Friends are all that matter

From the albums

Friends are all that matter

This photo was taken before the BSc degree examination in 1958 at Central College. Dr Rama Reddy was our group mentor who stayed in the Central College hostel in his
final year.

We belong to the same section and most of us were more involved in sports than in academics.

We were a middle-class family and a few of us lost our father at an early age; hence, we never led lives full of luxuries.

The concept of bush-shirt, T-shirt and jeans did not exist at that time; the formal suit culture was prevalent and the dress in the photograph was lent to us by our brothers and friends.

Henry Sunder Paul was the eldest classmate whom we called ‘Daddy’ and later worked in the railways. Rama Reddy played volleyball for India and he was a state
athlete as well.

Krishna Jetty from ‘Bangalore Blues’ football team played for both the university and the state. Both of them were honoured by Dharma Singh, the then chief minister.

I was a cricketer from ‘Headquarters Cricket Club’ and the opening batsman and wicketkeeper for Central College. Krishna Jetty and I were selected for the state shooting competition. Kothandapani was a hockey player and a part of the NCC air-wing cadet while Hanuman Singh was a football player representing college.

Though all of us belonged to different castes, we never had any discrimination amongst us on the basis of status or caste. We never spoke ill of others. Our
college fees was Rs 15 per month. A few of us got scholarship as well.

We would always roam around together. Our favourite restaurant for lunch was ‘Friends Union’ located between State Talkies and Law College on Kempegowda Road.

The two ‘annas’ (12 paise for bus fare) given by parents was utilised for our
afternoon meal. A K Murthy was in charge of collecting our contribution on the
restaurant table. The menu was more like a permutation and combination of various items — ‘idli vada sambhar’, ‘masala dosa’ and five by 10 or 12 coffees.

Some of our lecturers were principal Prof Bondade, Kannada novelist G P Rajarathnam and mathematics teacher Narayan Iyengar.

Vijayasarathy was in charge of NCC and was the cricket national test umpire. All the lecturers in Central College were honours in their subject and some pursued their fellowship from the USA and the UK.

Most of us did not stay in Bengaluru; we went abroad for our respective professions and careers. Later, many returned to the city. Most of us have had a comfortable life with our families. C K Murthy lived in Africa for over two decades and A G B Iyer was in the Middle East for three decades.

I was in Germany for three years and was employed in MICO. Later, I became an entrepreneur. In 2001, a small party was organised at my residence and we were about 13 friends.

Now, the number has reduced to four and we usually meet at a restaurant or club. We are all over 80 years of age with grand daughters and grandsons.One day, we were sitting at ‘Maiya’s’ in Jayanagar 4th Block and speaking loudly about our college days. A family observed this and asked how long our friendship existed. The reply was over five decades.

M K Murthy, after staying in the USA for over four decades, returned to the city for good and engaged in uplifting the school he studied in Anekal, spending a few lakhs on that. When questioned, he replied ‘Let me enjoy the fag end of my life in Bengaluru’.

I wish all my friends who are still around enjoy happy, healthy and prosperous lives. That’s my heartfelt wish for them.


(The author can be contacted on 9342839654)

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