Those were the days

Those were the days

Those were the days

This photograph was taken in 1957 during the annual get-together of the Botany Department of Central College. It has most of the faculty members, research scholars and honours students from all the three years and MSc students. At that time, I was in the second year of my honours course.

I joined Central College with a lot of trepidation. My entire school education was in the villages of Tamil Nadu and I did intermediate from Maharani’s College (a girls’ college), so I was scared to be among so many boys.

My class had only two girls in the first year — Neelambikai and me. After a few days, during an introduction with professor and the head of the department, Dr K N Narayan, I blurted out, ‘I don’t like the subject, sir!’ Actually, I had hoped to get a seat in Zoology Honours. For a second, he was taken aback and then smiled and said, ‘Is that so? I’ll see to it that you like the subject before leaving this college!’ It so happened that I started liking it and topped the class in the final year.

We were taken on study tours during the winter vacation. The mornings were spent in collecting plants, identifying them and putting them away safely for making herbarium sheets. The evenings were spent in entertainment.

On my first study tour, I got to see Kodaikanal, Trichy, Madurai and Rameswaram. My second study tour covered Biligiri Rangana Betta, Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, Nilgiris and Coimbatore.

After finishing MSc, I worked as a lecturer in Maharani’s College for two years and then in Mysore Medical College for nine years. I taught Botany in the pre-professional course.

I have lost touch with most of the people in the picture except my junior Jayarama Reddy who was my colleague in Medical College. He retired as the principal of Government Science College. I met Dr Safeeullah when
we were stationed in Bhubaneswar.

Saraswathi Pantulu

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

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