Good Old Bengaluru !"

Author: E.R. Ramachandran

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Bangalore in the 1950s and '60s was still a Pensioners' Paradise and very much a sleepy town. It was mostly divided into “City” and “Cantonment” with Basavanagudi and Malleshwaram the best known among its residential areas. Jayanagar and its famous mosquitoes had not made their debut yet.

The City Market was really a conglomeration of various petes—Chikkapete, Balepete, Tharugupete, Akkipete, Cottonpete—holding the business community. Dandu, or Cantonment ('Contrumentru' as the villagers would call it) was still a very far off place for most Bangaloreans. Almost as far as London itself.

One got a fair idea of the City when one used BTS, or Bangalore Transport Service to give its full name (“Bittre Tiruga Sigodilla”, was the other full form). 50 years ago, the only other modes of transport for a common man were the Jataka Gaadi (horse driven covered cart) or nataraja service— local lingo for footing it out. The word 'autorickshaw' had yet to enter the lexicon, the contraption was yet to invade our roads.

Bangalore looked almost empty during the day as most of the eligible science and engineering graduates or diploma holders were herded into buses at the unearthly hour of 6.30 in the morning and ferried to HAL, HMT, BEL, LRDE, ITI, NGEF, Kirloskar, BEML, etc. The city suddenly perked up after the factory hands returned to their favorite haunts like Yagnappana Hotlu opposite National High School grounds or Bhattra Hotlu in Gandhi bazaar for the mandatory 'Three-by-Four Masale' or 'Two-by-three coffee' in the evenings.

The Sajjan Rao temple and choultry by the same name was much sought after for society weddings. The Satyanarayana Temple came much later as politicians became more and more crooked. Kota Kamakshayya choultry was opposite to the best bakery in Bangalore and may be the whole of south India, the V.B. Bakery.

After passing Modern Hotel and New Modern hotel where the whiff of SKC —sweetu, khara, coffee hit your nostrils, was the stop opposite Minerva talkies, which in those days mostly showed Tamil pictures for three shows and wore a culturally superior hat with Bengali movies and that too only Satyajit Ray for the morning shows! A 200 meters dash from Minerva took you to Mavalli Tifn Rooms (MTR) in a dingy lane, which morphed into MTR as one of the best eateries in town.

Kannada lms were nonexistent or a rarity those days. Except for an occasional 'Bedara Kannappa', 'Sadarame', 'Rathagiri Rahasya' (the song 'Amara Madhura Prema' was a craze) or 'School Master', it was all Sivaji Ganesan and M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) who ruled the silver screen.

Kengal Hanumanthaiah was seen often here before he started planning the construction of Vidhana Soudha. Much later, those who helped God to do his work went to Vidhana Soudha; they are still partners in His unnished business.

Behind Central College was the Central College cricket grounds which hosted all the international matches as well as the Ranji matches. It was here that a ball from the fearsome Roy Gilchrist hit A . S . Krishnaswamy on his chest and ew off to the boundary. Col C.K. Nayudu played here when he was past 70 along with his brother C.S. Nayudu and so did Lala Amarnath. Central Colleges grounds was the place all the Test cricketers from Mysore/ Karnataka cut their teeth playing State 'B' Ramachandra Rao shield, Rohington Baria Cup for Universities, and nally the Ranji Trophy.

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