Monday, November 9, 2009

Memories of 71,Kanakapura road

My thoughts now travel back to the  70’s. We then were staying in Kanakapura road in Bangalore. Our house was the corner house on the junction of four roads. Sajjan Rao circle, LalBagh west gate, Krishna Rao Park and National College Basavangudi were all just a km away but on the different roads.

Our outings in the evening would be usually centered around these places. (on Sundays though we used to visit my chitti and chittappa at Malleswaram . They stayed at the Forest Institute/else they would visit us). Neighbours and friends were few but very reliable. In the evenings we would go and visit the temples at Sajjan rao circle.

Sajjan rao circle has many temples on its circumference. In the middle of the circle is a park which also has a temple. Around the circle there are many roadside eateries. In fact Sajjan rao circle is famous for eateries.The famous VB bakery,(loved the Badam burfi's at VB), Panipuri bandi’s, dosa and idli served with onion chutney. They do roaring business late in the evening. Ramesh chittappa was staying with us at that time. If we felt like having onion chutney during dinner time, after the plates were laid on the table, I and chittappa used to get the chutney at 9 in the night. It was just 7-10 minutes walk but I and chittappa would run.

Another land mark closer home was LalBagh garden. The west gate was a 10 minute walk on the other road. IBH(India Book House) had held an exhibition at the glass house. Appa, amma and I went to the exhibition (I don’t remember if my sis Latha was born. She and I are 6 year apart). This is where I got my first Amar chitra Katha. My dad got me two books one was Ganesha and I don’t remember the other ACK. It costed 2rs/book. Perhaps the seeds of my reading interest were sown here.

Another exhibition famous in the glass house are the horticultural exhibition held during Jan 26 and Aug 15. The whole Glass house would be in a riot of colors with beautiful flowers, though i remember only the roses, Dahlia and cockscomb. All the flowering plants would be arranged in steps till it reached the roof. Major public sector companies like(those times IT companies were unheard of in Bangalore, It was Texas Instruments entry into Bangalore(India) in 1982 that changed the whole outlook of Bangalore) HMT,BHEL, ITI would participate and win prizes.

There is a lake in Lalbagh. During Ganesh chaturthi when Lord Ganesh had to be immersed, (We don’t follow the practice of immersing in my father’s side) I went with my neighbour sandhya and her father. Sandhya held the God in a round basket and I used to bell all the way from our house to Lalbagh. We then immersed the pillayar(tamil name for lord Ganesha) in the lake after a small puja on the bank.

Krishna Rao park was a km away on the other road. This place is where my mom and her friends used to take their children to play. This road also led to Nanda theatre. The mention of the theatre reminds me of an incident. My dad once got tickets for the movie Russian galaxy circus. I and my friend Sandhya went to the movie. My dad dropped us at the theatre and later picked us back. I went into the theatre and seated myself between an unknown aunty and Sandhya. When the trailers were shown, i very innocently asked the aunty whether she came to see Russian galaxy(morning show movie)/ Nagarahole( noon show movie). I was thinking two movies would be shown side by side (since the board outside claimed two shows). The aunty smiled and explained only one movie would be shown and that she too came to see Russian circus. I saw the kannada movie NAgarahole later. This movie was shot in the wild life sanctuary by the same name.

Our shopping was centered around Gandhi Bazaar this was slightly more than a km but never the less walkable. This is the place where you get things as small as a safety pin to the biggest machine.

Mavalli was another place where we shopped for groceries.This place was walkable and this is the area parallel to Lalbagh.The world famous Mavalli tiffin room(popularly known as MTR) owes its name to this place. The area behing MTR is called mavalli though MTR is near the main gate of Lalbagh.I am glad this hotel has still retained its clean old world charm. MTR foods need no introduction now that its convenience foods are present in most of the house holds. They are the pioneers of Rava idli.I am yet to taste their masala dosa at their Lalbagh road hotel though i have tried all the other items like dahi vada, chowchow bath, basundi etc. Their masala dosa's were restricted only to the mornings(till 10.30 a.m) and there would be a serpentine queue to order your dosa's. The servers here are dressed in pure white clean dhoti and coffee is served in silver tumblers and davaras(small round saucers).In those days, I was told that the cooks and servers would gag their mouths and stand in front of the mirror and breathe into the mirror to check there were no bacteria from their mouth falling into the dish. That was how sterile the kitchens were. ( i don't know if this is true).When my uncles and aunts came from chennai, We used to enter lalbagh from the west gate - pass through glass house, statue garden and emerge out of main gate only to enter MTR to relish their dishes.

These beautiful and stress free childhood days with my parents and friends are something that sends me into a nostalgic trip.

Whenever I visit Bangalore I make a point to visit the places, show them to my children. Life was very interesting in mundane things.We had no television or video games then. Boring was not a word in our dictionary.

Other than my memories, I sometimes wish I had a time machine so that I could go back to those times when groceries were packed in newspapers and then tied with thin jute rope, milk came in bottles not in plastic covers and food parcels were made with plantain leaves and then covered with newspapers. We carried cloth bags to the grocery store. We never carried water bottles and could drink clear sparkling water from the taps at our schoool. No detergents to clean your utensils but simple charcoal powder and coconut fibre instead of scotch brite.Snacks meant fried grams, jeerge mithai( colored peppermints made with jeera) and not kurkure or lays.

Traffic Jams? Well, what was that? I only knew about the Jams on the bread then.
(and don't forget we lived on one of the busiest roads)

Pollution?--- Well, what is the spelling? With so many trees lining the avenues, we knew no pollution except the falling leaves and colored red flowers of gulmohar polluting the clean roads.( if you can call that pollution)

Now with increasing awareness of global warming, hope those times will roll back and we will go back to the earlier practices.

Till then I will cherish those moments and tell my children about all those times.

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