In august company

In august company

This picture with actor Shatrughan Sinha in the centre was taken on December 26, 1971, at Nandi Hills during my college days. I was a student of BSc at MES College, Malleswaram.

It was a sudden programme made by a few of my classmates. We left for Nandi Hills in the morning from Malleswaram Railway Station. We took a narrow gauge train to the base of Nandi Hills. Six of us — K R Satish, Prabhakar, Ramu, Indira Raj Urs, Aravind Kololgi and myself — climbed the hills from there.

It was a great trekking experience in the pleasant weather of December. We roamed around Nandi Hills, having fun all the way.

It was then that we were pleasantly surprised to see famous Hindi film star Shatrughan Sinha shooting for his film ‘Milap’. His co-actor was Reena Roy and B R Ishara was the director.  Shatrughan Sinha was restless as Reena Roy was new to the world of cinema and took many repeat shots.

In between the shots, we surrounded Shatrughan sir and took photographs with him. At home, we enjoyed telling everyone that we participated in a Hindi film song shooting at Nandi Hills.

Vidya Sagar Prof M P L Shastry was the principal of MES College. He was the mentor and architect of this institution, who imbibed in us the values of discipline, steadfastness and other virtues. He was very strict and seeing him at a distance itself would make us run to our classrooms! In fact, a road in Malleswaram is named after him. During college days, I was very active in NCC and also acted in Kannada plays. I used to watch a lot of movies.

Electronics, aquarium and photography were my hobbies and I was well-versed with electronic appliances like tape recorders, record players and other audio and video equipment. Even now, my classmate K R Satish remembers the single diode soap box radio I used to assemble in those days. Aquarium fish from Russell Market continues to adorn my living room aquarium. Satish and I used to enjoy these hobbies together and do so till date. My first job was at Binny Mills where I worked for five years.

Later, I left this job and started a printing press on JC Road along with Satish. Then I joined a few friends to start a poultry hatchery.

Presently, I am in the water treatment business wherein we manufacture a water treatment chemical and manufacture RO water filters for domestic use as well as for larger utilities.

We have formed an alumni association of our batch with 60 out of 85 of our classmates, through my own efforts as well as those of Satish and Anand Nagarkar, who is a well-known Kannada TV and film artiste. We have named our group ‘MES Class72’. We meet regularly for get-togethers. In fact, ours was the first batch of BSc way back in 1969.

We recently organised ‘Guruvandana’, a function to felicitate our faculty members, in our college auditorium. 12 of our beloved teachers were honoured on this day.  We also recalled with nostalgia the golden days of college. One of our classmates, Narasimhamurthy, came all the way from California to attend. Mukund came from Poona while H S Bhasker came from Bhadravati for the meet.  All the members of the alumni association and their families played an active role in making the programme a grand success.

T S Parthasarathi, co-founder of Hoysala Projects, a reputed construction company, sponsored a beautiful mug with the college photograph printed on it as a momento for everyone.  In 2012, we made a two-day trip to Madikeri. We stayed at Nisargadhama and had a nice time there.  We also visited Dubare Elephant Camp, Golden Temple at Bylakuppe Tibetan Resettlement and Raja Seat in Madikeri.

I am active with Lions Clubs as well. I have been with Lions Club of Bangalore Modinagar for the past four years.  I became the secretary of the club in the second year, president in the third year and presently, I am the zone chairperson in the district.

My wife Vijaya Balakrishna has been involved in a sari business for long. My daughter Surabhi is a BE graduate in telecom engineering and also an accomplished bharathanatyam dancer. She is married to Srikanta Marur from Mysuru.

Whenever I pass by MES College, I invariably begin to reminisce about those wonderful days of yore.

G Balakrishna
(The author can be contacted at 9845147511)

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