Outside the classroom

Outside the classroom

This class photograph of the graduating batch of 1956 was taken in the same year at University College of Engineering, K R Circle, on the occasion of our class socials.

That was the year when we embarked upon our professional careers. And now it is the diamond jubilee year of our civil engineering class. Now, our group has considerably reduced in numbers, as pre-ordained.

Each of our teachers in the college gave us some precious treasures, namely knowledge, skills, motivation and guidance. One of the teachers I remember is Prof B R Manikyam, who was also the chief architect of Vidhana Soudha under construction at that time.  We had some wonderful mentors headed by the revered Prof D B Narasimhaiah, known to everyone as D B N. A few other lecturers to whom we are indebted are B K Ramaiah, B C Rajanna, K Subbarayan, K B Murarappa, V Ramachandran and B L Srikantaiah.

Coming back to college life, our month-long survey camp conducted at that time was a tiresome but equally enjoyable event because it was organised within the picturesque Nandi Hills area. The highlight of the camp was the excellent food provided by Gopala Rao. We had the privilege of a special feast hosted by our respected Prof D B Narasimhaiah. Four weeks passed away in great togetherness and camaraderie.

This, in all respects, bettered the survey exercises conducted in Peenya/ Goraguntepalya in the third year. The class really enjoyed the two-week South India educational tour in the third year of study and the three-week North India educational tour in the fourth year. We benefitted immensely from ‘outside-the-classroom’ interaction with the accompanying professors.

On ‘Founder’s Day’ in 1955, the then chief minister K Hanumanthaiah presided over the function. Several classmates had the special opportunity, on this day, to greet ‘Bharat Ratna’ Sir M Visvesvaraya, to take the revered guest around the laboratories of UCE (now called UVCE) and to honour him.

We also enjoyed an excellent two-day educational tour during the academic year 1955-56, to Hulihere tunnel, Shivanasamudra Power Station and the Visveswaraya Canal, under the able guidance of Prof K S Shamanna. The college canteen was the place for enjoying coffee and snacks for most students. Nevertheless, we also went out for meals at times and our favourite restaurants were MTR near Lalbagh, Krishna Bhavan in Balepet, Koshy’s and Parade Cafe on Brigade Road and MG Road. The Indian Coffee Board Coffee House on MG Road was also frequented by us. We enjoyed Hindi and Kannada films at theatres in and around Majestic and English films in halls in the cantonment area. Some of them include Prabhat, States, Majestic, Rex, Plaza, Liberty and BRV. Cricket matches being played at the Central College grounds were eagerly looked forward to by those interested in cricket.

The Civil Engineering Association provided an outlet for organisers in the class to arrange worthwhile activities. The elections for the office bearers of the association gave opportunities for shouting and canvassing. All this added to the enjoyment and memories of college life. Most of our classmates came to occupy eminent positions in different fields of life. One of them is an internationally acknowledged expert in the seismic qualification of essential equipment, electrical, I & C and mechanical for safe shutdown of nuclear reactors in case of an event.

Another classmate became the president of the Institution of Engineers. Yet another obtained a US patent for the design of compression members of trusses and continued to be a consultant for the much-anticipated ‘Namma Metro’ of Bengaluru. Quite a few of them did graduate studies and obtained doctoral degrees at international universities. 

Several classmates reached the position of senior engineers in different states across the country. While a few followed the footsteps of their revered teachers and entered the teaching and training profession, some are also a part of noble endeavours in community welfare and development and social service. One of them, who is no longer with us today, initiated in the late 1990s class meets to revitalise communication between the classmates and enable sharing of life experiences.  At times, about 25 classmates gathered, many with their spouses and children.  Some of our teachers were also invited to participate in such get-togethers.

Some of the venues for the same have been Hotel Ajantha on MG Road, Bangalore Golf Club, Pai Viceroy in 3rd Block Jayanagar, MTR, Woodies in JP Nagar and Century Club. The latter has seen the maximum number of meetings, thanks to the club membership of an esteemed classmate. These meetings have been well-attended and marked by quizzes on UCE, its principals, the history of Bengaluru and even the Dewans of Mysore State. 

In many of them, the group has played ‘housie’ with a handful winning ‘token’ prizes. The participants have at times remembered their experiences from student life. Nature has taken its inevitable toll and the participation is reducing.

(The author can be contacted at 9242279322)

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