Life Back Then

My Memories of Three Princely States

Author: 
A H Somjee

Category:

A.H. Somjee received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the London School of Economics. He is a charter member of the Simon Fraser University, Canada, where he is also an Emeritus Professor of Political Science. He has taught at the University of Baroda, the London School of Economics, University of Durham, and the National University of Singapore. He was also appointed as an Associate Fellow at the Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University, and was invited to Harvard University, several times, as a Visiting Scholar.

India’s Princely States are all but forgotten. But some of us still remember them for the simple reason that they did try to make life different for their inhabitants. I had the privilege to live in three different Princely States, all in the northwest of India.

They were the Holkar State of Indore, Udaipur State of Rajasthan, and Baroda State of Gujarat. My entire life in India was spent in these three states. I took my graduate education in the U.K., and migrated to Canada at a mature age of forty years.

Growing up in Princely Mysore

Author: 
Bapu Satyanarayana

Category:

Bapu Satyanarayana, born 1932 in Bangalore, retired as Chief Engineer, Ministry of Surface Transport. At present, he is the presiding arbitrator of the Dispute Adjudication Board appointed by the National Highway Authority of India. He lives in Mysore, and enjoys writing for various newspapers and magazines on a variety of subjects, including political and civic issues.

T. Narasipur

In 1939, when I was around seven years old, my father was the manager of Mysore Silk Filatures, and posted at T. Narasipur, a small town in what was then the Princely State of Mysore. I was studying in a primary school.

T. Narasipur was a place where the rivers Cauvery and Kapila joined. It was considered as the Sangam (confluence) of three rivers including the legendary invisible Spatica Sarovara, just like the Triveni Sangam of three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and underground stream Saraswathi at Allahabad. At Allahabad, the Kumbh mela festival is observed once in 12 years, with lakhs of people taking a ceremonial bath on the auspicious day. No such ritual was observed at Sangam in T. Narasipur till recently. What I remember about two rivers is that while the Cauvery was sparkling, at the place where Kapila joined we could see a clear line of demarcation and, in comparison, the Kapila's waters were darkish.

My Early Years - 1

Author: 
T.S. Nagarajan

Category:

T.S. Nagarajan (b.1932) is a noted photojournalist whose works have been exhibited and published widely in India and abroad. After a stint with the Government of India as Director of the Photo Division in the Ministry of Information, for well over a decade Nagarajan devoted his life to photographing interiors of century-old homes in India, a self-funded project. This foray into what constitutes the Indianness of homes is, perhaps, his major work as a photojournalist.

Editor's note: This story is reproduced, with permission, from Mr. Nagarajan's second not-for-sale book of his memories, Self-Portrait: The Story of My life, 2012. This website has several excerpts from his first not-for-sale book A Pearl of Water on a Lotus Leaf &amp\; Other Memories, 2010.This story is the first of three sequential stories about his early years.

Preface

I was born before penicillin, television, Xerox and contact lenses. There were no credit cards, laser beams or ball-point pens. We had never heard of FM radios, tape decks and electric typewriters.

My Early Years - 2

Author: 
T.S. Nagarajan

Category:

T.S. Nagarajan (b.1932) is a noted photojournalist whose works have been exhibited and published widely in India and abroad. After a stint with the Government of India as Director of the Photo Division in the Ministry of Information, for well over a decade Nagarajan devoted his life to photographing interiors of century-old homes in India, a self-funded project. This foray into what constitutes the Indianness of homes is, perhaps, his major work as a photojournalist.

 

 

Editor's note: This story is reproduced, with permission, from Mr. Nagarajan's second not-for-sale book of his memories, Self-Portrait: The Story of My life, 2012. This website has several excerpts from his first not-for-sale book A Pearl of Water on a Lotus Leaf &amp\; Other Memories, 2010.This is the second of three sequential stories about his early years. The first story is available here.

My father had to move again from Mysore to Doddaballapur, near Bangalore. He decided to leave the family behind in Mysore so that the children's education was not disturbed and preferred to take me with him. I was waiting to join the high school. In Doddaballapur, my father arranged with a local ‘mess' run by a Palaghat Iyer for our meals. He was an old man with a flowing beard.

My Early Years - 3

Author: 
T.S. Nagarajan

Category:

T.S. Nagarajan (b.1932) is a noted photojournalist whose works have been exhibited and published widely in India and abroad. After a stint with the Government of India as Director of the Photo Division in the Ministry of Information, for well over a decade Nagarajan devoted his life to photographing interiors of century-old homes in India, a self-funded project. This foray into what constitutes the Indianness of homes is, perhaps, his major work as a photojournalist.

 

Editor's note: This story is reproduced, with permission, from Mr. Nagarajan's second not-for-sale book of his memories, Self-Portrait: The Story of My life, 2012. This website has several excerpts from his first not-for-sale book A Pearl of Water on a Lotus Leaf &amp\; Other Memories, 2010.

This is the third of three sequential stories about his early years. The first story is available here and the second story is available here.

Gated Home

My Discovery of India -1

Author: 
T.S. Nagarajan

Category:

T.S. Nagarajan (b.1932) is a noted photojournalist whose works have been exhibited and published widely in India and abroad. After a stint with the Government of India as Director of the Photo Division in the Ministry of Information, for well over a decade Nagarajan devoted his life to photographing interiors of century-old homes in India, a self-funded project. This foray into what constitutes the Indianness of homes is, perhaps, his major work as a photojournalist.

 

Editor's note: This story is reproduced, with permission, from Mr. Nagarajan's second not-for-sale book of his memories, Self-Portrait: The Story of My life, 2012. This website has several excerpts from his first not-for-sale book A Pearl of Water on a Lotus Leaf &amp\; Other Memories, 2010.This story is the first of three sequential stories about his life after he left Mysore in 1956.

My Discovery of India -2

Author: 
T.S. Nagarajan

Category:

T.S. Nagarajan (b.1932) is a noted photojournalist whose works have been exhibited and published widely in India and abroad. After a stint with the Government of India as Director of the Photo Division in the Ministry of Information, for well over a decade Nagarajan devoted his life to photographing interiors of century-old homes in India, a self-funded project. This foray into what constitutes the Indianness of homes is, perhaps, his major work as a photojournalist.

 

Editor's note: This story is reproduced, with permission, from Mr. Nagarajan's second not-for-sale book of his memories, Self-Portrait: The Story of My life, 2012. This website has several excerpts from his first not-for-sale book A Pearl of Water on a Lotus Leaf &amp\; Other Memories, 2010.This is the second of three sequential stories about his life after he left Mysore. The first story is available here.

Sleight of Hand

My Discovery of India -3

Author: 
T.S. Nagarajan

Category:

T.S. Nagarajan (b.1932) is a noted photojournalist whose works have been exhibited and published widely in India and abroad. After a stint with the Government of India as Director of the Photo Division in the Ministry of Information, for well over a decade Nagarajan devoted his life to photographing interiors of century-old homes in India, a self-funded project. This foray into what constitutes the Indianness of homes is, perhaps, his major work as a photojournalist.

 

 

Editor's note: This story is reproduced, with permission, from Mr. Nagarajan's second not-for-sale book of his memories, Self-Portrait: The Story of My life, 2012. This website has several excerpts from his first not-for-sale book, A Pearl of Water on a Lotus Leaf &amp\; Other Memories, 2010.

This is the third of three sequential stories about his life after he left Mysore. Go to the first story in this sequence. Go to the second story in this sequence.

A Daughter

My memories of the air hostesses of the 1950s

Author: 
Radha Nair

Category:

Radha schooled in the Convent of Jesus and Mary (Delhi) and St. Joseph's Convent (Bombay), and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College (Delhi). She taught English at Women's Polytechnic (Madras and Coimbatore) for six years. Since 2007, she has been a freelance writer for the Hindustan Times (Mumbai), the Deccan Herald (Bangalore), and for the online editions of Outlook Traveller, India Traveller Travelogue, and Mathrabhumi (Calicut). She won the first prize in a short story competition conducted by the Deccan Herald in 2007. She has written many short stories based on her memories of family holidays in Calicut\; one of these was published in Penguin First Proof, 2010.

 

In the mid-1950s, when I was in my senior school, we were staying at Dhanraj Mahal in Bombay (now Mumbai). At night, after lights out, our rooms would be flooded with the neon blink of Air France, Alitalia, TWA, Qantas, BOAC, and JAL billboards, which were mounted against the walls of our building, all brilliantly lit up. All these international carriers had their offices inside the premises of Dhanraj Mahal.

As I drifted off to sleep, these billboards created their own magical illusions of distant lands. In the mid-50s, air travel was possible only for the affluent few. But for the less fortunate, the sense of wonder which flying created was reinforced by each of these billboards.

Memories in Black and White

Author: 
Radha Nair

Category:

Radha schooled in the Convent of Jesus and Mary (Delhi) and St. Joseph's Convent (Bombay), and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College (Delhi). She taught English at Women's Polytechnic (Madras and Coimbatore) for six years. Since 2007, she has been a freelance writer for the Hindustan Times (Mumbai), the Deccan Herald (Bangalore), and for the online editions of Outlook Traveller, India Traveller Travelogue, and Mathrabhumi (Calicut). She won the first prize in a short story competition conducted by the Deccan Herald in 2007. She has written many short stories based on her memories of family holidays in Calicut\; one of these was published in Penguin First Proof, 2010.

In the 1950s, when I was a Standard 10 student, in my all-girls class there was only one girl who owned a Box Camera. So when she brought it along for school picnics, she was the centre of great adulation. Everyone wanted to get as close to her as possible, just to see how this magic box worked.

We hung round while Tina Vakil gently eased out her Kodak Box Camera from its leather case. We watched her in focused silence, as she slowly made precise adjustments with the camera. Then she chose a scenic spot and got us all to stand together, as tightly as possible, while she framed us on the viewfinder before she took snaps of us at Borivili National Park.

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