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Looking for job

I was desperately looking for a job in those days having reached my tether sitting idle at home and being a burden on my local guardians who have been taking care of the expenses for my food and clothes. Although my wants were next to nothing I realized how lacking in focus a life can be without work. I tried to focus my life in the company of books and writing. My father used to send me once in a while some money through friends who were returning from Pakistan after their contract period. Though a pittance, it used to take care of my postage expenses and an occasional cup of coffee when I go out. My father returned from Pakistan in 1950 and was posted in Bangalore itself on promotion. He was trying hard to get me into the Bank but was not successful because of shortage of vacancy. I was also trying hard to get a foothold in some good job but it became Herculean. During this period of forced idleness I did a lot of writing on a variety of topics which were published. I also tried my hand in starting a manuscript magazine with assistance from a group of friends. The magazine named “GANDHI” was in Tamil, a language I am not quite familiar with. I became the publisher and the whole magazine running to about 16 small pages was written in my hand because I had the reputation of possessing an excellent handwriting. I used to illustrate the articles, draw the front cover and arrange the articles (written by a few friends of mine) in a presentable form. Many of my friends appreciated me on my efforts. I brought out four issues on a monthly basis. In September 1950 I succeeded in getting a job in the Binny Mills and this put an end to my journalistic activities temporarily. I worked there for almost nine months riding to work on my bicycle almost six to seven kms every morning and evening but unfortunately I was not confirmed in the job. My employers were British and they generally preferred Anglo Indians and Christians to be appointed. And to have lasted nine months there was indeed a small miracle. It however gave me some valuable experience and some money to spend. Thereafter it was again a struggle not only to spend time but to have some money in my pocket. Later I worked for six months with a firm of Army Contractors who had their office in Jalahalli, a place at almost 16 kms from the heart of the city. The salary was not much (about Rs.75/- per month) but I could take spending money from the cashier as and when required, of course within the cealing. The only mode of transport in those days was my humble bicycle. Starting at about 8 o’clock in the morning I used to ride the entire length of 16 kms happily through the countryside to reach my office by around 9.30. Bangalore in those days was not as expansive as it later developed. Much of the periphery of the city was barren country side for miles. Several military units were located in the vast area which was called Jalahalli East. The office I was working in was a firm of Army Contractors (Civil) who ran a big canteen stores and also supplied various items required for jawans. I used to visit most of the units in charge of delivery duty. The work was light so was the salary.

On return journey in the evenings it was a different story. Leaving office by 6 o’clock I raced through the town in just about half an hour to reach one of the four theatres in South Parade which showed English pictures. It had by then become a craze with me to see movies (English only) once in two days and there were a variety of movies to be seen. They used to change programs once in two days in those days. And there were four theatres to contend with. I was considered an authority on English movies. I could recount the names of actors who starred in a particular movie, its director, producer, music director and many other details. I was called the walking encyclopedia on movies by my friends those days.

This continued for many years until interrupted by my shifting away from Bangalore on getting a job. Another interest I picked up in those days was watching football every weekend. I visited the football stadium in the evening to watch the league or open tournaments. I also became addicted to cricket and on Saturdays and Sundays I watched matches during the day. In later years I not only watched these sporting events but I used to write about them in the newspapers as well. I also developed a craze for watching English movies in the half a dozen exclusive movie theatres in town. These theatres were all located in the cantonment area where during and after the war years there was a large clientele for Hollywood and British movies. It was not difficult for me to follow the movies because of my strong base in English. Although my income was low I managed to find money for all these activities all by myself. I never asked my father for a single pie for my spending money.

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