A box full of memories

A box full of memories

This photo was taken in 1976 at the residence of former President V V Giri near the Ashoka Pillar in Jayanagar.  

I was the pursuing my PhD in Economics at the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bangalore which had just moved its campus from Carlton House in Palace road to its permanent campus in Nagarbhavi.

From my high school days, I had this hobby of writing to VIPs and asking them for their autographed photos. I have in my prized collection autographed photos of President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, US Senators Edward Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.

So when I heard that Mr  Giri had settled down in Bangalore after demitting office as fourth President of India (1969 to 1974), I wrote to him seeking an appointment. I received a prompt response and an appointment was fixed.

On the day, I hired a taxi and travelled from my PG accommodation in King Street, Richmond Town to Mr  Giri's residence. There were police sentries at his residence and after I showed them the appointment letter, I was received by Mr Giri's personal secretary who ushered me into his office where he was waiting for me.

After pleasantries, we sat down and exchanged views on a number of topics such as poverty, unemployment, etc.

Mr  Giri was a down-to-earth person and extremely friendly and made me feel at home. I enquired as to why he decided to take up residence in Bangalore. I recall that he mentioned that one of his children was settled here apart from other plus points of the city. After our conversation was over, I posed for a photo with Mr  Giri who also signed an autographed photo of his for me. On his desk, I noted a box full of his photos to be given to admirers and visitors. Mr Giri, however, later shifted residence to Chennai due to health reasons since he found Bangalore's weather unsuitable. But we kept in touch through letters until his death on June 24, 1980. He wrote to me on issues concerning development and socio-economic challenges facing the country.


(The author can be contacted at ninankn@hotmail.com)

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