The Good Old Days .... People .... Old Families

Bangalore always had an atmosphere for serene conduct and tolerance of all people. In the past one never heard of communal clashes, and violence of the nature that one often reads about these days. This is perhaps because of the influx of all kinds of everybody into the city, removing from her the innocence of love and neighborly affection. Football seems to follow the County League matches of Europe!! Cricket far in advance!!

Some of the Bangaloreans in the late '50's, photo courtesy Barbara & Tony Thomas(late)

I recall that as youngsters (hey! I'm born after Indian Independence!!), we played hide and seek or cops and robbers, the play area would be literally the whole town. One could experience the noisy bustle of children who jumped over anyone's walls, all in the right spirit, and everyone knew everybody so really one could not be upto any embarrassing mischief. A game could go on till as late as 8 p.m.!! There was safety on the roads, no erratic traffic coming blindly around corners. Ofcourse there used to be the unofficial Bangalore-Whitefield or the MG Road drag races on Jawa motorbikes or Lambretta's and Agram was the laydown for many a challenge on the race circuit. Do you know that Agram in Bangalore does figure in Ripley's Believe It or Not ... more precisely the Agram Cemetery, there is said to be a story that a soldier was court marshalled for not drinking his quota of Rum and is supposed to be burried there!!! Part of the Old Protestant Cemetery at Agram as most other old places has been leveled unceremoniously for a Parade Ground for the Reserve Police, Admiral OS Dawson is taking up the task of reconstruction of the Cemetery alone without support... I have offered him system support. Hosur Cemetery also has a lot of history from the mid 1800's , as it is the final resting place of many an old soldier and his family.

One of the early well known persons was Sir Mirza Ismail, who owned quite a lot of spots in the city. Being a Dewan of Mysore was a very powerful person, but coming from a very humble background was very simple and honest in nature. In one of the Indian Sites, he is mentioned under "Power shifts from Sultans.. British".. also Rajasababushana Rev. Fr. Antoine Marie Tabard, M.B.E., had a lot to do with Sir Mirza's early life.. ( he built St. Patrick's Boys' Home or Orphanage more than 100 years ago. This Home had a school attached, that is being rebuilt, and St. Patrick's School and Orphanage is looking for some help or funds to complete these boys' new abode. Any help that can be given to these orphans is most welcome).

Bangalore did produce some of India's early beauties - Miss. India, Miss. Teenager, etc.. they are still being produced (wonder if any will make it for the Miss World 1996 Finals), must be the climate and ther city's original beauty is still holding out ...let's save Lalbagh, Cubbon Park, Palace Grounds, The Plant Museum opposite the Planetarium (let's hope this does not become a museum that is for ... "trees that used to be!!"... because strange tree diseases of drying up of trees suddenly is going around the city ... I have just lost a beautiful cheekoo-sapota tree). One of Bangalore's dear old ladies was "Babs", whose mane definitely brings on a smile from many an oldie, she taught dancing on Albert Street .. later Connie & Danny took over!! Some of the names (only a few listed) of the Families were Pacheco, Goodman, Simmons, Wilson, Croning, Johnson, McDonnell, Fullinfaw, Aquino, Freeman, Mersh, McKennin, Coombes ( this was a place that all the youngsters in the town gathered to play tennis, throwball , sing around bonfires, ring in the New Year, and all that they couldn't do at Richmond Institute, the old lady is in Adelaide and still plays tennis at 90 plus!), Macedo, Thomas, Moore, Hayes, Martin, Rodgers, Rogers, Roberts, Herbert, Souce, Reins, Fernandes, Maywall, Stacey, Stracey, Kendall, Kennedy, Crannenburg, Peris, Felix Weckshler ( the photographer who did a beautiful portrait of Rev. Fr. A.M. Tabard ), Galloway, Welsh, Keys (ran a boarding house in Cheerful Lodge, now Wellington Apartments),Noreen Sales (nee Nicholas)- who stayed at the Ashes which apparently became the Richmond House? as per Audrey King which later became the Survey of India and now a doomed and broken down place of a ghastly murder a couple of years back!) Longsworth (who used to run a "Family Taxi" service to Ooty, Mysore, Nandhi, who stayed opposite Cheerful Lodge) , Bantlemann, Bywaters, Wilson, Millett, White, Corbett, Jones, Pereira,. Family names around the town were Duckworth, Wollen, Rondo, Noronha, Thompson, Lopes, Scully, Hennacurri, Rodrigues, Miss.Mortima (used to be a teacher of Bishop Cotton's Girls' School, annd who lived on Convent Road), Vaz, Strentz, Furnell, Bernard, talking to William "Bill" Marley and his wife Olive, popped out some of the older names like Bornshin, John Webb (Webb's Garage on M.G. Road), Colin & Olive Dozey (used to have Dozey's Garage at the Petrol Bunk next to Mayo Hall), Armstrong, Young, Dick Anderson of the Police, Jock Anderson, Ross, Turner, Colin Cowdrey (the famous English cricketer) had his parents in Bangalore, Preston, Col. Bill Davis, Trevor Lushington, to name a few old timers. Some of the famous teachers of the schools were Webster, Morris, Hemi, Mother Good Shepherd, Mother Mecthel, Mother Veronica, Fr. Eustrace Jacques, Fr. Eric Vaz, Ann Beck, Late Miss. Bernie Pinto ( and Dr. Francis Pinto, (whose father built the first Mills in Bangalore, Mineva Mills), Jean (Morris) Murphy, May Rosario, Davenport, Lynch, Mcbride (Hockey Coach),the Late Luke (Loogan) & Ann DeSouza, Alec & Dorothy Alvarez, Richard (Dick) & May Pereira, Hartwell (Papa) Yates, Percy (Smiler) D'Silva, Francis, F.X. Paul, Miss. Dias, Aswathnarayan & Bhat, many of them have passed on from this world. Miss. Flannigan (Internationally famous for her pretty bridal bouquets) and her sister Mrs. Gidney are well known in Richmond Town and across the world, for her old car (it was used in the movie "Gandhi"). Another well known couple in the town was Margaret & Richard D'Cruz, who entertained all the young crowd, as they had friends of their four children (Geraldine, Cynthia, Dr. Mario and late Mark) comming in and going out all the time. Now they are settled down in Melbourne, Australia. If I have left out any known names, please forgive me, let me know and I will try and include the same when I update the file. The photo above is taken of some Old Bangaloreans at Catholic Club probably in the late '50's during Christmas or New Year bashes, courtesy Barbara & Tony Thomas. Those days it was 'May Queen', 'June Rose', 'Easter Ball', 'Blue & White', almost every month had some activity except during Lent and Advent the periods that Christians prepare for Easter and Christmas.

Some of the boy's on the block in my time were Massimo DaCosta (now in Italy, whose mother ran Italian Guest House at the top of Convent Road), Rudolf D'souza (Bombay), Chris Rai (Canada), Godfrey Cabral (England or Oz?), Freddy Marler (England), Andy Morris & Brian (Canada), Freddy Stacey (Perth ?), Lal Brothers, Christopher Hoffland (England), Bala Nair, (Late) Maurice & (Late)Donald Fairman (Australia), Phillip 'Pop' Wollen and his famous 'red' dog (thank you Phillip for remembering me and Bangalore), Late Eugene Noronha, myself Ronnie Johnson ( famous for his Red-Indian haircut), Denzil & Glen Fernell, Terrance & Bonnie DeNazareth, Graiden & Clive Ross (Australia), Errol Thompson (in England,whose father had a billard table in his house on Serpentine Street which we used to have a go at), George Webster (Australia). There are lots of people from the town and Bangalore who are around the world, St. Joseph's Old Boy's Association is trying (with Faith and Toil) to link all Josephites on land and on the Web. In Australia, the Cottonians Old Boys and Josephites jointly conduct functions!! I am not too sure if Baldwin Boys & Girls join in? Something unheard of and not possible in Bangalore .... the rivalry between the schools is too warm for comfort!!

Old Bangaloreans never die, they just fade away (or have they fallen victim to the new congestion and pollution?). Take one of the great living examples in Mr. Kora Chandy ( in his 90's, and who had once lent me his 1883 book on Bangalore, which is stolen from him), who worked in the Mysore Residency Office from 1930 to 1947, and then as Secretary of the Civil Station Municipal Commission from 1947 to 1950, he then took over as Dy. Registrar of the High Court until 1963, when he retired. Mr. Chandy has been given the powers to register Christian Civil Marriages. Over the years he has chronicled Old Bangalore in many an article. He's often consulted for evocative tid-bits of Bangalore of yore. He is also figured in the book "The City Beautiful" by Mr. T.P.Issar .... now that's a good book for photos of the last of old Bangalore (Bangalore Urban Art Commission, Year 1988, State Library Catalogue Number 722. 4487B ISS, Produced by Marketing Consultants & Agencies Ltd., 42 Millar Road, Bangalore 560 052. I picked up a copy from Premier Bookshop on Museum Road, near MG Road - Church Street junction, and got a good discount!!).. it has photo's of buildings that no longer exist ... Elgin Flour Mills, EGK, Cash Pharmacy (Ugh! they hacked off the top floor!, reminded me of the Queen in Alice in Wonderland..."Off with her head!". There is a photo of the original building .. with it's head ... somewhere on the Net! I think try mahesh@mahesh.com, or just type "Cash Pharmacy" under Yahoo! or Altavista search engines), and so on... this book is for a real Bangalore Collection, and at Rs.500 is worth every page of memory... it has inspired me to take a few photos for my memories ... I have, and I need someone to give me space to put them on the Net for all Bangaloreans to remember! I cann write lots with the help of these photos, but have to restrain because of size factor on this Site.

One thing very noticeable is the change of relationships of neighbours, lots of strangers have moved in with their culture and isolated themselves in their concrete fortresses. Hence one does not know who is staying next door. Most of all the big old bungalows have been converted to flats, and that changes the "Pensioner's Paradise" atmosphere ... gone are the days where houses had dainty trellis-work wooden grills, where windows were decorated with vertical wooden slats, topped with a spire monkeytop .... people have become very possessive, hard natured, inconsiderate, uncaring and it's depressing it's not Bangalore anymore ... it's a Cosmopolitan City, that has outlived it's usefulness, and now the people are looking for other cities to get more for their lives.. Now Hold On! not all has changed, there is a great lot which hasn't .... but that is rare....ofcourse the old Presidents like to settle here.... every nook and corner people are building and they don't care about the inconvenience caused to others... others who are occupying old buildings look only after their half making the building look astonishing, (sometimes the same beautiful building has two different colours or two different shapes!!), others put up hoardings all around and anywhere they feel like, disfiguring the beauty of the City skyline. Who cares? Can anyone help to recapture all of Bangalore's pristine beauty, make is Bangalore - A City Beautiful. None, except the People themselves. They should get rid of all the ugly out-of-place hoardings, some occupy so much space on the footpaths that pedestrians have to walk on the roads. If the hoardings have to be put up they must blend with the skyline, wonder if Bangalore Urban Art Commission will look into this? It is a bit sad to note that lots of the old Pensioners lost their Paradises because they had no one to pass them down to, or were tricked into false promises or fear that the Government would take them over. Another noticable thing about Bangalore is that Dogs that used to be pets are now used for "Guard Duty"!! Wonder what the Security Staff are for?!

Schools have come up in every nook and corner, some are recognised and some are not.. not too clear as per Government Norms... when there should be an urge to make Karnataka Literate like Kerala ... never mind.. some of us have passed through that stage in life safely ... Roads are still being renamed .. Ali Askar Road is on the Block! Wonder why no one thinks of naming new Layouts and their roads? New Layouts just have 1st main or Cross etc.. why not rename them? Bangalore, You are losing Your History. You are losing Your Charm. A Paradise Lost!!

Bangalore was and is made up of various Communities that came from Tamilnadu (Madras now Chenni), Kerala, Andhra, Pondicherry, and from parts of Karnataka ( earlier Mysore State). Tamilians, Anglo-Indians, Mangaloreans - under construction, Goans - under construction, Parses, Moslems, and other Communities from neighbouring States have contributed to the City of Bangalore, each in their own distinctive way. There are people with disabilities that have let active lives in Bangalore, and who are known for their work in the areas of the handicapped, some call them 'Children of a Lesser God', I call them God's Own.

While talking to some of my friends there was mention that I had left out an important person of the City, the Undertaker or Sculptor as some would like to called. In the recent years, the only old name still in the business is the Snaize Family. Earlier there were the Jones, and still earlier in the early 1800's were S.Mullenex and Nelson & Black to name a few (the entire work at Agram Cemetery from 1806 to 1877 was shared by Mullenex and Nelson&Black). Maybe I will get together some information on the lot and put it up on this page a little later.

Because of the development and infrastructure of the Communities, Bangalore soon was looked at as an Industrial Belt Area. One of the early Industries was the Mills and also Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), that was used to service the Royal Airforce planes during the War, and later all the Airforce and Civilian transport airlines. In the 60's HAL was used as a testing aerodrome, and one of HAL's best test pilots was the late Gp. Capt. S. Das, who tragically died in 1970 in a flying accident (Gp. Capt. Das's wife, an English lady is the Director of the Cheshire Homes in Bangalore).

In the Good Old Days, Shakaris were in vougue, when every self-respecting man would talk about how many "Heads' he had left at Tocher & Toucher's, the famous Taxidermist on King's Street, during the weekend for mounting. Today it is a dream. The animals are all mounted!! One can only "shoot" the animals in the Mysore Zoo with a camera, that's if you see any! Inspite of all the precautions and yelling from the WWF, one can still come across the sneeky "ivory seeker" when one finds the rotton remains of a few pachyderm deep in the forests. Bangalore used to boast of quite a few handlebar moutousche totting marksmen, today all they talk is about those Good Old Days. Ofcourse, game like wildboar, and a few phesants and jungle fowl are potted at around the Estates on the outskirts of the City or in the Surburbs, but nothing like the question of sitting up in a muchan waiting for the "shinny eyes" to glare out at you in the darkness.... good old Jim Corbett, hey there is actually a National Forest Reservation named after him in Northern India!!

The other day I had a mail from Deepak V. (deepakv@wipsys.soft.net) who mentioned that his father recalled one of the outstanding people who used to be on Brigade Road... none other then 'Gunboat Jack', the famous entertainer, stuntman and boxer who used to sit outside Basco's door, and who died in real poverty. My friend Brig. Leslie King and Audrey remember him from Gunboat's dare-devil feats on a motor-cycle going round the Well Of Death at the Fair that used to be held on the present Parade Grounds... I will get some more details later from Brig. There was another Nepalese boxer who used to play drums at Basco's called Yung Thalai. He used to train the MEG boxers till he passed away. One also recalls 'Odd Job' of Dr. No (007) fame, who used to swagger up and down Brigade Road in a pair of baggy satin pants and only a waist coat ... wonder what happened to him? His mother they say used to live in Whitefield .. that could be a great place for a quiet picnic if you know someone there!

One can go on and on, but I think for the moment I should stop.... if you feel this is interesting to your Site for Bangalore under India, then please go ahead and link it .... don't know when anyone else would be in a mood to put down things .... Bye to all Indians all over, hope you enjoyed these Bangalore Memories .... Please do send me your feedback on these pages and add or correct where it is needed, Thank You Bangalore Walla!

Hey, this is becoming unfair, if you remember anything about Bangalore, that I have left out or you would like to add, please dont hold back. Send me an e-mail or write to me and I would love to include the same on this page or even open a new one attached to this!!


Update from a Bangalorean:

"Mark Suares" <msuares@bigpond.com> Suares family of Bangalore Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 20:18:13 +0100

Dear Ronnie,

Congratulations on a Herculean effort with your Internet site on the Anglo-Indians, especially of Bangalore. I firmly believe you have achieved something which many of us anglo's only dream about. It reminds me of the Thoreau quotation, "if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined he will meet with success unexpected in common hours." Your success with this effort is quite outstanding.

I thought I might make some contribution to your effort by endeavouring to request you to include the Suares Family of Bangalore. The main focus of this family has been its contribution to Sport in Karnataka. Arthur Suares was an All India Boxing champion, who incidentally had a victory over the world famous Gunboat Jack. Miss Marjorie Suares was the PT Mistress of Bishop Cotton Girls School for well over 30 years. She and Barbara Webster were the first Anglo-Indian ladies from Bangalore to represent India in the First Asian Games at New Delhi. Marjorie also had the unique distinction of captaining 3 Karnataka State Teams (Hockey, Basketball and Athletics). Deanna Tewari (nee Deanna Syme, also used to be the games Mistress at Sophia High School in Bangalore) was the daughter of Phyllis Suares. Deanna held the National Long Jump record for many years. She was in the Indian team that toured Germany with names like Kenny Powell, Milkha Singh and others. She was also honoured with the lighting of the flame that started the Asian Games in New Delhi in (1982?).

My family has settled in Australia. I work at the Australian Institute of Management in Melbourne. Most of the family took up to teaching. My brother Bruce Suares spent many years as a teacher in St Germain High School. George Webster (George was with us when we grew up in Richmond Town, and was always the ladies man, hence he seems to have stuck with it! Ron. ) was my classmate in his final years which were spent at St Germain's. I went for his surprise birthday party last year. He was quite shocked to see me after a lapse of so many years. He's still the same jovial, fun-loving bloke and has 4 wonderful daughters. I have one and she is quite a handful.

The earlier Suares' worked in the railways in South India. We lived in the cantonment area of Bangalore-Benson Town to be precise. Coles Park was one of our favourite haunts. It was so close to school. St Francis Xavier's Girls School was also nearby, so you could imagine the fun and frolic with the guys ragging the girls-good fun. My sister Ninette Suares studied at Bishop Cotton Girls School, Mount Carmel and Central Colleges. She is a teacher in Australia and married to an Aussie-Daryl Leggett. She has a pair of champion twins-Bob and Ted. My brother Earle Suares used to be a good athlete in Bangalore. He is also in Melbourne and retired as a Quality Control Chemist. Tyrone Suares, another brother is also retired-as a teacher in Melbourne. I could write more and more but you must be getting bored with this script. Thanks for this opportunity to provide tremendous exposure of this great community on the world wide web God bless and good luck. I look forward to hearing from you. Regards and best wishes, Mark Suares ( Thanks Mark for your inputs, Ron). Actually I am torn between putting the Suares Family on the Sports Page , Anglo-Indian Page or People Page, but I chose People because they are a great Tradition of Bangalore Families.

Update from another Bangalorean: From:MWELBY@aol.com   Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 08:38:47 EST

Ronnie, I read with interest your page on Bangalore.

I am the third child of Colleen Mersh (Aquino). She had five children, 4 boys and a girl. We were all trained in piano playing and did Trinity College of Music exams. I went on to get my Licentiate and then studied at St. John’s Medical College. I am now a surgeon in Houston, Texas.

I attended St. Joseph’s Boys High School and was taught among others by Alec ‘Alvee’ Alvarez and ‘Smiler’ D’Cruz. I have to say that ‘Alvee’ was the best teacher I ever had. Luke ‘Lugan’ D’Souza taught me Geography and I have to admit that I felt the weight of his hand across my face on more than one occasion.

The Aquino Boys- Marcus, David and Brian were good swimmers and represented their colleges at the aquatic meets. We used to train together and before the meet would decide which one of us would win which events......hey.. blood is thicker than water. ‘Normous Norman Hayde was often part of the competition. David now is a partner in a chartered accounting firm in London and Brian is a physician in Houston, TX.

Oldest brother Johnny who was active in the Amateur acting scene BADS is in Perth Australia after training as a chartered accountant and getting his MBA. The brothers still gather from time to time to sail, something we started at Hessaragatta Lake.

I apologize for this disjointed letter but hope you find some of this information useful.

Thank you again for the trouble you have taken to put it all together.

Marcus Michael Aquino, MD, FRCS, FACS


MORE FAMILIES OF BANGALORE TO VISIT

Ron's New e-mail:ronniejohnson@hotmail.com or ronniejohnson@vsnl.net

Ron's Surface Address: Ronnie Johnson, 5/3 King Street, Richmond Town, Bangalore 560 025. Ph: 091 80 2240145


7th Anniversary, Bangalorewalla

An Appeal to save the last few Mementos and Moments of Good Old Bangalore ....


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


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