Right on the track

Right on the track

From the albums

Right on the track

This picture was taken in 1962 at the Kanteerava Stadium on the occasion of the South India Olympic athletic meet. The picture has me and the rest of the team who represented the Mysore state. I took part in the 110 metres and 400 metres hurdles.

I completed my schooling at the Bishop Cotton Boys’ School and went on to do my Pre-University from St Jospeh’s college of Science and later joined the BSM College of Engineering. Those days, much importance was given to athletics.

I captained the basketball, hockey and athletic teams in college. I excelled in athletics for which I was awarded the college blue. The team had a good mix of students and working professionals. Among them Kenneth Powell and Ravi Mani were good friends of mine. Kenneth worked with Tata and Ravi served in the Indian Railways. They were both top sprinters in 100 and 200 metres.

Ravi moved to Canada much later and Kenneth lives in Bengaluru. Kenneth was a gentlemen athlete. I remember him as a very soft-spoken and lovely person. Some of our other star athletes were K P Singh Lamba, Sridhar Alva and M A Bopanna. Our coach C M Mutthaiah represented the Mysore State at the Asian level. He was a tough guy and was fondly called ‘Chimu’ by all. My growing up years in old Bangalore were most memorable. I was a boarder at Bishop Cotton Boy’s School because my father C Chandy was DIG Central Range and he was posted at Bellary and Belgaum

As a boarder, when I returned to the city after my holidays, I used to get off at Cantonment Station. There were no taxis those days and the only available mode of transport were bullock carts and ‘jutkas’ and ‘tongas’. The ‘jutkas’ used to carry our steel trunks and we would walk. 

I used to commute on a cycle to my college in Basavanagudi till my father bought me a Jawa motorcycle in 1960.

My father moved to Bangalore to take charge as the first police commissioner of Bangalore City from 1963 to 1966. After he returned to the city,  we started staying at our bungalow on Hayes Road.

Weekends were reserved for exploring the city. M G Road and Brigade road were the only places where we could hang around. We frequented Three Aces and Koshy’s restaurant for coffee and ‘samosas’. Those days the juke box in Koshy’s was popular. You could put a four anna coin and choose what you wanted to listen to from a list of 12 songs. We would  also occasionally visit MTR and Gandhi Bazaar for ‘masala dosa’. As an old Bangalorean, I feel today the city has become impossible to live in. But these good old memories will remain forever. 

Jagan Chandy
(As told to Nina C George)