When life was a picnic

When life was a picnic

When life was a picnic

This photo was taken in 1991 in Lalbagh when I was four years old. My uncle Chandrashekar and my cousins Rekha and Neil, who were living in the US, were visiting India after a long time and this was a family picnic for us. We were young and mischievous then and had a great time partaking the 'Vanabhojana' below a huge tree.

Family get-togethers were very common then. My uncle Shivashankar, who has remained a bachelor, used to take us for circuses on Palace Grounds. During summer vacations, he used to organise a summer camp for all the kids in the family. Every morning, we used to travel by his Omni to lakes and temples in different parts of the city, eat in hotels and relax in some park in the evening before returning home.

On the last day of our vacation, we would go to places like Savandurga, Antharagange, Devarayanadurga etc. He was very particular that we learnt swimming. He made us accompany him early in the morning to Mahalakshmi Layout pool. He also encouraged us to participate in extracurricular activities. He has a PhD in Mathematics and worked as professor of Mathematics in MSRIT from 1962-98.

He is now enjoying his retired life. He also played basketball for over 25 years and was a referee, a selector of the state and university basketball teams. He was also a NCC officer. An outing with him invariably included the calls 'Last five minutes', 'Time over' and at the end 'Vanish'! An avid traveller, he has seen the entire country and has visited more than 60 foreign countries.

I cannot forget the early years when he used to spin out stories of ghosts and demons to keep me spellbound and frightened. We are grateful to him for making our young lives eventful, filled with joy and adventure. Srikrishna, my cousin, secured good scores for his PUC and went to BITS Pilani for his graduation. He later obtained MBA from INSEAD and is self-employed now.
Neil graduated from Harvard University and later obtained a medical degree. He is now based in Atlanta.

Srikrishna has directed and acted in several English dramas with his troupe. Neil is a regular participant in many cultural programmes of 'Kannada Sangha' in the US.

I have participated in dance programmes in college and at work. Now I am a regular performer with 'Bhaavasagara', a music and dance school founded and developed by my father. Naresh and Vivek, both engineers, are working in different corporate offices here. I am also an engineer and worked in an IT company for a number of years but now I am a music teacher at National Public School, Kengeri.

Sandhya and Meera are graduates in Commerce. Sandhya is with ANZ Bank and Meera is a teacher. We are all married now and some have kids too. Looking back, we now feel proud of ourselves and whenever we come together, feel happy about the early years that we spent together.