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Friday, April 4, 2014

ST SEBASTIAN’S CHURCH, COROMANDEL, KGF

An Excerpt from my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE
St Sebastian’s Church in Coromandel Kolar Gold Fields  was established in the year 1899. It is one of the oldest Churches in KGF. This Parish of St Sebastian catered to the Catholics living in the mining areas of Coromandel, Balaghat, Gold Field Hill and the whole of Nandydroog Mine.
Inititally, Nandydroog Mine did not have its own Parish church and all the Catholics from Nandydroog were therefore Parishioners of St Sebastian’s Church in Coromandel.
Since the Church was almost 3 miles way, people  either had to walk or go by train or Jatka to the Parish Church. In view of the distance and the difficulties involved in reaching St. Sebastian’s Church, arrangements were made by the Parish Priest to conduct Mass for the parishioners in the KGF School Hall. All the Catholics from Nandydroog Mine would attend this Mass at 6 O’clock on Sunday mornings. Even though the Service would be conducted in Latin, everyone would take active part in the prayers and sing all the hymns. The Choir was conducted by Mrs. Monisse and Mr. Oliver. However for all important feasts and other occasions such as the Annual Mission, Funeral Masses, Christenings, First Communions etc, we went to our Parish Church. Later on, a new Shrine dedicated to Infant Jesus was established in the old swimming bath premises for the Catholics of Nandydroog mine.Since we belonged to St Sebastian’s Parish Church initially, all of us were  Baptized and also made our First Holy Communion in St Sebastian’s Church.




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
St Sebastian’s Feast in the month of January  was celebrated as the Parish Feast with great fervour and religious zeal by all the parishioners. Every year a novena of 9 days was held just before the feast.  On the Feast Day, Masses were held in English and Tamil followed by a grand Car Procession with the statues of St Sebastian, St Anthony and Our Blessed Mother decorated grandly and taken out on all the roads around the Church. While the procession was in progress, people would throw flowers and Gram or “Kudla” mixed with pepper and salt on the statue of St Sebastian as a token of their gratitude for favours received from him. Silver offerings of various figures were also offered either as a request for some favour or in thanksgiving for his blessings. A mini fair would come up around the Church for the whole nine days and stalls selling cheap toys, bangles, Food stuffs, Sweets, etc made roaring business. The giant Wheel, Merry-ground, slippery side etc were major attractions of the children.
 
 
A Shrine in honour of St Anthony was also built in the premises of St Sebastian’s Church. This Shrine and the Statue of St Anthony draws many devotees who throng the Shrine on Tuesdays and on other days to pray to him for help in their daily lives.                                                                      



There is a statue of St Roch in the Church which attracts many devotees who pray to St Roche to cure them of various illness most especially skin rashes. St. Roch is known as  the patron Saint against plague, cholera, and skin rashes. St Roch is also known as the patron of Dogs as he loved dogs and it is believed that he got cured of his skin rashes only because his dog would lick the wound .

 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Old Photographs of KGF 2

 
 

Old Photographs of KGF

A collage of old photographs of KGF showing the Oorgaum Hall, St Michael and All Angels Church, the KGF Mining Company Hospital and the bungalow that was allotted to the Doctors of the Mining Hospital in at Champion Reef, KGF.




Collection of photographs of KGF School Oorgaum later renamed as Parkinson Memorial School






St Joseph's Convent Champion Reef KGF




 
 






Friday, January 17, 2014

The Telephone Exchange in Oorgaum

 
 
 

PHOTOGRAPHS OF KGF

Just the Landscape of KGF, The Cycnaide Dumps, Mill Tailings, the Meter House in Chanpion Reefs, the 5 Lights Junction etc
 

COLLAGE OF PHOTOGRAPHS OF KGF SCHOOL

 
BOY SCOUTS IN KGF SCHOOL

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

SOME NOSTALGIA - EARTHEN DRINKING WATER POTS FOR COOL WATER IN SUMMER


When we were kids growing up in KGF, we didn't have fancy water filters or refrigerators to store bottles of water for Drinking Water in those days. Our drinking water was always stored in a Mud Pot which was placed on a special stand in a corner of the Dining Room. Here is a picture of one such mud drinking water pot.
 



 
MUD DRINKING WATER POTS
 
 
The water stored in these earthen / mud pots was alsways cool and sweet and had a lovely earthy taste. This cool water was filled into glass jugs and placed on the side board, with a set of tumblers for us to use whenever we felt thirsty.
There was also another type of mud goglet that was also very handy and in much use in the old days. We also had these mud goglets at home, which were much smaller than the water pots and could be carried easily. In fact in those days, many people carried these goglets along with them on train journeys.
Here is a picture of this old earthen drinking water goglet below
 
DRINKING WATER GOGLET


 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

THE KGF RESCUE STATION AND THE RESCUE TEAM

 
The KGF Mining Rescue Team was considered to be the best mining rescue team in the whole country in the olden days and the team won many awards and citations. This is the picture of the Rescue Team which won the Barraclough Challenge Shield in the All India Mines Rescue Competition in 1955.


There were several instances of tragic and fatal accidents inside the mines that left many workers physically handicapped and incapacitated. Several times, there was loss of lives due to the Rock Bursts or Air Blasts. The Rock Bursts during the 1920s and 30s and the massive Rock Burst in 1952, claimed many lives as quite a few miners were buried alive.
When the Air Blasts occurred under ground, several miners would get trapped inside the tunnels and die due to suffocation and injuries. The passages and tunnels get blocked due to landslides.
The John Taylor and Sons Company formed a dedicated rescue team which would immediately get into action to rescue workers trapped underground due to mining accidents and disasters such as rock bursts, fires, explosions, cave-ins, flooding of the mines etc. The KGF Mining Rescue Team was thus established in 1923. The Rescue Station was housed in a building quite close to the Oorgaum Station Railway crossing a short distance away from the Nandydroog Mine Offices.
The Rescue Team was always on call 24 x 7, to attend to any emergencies both underground and on the surface. The team was well versed in all rescue procedures and specially trained to rescue miners trapped underground with minimum time loss. They were fully trained in rendering timely First Aid and in the use of the Proto Safety equipment, SABC Breathing sets etc, especially when the miners were suffocated due to lack of oxygen on account of landfalls, fire, smoke, toxic mine gases, etc.
The KGF Rescue Team was soon considered to be the best mining rescue team in the country and won many awards and citations. A picture of the team which won the Barraclough Challenge Shield in the All India Mines Rescue Competition in 1955 is appended hereto.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A FOOT BALL GREAT OF CHELSEA FOOT BALL CLUB WHO WAS BORN IN KGF - LEN DOLDING

A FOOT BALL GREAT OF CHELSEA FOOT BALL CLUB WHO WAS BORN IN KGF - LEN DOLDING

 


For those Foot Ball Fans especially supporters of the Chelsea Football Club, here is some Trivia about Desmond Leonard Dolding (13 December 1922 – 23 November 1954) an English footballer and cricketer who was born in our very own Kolar Gold Fields.
The English Football Giant, Chelsea Football Club had the distinction of having four Indian born Football players including a player who was born in Kolar Gold Fields who have represented their club during the yesteryears. Len Dolding was born in Kolar Gold Fields and played 27 games For Chelsea Football Club in the three years after the Second World War.
Born on 13th December 1922 in Nandydroog Mine, KGF, South India, Len Dolding served as a
bomb-aimer in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. He was a fine footballer playing as a winger for Chelsea Football Club (27 league appearances in 1946 - 1948) and Norwich City (12 appearances.
He was also a Cricketer and played for MCC for about seven years as a right-arm leg-break bowler. He was the 12th Man for the England Team in the Lord's Test of 1949. Sadly, he died at the age of 32 years  in a Car Accident on 23rd November 1954 in Wembley UK.  The Football and Cricket Scene lost one of their most talented Footballers and Cricketers.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

THE KGF TRAIN - BANGALORE TO MARIKUPPAM

This article from the Deccan Herald on the 13th September is quite humourous. It also high lights how versatile and willy our KGF locals are when it comes to suiting their own convenience.
On the jouney back to Marikuppam, there are invariably 4 or 5 unscheduled stops  caused by pulling the alarm chain in the train when the train reaches a certain locality or area. These passengers get "dropped" right at their doorsteps. Once the train stops, these "train stoppers" or "alarm chain pullers" just jump off the train, then very kindly pull the string to reset the chain and let the train carry on to its destination Marikuppam. The "Fine" for unauthorised stoppage of trains by pulling the Alarm Chain is Rs.1000/- but since the Chain pullers escape under cover of darkness, the Railway Protection Force is deprived of a nice fat amount!
I'm sharing the article below

 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

SOCIAL LIFE IN KGF IN THE EARLY DAYS


The Anglo-Indian Community in KGF had quite an active social life in the early days of KGF. They loved having parties and get togethers. Card games, Bridge and Whist Sessions were a regular past time in their homes when 3 or 4 families got together. Card Sessions and Whist Drives were also regularly arranged in the Clubs and Associations. They were all passionately fond of music and dancing.
 
 
Almost every person was musically inclined, and they played a variety of instruments. The English Grand Piano was the prized possession in many homes besides a number of musical instruments such as guitars, banjos, drums etc. Many of them were proud owners of a 2 band Radio and a gramophone or Radiogram. Records of old favorites such as ‘O Sol Mio’, ‘Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread’, etc, were very popular in those days.
They had a number of Rhymes and Ditties that they sang at parties and get-togethers. Any occasion warranted a party with much sing-song and dance. Parties at home were jolly, riotous affairs with everybody lustily singing old-time favorites such as ‘Roll Out the Barrel’, ‘When Irish Eyes are Smiling’, ‘She’ll be coming down the Mountain’, ‘Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree’, ‘Row, Row, Row your boat’, etc, accompanied by someone on the piano or Guitar or banjo. There would be much clapping of hands, stamping of feet and beating of pots and pans to keep time. The singing got lustier as the party wore on with the amount of booze being consumed. Their spirits rose higher as ‘the spirits’ went in!!!
Country Music was also a hot Anglo-Indian favorite besides Rock and Roll and Jazz. Most Anglo-Indian children grew up listening to these country songs on the radio or the lucky few who owned records and LPs played them on their gramophones or Radiograms. Popular Country songs in those days were ‘You’re the reason our kids are so ugly’, ‘All my Exs’ live in Texas’, ‘Cotton fields’, ‘She got the ring and I got the finger’, ‘Who’s gonna take the garbage out when I’m gone’, ‘At the Gas station of love, I got the self-service pump’ etc, etc.
Some of the Anglo-Indian boys looked and dressed like the popular film stars of that time such as Clark Gable and later like Elvis and Cliff Richards, sporting the same hair styles and side locks, while the girls resembled the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Doris Day and other Holly wood actresses with their distinctive features and fair skins. Jam Sessions, Pound parties, Go-Go Dances, Socials and Cultural Evenings were regularly organized, and there
was no dearth of entertainment for the Community in KGF in the 1940s to 60s. Sadly the KGF of today is very different to those wonderful times.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

AN AMUSING INCIDENT - LIFE IN KGF IN THE OLD DAYS


Jon Manley keeps in touch with me occasionally and shares a lot of interesting and amusing incidents that he remembers of his childhood in KGF during the 1950s. I’m sharing one such incident below. This will give the readers an insight into the life of the people in KGF in the days of the John Taylor and Sons Company.

Hi Bridget,
 I recalled the other day this story my mother told of a dinner party my parents gave, for around a dozen guests. It must have been around 1950, and thought you might find it amusing.
Dinner parties in those days were very 'swank' affairs. The men all wore tuxedos and black ties, and the women all gowns. Our butler Anthony would have been in his finest starched uniform, and would have worn a fine turban sporting some amazing decoration in the front, and a drinks waiter would have been hired from the club for the night, us children put to bed and told not to make a sound. I don't recall the menu but suspect it would have been something like iced cucumber soup, followed by roast beef and baked vegetables, and one of those delightful Indian sweets for dessert. Wine would have been on offer with coffee and liquors.
I don't recall names, but will put in a few of people around at the time who would have attended my parent’s dinner parties. During one of these Dinner Parties, a Mrs. Boadhurst said to my mother, "Molly those candlesticks you have as a table centerpiece look just like the ones my brother Albert gave Stan and me as a wedding present", Then Mrs. Connie Walker said, "Molly, those salt and pepper shakers are just like some we bought years ago in London", a Mrs. Stella Dunlop then said, "That carvery set reminds me of one we have which is just like it", and so the conversation went. My mother was most embarrassed, as she had never seen any of these items before herself.
The Butler Anthony was summoned into the room, and asked if he could throw any light on how these items had come to be on our table. He replied, "Yes Madam, I knew you wanted to impress, so I got Mrs. Broadhurst's and Mrs. Walker's and Mrs. Dunlop's butlers, to contribute towards the evening, with what fine pieces of table-ware they had. Don't worry they will all be returned first thing in the morning, and no one would normally have been any the wiser". My mother was shocked to hear this. Never the less, our butler Anthony was told that this practice had to stop forthwith, and in future any borrowing would be done only through her, direct to the lady of the other house. I dare say everyone had a good laugh, and a fine evening was had by all.
Nice to have heard from you Bridget,
Kind regards
Jon Manley

Monday, August 12, 2013

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF SHANDY DAY IN KGF


I have lots of fond memories of the Shandy Day in KGF. When we were young we would accompany my dad to the Market in Robertsonpet as a treat on Sundays. The Market was named as Mahatma Gandhi Market. Sunday was ‘Shandy Day’ and the market was always filled with people. Traders would come in from all the nearby villages to sell their produce. Everything was quite cheap in those days. My dad would buy fresh vegetables and fruit required for the week and we would help to carry the bags.

 The sights and smells and the hustle and bustle of the market as soon as one stepped in was so exciting. It was a joy to see the mounds of fresh vegetables, fruits, bags of pulses, grains, sugar sweets, fried savouries, etc besides shops selling Plastic toys and games for just a couple of Rupees. Choosing what toy to buy with our pocket money of Two Rupees was quite a decision and we had to weigh the merits of a plastic or paper windmill against a spinning top or plastic gun.
After the vegetable and grocery shopping was over, our next stop would be at Aleem Bakery or Omar Bakery for cool drinks and hot chicken or vegetable puffs. (I don’t think they made somasas as in those days) We’d then buy buns and coconut biscuits and muffins to take home. The coconut muffins in Omar’s Bakery were especially nice as the muffins were filled with sweet, juicy coconut shavings and the outer pastry would just melt in our mouths!! The sponge cakes and Fairy cakes too were light and delicious.
Jewel Coffee Powder Centre was just next to Aleem Bakery and my dad usually stopped there to buy the week’s requirement of coffee powder and tea leaves. The smell of fresh,  just roasted coffee beans was just heaven!! With our bags laden with all the stuff that we bought in town, we’d take a jatka ride back to our house in Nandydroog Mine. It was time to wait for another week before we went to the Market again.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

THE AADI KARTHIKAI FESTIVAL IN KGF – SOME CHILDHOOD MEMORIES


THE AADI KARTHIKAI FESTIVAL IN KGF – SOME CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
An excerpt from my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE
I have some very vivid childhood  memories of the ‘Aadi Karthigai or Adi Kirthigai’ Festival  or the KAVADI Festival in KGF
The Aadi Karthigai or Adi Kirthigai Festival was celebrated very grandly by the Tamilian Population in KGF during Tamil Hindu month of ‘Aadi’.  Aadi Karthigai is celebrated on Kirthigai Nakshatra day of the Tamil Calendar which is mid July to mid August. This festival  honours Lord Murga who is also known as Lord Subramanya.The Community venerated Lord Murgan in a big temple in Thiruthini, which is a place in Tamil   Nadu. The beautiful temple of Lord Muruga at Tiruttani is around 84 kilometers from Chennai. Every year they would go on pilgrimage  to this temple in Thirutanni to fulfill their vows.
The devotees who made a vow to carry the ‘kavadi’ were dressed in yellow or ochre clothes and  had to carry a heavy York balanced on their shoulders filled with flowers and other items required for performing the Puja. Sometimes they pierced their cheeks and bodies with long metal skewers and smeared their bodies with Turmeric, Vermilion and Ash. The kavadi itself is a physical burden through which the devotees implore Lord Murga for help and to grant their intentions. The kavadi consists of two semicircular pieces of wood or steel which are bent and attached to a cross structure that can be balanced on the shoulders of the devotee, decorated with flowers, peacock feathers, etc. The Kavadis are quite heavy and some can weigh up to 30 kg. The preparations for this ritual start before the festival. The devotees purge themselves of all mental and physical impurities. They have to follow a strict vegetarian diet and fast on the day they offer the puja. Many of them bathe in cold water during this period and shave their heads on the Aadi Kirithigai Day

 


In my childhood days, I remember that special trains were arranged by the Railways besides a fleet of Government and private buses to enable the devotees from KGF who were performing the ‘KAVADI’ to travel from KGF to Thiruthini. The same trains and buses would also bring them back to KGF.

The streets of KGF especially around the Workers Colonies would be vibrant and colourful during this period with special prayers being offered to the diety in the Pandals erected at every corner. Loud speakers blaring devotional songs to the Lord and mass feeding were common. Just before it was time to board the special trains or buses to take them to Thiruthini, huge processions of devotees carrying the kavadis preceded by a group of persons beating drums and followed by throngs of people would wend their way to the 4 Railway stations of KGF and the bus stops. The sight of the devotees carrying the heavy kavadis and the followers in the procession uttering the sacred words "Haro Hara!" as they marched and danced in time to the drum beats was a sight to behold. One had to see it to believe it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

NOSTALGIC FURNITURE IN KGF

For some real Nostalgia this time I'm posting all the old pieces of furniture that were so much part of our homes in KGF in the old days - Huge Teak wardrobes, Teak wood Four Poster Beds, Sofas and Recliners, Dressing Tables and Chest of Drawers, wooden Laundry Boxes, etc were some indispensible items of furniture in almost every home in KGF. Besides all these pieces of furniture, most homes had a Planter’s Chair. This was a reclining wood and cane chair with arms that could be extended. The man of the house or the grand father would be the privileged one to recline on it and relax. This comfortable piece of furniture was generally kept in the verandah so that the person reclining in it would be able to watch the world go by
 


A meat safe was a compulsory piece of furniture in Anglo-Indian homes in the olden days and every family a couple of them. The Meat Safes were wooden storage cupboards with wire mesh on all four sides. The cooked food and milk was usually stored in them to keep fresh over night  as there were no refrigerators at that time. The ‘Meat Safe or Food Safe’ was also quite necessary to protect the food from cats and mice as well. The Meat Safe is now a part of history as it is rarely seen in homes these days.






Another kitchen appendage that has also disappeared with the older generation is the ‘Wooden Provision or Ration Box / Chest which occupied pride of place in the passage just outside the kitchen door. This Provision Chest / Box  was about 5 feet in height and 4 feet in breadth and housed tins of the various provisions and condiments that were required for Anglo-Indian cooking.  It was divided into many compartments for rice, and dry provisions such as Dhal / Lentils, Red Chillies, Cumin seeds, coriander seeds, spices, jaggery, etc. While these ingredients / provisions, gave out their own unique smells, a combination of all of them together was just heavenly. The smell from my Nana’s Provision Box still lingers in my mind even after all these years!!

In the old days, their kitchens were warm and cozy places, with a pot of stew or soup always on the hob so that a meal was always ready to be served to anyone who dropped in. Most of the Anglo-Indian ladies in KGF were excellent cooks and were adept in baking a variety of cakes and pastries. The enticing aromas of food cooking on the hobs and cakes baking in the ovens were always part of an Anglo-Indian Home.

 

Monday, July 15, 2013

THE LINDSAY MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL, KGF (THE KGF SCHOOL)

In the 1970s when the number of students increased considerably, the KGF Boy’s School building in Nandydroog Mine was unable to accommodate all the students. A decision was then taken to bifurcate the School into two entities.

The Junior School for Standards 1 to 7 functioned at the same premises in Nandydroog Mine and came to be known as The Parkinson Memorial School after Mrs Parkinson who was the Head Mistress from mid 1920s to the late 1940s.

The High School or BGML BOY’S HIGH SCHOOL was shifted to a huge bungalow in Mysore Mine / Marikuppam . This bungalow was earlier the residence of Mr J.K. Lindsey who was a former Managing Director of the Mines during the days of the John Taylor and Sons Company.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



It was a huge beautiful stone bungalow with a wrought Iron Stair case and solid carved stone pillars surrounded by about one and half acres of land This Bungalow could accommodate classes 8 to 10 and was renamed as The Lindsay Memorial High School after him.



 




















The high standard of education imparted in the KGF Boy’s School was maintained right through the years ever since the inception of the School and is evident from this Extract from a School Inspection Report  by the Joint D.P.I. dated 14th August 1982, which is appended hereto:

 



However, after a few years, the High School was again shifted back to the old school premises in Nandydroog Mine (The Parkinson Memorial Premises). The beautiful old bungalow that housed the High School lay abandoned for some time till it became the office of the SC ST Association in Mysore Mine.


Mr. Lindsay’s Bungalow which housed the Lindsay Memorial School,  now lies in shambles. The walls are crumbling and the doors and windows have been plundered for firewood. The wrought iron stair way was dismantled and no one knows who stole it. The whole building has been vandalized and only the stone structure remains as a grim reminder of the erstwhile school which used to hum with the voices of a thousand little boys.

 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

KGF MINES TO REOPEN - SUPREME COURT ORDER 10TH JULY 2013

The Supreme Court on Tuesday 9th July 2013, approved the Central Government of India's Decision to invite Global Tenders for restarting the Bharat Gold Mines Ltd at Kolar Gold Fields which was shut down more than a decade ago. The Compnay who wins the tender would have to settle all the pending dues including paying the workers their gratuity and other dues.
Tuesday's Supreme Court Direction is the culmination of a prolonged Court Battle which is a victory for the workers.
This is the News Item in the Deccan Herald about the Supreme Court Order on the reopening of the Bharat Gold Mines Ltd, KGF. A rainbow has appeared on the KGF horizon. Let us all hope and pray for good times to come especially for the workers.

 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF THE MONSOONS IN KGF


The Monsoon season was the season of heavy rains followed by  Rainbows in KGF. The Monsoon season or the Rainy Season in KGF began in the first week of June and continued till the beginning of September. I personally felt as a child that it was the best season of the year and it certainly was not to be wasted indoors. I always felt that it was a very special season of the year with the sight of the rainbow after the rains. The Monsoon rains made   everything fresh and green which brought a new life everywhere.

The first rains of the season made a welcome change after the long summer months and brought smiles of joy on everyone’s faces. The smell of the dry earth getting drenched with the first drops of rain was so intoxicating. All the streets and roads which were dusty during the summer months were washed clean and the fresh tender green leaves on all the trees seem to smile and enjoy the rain.
 
 

Bridget Kumar
The monsoon season also bought out the Thunder Lillies in the garden – pink, yellow, white and mauve. Every time the thunder lilies bloomed, it was sure to rain that day!!! The big Fire Ball lilies also made their appearance around the same time. These huge Balls comprising tiny red flowers bloomed in a bunch like a ball and added to the profusion of colour in our garden
The Monsoon Season  brings back fond memories of lazy rainy days, and of the four of us splashing in the puddles of rain water and sailing paper boats in them. It was fun dressing in our raincoats and
caps and trying to have races with our paper boats before they collapsed in the rain. Even the botheration of wearing a raincoat and carrying an umbrella couldn’t take away the fun of walking in the rain. We’d purposely get drenched on the way back from school. It was fun splashing in the puddles and sailing paper boats. When it rained hail stones, we got very excited and didn’t mind getting soaked when collecting the hailstones. Mummy of course, would go ballistic and shout at us to come in out of the rain as we’d get sick.

Another memory associated with the monsoon is the smell of roasting Indian Corn and Ground Nuts over hot charcoal. The Indian Corn or ‘Makacholam’ Seller had the live coals in an iron basin on his cart and he’d continuously blow on the coals to keep them alive while roasting the corn. When the corn was nicely roasted, he would then apply a green masala paste with a stick on the Roasted Corn and liberally squeeze lime juice over it. The roasted corn eaten with the green masala and lime juice on it was heavenly. My mouth still waters just writing about it.

 

The ground nut seller too had a small Sigri or a Coal stove on his cart and he roasted the ground nuts in a large iron pan placed over it. He continuously stirred the ground nuts in their shells with a long iron ladle and the sound of the ladle touching the sides of the pan continuously had a distinctive sound. Even now after all these years the aroma of roasting Corn and groundnuts brings back many happy memories of my childhood.

My mum would sometimes buy the raw Indian corn and ground nuts from the market and boil them at home for us with a little pepper and salt. She would also dab a little butter on the hot corn to give it a very delightful taste. The enticing smell of boiling corn or groundnuts would engulf the whole house and make our mouths water and our stomachs rumble with the anticipation of eating them.

The monsoons also brought its own travails. Sometimes if the rains were too heavy, it would flatten all our flowering plants and destroy all the beautiful flowers and roses in our garden. After a heavy show we’d see a carpet of fallen petals and leaves on the ground. The Mali would have a tough time clearing up all the fallen leaves, branches and debris. He’d also have to fix all the plants that had fallen down and tie them to new supports, and clip away the dead flowers.

Another disadvantage of the monsoon season was that the heavy clothes especially the pants and shirts that my dad wore to work underground in the mines, wouldn’t dry in a hurry and remain damp and wet for days together. We had no washing machines in those days, so all the clothes were washed on the washing stones and hung in the sun to dry. With no sun appearing for a few days, the clothes had to dry on makeshift stands inside the house and took ever so long to dry. It also smelt musty and disgusting.

The monsoons brought out a lot of creatures and insects as well. It was not uncommon to see garden snakes, lizards and other creepy crawlies slithering about in the open. Insects that come out in the monsoons normally have a short life span and we’d see them only during the months of June to October which is their mating season. Big black Bully Ants, red Ants, White ants, etc, were some of them that made their appearance and gave us a little trouble. The mosquitoes too seemed to increase and multiply during this season and they brought along their own misery.

In the evenings just as the lights were switched on, hordes of flying insects like big ants with white wings would flutter near the light bulbs. The yellow light of the street lights and people’s verandah lights attracted them. The next morning we’d see a carpet of dead insects with their wings detached lying around the lamp posts. Sometimes, they managed to invade the inside of our house and flutter near the drawing room centre light. We called these insects ‘Icheils’. My mum  would fill a big basin full of water and place it on the floor directly in line with the centre light. We’d switch off all the other lights and the Icheils would see the reflection of the light in the water and try to fly into the basin of water and get drowned. Once we were rid of them we’d empty the basin of water with the dead insects in the garden. These Icheils didn’t bite or sting us but they were extremely annoying flying about everywhere. The got into our hair and if we weren’t careful they got into our nose and mouth as well!

The monsoon time was also the mating season for frogs. Soon after the first over night showers of rain filled up the shallow pools, the frogs would make their appearance in our garden and in the open spaces around our house. The male frogs had their own peculiar cry which sounded like ‘Rivet, Rivet’. This cry was heard all through the day and night for the duration of the monsoon. We’d see a variety of frogs in our garden during the rainy season which we didn’t see at other times during the year.

The Monsoons also brought in sickness and illness in the form of colds, flu, fever, sore throats, coughs, etc. Our Company Hospital would be packed with people with these ailments and the doctors were kept really busy attending to patients.

 This Childhood Memories of the Monsoons in KGF article is an excerpt from my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE.
 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

THE TRANSFORMER HOUSE IN OORGAUM KGF – An Excerpt from my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE


The KGF Mines were supplied with electric power from Shivasamudram in 1902. It was the first time in Asia that electricity was generated and supplied, through a transmission line that was more than 80 miles long. It was the longest transmission line in the world at that time - the second longest was at the Niagara Falls which was only 13 miles long!



















THE TRANSFORMER HOUSE IN OORGAUM KGF – An Excerpt from my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE

From the inception of the Kolar Gold Mines in 1880 until the year 1902 all the machinery in the Kolar Gold Mines were worked by steam power. Feeling the need for captive electric power, The John Taylor and Sons Company prevailed upon the British Government in Mysore to provide Electric power to the Company to meet its huge need for electricity, for running the machines and various other needs.
                         Accordingly, the Government of Mysore State decided in 1899 to utilise its natural water falls for producing electricity. They identified various sites but ultimately the site for setting up the power station was a point on the River Cauvery,  that was east of Mysore city and south of Bangalore where the river divided into two forming the island of Shivasamudram.
                             The Cauvery Power Scheme was thus initiated in 1900 by the Mysore Government, under K Seshadri Iyer, the then Diwan of Mysore. The credit however, for the Cauvery Falls Power Works was attributed to Captain Lotbiniere R.E., the then Deputy Chief Engineer of the Mysore Government.The initiating of the Cauvery Power Scheme has also been recorded in The Karnataka State Gazette, Mandya District as follows:  

The Mysore Government decided to investigate the practicality of generating power at Shivanasamudram Falls Site and enlisted the services of Colonel Campbell, the Chief Engineer at Madras for the same with the cooperation of the Madras Government. The Chief Engineer took a very favourable view of the potential of the project. In June 1899, the Deputy Chief Engineer of Mysore, after studying the details of the power installation at the Niagara Falls (in North America), was convinced of the idea of working the machinery at the Kolar Gold Fields with the electricity generated by the Cauvery falls. The scheme received the hearty support of Seshadri Iyer and Colonel Campbell.  M/S John Taylor & Sons of London, who had the general control on KGF also supported the scheme. The government decided to utilise the head of the falls for hydro-electric power and its transmission for the service of industrial undertaking in the state of Mysore, inclusive of KGF, in 1899 “.

The first major Hydro Electric Generating Station for commercial operations was thus commissioned at Shivasamudram, near Mysore, The longest transmission line, at the highest voltage in the world, was constructed exclusively to meet the power needs of mining operations at Kolar Gold Fields.

It has been further recorded in the Karnataka Gazetteer that:  quote “The first Hydroelectric power station in Asia was set up when the British Resident General Donald Robertson in Mysore launched the 700 KW Hydroelectric Station which transmitted power to KGF on 30th June 1902”.  Unquote.

An elaborate Transformer House was built in Oorgaum KGF to receive this 4000 H P power known as the Cauvery Falls Power House. The Transformer House which was centrally situated received the power and distributed it to the various mines.

 

It brought about a complete revolution in the working of the Mines.  Now, all the machinery in the mines both underground and on the surface and the Milling and stamping machinery were worked by electricity. The bungalows and houses of the officers were also provided with electricity and in course of time the whole of KGF was completely electrified.

 

KGF was thus supplied with electric power from Shivasamudram in 1902. It was the first time in Asia that electricity was generated and supplied, through a transmission line that was more than 80 miles long. It was the longest transmission line in the world at that time - the second longest was at the Niagara Falls which was only 13 miles long!


Read more about this in my Book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE

Thursday, June 27, 2013

THE KGF MINING HOSPITAL / BGML HOPSITAL


 
      
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 THE KGF MINING HOSPITAL
 The KGF Mining Hospital or The Company Hospital which was started by the John Taylor and Sons Company in the early years soon became a well equipped hospital with the latest medical equipment and facilities over time. It was staffed with eminent British and Indian doctors and British and Anglo-Indian nurses.
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


The hospital wards were named after the erstwhile British bosses such as Gideon Ward, Henry’s Ward, Morgan ward, etc. Medical Treatment was provided free of cost for all the employees and their families.
The Mining Hospital gained the distinction of being the best hospital in the whole of the Kolar district and was also recognized by the Indian Medical Council as a reputed center for the treatment of Occupational Diseases, such as Tuberculosis, Silicosis, etc. The National Institute of Miners Health had its headquarters in the KGF Hospital. It also had a separate Isolation Section to deal with infectious diseases such as Cholera, Small Pox etc. 
 Whenever we were sick, my mum took us to the Company Hospital for treatment. A permanent fixture of the Company Hospital was the Compounder, Mr. Krishna Murthy. I can still remember Mr. Krishna Murthy measuring out the bright, pink Carminative Mixture from huge glass jars and doling out bottles of the stuff as a panacea for all illnesses.
We had to stand in line before the dispensing window of the Pharmacy and when it was our turn we’d climb on the window sill to watch him do the honours. He was ‘Uncle Compounder’ to all of us kids.
I also remember that the Pharmacy always had a strong odour of B Complex Tablets. Huge bottles of B Complex Tablets were lined up on the shelves of the Pharmacy. The doctors prescribed B Complex Tablets for almost every patient along with the other medicines, so the hospital bought these tablets in huge quantities.