respects.

All of my classmates have good careers in the fields of biotechnology, forestry, sericulture, agriculture, natural resource management, rural development, banking, financial management, the corporate sector, forest administration and more, attaining senior positions and making a name in their chosen fields. 

The bonds that flowed into the future brought most of us to my humble village of Mittur 38 years later. It was as if the long period was frozen or never existed! Spouses, children and grandchildren were there. This launched a new chapter for us, the class of ‘74. Those were great times we will always cherish.

(Consultant with the IT, BT department)

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