Impressions from a golden past

Impressions from a golden past

This photograph was taken in 1963 at the postgraduate department of zoology, at the Jayalakshmi Mansion Palace building, University of Mysore, where the postgraduate section of Mysore University was started. Only later, after several years, the present  Manasa Gangothri campus was established, housing all the postgraduate departments of different faculties.

Coming from a nearby town, T Narasipura, after completing SSLC from Vidyodaya High School in Kannada medium, I finished intermediate from St Philomina’s College. Then I pursued BSc from Yuvaraja’s College. I secured a little above 60% in zoology, which was considered to be a very good grade in those days, and easily got admission to the MSc course in zoology. 

We were just about 13 students (seven girls and six boys) and ours was the second batch of MSc at Mysore University. For reasons not known, during those two years, both the senior and junior MSc classes were combined and taught.

This photograph was taken after our seniors finished their final examinations and we had completed our first year. Venkata Subbaiah was a faculty member from Yuvaraja’s College, Dr Appaswamy Rao headed the embryology section and Dr Rajashekara Shetty was the head of the zoology department (and cytology section). At that time, only these two special subjects were offered as  specialisations in our second year of MSc.
 
Dr Bolegowda used to teach us palaeontology in an interesting manner, beautifully comparing lord Vishnu’s ‘Dasavathara’ to the stages of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. These three professors were pioneers who started the postgraduate department of zoology at Mysore University after they were shifted from the Bangalore campus.
Dr Kanakaraj later joined the same department and became a professor, and subsequently served as the registrar of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences.

A few other classmates of mine — V Chandrashekar, Annapoornadevi and Mariyappa — are not in the picture and the three of them are also no more. In fact, V Chandrashekar was a close friend of mine. He went to the USA, did his doctorate and settled there. His wife is a medical doctor and his daughter, a PhD, is a teacher. Both of them are in the US.

I remember that when we were in college, there were two groups among girls. Vasantha, Sreedevi and Dildar were always together in one group while the others were in the second group.

After his doctorate, Siddaveere Gowda became a professor in the same department and later, he was a UGC and UPSC member before he passed away. Muniyappa was one of the faculty members of Yuvaraja’s College and Dildar joined Maharani’s College in Bengaluru but I am not in touch with any of them now.

After my MSc, I joined Yuvaraja’s College for about six months and later joined the Central Sericulture Research Institute, working there for about 18 months before going to Copenhagen, Denmark, to pursue my PhD.

After finishing my doctorate, I wanted to settle down in Bengaluru. Hence, I opted to work at the Bangalore University zoology department as a scientific pool officer sponsored by CSIR. I had a memorable time there with dedicated teachers like Dr Kadam and Dr Parthasarthy. We used to share a common room.

I also happened to meet professors Dr Shakuntala Katre and Dr Ravichandra Reddy who were doing their PhD at that time.

The three of us became very close friends in those two years of my stay there. Dr Katre and Dr Reddy have also served as registrar of evaluation and served in NAAC for a brief period before their retirement. We had a wonderful time because my wife happens to be a junior colleague of Dr Katre.

We would get together at my house or at Dr Katre’s house, cook together, play cards and also go for late night movies. We are still very close friends and every time we meet, we reminisce about those good old days. 

Later on, desiring a permanent job and at the same time losing interest in teaching, I left the field of zoology and became a businessman in 1973. I started a small medicine shop and ran it for about 25 years. Now after winding up the business, I have develop­­­­­­ed interest in the stock market and spend my time in trading and advisory. 

Recently, four of us — Leela, Vasantha, Usha and myself — met after 50 years. We talked about our days as students and the lovely times we spent together. It is gratifying that the four of us are now in constant touch with each other.


(The author can be contacted at 23570248)

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