Those sporting days

Those sporting days

From the albums

Those sporting days

The picture was taken in 1970 in Palayamkottai  in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu. It was taken when the hockey team of Bangalore University won the All India Inter-Varsity Championship Trophy.
I completed my schooling from St Joseph’s Indian High School and went on to do my Pre-University and degree from Government Ramnarayan Chellaram College of Commerce, then located near Vidhana Soudha.

My interest in sports began from my school days when I actively played cricket, football and hockey. When I joined college, I played only hockey.

  The Bangalore University hockey team, seen in the picture, had representations from various colleges in the city. There was a rigorous selection process and most of the players were also good athletes.

We would practice during the week at the St Joseph’s hostel, located near Richmond Town. C N Devaiah was the captain of the team and I was the goalkeeper.

Our coach was Allan Macbride, an Anglo-Indian, who retired from HAL. He was a very well-known player of his time. Our team was a disciplined one and the players mingled with each other very well.    
I cherish the time spent in old Bangalore. I used to commute to college by bus and sometimes used to cycle as well. There wasn’t too much traffic those days and I would reach college in 20 minutes.

Those days, there were only a few two wheelers moving around and prominent among them were Jawa, Royal Enfield and Vespa scooters. I initially stayed in the college hostel and later moved to YMCA, an international youth centre, on Nrupathunga Road. The roads were empty and one could easily count the number of vehicles on the road at any given time of the day.
Weekends were reserved for outings. Commercial Street used to be crowded on Saturdays.

My friends and I would watch movies which were mostly war-based films and visit our favourite restaurants. A balcony seat in any theatre would cost Rs 1.75 while the costliest coffee came at 20 paisa. We enjoyed going for ‘masala dosa’ to Koshy’s restaurant then located on Brigade Road, opposite Nilgiris.
We mostly ate in the hostel mess but whenever we craved for something different, we would visit the Continental Restaurant on Brigade Road which served excellent Chinese food.

We would pool in money and order our favourite items which was a plate of fried rice, noodles and fried chicken (priced at Rs 9). Together the bill would come up to Rs 25 which we would split amongst us. The quantity was good and would easily satiate five people. The expensive restaurants were ‘Three Aces’ on MG Road and Hotel Bangalore International built in 1966.

Kwality restaurant on Brigade Road was perhaps the only place that served good but expensive North Indian food.

We would go there whenever we could afford to. There were also a couple of restaurants that had live bands playing old Hindi songs.
In old Bangalore, one didn’t have the fear of walking or driving on the empty roads. In fact it was a sheer delight. Today, doing both these things have become unimaginable.

(As told to Nina C George)
(Uthaya can be reached on 9448469659)