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Monday, November 30, 2009


Christmas had its own gaiety and charm in KGF. All the Anglo-Indian homes were always beautifully decorated with colorful paper streamers, buntings, Chinese lanterns, balloons, etc. Every home put up a huge Casuarina Christmas tree that was decorated beautifully. In those days there were no plastic or synthetic Christmas trees and hence every family put up a Casuarina Tree. A huge drum or Flower Pot was filled with sand and the Casuarina Tree was placed securely in it.

The Christmas tree was always placed in a prominent place in the drawing room and was beautifully decorated with fairy lights, tinsel, colourful baubles, sliver and gold paper, and little China Ornaments. The Angel would be fixed on top of the tree, while the other tree ornaments and decorations were placed at intervals interspersed with gold and silver streamers and tinsel. Some of the Christmas decorations were saved over many years and were lovingly hung on the Christmas Tree each Christmas. Cotton wool was liberally placed on the branches to look like snow. The family’s Christmas gifts were usually placed under the tree and opened only on Christmas morning. Of course there was much excitement and mirth while the decorating was in progress and the children could hardly wait to open their Christmas gifts.

Besides the Christmas tree, every family put up a Crib without fail. The Crib was always placed in a prominent spot, sometimes beside the Christmas tree. It was normally made with straw or grass, cardboard, brown paper etc. The children used their imagination to create their own Crib and would innovate each year. The statues of Baby Jesus, Mother Mary, St. Joseph, the shepherds, the sheep, the three kings, etc, would be carefully removed from their cotton wool packing and loving placed in the Crib. Baby Jesus was placed in the Crib only after Midnight Mass and the three kings and the camel on the 4th of January.

Every Home would also hang a star with a light bulb fitted in it in front of their homes. Some times,people made their own huge paper stars out of thin bamboo sticks and kite paper or else they just bought the stars from the shops selling Christmas decorations..

The Christmas holidays usually began on the 20th December and the schools would reopen only after the first week of January. The children were on hand to help with the preparation of the Christmas Treats and also with decorating the house. There was always much fun and frolic when all of them got together in this happy task

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Christmas time was the most enjoyable time of the year in KGF. A number of dances and variety programs were arranged during Christmas time, starting from the 2nd week of December and going on till the New Year.

Each Mine held their own Christmas celebrations. There were a variety programs such as sports competitions for the children, Fancy Dress Competitions, etc and a High Tea for the children with Santa Claus arriving in a special sleigh to distribute their gifts. Games of skill such as Hoopla, Ringing the Bottle, Ringing the Duck, Lucky Dip, Lucky Arrow, The Chocolate Wheel, Darts, etc were some of the sideshows of the event., followed by a grand Christmas Ball later.

The grand Christmas Balls were occasions to remember. The Dance Invitations would specify ‘Lounge’ or ‘Dress Suits Essential’ and woe betide anyone who turned up in their casual clothes!! So the men and boys would dress in their suits and Tuxedoes and the ladies and girls wore their prettiest dresses and gowns made of lace, silk and satin specially tailored for the occasion.

Local Anglo-Indian Bands or bands from Madras or Bangalore were engaged to play for the dances. The MC of the show would ensure that everyone had a good time and took part in the Square Dances and other group dances. The Jive, Fox Trot, Cha Cha, and Rock and Roll etc were popular dance steps.

The ever green Waltz was all the more popular as it gave couples a chance to hold each other closely and dance cheek to cheek!!! In between the dances the men would disappear to have a small ‘sly tot’ to recharge their batteries. The dances would go on throughout the night and sometimes end only at 5 O’clock the next morning, when they would head straight to Church for Mass.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

FIVE LIGHT'S CIRCLE, Nandydroog Mine

This is a picture of the FIVE LIGHTS CIRCLE, in Nandydroog Mine. It was on the main road to Oorgaum Station and Robertsonpet. The four Roads branched off to various areas in KGF. It was / is one of the landmarks of KGF


This is a picture of the Beef Butcher's Shop in Nandydroog Mine , close to the Swimming Bath and the Rescue Station. It looks the same as it did more than 50 years ago.

The Butcher whose name was Gafoor, would supply the different cuts of meat, depending on the dish that was to be prepared for lunch and dinner that day. Sadly Gafoor has since passed away. His son-in-law is now the proud owner of this shop.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


This is a picture of the 4 Shops opposite the Skating Rink and Nandydroog Club. We lived in the house practically adjoining them except for a small lane between.
Pansy Tailor's Shop is at the far left with its Trellis still intact. Pansy tailor passed on the shop to his assistant Gopal so it later came to known as Gopal Taylor Shop.
Basha's Shop also known as Ahmed Shop is in the middle and is now closed.Basha and his wife have since passed away. His sons Afzal and Amjath live in Bangalore. The tiles are missing from the roof.

The Hotel or Eatery is still there but has changed many managements over the years. They still blast tamil film songs on their old radio. The Bondas, Vadas, Kajurus are still as tasty as they were in our childhood.

Abraham or Ibrahim's shop is at the far right and is still doing business. However its not in the picture. Ibrahim is now a grand old man but still going strong. God bless him.


This is a picture of the Skating Rink in its present dilapidated state.
The Skating Rink which could be called the only auditorium in KGF at that time, was the most popular venue for Wedding receptions, Parties, get-togethers, Concerts, Musical Recitals, Meetings, Dances etc. The Cement floor was highly polished and very smooth and was initially used during the times of the British for Roller skating and ice skating and also for Ball Room Dances.

The building itself was not much to talk about, with corrugated iron sheets for its walls and roof and a false ceiling of Tatty Cane inside. It was more like a huge Shed that one sees in old Country and Western Movies and didn’t resemble an auditorium all. However this ‘Hall’ was close to everyone KGFites's heart and was iconic in its stature.

The Skating Rink was a land mark for the people of KGF. The Christmas Dances, May Queen Balls, Easter Balls, June Rose Balls, The Anglo-Indian Association AGM Ball, New Years Eve Ball, Wedding Receptions, Social and Religious functions, Conferences, etc, were all held at the Skating Rink. Its very sad to see it in its present neglected and rundown state.