There were literally four seasons, the monsoons came on time , there was no pollution, the buildings never got dirty, the roads never had such pot holes ... life was just beautiful .... a Real Pensioner's Paradise!! One talks about "The Good Old Days!"... Please do click on the ("hyper-text") blue text in the paragraphs below and you will get photographs or further details.
Early mornings ... one had to ( emphasis on had to) wear a sweater the least all through the year... and some did wear berets for the head or balaclavars .... There was an abundance of mist and one would breathe out puffs of smokeless smoke in the form of vapour ... it was cold ... but no one really got sick of it .... the stillness would be broken by a call from the Biscuit man (with his cane basket on his bicycle, filled with ginger, pauppery, sugary, salty, home made mouth watering biscuits, that was bought by weight), Plantain Woman (she also has other fruit when the Seasons changed, carried on her head on a round cane basket), Collimutai ( The Eggman carried two baskets balancing on his shoulders by a long cane support, one basket suspended in the front of him, the other at his rear), Dhobi (used to have his bundle over his back or on his cycle), a regular hawker selling combs, an old blind man with a picture of Our Lady of Vellangani singing on the roads... nobody really knew how old these people were, they just went on and on .. even the Town Barber (there was another Domestic Barber, that came home to cut the hair of older people and children. He was full of stories to keeping us going while giving us a short a hair cut or our older folks a shave under a tree or out in the garden) , who is still going strong ..... One also came across the Rickshawallas who literally lived in their rickshaws, earlier we had the two wheelers who pulled the Memshaibs as they went about Town, later in the 60's, the hand-pulled two wheelers got modernised to a tri-cycle-rickshaw. The rickshaws were covered with a folded with a canvas canopy, sometimes this was used to keep the bags of the hirer. Who could forget "Sam", nobody knew his real name, who hired out all his cycles to the children and grownups, and repaired punctures, later he was unfortunately pushed out of his lodgings and lived under a tree near the Richmond Institute!! Each hand-pulled or cycle-rickshaw bore a license number issued by the Bangalore City Corporation (BCC), and we also had licences for our cycles (every year a different shape - could be collectors items today!!), not to forget the oil lamps and later battery lamps that would pop off the cycle when you hit a bump or conveniently go off when you meet a police man!!. Richmond Town famous for it's "Wilson's" Vinegar, Salt and Pepper through V.A. Rasheed & Sons who had their shop on Alexander Street, and a beautiful "Romantic" park, lovely people, and a small tank they called "Mud Tank"!!
Gradually the climate changed, trees that sheltered birds by the thousands were chopped down ... buildings came up ... do you see a bluejay or a hoopoe or a golden oriole in the city these days? I did see a golden oriole the other year and I yelled out to the children to come out and see something they may never see again in their lifetimes.... many may agree with me ... large trees in Richmond Town Park that were home to over a thousand birds, the road below the tree was white (now a milk shack is erected on the spot where the tree stood) the racket they made in the evenings when they all came in to nest was so joyful to hear, even from Hosur Road the other side of Baldwin Boys School one could hear the sound... .. there were times on clear day one could see the Holy Ghost Church from Mount St. Joseph's ... a distance of over 20 kilometers can you believe it... now it's impossible to even imagine... haze, buildings, pollution make it so!! Those were the days when almost everyone kept a Beautiful Garden, even if they had a small Cottage. Today, in the City, quite a lot of the Old Bungalows have been converted in to Flats, and gardens are a scarce.
Lalbagh was a real Picnic spot for the families, with it's beautiful gardens, Bandstand, Fossil remains exhibit, animal and bird shaped bushes, floral clock, sad the Avery is empty of small animals or birds. There used to be one of Kempa Gowda's Tower or Look Out on the rock at the top of K.H. Road (Double Road). It was a small guard shelter that the soldiers in the old days used to look out over the sprawling city ... we used to imagine being soldiers on duty and go back into the past in our little minds when we were children... till someone felt that the Look-out was not an Archeologically interesting monument to keep, and changed the architecture to the present structure ... people today are astounded to know that there was once a watch tower on the rock ... one wonders down the years as buildings keep getting demolished day by day whether people will remember who were their neighbours!!! ... Bombay changed to Mumbai! Madras to Chennai... one wonders when Bangalore will take a Politician's turn.. help save it!
The Glass House in Lalbagh, built on a style of one in England ( there's one in Melbourne that looks just like ours), used to be spotless bright, and well maintained, the grill work and benches used to be painted and cleaned. The loose bolts tightened, and so they have lasted this long ... how much longer... abroad people encourage others to look back at history, whereas here we do not get that much of support, in fact it is discouraged. The Glass House is the location for the famous Flower Shows of Bangalore, where one can find Flowers, Flowers and More Flowers. Lalbagh has a beautiful assortment of trees and plants, and some of the bushes are trimmed and shaped into animals and birds, and statues, also carved images of lions guarding the steps around the gardens, and it also looks beautiful at night. There are many Florists around the Shopping Areas of the City, and you can pick up a bouquet or a basket of assorted flowers. The roses of Bangalore thrive very well in Ooty which has a cooler and less polluted climate. Another place that is threatened is Cubbon Park which has the famous Attara Kacheri (Red coloured High Court building), Vidhana Soudha , some of the statues like that of Queen Victoria , Maharaja of Mysore (His Highness, Sri Chamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur, GCSI, 1881 - 1894), and King Edward VII have beautiful backgrounds, (some of the nearby Schools and Colleges also have pretty flowery ones). Opposite the Central Telegraph Office, is the War Memorial that is being re-landscaped. Cubbon Park also has a children's section Bal Bhavan that has a Giant Wheel, Toy Train, horse rides, slides, an Aquarium and other items that we can find even adults enjoying. It also has the State Centre Library. The SPCA Office stands at the Eastern entrance like a sentinel. There is a nice neat Tennis Stadium inside Cubbon Park, where the Davis Cup Tournaments and other matches are sometimes played here.
I had come across a Guide or Directory of Residences of Important Persons in Bangalore & Coorg in 1883, (belonging to Mr. Kora Chandy who kindly lent the same to me) and in that book there were names of persons with their addressees. Today how many of those residences exist? History, gone to the ground ,.... An idea occoured to me when I met one of Bangalore's old-timers Mr. Kora Chandy. Suppose we map the locations of those houses as in 1883 ... since the names of people and their address were given one could know who stayed where... Ofcourse one would have to get help to access Mayo Hall records for the real road plans and make up the scene as it was 100 years back!!! We could get Kodak, Fuji, Agfa or Konica interested to sponsor a Project like this and even encourage people to photograph the few remaining Colonial buildings in Bangalore, or perhaps a competition of photographing the oldest and best maintained building in the City!!
There used to be a small Tank at the triangle of Langford Road, Rhenius Street, and O'Shaughnessy Road, that today is the bed for the Hockey Stadium... does anyone remember the tank, it used to be called Mud Tank? We used to go fishing there ... it's gone ... another one bites the dust!! Now there are many places coming up around Bangalore, farms which have been converted into picnic spots. I had visited one called Sunny Farms off Bannerghatta Road that had a small swimming pool, another one was Country Club, on the road to Hosur, where I had witnessed a Rock Concert, a smaller site I visited was Kendall Farm on the Mysore Road. Other interesting places are the Banayan Tree, Nandhi Hills (famous for it's Road Race, and Hill Climb for Cars and Bikes. The old Standard Heralds used to take the hair-pin bends beautifully, and the Jawa's and Lamby's heated up to the top, this place has the Tippu's Drop, and there is a plan to landscape a Golfcourse around it.) to name a few.
I could go on, but maybe you would like me to take a break.... or you can ramble on into the 1940's
You could check out "Ron's Bangalore Walla Collection" for photos.
Ron's new e-mail: Ronnie 1 (or) Ronnie 2
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Thought for the Day:" Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, Fon in the manner their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did they fathers to the false prophets." Holy Bible: Luke 6:20-26