A homecoming of sorts

A homecoming of sorts
It wouldn’t be inaccurate to compare Maharani’s Science College for Women (MSCW) with Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece ‘Mona Lisa’. Just like the famous painting, which is widely written and sung about, the college has made its mark in good quality women’s education. It boasts of an environment that nurtures strong women. So, even after all these years, I find it hard to forget the days I spent there.

I cherish the many memories of those days and have taken back much from them. But the most important are the bonds I formed with my friends Rajiva, Sundaramma and Vimala. Even after five decades, we, from the batch of 1962-65, have managed to stay perfectly in tune. This photograph was taken in 1965 in Majestic, just after we graduated. I clearly remember our carefree attitude that added spice to our college days. And apart from combined study sessions, we also enjoyed the innocent camaraderie that we shared.

All my feelings of nostalgia were refreshed when we recently had our Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Our batchmates, seniors, juniors, teaching staff and principals came together for a day of reminiscing. We also visited the Botany and Zoology labs, where we had our practicals. Though these labs still have a colonial charm and hum of tranquility, they also have tinges of modernity, which is absolutely marvellous.

I remember these labs clearly because of two incidents. One was when we bunked a Botany lecture by the Head of Department, who was known for his abundant knowledge and research work. Alas, his delivery of lectures in class was something different — they were monotonous, low tone talks that made us go to sleep! So, we all wanted to see the movie ‘House of Wax’ in Majestic and chirpily headed off to the theatre and enjoyed every minute of it. Until the interval of course, where we had to meet the icy glares of our Botany and Zoology teachers! It was shock followed by absolute silence throughout the day. The next day, a Botany teacher, the late Padmarajaiah, took us to task. His way of punishment was to ask questions in such a way that we’d never be able to answer. After that day, we decided never to bunk Botany again.

The second incident was just after Diwali, when the class was still in a celebratory mood. One of us had a ‘Vishnu chakra’ which was lit as all of us clapped and sang. We were under the impression that the lecturer was absent, but he came to the class, seething in anger. When he asked us who brought the cracker, we all kept quiet — a show of unity! As he got no answer, he walked out of the class. This made us feel a little guilty because he was one of the best teachers, who made it a point to make sure we understood the lessons. This was the late Padmarajaiah, again!

Another favourite memory of mine was of the specimen collection, which was one of our favourite parts in Taxonomy. A bunch of us had gone to Lalbagh to collect specimens, during the Annual Flower Show. We couldn’t keep our hands of some rare specimens and the gardener got so angry that he shouted at us. We had to later patiently pacify him.

Our attachment with MSCW is so great that the four of us make regular visits to our college, once every six months; it is like a homecoming for us.  We meet under the age-old tree, which is absolutely marvellous and sheltered us during our college days. We are happy that we are able to keep this spark of friendship alive! Even to this day, we celebrate our birthdays together and take short tours out of Bengaluru to be in the company of each other. Whatever be our topic of conversation, it finally ends with college days. Rajiva is now a homemaker, Sundaramma is a retired teacher, Vimala, a retired
officer from AG and I retired from HAL as a Senior Manager.

(The author can be
contacted on 25487263.)
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