But having some sense of history, I chose a Mohammad Rafi song because it was Rafi Sahib's death anniversary. I didn't have to regret my last minute decision to change the song. I came second only to our Campus Singer and Local Legend Prashanth Raj !
Looking back fondly at the moment that was actually my initiation into stage singing, I am in a mood for some 'Retrospection' and relive the past. The Friendship day is on Sunday, 1 August 2010. I dedicate this post to all my friends !
Here is a 'look back' at SOME of those people who have made a difference in my life; the life "Once Upon a Time"...
Once Upon a Time in Bellary...
... Time was never a problem except when the exams were around the corner. Planning was not necessary for friends to meet. Friends met and planned things.
... There often was a shortage of money, but never a shortage of enthusiasm. Innovative Film City was not even born. Hence any place was a good place to get together and do the things we loved !
... We didn't have mobile phones, but somehow we still were very well connected and always had company. Views, News, Gossip and Nisar Fathima's admiration for Pakistan Team spread like wildfire even without Wire-free Technology !
... Movie tickets cost Rs. 4.70/- and the cinema halls were glorified go-downs. Yet we enjoyed watching movies. The postmortems often went like this. Guy-1: "The first half is boring". Guy-2: "Oh, so how is the second half?". Guy-1: "Well, it only gets worse from there". But again, we went back to watch more movies !
... Parijatha was a generous hotel that served us "Two by Four Coffee nalli, one part Tea, One Part Milk, One Part Lime Juice and One Part Horlicks". This was an amazing innovation suggested by the soft spoken but sharp-witted Umesh Adyanthaya. I proceed with my retro with this lovable chap because he was always 'Anna' or Big Brother to many of us !
... There was D. N. Manjunath, my first room-mate who taught me what endurance is all about. For someone brought up in a cocooned joint family, the hostel life, food and menacing seniors were a shock. Thank you Manju for teaching me to survive !
... We had G. T. Sreenivas the Mr. Determination. He punched above his height and managed to come out victor. He, perhaps was the most dedicated chap on our batch.
... Govardhan, Gururaj MR, Gururaj Puranik and Chethan from the fifteenth block gang were a riot. Shankreppa was that silent guy who never got tired of being silent.
... Sreenivas Reddy showed how not to take oneself seriously. If I am able to 'Live, Love and Laugh' at myself today, Seena inspired it !
... There was Murli, my first friend outside the fifteenth block. Never thought it important to ask him how he felt. But he is one friend who has made the deepest impact on me during those golden years. I owe you a life for helping me to grow out of my insecurities Mate. You were a Darling and will be one forever !
... We had just come to know about the World Bank and the IMF. Then there was Vishwanath Nayak, who was the World Bank for me. I have yet to see someone as organized about everything as he was at 18 years !
... There was Jaganmohan who never allowed a humongous personal tragedy to get the better of him. Such resilience in life at such a young age; I feel proud to be one of his friends today!
... If so little was known to the Bellary Campus about Jagan's travails, credit is due to guys like Tharanath and Suresh Naik. They knew about the tragedy, but kept it locked and let Jagan carry on with his life. I salute you guys !
... A congenial boy named Vineeth was one of us. He was called 'Amul' Baby or 'Dabba' for his babyish charms. He perhaps was the most popular boy in the class. He still remains so in 2010.
... Sathyajith Karanth to me was one of the most intelligent guys. With his beanpole figure, short temper and intense nature; he was a dynamite of a character. I am a Fan !
... There were those ABC or 'Admired Boys of Class'. Rajiv Swamy, Rajaram, Ravi Shankar, Rudraiah, Suresh Chandra, Badrinath, Prasanna Kamath, Prasad , KR Venkatesh and Narendra Babu. Pardon me if I have missed out on some names here.
... There were boys, girls, infatuations, love stories, Rakhis and heartaches and then Bhuvaneshwar. The only man who won his 'Flower' from our class in the legend of "1994 A Love Story".
... We had seen unfolding of the Bhuvan-Suma story. But another story that happened sometime later is mostly unknown, and that was the story of Chandru and Sunitha. I leave it to one of them to do a memoirs and enlighten us about the how, where and when of this story !
... Arshad Miyan known today as Ashad Lateef too was a winner. He was good at studies and was always a brave fellow. He won over his girl perhaps around the same time Dilwaale Dulhaniyan Le Jaayenge happened !
... The most handsome man on earth was called Habib Rahaman. The unassuming but extremely handsome chap had a very mature head on his shoulders. Haven't heard much of him in a long time. But Tanveer thankfully is on the Social Networking sites !
... The most talented guy of the class was without doubt K. N. Ramesh. He was good with his subject. He danced like dream. He cracked jokes like only he could. Had a razor sharp tongue and an unbelievable knowledge of Hindi music. And let me not forget to mention his very good credentials as a Cricketer.
... Alagesan wanted to open a clinic on the suburbs of Bangalore with a board "Emergencies Not Entertained". I'd love to know if he still plans to keep a board like that in UK.
... KaRaMoKu or Mohan Kumar and I fought and made up all the time. Our association went beyond Bellary and still remains close to heart. We had some bad and many good times in Ponkunnam and Kochi.
... Chandrashekar or simply 'C' was a solid support through the tough days of Second Phase. We all know C was a Class Caroms player, but very few know that he was an expert with Electrical equipments. He also fed me for one whole month when I was bankrupt because my bank had delayed sending my cheque.
... Rajesh Kumar Singh was another close pal who still keeps in touch with regular calls. We must be the first ever 'Boys Only' duo to win a prize in a Duet Competition. "Imli ka boota beri ka ped" was a really rocking experience for both of us. We did it for ourselves; the prize didn't matter !
... Praveen Kumar or PK remained silent mostly. But made really acerbic comments when he wanted to. He scripted a movie "Kaatnewaale Bhonknewaale" inspired by the habit of some of our guys who loved to use the words "Huchchu Naayi". Amazing talent I must say !
... Awadesh Kumar liked to be a popular guy. He managed to be pally with many girls and thus became a bit unpopular with the North Indian boys. But he was a hard-working guy and had his moment when he won the Duet Competition, singing "Rimjhim Rimjhim" with a girl whose name eludes me.
... Anil Kumar was the Children's Park Tiger of the batch and KG Ravi the popular Pachyderm. KS Venkatesh was 'Kulla' for his height or rather the lack of it. Subhas and Tharanath were called 'Twins" for obvious reasons.
... Devendra Reddy was a real Genius and his mastery over Kannada was incredible. "Naanu lorrynalli hoguvaga, olage kaartha itthu. Male jasthi aagi lorry gunthenalli biththu" was a famous quotable quote. Sensational stuff !
... Madhusudana C. was called Sexy. I can't recollect the reason why he was addressed so. But he sure was an extremely brilliant chap. He remains an important impression on my growing up.
... Mahendra and Shivraj Patil were the happy guys who had their gang and enjoyed life like they always do.
... Sridhar, fondly called Siri explained the Hemodynamics of MS and MR and AS and AR beautifully. He also pampered some of us with the exotic mutton delicacies at his home during the 'Habba'. Siri, I would like to come back for the Habba even though I am a complete veggie today.
... Umesh Hiremath was the Charlie Chaplin of the batch. He once famously declared, "Yenrappa, hutdaaginda Samudraana kande illa. Goa andre Goage hogbeku. Alli beach aithi, seashore aithi. Udupi, Manglurnaage yenaithi mannu?" !
... Balu, Jagadeesan, Mandya Madhu, Suryaprakash, Donamalai Suresh, Yellappa [Yogesh] R B, Arun Kumar, Senthil, Chandramouli and K K Venkatesh were the low key guys, yet immensely popular within their circles.
... Shadrack and Vishwanth were the
... Prasanna, Dinesh Chandra, Hrishikesh and Unus were amongst us. They have been claimed by the premature strike of fate and let us not forget them. RIP !
... There were the 'Girls' too. Forgive me for being too short on this wonderful topic. Due to my shyness and the male bonding developed during initial hostile hostel days, girls were not on my radar and probably most of the girls didn't even know I existed !
... Gulnaz, Indira, Sharmila, Leelavathy, Padma and later Sunitha were the only girls whom I knew and perhaps the only girls who knew I lived on the Campus. I must add here that I have admired some of them from a distance for different reasons. They were all beautiful, wonderful girls and I regret missing out on being friends with them.
... There was but one guy from our class way ahead of times and he could easily have made a career of being a Poet. I don't know if he still remembers his poem "Usheyinda Nishege" that he carved out with names of all the girls of our class. Chandra Reddy was a Class act !
I could have completed this post adding all the names of our Classmates by referring to the Alumni Book. But that would have robbed this of the spontaneity. I know I have missed some of the guys in our class in this post. That doesn't diminish the credentials of those people. It just means that I am prone to Alzheimer's now that I am into my forties. Forgive me friends !
I admire, love and miss all of you in this post and out of this. All of you have contributed in the making of what I am today. Our life in Bellary was a stuff made for a wonderful script for a movie like '3 Idiots'. Hope to make it possible some day sooner than later.
And if and when it is possible, I shall title it...
Once Upon a Time in Bellary !!!