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Saturday, July 27, 2013


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


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


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


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.

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.