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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The May Pole Dance - Memories of KGF School

My first teacher in KGF School was Mrs Borthwick who was the Baby Class teacher as well as the music teacher. She would play the piano during the Singing Class, and also for us to dance the May Pole. Dancing the Maypole was such a delightful experience, watching the coloured streamers / ribbons intercrossing and interlacing each other and forming beautiful myriad designs. The dancers had to keep changing their positions in time to the music in order to weave the required design. It was truly a sight to behold. When she struck the first Chord on the Piano it was the signal for us to bow to our partners. On the second chord we would go to the May Pole and each one would pick up their streamer / ribbon. We would wind it around our waists, and stand still till she struck the next chord. We had to stand in a circle a distance away from the May Pole so that the streamers / ribbons would be quite taut She would then play a tune and we had to change our positions in time to the music to weave and create a most wonderful design. At the end of the tune all the dancers would be near the Pole with shortened ribbons / streamers but under a most beautiful canopy woven by them.
Actually I have'nt seen a Maypole again after I left the KGF School all those years ago. I managed to get a picture of the May Pole from Google Images which I'm sharing above so that those who haven't seen or heard of a May Pole would have an idea of it.

This was the Singing Room as well as the MayPole Room in KGF School when I studied there in the 1950s. There was a lovely Grand Piano in this Room which seems to have disappeared many years ago.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

THE TAYLORS KGF TRIP ON 9TH NOV 2011 - Email from Patrick

From: Patrick Taylor To: Bridget kumar Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2011 10:43 PM
Subject: KGF

Dear Bridget
Heather and I are now home again. We have had a great flight home; no hitches and we are well although a bit weary. We have absolutely loved our holiday in India, and in particular yesterday which really was the crescendo to a most wonderful 2 weeks.

I am so grateful to you for all that you have done to help so many people remember their time at the KGF. Your book is a wonderful statement of a lifestyle that sadly no longer exists but we can remember with great fondness. Over the past few weeks since we first made contact, you have been so kind to guide me and help us with our prospective visit; and yesterday, it all came to reality.

I very much appreciated meeting Richard, Nicky and Philip. It seems so wonderful that they are really the John Taylors of the current day. I shall definitely be buying some shares in their company, and thereby maintaining an active interest in their progress. I was so interested to learn what they are doing. It was great.

Then, our visit to KGF was a mixture of sadness and joy. I was sad to see the state of the old hospital and of so many of the old houses. Such a shame that it has all been allowed to go to ruin. As Heather said to me on the plane: would it not make a wonderful week-end retreat for the people of Bangalore. Some property developer should take up the challenge to revive that wonderful area with its gracious houses, golf course and with so much potential. I shall keep dreaming!

I loved going to the convent and seeing my old home. Although the house had seen better times, it was lovely to see the wonderful job the nuns are doing there with the children. There was so much love in that place that made me happy to see the house being used in that way. The children were so full of joy; lovely smiles. I am glad that I have captured some of them on film. I will send some to you for onward posting in due course.

Of course, it was sad to see the other house that I lived in. Seeing that man working in that grim room, and the decay of the rest of the house with those awful guards gave a feeling of almost evil in the air. That was the bad part of the day but one that was so worthwhile to see. If India is to progress as a world economic power and a great democracy, that sort of inefficiency and corruption must one day be eradicated.

Then of course the KGF Club! How sad to see it in such a sad state but the smiles on the faces of the men there will stay with me for the rest of my life. I was so touched that they came there to see me. I shall be hugely grateful if you would let me have the name of the old boy who knew my father. He was so loving and great. I would love to write to him to say a big thank you. Is there any chance that one d ay you could tell me how I could send him a letter?

Altogether yesterday will go down for me as one of the most important days of my life and I have you to thank for that, Bridget. Heather loved it all too. You were so kind to give us a copy of your cookery books and to make those sandwiches. You are a star, and I am so grateful.

I can’t see myself staying away for another 55 years! It may be 55 weeks, or slightly more but I shall definitely try to get back before too long. We must try to develop a UK based KGF community. One thought I have had is to see if we could set up a UK based charity to provide funding and support for St Joseph’s Convent School. It would be a lovely thing to do if we could help to make a difference.

Anyway, Bridget, I have rambled on enough for now. Heather and I loved meeting you and Ashok. I am sorry the hotel let us down somewhat but we loved meeting him, and I look forward to meeting again before too long.

Thank you also for spending your wedding anniversary with us. There are so many things to thank you for.
Oh what a memorable day. I will be back. I have only just started!

With love and God bless you

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nostalgic Visit of Patrick and Heather Taylor to KGF on 9th November 2011 along with Bridget White-Kumar

I was pleasantly surprised about a month ago to receive this email from Mr. Patrick Taylor from the UK.

“Dear Bridget
My name is Patrick Taylor. I am in the process of reading your fascinating book on the KGF. My father, Arthur, a partner in the firm of John Taylor & Sons, was in charge of the mines during my early childhood, when I lived on the KGF for 7 years before returning to England for my education. Now 63 years old, I have never returned to India but my wife and I are coming to the KGF in November. I would be most interested to meet you if that would be possible. I have many happy memories of my early life in India and for me this trip will definitely be a trip down memory lane. It will be greatly enhanced if I can have the benefit of learning from your knowledge of the place that was the foundation of my life. Warm regards
Patrick Taylor

Patrick and his wife Heather were in Bangalore on the 8th November and the next day I accompanied them on a trip ‘Down Memory Lane to KGF’. We started our trip with a visit to the new exploration site of the Kolar Gold Company at Chickregunta near Kuppam.

We were accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Johnson and Phillip Dingle. Phillip and Mr. Richards made our trip to the new exploration site truly memorable. It was a fascinating opportunity for us of looking into the future and seeing a new Gold Mining area taking shape. It was also a glimpse into the past, as to how the pioneers of our present day Kolar Gold Fields once explored and prospected for gold in a rocky barren area to what it finally evolved into. It was a pleasure meeting Raymond Cruze, Mr Gupta and all the Staff of  Kolar Gold Company. Sincere thanks to  Mr.and Mrs. Richard Johnson, Phillip Dingle and all the other staff of Kolar Gold Company for making our visit to the new exploration site a memorable one.

Patrick was quite nostalgic when we visited the St Joseph’s Convent. The Nuns were so thrilled to have him visit them. They said the ‘son of the house’ has come to visit them. The nuns house at the Convent was earlier the residence of Mr Arthur Taylor, the General of the John Taylor and Company.

Many will recall that  St Joseph’s Convent School was earlier functioning in the premises of St Mary’s Church compound (now Our Lady of Victories Church) in Champion Reefs. The school building was a simple structure with a tin roof. However, due to the massive Rock Burst of Earth Quake proportions in 1952, the St Mary’s Church, the presbytery, the Convent and the School Buildings all collapsed to the ground. Luckily, no one was injured and no lives were lost. But the buildings were completely destroyed.

Mr. Morgan, The Chief Medical Officer of the Company Hospital, rushed to help the Sisters and took them to the Hospital premises. He vacated one of the wards to accommodate them for the day. That evening he arranged for their indefinite stay at the Bungalow of the General Manager of the Mines, Mr. Arthur Taylor in Champion Reefs, who was away in England on a holiday at the time. The nuns were given half of the main house as their temporary abode. Even though this bungalow was huge and quite spacious it was insufficient to accommodate the Convent and the school with so many students. So while half of the main house, the garage and servants quarters were made use of for the Convent, the classes were held under the trees and in temporary sheds.
When Mr. Arthur Taylor, returned to KGF from the UK he and his family shifted to another Bungalow near the Golf Course which now houses the Mining Offices. The   Bungalow and the adjacent land was thus sold to the St Joseph’s Convent Nuns. It became the nun’s living quarters and in course of time an extension was added to it to accommodate the Community. The school slowly expanded and huge class rooms were built around the nun’s house on the land given to the school by the Company.  The old house as Patrick remembered it still in the same beautiful condition today and lovingly maintained by the Sisters of St Joseph of Tarbes

We then went back to KGF and visited various places around Champion Reefs, such as Our Lady of Victories Church, the Champion Reefs Post Office, the Reservoir, the Champion Reefs Work Shops, the Imperial Bakery and the Hospital. Patrick was very sad to see the deplorable state of the Hospital where he recalled being treated for various childhood illnesses and also to have his hand sutured when he cut it while banging on a glass door.
He was also very dejected to see the state of Mr J K Lindsay's once beautiful bungalow. He remembered the beautiful spiral starcase in the house and playing on the lovely green lawns. This bungalow was later the J K Lindsay Memorial School. It was after the school was shifted back to the Parkinson Memorial premises in Oorgaum and the place was lying vacant, that vandals has destroyed the place and stollen everything of value including he doors and windows. The building is now the SC/ ST Association Office.

Patrick also visited the other Bungalow near the Golf Course where his family shifted after their return from their holiday in the UK in 1952. He was however quite sad to see it as it looked quite run down even though the Mining Offices are housed in it. Never the less this house also evoked a lot of Nostalgia and he recalled many happy incidents of his short stay there as he left for the UK in a couple of years. 

St Michael’s and All Angel’s Church was also on his list of places to visit and he was very happy to visit the Church which he remembered going to. He spent sometime in the Church speaking to the Church Representatives Mr. Nathan and Mr. Moses who presented him and me with a copy of the Centenary Souvenir.

 The KGF Club was the highlight of his visit. Mr. Kotnise, the President and Mr. Nathan, Secretary of the KGF Club welcomed Mr. and Mrs. Taylor and interacted with them. Patrick was immensely pleased to see the photographs of his Great grandfather John Taylor and all his other Taylor Ancestors displayed on the walls of the Conference Room of the Club.
He and his wife stood under the photograph of his Great grandfather John Taylor in the Main Bar and clicked many   photographs. 

He was pleased to meet Susai Raj, the old Bar man of the KGF Club. Susai Raj is now 88 years old but his memory was quite fresh when narrating various incidents connected with the Taylor Family. 

Soon it was time to leave KGF as the Taylor’s had to catch the early morning flight back to the United Kingdom. With heavy hearts they bid goodbye to KGF and promised to visit again sometime.  I was immensely pleased that their visit to KGF went off well and all the arrangements made by me for their visit were appreciated by them.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Felicitation Function at the TAMIL SANGHAM office in KGF on 28th October 2011

I was invited by Mr Kalaiarasan, President of the Tamil Sangham in KGF to visit their Office at the Tamil Sangham Office in Robertsonpet KGF on the 28th of October 2011. During the a small Get Together, the members of the Sangham felicitated me on my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE. It was indeed an honour and I felt very humbled and grateful for the affection and warm appreciation showered on me by all those present.Thank you Mr Kalaiarasan, Mr. Anbuarasam, Mr Prabhu and all the others who were present on the occasion. God bless you all.

This is a photograph of Mr Kalaiarasan felicitating me and my husband Ashok Kumar at the Sangam

Below is a group photograph of some of the members of the Tamil Sangam along with my husband and myself before the statue of Thiruvallavar outside the Tamil Sangam

The Newspaper Articles featuring me in THE DINASUDAR Tamil Newspaper is appended below.