Reliving the golden days

From the albums

Reliving the golden days

This photograph was taken at Tholpadi Studio in Puttur, Dakshina Kannada district in 1978. I was 13-years-old then. My parents, Vathsala and Krishna Bhat, and my four siblings, Vijaya, Ravi, Krupa and Kshama, and myself are in it. 

My father served as a senior divisional manager in LIC.  I remember him financially helped several children who were intelligent but couldn’t afford to pursue their education.

This picture was taken because my father’s friend (whose family is also seen in the picture)  happened to be very fond of him and wanted a picture of our family.

We had neither a picture of ourselves nor a camera those days. His friend who came visiting wanted to keep our family picture as a remembrance of my father’s good nature.
I hold very fond memories of every member of my family. It’s hard to describe my mother Vathsala Bhat in just a few words. She was, I can say, someone who kept the family together. In difficult times, it was she who held the reins of the family.

There were tough times but my parents would never let us know the pain and suffering. They always kept us happy. My mother gave each one of us the courage and strength to face every problem.

Today, if people feel that I am modest, humble and kind, I owe it to my father Krishna Bhat from whom I learnt these qualities. He is my hero and continues to be so.

Today, we find all kinds of books but those days, we had very little to choose from. My father was a voracious reader and every night in bed, he would read aloud a story from the book ‘Dinakkondu Kathe’. He not only narrated the story and characters in detail but the way he explained the context, has stayed with me till date.

These storytelling sessions helped me build my vocabulary and I picked up my oratorial skills in Kannada from him. His interpretation of the story and his style of reading always transported me to a different world.

Also seen in the picture are my siblings. Vijaya is the oldest among us. We were the best of friends. We grew up together and went to school together. The two of us were also sent for Carnatic music lessons.

My father was particular that we learn music because he believed that if you know how to sing or play an instrument, you would never feel alone. He told us that music will always be our constant companion.

Today, Vijaya lives in Dubai and we continue to talk every day.

My brother Ravi Bhat is  one year and 10 months younger to me. Yet we were  like twins. I still remember that whenever, I fell sick he too would fall ill, whenever I was hungry, he too would be hungry.

Although, he was the only boy in the family, he was never pampered or given any preferential treatment. We were all raised as equals.

After spending a decade in the corporate world, Ravi has now ventured into his first passion — acting.

Six years after Ravi’s birth, my mother gave birth to twin girls — Krupa and Kshama. At this time, my oldest sister Vijaya was sent to an English medium school in Mangaluru while my brother and I ontinued to study in a annada medium school in Puttur.

My mother suffered from jaundice after she delivered the twins and I was only an eight-year-old then.

I took care of the babies, bathed them, fed them and made them sleep.

I was more like a mother to them and they would be with me wherever I went — be it the school, the market or the movies. In fact, my twin sisters and I were teased as the white lizard with two tails.

We are a really cosmopolitan family. Vijaya and Ravi have married Teluguites while Krupa has married a Malayali. Kshama chose a Gujarati as a life partner and I married a Maharashtrian. When all of us come together, our home is like a mini-India. Among all the festivals, we celebrate ‘Deepavali’ in a grand way in our home in Udupi, where my parents live.

No matter where we are and how busy we may be, we all come together then. This photograph reminds me of my golden days when we led a life, free of responsibilities  and everytime, I look at it I feel energised.

Vinaya Prasad (Actor)
(As told to Nina C George)

Vinaya can be contacted on kutumbasakhivinaya@gmail.com

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