Of a paradise lost

Of a paradise lost

Of a paradise lost
This photograph is special because it has all my close friends who also were my college mates at Government Arts and Science College. It was taken in 1966 when we went on a picnic to Lalbagh.

The memories of our college days still remain fresh in our minds. It was not only the students who were a close bunch; even our principal, Prof RR Umarji, was a very friendly and approachable person. 

Prof Umarji, for the first time in 1965, introduced a bachelor’s degree with Mathematics and Statistics as major subjects and Physics as a minor subject, hoping that it would help the students to work on computers. And we were the first batch to study this subject combination. 

Our college days bring back a flood of memories. We were very fortunate to have some very eminent lecturers such as Dr Nisar Ahmed, Ham.pa.Nagarajiah, Lankesh and TG Narayana Rao to mention a few. Among them, TG Narayana Rao and TY Ramachandra Rao were our NCC Commandants.

   In 1966, we had an NCC camp near Beggar’s Colony on Magadi Road. Bengaluru wasn’t very well-developed in those days and there were a lot of empty spaces. Those of us who were deputed for the camp did not know where Beggar’s Colony was located. Our parents thought that it was located in some place away from the City and were afraid to send us. But we managed to convince them because we didn’t want to miss it.

During the camp, we had several training sessions and one of the training sessions required us to go into a remote forested area with wild vegetation which was located just opposite the Beggar’s Colony. Now, the same area has been developed into Nagarbhavi II Stage. We were also fortunate to have Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Dharmastala, studying in the same college during the same period.

We had the opportunity of meeting him everyday and interacting with him.  Our group did a lot of fun activities together. Those days, there were a very few vehicles on the road and most of us in this picture would cycle around the City and we thoroughly enjoyed our rides. Some of us also cycled because we didn’t have enough money to commute by bus.

  In fact, while studying, I was working part-time at Bangalore Turf Club on Saturdays and Sundays. Those days, Bengaluru had a lot more greenery and was indeed a ‘Pensioner's Paradise’.

We were all cricket enthusiasts and were very fortunate to watch live a Test match played between West Indies and England. We have seen the batting of Garfield Sobers and Clive Lloyd and the bowling of Adam Gilchrist. On the Indian side, we admired watching the Nawab of Pataudi, Farokh Engineer and Nari Contractor play live.  Even today, whenever we get together, we can’t stop talking about our college days.

Now, most of us in the picture are well past 60 years of age and have retired after holding very respectable positions in various organisations. Unfortunately, we have lost two of our friends in the group — AN Padmanabha and Venkatesha Murthy.
AN Padmanabha was good at swimming. He not only participated inseveral swimming events but also began coaching students at a later stage. I remember Venkatesha Murthy to be a very friendly and warm person. We miss both of them.

However, the rest of us are in touch with each other. Even our wives and children have bonded well.  We always visit each other’s homes and never miss a chance to attend the important functions happening at each other’s houses. 

Fifty years have passed since this picture was clicked and Bengaluru has grown and transformed into one of the biggest metropolitan cities but our friendship has not changed. It has only grown stronger over the years.     

(The author can be contacted on mail shankar873@gmail.com or 9916017518.)