‘Twas party time!
Curtains were coming down on yet another year…
Seemed like still early-morning-dew and, morning-breeze were pregnant with crisp euphoria for an ardent devotee of everything that’s salubrious.
Good things gradually waiting to happen as 2017 drew towards a quaint closure.
Christmas was round-the-corner, and so was a fairy-tale wedding party hosted by an MSS-classmate Poornima’s family hailing from Hassan district. Poori’s son Auditya staking hand of Harleen Singh, a Punjabi bride to initiate golden-period of their life-together.
For MSS-classmates, wedding reception was a plenary-session of sorts. All would show up for yet another photo-shoot to celebrate wedding of a photo-journalist.
‘Twas indeed attended by well-wishers of both families. Even Chiranjeevi Singh, erstwhile Add’l Chief Secretary of Karnataka Govt. or his look-alike seemed to grace the occasion shaking hands with other luminaries. Found him shaking-a-leg to tunes of Celine Dion’s numbers- My heart will go on, too.
A note on Chiranjeevi Singh:
A career diplomat, no less than rank of a former Ambassador of India to UNESCO in Paris. He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1969, and retired in 2005 as Development Commissioner of Karnataka and Add’l Chief Secretary to Govt. of Karnataka.
During his career he held various positions in central and state governments. He’s worked as Joint Secretary to Chief Minister during Sri. D. Devaraj Urs period.
He’s worked as Principal Secretary to Government in Department of Fin, Agri, and Culture & tourism. He was Director General, Admin Trg Institute, Mysore for a long period. He’s worked as Chairman of Naval and Air Force Standing Estab Committees in Min of Defence, Govt. of India, Add’l Dir General of Tourism Govt. of India. Besides, he’s known for his speeches in pure kannada, and his prowess on kannada-literature.
Even Auditya, Harleen were pretty informal in relaxing the evening especially planned in their honour. Harleen, waltzing to steps of Auditya while Celine Dion gracefully sang in background. Dulcet music rendered softly that reverberated soulfully, and emanated from amidst tall-trees of Lalit Ashok outdoors.
MSS well-wishers were there too. Jayanthi Gopal coming few days ahead all-the-way from Chennai, to assist her best-friend prepare for her wedding host-role. Even, Niranjan, who frequently slips-away on sojourn to honour his beegaru ensconced in neighbouring Andhra, was present in person.
‘Twas perhaps apparent to him that he’d missed a few MSS occasions over last few months. Also, he’d often excused himself to fulfil a penchant to pray at Tirupathi.
He often visits the abode of lord Balaji of seven-hills, via special darshans in Tirupathi. He looked fully sober in thought-and-deed, with his customary smile.
Other luminaries who graced the occasion included:
M.V.Mahesha – People-savvy, gregarious, global-thinking well-wisher of the MSS group.
RV Shankar – Self-styled business-tycoon who indeed has become a case-study amongst humble people amidst this group for his rags-to-riches story of application, industriousness and, of diligence. He was present in his Dev Anand look-alike-avatar.
Others included Arun Chandra – A entrepreneur, fitness-fanatic, and, a basketball enthusiast during this heydays, Balaji – The ever-smiling Oil-Merchant who is a multi-faceted trader, Ravi – A middle-class, cricket-crazy foodie, D.K.Dayanidhi, B.S.Suresh, V.Natraj, S.E.Shobha, B.Jayanthi, Nishchala, B.V.Sudha, Kathyayini, B.N.Veena, H.Y.Shalini, besides hordes of other lower-middle class fans of Poornima such as, Deepika Padukone, Meenakshi Seshadri, Priyanka Chopra, Aishwarya Rai, Sachin Tendulkar, Jennifer-Lopez, Ivanka Trump, Sreedevi, Hemamalini, Vyjayanthi Mala Bali, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Jessica, Jennifer Aniston, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Virat Kohli, Sangeetha Bijlani, Anushka Sharma, all in alignment, as though bound by some MSS whip issued by our classmate, our beloved yet-stern, commanding, military-style leader A.R.Padma.
There were hordes of MSS folks all-over the lawns, all stimulated with single-malt, double-malt enjoying the spirit of the occasion.
That said about the MSS attendance, I am making an attempt to share a bird’s-eye-view of excerpts of such juxtaposed, nostalgic (1) Wedding reception, followed by the globally networked (2) At & T hosted con-call setting.
(1) Wedding Reception
Preamble to a gala wedding:
Kannada-boy Auditya and, Punjabi-kudi Harleen were to sanctify their marriage. They’re to take an oath again to partner with each other, bond-in-love, announce start of their caring teamwork supplementing each other, converge to nurture their professional aspirations of global proportions.
It’s indeed fun to soak into a hallucinating megalomania when you’ve a million followers on social media as cynosure of all eyes that belong to young and energetic people. Auditya had steered an exponential response via fan-following that was exciting, mind-boggling as well as, awe-inspiring by any standards.
Quite humbling, Allvaa?
Affectionate feelings, if any felt following this teleconference call, lies in the eyes-of-the-beholder.
Who else have come to the wedding ya? B.S. Anitha asked…
Anyone from Mysore Palace? She queried…
Oh no!, they’ve a newborn, so, they could’nt venture out in chill-weather. Else, for sure Trishi would’ve called. She wanted to avoid long journey for her infant prince. But, she’d come to Kollegal recently, and we’d been on shopping around town, eating chepekai, sugarcane-juice, and all, N.S. Lalitha answered.
Wow!, so lucky to be in touch with royalty, take a peek at royalty-of-Rajasthan too. Allvaa? Fathima quipped.
Yeah! Trishika likes maths, I like maths so we have a common interest, Lalitha exclaimed.
All vegetarians come this way and line-up, Padma commanded.
Her ringing voice, decisively causing the faint-hearted to freeze for a moment.
But, she was indeed kind on this occasion. Hers’ was a legacy of Do the right thing always, and fear none, be it Maneskshaw or, Modi.
Hey Dayanidhi…Shhh! No insurance policy selling, silence!
Her decisive opinions on topics ranging from Aishwarya Rai to Zebra stripes, all topics big and small have already been well-chronicled. Especially by BBC, Wall-street Journal, CNBC and a host of other small players.
It’s for this reason, it’s futile to repeat all accolades she’s been showered upon, over the years, by luminaries from across world.
Padma had just ogled Dayanidhi selling an insurance policy to a gullible by-stander nearby the dinner table in Lalit-Ashok. Padma resented it. Just wanted him to wine-dine-and-be-happy. But, he was working here, and against gut-feel suiting a festive-occasion, she felt.
Such an inveterate prankster D.K.Dayanidhi has always been, when it comes to insurance policies. Allvaa? Prabha Ranganath asserted.
That’s why he’s an achiever, he drinks, breathes policies, A. Vidyashankar announced.
There came a tempo-traveller full of remainder class-mates who’d planned to come together. The group included K.S.Sudheer, H.S.Vijayshankar, K.Harish Gupta, K.Suresh Gupta, T.G.Sudhindra, M.S.Gurudutt, M.S.Sreeram, K.R.Ramamohan, Venugopal.
In the other tempo-traveller that was coordinated by girls’ group we’d Anuradha, S. Jayashree, B.P.Jayashree, K. Dhanalakshmi, Bhagyalakshmi, Aalakshmi, Eelakshmi, Parveen Sultana, S.Prabhavati, B.S.Karuna, Kalpana Kashyap, K.Kusuma, Chandrika Belathoor, Renuka, N.S.Padmini, K.G.Shanthalakshmi, B.V.Sudha, Tabassum Sultana, H.S.Madhavi, Datta Kumari all in their vibrant best-of-attire.
Everyone happy to re-connect, wish the new couple, and be guided by Padma on executing planned protocol from MSS-Classmates perspective. All were happy!
A Note on M.S.Poornima:
A simple girl from the 5th bench wearing that full-sleeved, bottle-green-sweater with 2-jadeys had slowly transformed herself into a full-fledged professional working for Indian Census Bureau. Notwithstanding that fact, she now was cynosure of all MSS classmates for having hosted this gala dinner party to introduce, and welcome a new member, Harleen into her family-fold. What a coincidence! Poornima wore a dark green silk saree to re-live MSS moments for a while.
Although a low-key team-player amidst otherwise boisterous group of MSS girls, she was outspoken on issues that made our MSS group, stronger. Much alike Shobha, another staunch MSS protagonist, Poori always basked in collective glory of teams. She was a people-person all-along.
MSS classmates had all along admired Poornima’s:
– Cross-cultural equanimity
– Composure of being well-informed about the-evolving-world we live-in
– Awareness, and command over various topics popular with younger generation
– Mastery over cultures, demography, anthropology, sociology, due to experience of working on projects with Census Bureau.
Harleen’s fascination with everything MSS:
Harleen had fallen for yet another feature that was not visible to naked-eye. It was, Poornima’s connection with MSS, the quintessential, vintage alma-mater in Bangalore.
She had read much about Bangalore from her social-studies projects on various metros-of-India. She was enamoured with how Bangalore had become a pot-boiler of cultures since time immemorial. MSS being a crowning jewel for reinforcing a foundation for girls to think global. To say the least, she knew Seethamma, Muniswamy, Maridoss, Sharadamma, Anthony, Violet Teacher, her piano songs too. She had fallen for all these.
She perceived MSS as a haven where Bangaaru boys, girls assimilated knowledge under auspices of a pedagogue. Except that student-teacher camaraderie was inside a proper class-room instead of under-a-tree like Harleen was mistakenly led to believe. She’d misconceptions that flip-flopped between Rabindranath Tagore’s Shanthiniketan to Seethamma’s Samaj. But, Poori was patiently helping her newlywed daughter-in-law to appreciate nuances of Seethamma’s legacy.
But, t’was the explanation related to prolific tutoring skills of MSS faculty, the pedagogues that Harleen found awe-inspiring and fascinating. She was spell-bound on how the pedagogues did their job of showing a path lit with street lamps for kids to pursue it. Usha Teacher, KT Padma, Kamalamma, Saraswathamma, Juttu, Kamalanabhan, C.N.Kamala, Kamala Bai, Zahara Begum, R Padma, Manonmani, Chaya, Vatsala, Cybill and, Violet Teacher included.
Indeed very dispassionate pedagogues. Allvaa? Harleen exclaimed, trying to pleasantly surprise her in-laws over breakfast. Further, t’was for those 7th standard kids to walk-the-talk. Allvaa? She added….There was silence, as a friend called Poori over phone to thank her for nice party, and to congratulate newly-weds again.
Auditya shouted in background, Nange innu poori beku, innu saagu beku!
Poori said, Ok Ok!
Don’t know what mesmerizing tricks Auditya does.
But, just figure from Poornima’s versions that her boy liked to click photos from an early age. Must be surely a bit better than clicking camera from beneath a large black fabric that I imagined. T’was from my familiarity of how old-time expert photo-journalists like Subbanna of N.R.Colony did.
Well, Subbanna must’ve been adept at understanding how to excel with any work in an ambience-of-darkness. Well, at least I thought innocently.
Naughty people choose to interpret it any-which-way they want, differently though. Allvaa?
For Subbanna, photography was a sentence imposed upon him. Basically precipitated due to his expressed boredom on any vocation that demanded discipline. He had tried his hand at Engineering, Accountancy, and, the retinue of Subbanna’s kith-and-kin had given up long ago on this fat-teenager doing any semblance of justice to Science, Maths, Social Studies in high school stage itself. Leave alone…Theory of Machines, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Metrics & Measurements, Plant Engineering, Value Engineering to groom himself into an Engineer. Those were the days when there were few takers for creativity in middle-class families.
Who cares for creativity-within, when the kid doesn’t know maths. Allvaa?
Family’s dream of chubby-lad assimilating knowledge at B.M.S.College, and go onto take a job later in Sharavathy Power Project at Jog Falls near Shimoga seemed elusive.
Especially for his father Krishna Rao. He had left no stone unturned for Subbu to align with Vishweswarayya’s legacy, join sir M.V’s fan-following of Old Mysore’s Engineering Cadre.
But, despite patience, perseverance, Rao saw no signs of promise, anticipated efforts expended from Subbanna. Zilch coming forth.
How to bear any fruits?
Subbanna’s mom was more worried on who’d give a bride for Subbanna? Paapa…
Instead, Subbanna who’s now inured to hearing hypothetical portrayal of a lacklustre future-life from elders at home, would just turn deaf-by-choice.
He’d rise rather early, borrow his uncle’s Isoly-III crude metal-box called camera to take pictures of spring, summer, autumn and winter of lal bagh trees, chirping birds, smiling people, and chugging automobiles at regular intervals, en-route.
For Subbanna, organized society, organized knowledge was all farce. He was a poet? An artist, and an expressionist extraordinaire…But, his mode of communication was through clicking pictures. Astey!
He did a fantastic job for a boy who didn’t fare well in studies, it was his first-love. He always found a inner-calling whenever he lay-hands on his uncle’s Isoly-III camera. A camera that was reflected in an Ad chronicled in Kannada Weekly Magazine, the erstwhile Sudha. Ad showed picture of an elephant.
Subbanna took pictures with such an elan, that could make even the pope feel romantic, perhaps. He was an expert in outdoor photography with insights into colour-mixing as well as, in communicating moods. He was an expert in portraits, especially the cheek-bones and lips were made to look voluptuous to the eyes of any aficionado. Because, taking photos of special targets such as beautiful women dominated his photo-business via contracts of marriage photos.
Amongst the variations were heavily costumed humans. They all came in different sizes, shapes, bedecking themselves in perfumes, jasmine flowers, silk-sarees and in a enticing side-pose revealing their feminine-beauty for photo-enthusiasts to say, Ooh, La La!
Net net, Krishna Rao’s son Subbu was a runaway success with elite families in, and around Basavanagudi of 1960s-70s. He was popularly called as the cameraman with a black-langa, aka, black-langa-subbu.
This was due to the fact that all expensive cameras of those days came with a black langa. It came as part of tool-kit.
Cameramen adept at wearing langa onto their head and torso, for the sake of improving their product quality, were few and far between.
Subbanna was proud to wear a langa on his head, every-time he had to get trigger-happy.
(2) At & T hosted con-call setting:
Festivities transition into the MSS teleconference via AT&T:
So, it was as though Auditya’s photographic skills started where Subbanna’s had left-off.
But, following following this gala wedding reception on sprawling lawns of 5-star Hotel – Lalit Ashok, Bangalore, was a teleconference planned for the following week.
This was causing much excitement to all MSS classmates.
Whole class was to experience one-of-a-kind con-call on their mobiles.
These interactions although technologically enabled, were individually empowered by the usual cavalier mind-set of our motley group called MSS.
Shivaram opened teleconference bridge instantly connecting participants waiting to join the call.
Welcoming all, he set the agenda of call with a groovy-tone similar to that of Gregory Peck setting expectations in 70s-movie McKenna’s Gold.
Shalini, Madhavi, Padma, Tabassum all joining call using their mobile devices from a public place. They all were amazed at how clear the audio, video were streaming.
Are you all able to hear me? Shivaram queried…
Yes, indeed…chuckled Karuna, the world-famous 7th std. class-monitor from her new home in San Diego, CA.
There was a myth that had to be busted on this teleconference call and, it related to the topic – Unity in diversity that our rank-and-file of MSS group abounded.
Shivaram handed-off call to Nagabhushan for a 10-minute presentation on the topic.
Naga – Started proceedings in his customary executive style wiping his boyish face often with his left palm. He started painting a picture of how since days-of-yore, India remained a formidable force for peace. He paused on each slide to make his point via his neatly layered slide-deck. All in Microsoft Powerpoint.
Ashok Maanay – Although all classmates were Bangaarus during 7th std year of 1973-74, we had parted ways. Many flew out of the MSS nest. How nice to connect again! Allvaa?
Ramaprasad – Absolutely!, I want to add that all Boys and girls remembered values of that grooming, went onto become super citizens of this beautiful world. They are like raagas and taanas in music. All are required to balance equanimity. Allvaa?
Shanthalakshmi – Some retained their elegance, and grace…some transitioned to elegance only by way of their expensive dresses. Much like what I see here in US. Some wish birthdays days before. Some don’t even remember people’s birthdays. Allvaa?
Ravi – But, all for sure managed to retain this core- competency, their IP, a unique property that got mapped onto something comparable to Mendeleef’s Periodic Table. Allvaa?
Sudhindra – Some metals, some non-metals. Mostly metals. Allvaa?
Niranjan – Are you saying there is only one GOLD! Is it Mahesh?
Ravi – My assumption was all our class girls are GOLD PIECES. But, I know I am wrong. Sorry girls, no offence. Just that periodic-table says only ONE GOLD is possible.
Dayanidhi, Balaji – Quickly converse on side-lines, promptly that gold prices have come down over week. Saying Allvaa? Allvaa? With words ounu ounu, in telugu.
Natti – I have a different view. Gold Atomic Number 79 and Atomic Mass as 197.
Ravi – Atomic Number, Mass yaarig bekappa. Nange Gold Piece beku, 24-carot aparanji beku. I want to feel GOLD.
K.V.Amarnath – Why don’t we all pool in funds,make a mega-movie on our schooldays? I could pull-in Chandrasekhar, Vadiraj of Namma-Makkalu cast.
Great idea kano, R.Sreenath promptly replied as he adjusted his sweater, and coughed due to his sensitivity with December weather.
V. Murali – We’ve so much science talent, can everyone dedicate some time to do some basic research? If not…applied research to improvise on existing gadgets is also fine with me. I’ll give space for this endeavour. We’ve to do something, ya.
S.Harsha – Agree, we can do some study of neuro-transmitters. Especially, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, Gaba, Cerotonin, and Dopamine.
H.N.Nagendra – Dopamine is my favourite as it’s something to do with whiskey-and-soda. Allvaa?
K.L.Krishnamurthy – Adjusting the braces of his chaddi, Hey S.R.Ramesh! can we go to subbamma angadi to buy buguri and baachi (the iron nail), later today?
Bandish – I want to suggest that we have this concall on a weekly basis, can we?
Devaraj – Sorry my accent is malayalee. Thats why you heard the number 10 as TON. It’s ten. I earlier used the word COLLEGE, you heard it as…KO LEJ. Allvaa?
H.S.Purushottam – Can we have a movie screened as part of XMAS, New Year festivities in somebody’s house? We can view old-reels of Laurel & Hardy. Allvaa? I was called as Hardy, and just for all my friends. I can dress up again as one.
Ashok.R.Maanay – I recollect all drawings, paintings I’d do during school days. Now, I’ve to somehow start all-over again. Oil Pastels, Turpentine oil, Canvas. Various size paint-brushes, mixing plates ella purchase maad-beku.
B.Y.Harish – I like Purushottam’s idea of screening old films. Instead of Laurel & Hardy, we’d screen War Movies, such as Tora-Tora-Tora, Where Eagles Dare, Passage, Patton, Bridge-Too-Far, etc., Could we?
B.S.Guruprasad – Could we go to Lalbagh, spend whole day, re-tracing the same route, eating stuff from V.B.Bakery and Banana one-day every year for the rest of our lives? I agree, people who need to take medication are allowed to take tablets as well, as an exception. Allvaa?
S.R.Ramesh – You all go to Lalbagh, myself, Narasimha will stay with Violet Teacher to help her out send god’s WhatsApp pictures to her church-folks in Brisbane.
Narasimha – I agree, I’ve some new videos of gods, swamis from across 6 continents. I will post it later today. Please share it with all your near and dear. Good things’ll happen to you, your kith-and-kin, your neighbours, your favourite political leaders, your favourite film-stars, your hair-dresser, and last-but-not-least, your pets at home.
Suresh – “Nice to see so many of us joining today’s call”, It’s nice to see so many MSS luminaries joining this call” Suresh quipped. I’ve much to share from my recent yatra to US, and, see that this experience of MSS journey amidst all kinds of luminaries in MSS parties I attended so far, would undoubtedly belie even best of theme parks of the world. Disneyworld, Disneyland ella baree olu. Allvaa!
Mahesha – No point in wasting money, and go to Orlando just to see Mickey, Goofy and, all, he added. All are here itself. All in flesh-and-blood. Allvaa?
Shivaram intervenes ex-officio as time-keeper saying STOP FOLKS!
This’s a debate that we can belabour on till Cows-come-home!
On, that basis, he opens floor for Q & A:
Shivaram – We change gears, now on a new topic.
Topic – MSS celebrates happy holidays, Merry XMAS and Happy New Year!
What does Happy Holidays mean to you Padmini? How does Christmas Holidays bring happiness to you Charumathi?
Shivaram says, in his customary English with a Californian drawl interspersed by his silicon-valley accent.
Right from start of Con-call when he welcomed classmates from Vermont to V.V.Puram with equal zeal, Shivaram maintained his cordiality during roll-call on audio, and beyond. Cool guy.
The participants were able to feel proximity, and closeness of the group despite physical distance apart.
He further circulated the Minutes-of-meeting highlighting:
– Points of discussion
– Action items assigned to various owners along with the deadline to finish the task
Points of Discussion delved into the details that some were kind, some ordinary, some trying talk how rice and tomato saru are best for health, while an opportunist from amongst MSS back-benchers tried his hand to trap the gullible, make in-roads into minds of trusting friends to make a quick insurance policy sale. Even trusting friends were not spared despite meeting for the first time after hiatus of 40+ years. These guys are desperate either to seek advantage or to put down someone. Paapa…
All because, each of MSS-Classmate started as GOLD. But, time is a healer…Gold in some cases transitioned to noble-metals, rare-metals, in some other cases.
Else, it would be a heterogenous mixture of dissimilar metals. Call it alloy, call it amalgam. Everything is required as part of life.
But, far from pure Bangaaru! a deep voice retorted in the background.
‘Twas Muniswamy, walking out near the entrance to Seethamma’s Office.
He seemed to claim – My Kadlekai, toffees, coconut burfi are Bangaarus.
Aparanji, Allvaa? Try it if you want?
Thus saying, he gave-away free-toffees, snacks to everyone. All MSS-Classmates who were kids in 74′ were overjoyed!
Merry XMAS, Happy New Year!
What a walk-down-the-memory-lane!
Thanks Muniswamy! Everyone said in unison.
Main building was an edifice we were familiar with. But, Muniswamy claiming…There is only one Aparanji! I calmly agreed…😊
Such a super salesman. Allvaa?