Looking back with pride

Looking back with pride

From the albums

Looking back with pride

This photograph was taken at the residence of late prime minister Indira Gandhi in New Delhi in January 1977. We were a group of 14 postgraduate geology students from Mysore University, on an educational tour led by late Prof A S Janardhan. I treasure this rare photograph since it was taken at the time of the Emergency in the country and we were not sure of meeting Mrs Gandhi under those circumstances.

We embarked on our maiden educational tour to North India and our journey started from Bangalore City Railway Station. I live in Nagarbhavi now. I have a vague memory of my childhood days spent in Bangalore during the 60s in one of the bylanes of Seshadripuram. During those days, the city had abundant greenery with very little traffic and tranquility prevailed everywhere.There were hardly any high-rise buildings and the city was poorly connected by public transport because of which many a time we preferred to walk down to the distant locations in the city rather than wait for an infrequent BTS bus. The weather was pleasant and we hardly had any fans at home.

We had an emotional send-off by relatives and friends at the station as embarking on a long train journey at that time was considered to be somewhat adventurous and rare.

Our visit to Delhi was preceded by a visit to some of the mines and mineral deposits in Gujarat and Rajasthan. When we landed in Delhi, we were greeted by the biting cold to which we were not accustomed. However, the warm welcome extended by the staff left us dumbfounded as we eagerly waited for the incredible moment of meeting and talking to the great personality.

We were thrilled when Indira Gandhi, dressed in a white sari and shawl, entered and greeted us. She enquired about our motto and how this educational tour would help us in our future endeavours. Since geology was one of the favourite subjects of her father Jawaharlal Nehru, she showed keen interest in it.

Apart from meeting Mrs Gandhi, we had another important agenda of meeting our own Bangalore stalwart, B D Jatti, the then vice-president of India. All of us felt at home when we interacted with him in Kannada, as we could freely exchange our ideas.

It is gratifying to note that having educated in geology, some of us worked as professional geologists in the Geological Survey of India, which gave us an opportunity to work throughout the length and breadth of the country.

(The author can be contacted at kvkm55@gmail.com)