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The final phase

I moved to the new house and the new locality in May 1989. The locality known as the HRBR Layout was formed partly from the bed of a vast lake in Banswadi, a tiny village on the outskirts of Bangalore reached by road. The area was an extension of the city to the north east beyond the Imperial Tobacco Factory located just to the north of Bangalore East Railway Station. In days gone by the main attraction of the area was an ancient temple of Lord Hanuman which drew thousands of devotees every week end. The temple housed the village deity of Anjaneya, almost seven feet in height carved out of a single granite stone. A certain gentleman from Bangalore from our locality, perhaps a great devotee of the deity chanced upon this temple and poured out a lot of money to renovate the temple especially the sanctum sanctorum. He arranged special pujas every weekend at which the devotees from every nook and corner of the city and a few from outside participated. We were staying in the cantonment area of the city and many a time I have visited the temple in the company of my friends and cousins riding six to seven kilometers our mode of transport being the bicycle. Beyond the Tobacco factory and the small township of Maruthi Seva Nagar it was a long stretch of kutcha road with wide open fields on either side. There was also a small lake on the northern side of the road and vine yards and rice fields beyond. It was on this lake bed and the vine yards that a layout was formed many years later. This layout was named the HRBR (Hennur Road Bellary Road) Layout and many years later it became part of Kalyan Nagar. Being a new layout and outside the city limits property value was cheap and sites were sold by the Development Authority at dirt cheap prices. The village surrounding the Temple was called Chikka Banswadi and was a typical pilgrim centre. In those days I would have least imagined that this layout and the temple town would become my home for a long period of almost 15 years. After being posted to the Bangalore Branch I was looking for a house closer to the branch to avoid commuting a long distance from my house on West of Chord Road through the entire length of the city especially when I was in charge of Cash with the keys in my possession. Any delay due to an untoward accident or traffic jam (I was traveling by my own two wheeler) on the way would mean that the branch would not be able to commence the day’s business on time. So every morning I was so tense to reach office well ahead of opening time. I was looking for a house in the cantonment area which would be closer to Bangalore and much less crowded. A customer of mine helped me by informing me that his brother’s newly built house in Banswadi was available for rent and if interested I may have a look. I did have a look at the house and found it was sufficient for me and was affordable at the rent quoted. It was agreed that I might take the house and necessary papers would be got ready. At the last moment the gentleman went back on his word. However he offered to help me find another house in the HRBR Layout that was coming up. Without much further delay I fixed up a house in the layout and met the owner to finalise the papers. I vacated the house in West of Chord Road and moved to the new house within a week’s time.

Sriram was leaving for Bombay at this point of time to take up the job with Larsen & Toubro as an Engineer. He stayed initially with my brother in Bombay but later found a place with a few friends to stay permanently. Raji, Supriya and Ambika were enrolled in a convent in the area but not before I had to fight for admitting Ambika in the same school. The school authorities readily gave admission to Raji and Supriya but when it came to Ambika they cited her inability to do even a simple test in Kannada well. I challenged the Headmistress of the school to admit her and if by one month’s time she didn’t do well in all subjects including Kannada I would be prepared to withdraw her from the school. I won the challenge. I told the Head Mistress specifically that I preferred all my children in the same school. The headmistress was impressed by the performance of all the three girls in the very first year in school. It might be pertinent to note here that the girls topped their classes throughout their school career till the S.S.L.C. besides being very popular in all extra curricular activities they enthusiastically participated in.

After about nine months in the new residence I had to look for a better one as certain deficiencies were noticed in the house. During this period life at home was not hunky and tory. There were lots of misunderstandings and quite often there was tension in the air. Jaya was not getting along with father as well as one would wish for. Rajamani Anna, my mother’s elder sister Seethamani’s first son who lived in the neighbourhood with Thangam, my uncle’s only daughter whom he had married and had three children, passed away due to a heart attack. He was traveling once on way back from Madras where he had gone to visit his daughter. He was in his early seventies and had retired from the Military Engineering Services (Civil) and had built a house on Banswadi Road. We grew up together in Calicut where he lived with his mother and two brothers. After he got a job in Bangalore he had brought his mother to stay with him. His youngest brother who was just a year senior to me but was very close to me died young affected by T.B. The other brother stayed back in Calicut working at odd jobs and also assisting my uncle in looking after the theatre work. My uncles by now were managing three theatres in Calicut.

I found another house in the layout itself which was the ground floor of an owner occupied two floored house first floor being occupied by the owner himself and shifted there only to move out again six months later to another one close by because of a misunderstanding with the owner. The new one was an independent house and was very convenient. This was my last house on Bank lease. I retired from Bank’s service in January 1991. As I was not happy with this house too because the water available was hard and not fit for washing and bathing, I was again on the look out for a better house. An old friend of mine living in the same lay out suggested a house belonging to an Air Force Officer who was going away on transfer and was looking for a respectable family to take care of his house during his absence away on duty. We had a meeting at my friend’s place and the lease was agreed upon. He handed over the key and I paid an advance of Rs.15,000. I shifted my things almost immediately. Of all the houses I had occupied till date, this was most spacious and had a lot of vacant space in the compound. I started residing in this place in May 1991 just three months after my retirement in what turned to be my longest stay in one place.

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