Reliving the hostel days

From the albums

Reliving the hostel days

This picture was taken in 1977 at our hostel where I stayed for my PUC and MBBS education. This hostel, called Vivekananada Vidyarthi Nilaya, located on Jain Temple Street, VV Puram, was home to poor students like me.

   It was started in 1967 by Devatha Sri Ramaiah Shetty to provide free boarding and lodging facilities to students coming from rural and semi-urban families for pursuing higher education after SSLC. This group photograph, with my friends and donor Devatha Radhakrishna, was taken during the annual hostel day celebrations.

During the 70s, VV Puram was like a residential extension of Bengaluru, mainly dominated by the ‘vysya’ community. We used to walk on the road around Sajjan Rao Circle in the evenings. It used to be calm and peaceful as there were very few motor vehicles moving; only occasionally, we were disturbed by the BTS buses.

We would relish ‘uddina vade’ at Janatha Hotel and fluffy ‘idlis’ at NHM Hotel. The ‘ghee dosas’ served at a small hotel called Piltu Hotel on East Park Road were a craze amongst us. Products from VV Bakery were known for their quality and taste at that time.

Like his father, Devatha Radhakrishna was a great philanthropist serving in many charitable institutions like Lions Club, Chinmaya Mission, etc. He was a successful silk and fabric industrialist ably supported by his brother Devatha Nagaraj.

Radhakrishna was particularly fond of running our hostel in an efficient way. He used to stress on personality development and acquiring leadership qualities apart from
formal education and also encouraged us to do community service. He was instrumental in starting the alumni association of Vivekananda Hostel in 1977.

The DSRC Memorial Book Bank Project started by him in 1980 was a very successful community service project, wherein about 600 to 700 sets of books were distributed to diploma and degree students of various colleges in the city every year on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.

He even started the school mid-day meal scheme way back in 1990 in a government school of Agrahara village in Yelahanka.

He helped our associations to conduct free health checkup camps and inter-hostel sports competitions in carrom, chess and essay writing. His guidance tremendously helped us in shaping our lives after our education. As students too, we spent quality time together in the hostel.

Most of us have been quite successful in our lives. Dr Narasimhaiah is practising in Mathikere. Dr Prem Yogi started a private hospital in Y N Hosakote of Madugiri district. Dr Chandraiah Gupta finished his masters in surgery, served in Muscat and is presently living in Ballari. Dr K G Ravi Shankar is a plastic surgeon working at Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Trauma and Orthopaedics.

Ramesh Kumar is now the chief engineer of Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) while Badrinarayan Babu is serving as a superintendent engineer in the electrical inspectorate of Karnataka government.

   K Madhusudhan is a textile engineer, very dynamic and heading a few garment industries in Bengaluru. He is now the CEO of a large garment industry in Indonesia.

Srinivas Babu is a civil engineer who is now doing a project of the UP government in Kanpur. Gurunath is also an engineer and has an industry on Magadi Road.

Ananth Krishna and E S Gopal Krishna are successful chartered accountants. N G Srinivas is a businessman in Y N Hosakote and is also running an educational institution with Dr Prem Yogi.

I went on to finish my post- graduation in orthopaedics from Bangalore Medical College and started my practice in Hosakote of Bengaluru rural district. When I started, it was a dull town with very few medical practitioners. I was the first postgraduate to start consultations in this town.

As there were no private hospitals for admitting seriously ill patients, my friend Dr G Ramachandra and I started Ashwini Hospital in Hosakote. It is a 35-bed, well-equipped multispeciality private hospital catering mainly to the rural population in and around Hosakote.

Imbibing the principles of social service from our donors, I got involved in many community service projects. I have been helping government schools and colleges in conducting special coaching classes for SSLC and PUC students to enhance the knowledge of these rural students free of cost. I am actively involved in running Vivekananda Vidya Kendra as the vice-president of that school, which is run with the help of Vishva Hindu Parishad.

I am proud to say that our alumni association has about 200 members and our hostel is completing 50 years this year. We are planning to celebrate the golden jubilee in a meaningful way throughout this year, starting from January 15.

(The author can be contacted at nel.prasad@gmail.com

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