Life in a good old locality

Life in a good old locality

From the albums

Life in a good old locality

This photograph was taken on June 21, 1942, in front of our ancestral house at Mukka near Mangaluru, when my brother B Vyasa Rao came to seek my parents’ blessings after winning a state- level debate competition conducted by Makkala Koota, Chamrajpet, Bengaluru.

My father Bala Subba Rao was a school teacher while my mother Thulasi Bai was a housewife. I remember that we never visited a doctor as my mother provided homemade remedies for all kinds of illnesses. I had four brothers and two sisters, all of whom are no more.

After my marriage, I came to Bengaluru and lived in Chamrajpet, now considered as one of the oldest localities of Bengaluru. My husband, late Sitarama Rao, ran Hotel Chandra Mahal on Residency Road where Hotel Konark is running presently. It was one of the few vegetarian hotels in that part of the city in those days. Later, my husband sold the hotel for a few thousand rupees.

At that time, hardly any cars were seen on roads and there were no high-rise buildings. The city was truly calm and there was greenery all around. People commuted from one place to another either by cycle or on foot. My children (four daughters and three sons) also walked to their schools and colleges nearby. In those days, there was no concept of pocket money. My children used to eat some food in the morning and their next meal was only after returning from school or college.

On weekends, I used to take my children to Lalbagh and we would enjoy roasted groundnuts for 50 paise sitting near the Kempegowda tower on the rock top. During the 1960s, Vidhana Soudha was visible even from a five kilometre range. A visit to the Congress Exhibition was eagerly awaited by my children during summer vacations. They still remember how TV relays were conducted, which were shown in the exhibition. I still have photographs of my children sitting on a small aeroplane and a big car, a result of the creativity of the exhibition photoshop. We enjoyed riding the ‘jataka ghadi’ (horse cart) from Chamrajpet to the Congress Exhibition at Majestic.

During the 1970s, both double decor (‘mahadi’ bus) and road train buses could be seen on the roads. Our children enjoyed undisturbed reading inside the calm and quiet Ramakrishna Ashrama premises. I took my children for Master Hirannaiah’s dramas at a place where Apsara Theatre is now present. We used to attend music festivals during Rama Navami celebrations at Fort High School grounds in Chamrajpet. We never missed Gururaja Naidu’s ‘Harikathe’ — storytelling along with singing — on Third Main, Chamrajpet during Ganesha festivals.

I come from a small village and have seen many big cities in India. My children are all well-settled. I have 11 grandchildren out of which two are in America, one is in New Zealand and one is in England. I am in touch with them through Skype. It makes me realise that the world has contracted through new innovations, something I never imagined 70 years ago. Unfortunately, my second son Srinivas (58 years old) died recently as he got hit by a two-wheeler while crossing the road. I did not think twice when doctors told me that my son’s organs could save the lives of others and wholeheartedly authorised the transplantation of his organs to the needy.

I am the founder trustee of Nemmadi Vishranthi Dhama, a senior citizens’ home in Vidhyamanya Nagar, Andrahalli. It has 65 economically weak/neglected senior citizens.

At the age of 82, I still make it a point to visit the old-age home at least once a week
and talk to the inmates. This gives me immense satisfaction and contentment that I am living my life in a meaningful way.

(The author can be contacted on 9686371171)

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