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Bangalore scene before computers

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Note: This was published in Churumuri as once-upon a -time- before- computers- in Bangalore (http://churumuri.wordpres...)

With Computer- related work occupying more than 80% of jobs, at last count, one wonders what kind of jobs people were doing, before the advent of computers? Say, what were grownups doing in Bangalore and other cities once they were out of college, occupational institutes and engineering colleges?
Bangalore had a system of its own. The city spread a sleeping blanket, lined with mosquito net, as it were, over its snoring populace till 7.30 when the first sip of coffee would warrant itself.
The first worker if you could call him, the milkman - would announce himself well before dawn and milk his cow right under the watchful eyes of the housewife. It was the first sip of coffee that would wake the city from its deep slumber.
When the climate urged normal human beings to curl up further and sleep a bit more, most of the able-bodied adults in the city were hauled up by 6.30 in the morning into hundreds of buses and driven off 15 to 20 miles  and disgorged into grey and dull factories called, HAL, ITI, BEL, HMT, AMCO, REMCO, NGEF etc. Some more factories joined later like BEML, BHEL, MICO, ITC etc. If you were an early raiser, you would see groups of mildly shivering people with morning newspapers near street corners waiting for their designated bus.
Once the buses had driven a quarter of population out of the sleepy city to sleepier factories, the roads were fairly empty. If you were still in the bed you had a choice of being woken up by people practicing different vocation. ‘Budubudike Dasiah’ would unexpectedly land at your door-step shaking his budubudike and with his KaNi  Shastra. (Prophesy). Vegetable vendors would get into a shouting match with women sporting large kumkuma on their forehead announcing ‘Mosuru Kanamma Mosuru….’ balancing mosaru madike on their heads and ‘Soppu Soppooo’ calls from women would follow soon by which time more than half would have had their first dose of filter coffee.
By around 9ish the A.G.’S office and Athara Katcheri gang would start their walk from different parts of city reaching the office having chewed the last of Mysore viledale with Sugandhi Adike or inhaled through the nostril, last pinch of Ambaal Nashya. Later, Vidhana soudha also became a magnet of sorts drawing Bangaloreans from all over the city.
The merchants community, the last sort of workers, or the self employed, if you please, would leave for B.V.K. Iyengar Road, Mamulpet, Chikpet, Taragupet, Akkipete, Balepete and many more petes in smaller gulleys . Here they would operate their business wholesale, retail and from matchbox size shops all day till 9 at night moving the city’s economy. They would have their lunch either at Udupi Krishna Bhavan, Malabar Lodge or  lunch spread on the cash counter over the day’s newspaper with the shop’s door partly closed which meant the ‘proprietor was having his lunch!’.
The city wore a ghostlike appearance, especially when the students got into their class after their morning prayers around 10 in the morning.
Only sounds such as ‘Hale Kathri, Chakuge Saane Hidiyoduri ’, ‘Hale batte, Kalapathina reshme seerege stainless steel pathre Ammavre! ’ would rent the air in the afternoon which was strictly meant for women to get the kitchen tools sharpened or get rid of their old clothes for brand new stainless steel kitchen ware. Both the seller and buyer would play a cat and mouse game until it left both exhausted and settle for anything to clinch the deal. Thus a whole lot of old clothes would leave the attic to be replaced by a shining 4 –level Tiffin Carrier or a big all purpose vessel   which would be displayed right at the entrance to catch the eye of the weary husband dragging himself  in. Narration of how the triumphant deal was secured would follow while serving him kodubale and coffee!
’BaLe! BaLe namma BaLE!’ would be the call of the bangles seller around noon who would make his appearance just before Varamahalakshmi and continue throughout the festive season.
 If you felt the pension city is dead and gone, life would mysteriously resurface late afternoon with one bus following another in to the city. Soon it would turn into a cavalcade of buses of different colours, wearing different uniforms, as it were, streaming into the city.  After making a telephone, radio set, boiler, a walkie-talkie or whatever,   around dozen pair of weary legs would drop off at each stop carrying a rolled Netakallappa’s ‘Sudha’ or P. R. Ramiah’s ‘Thayi Nadu’ and troop back home. After Uppittu  or a menthyada Dose over a cup of coffee and a quick shower would see them spill to the road one by one.
Quit a few of them  would take out their cycles out and, like a  cowboy walking his horse,  walk their cycles having the other arm over their friend’s shoulder, for the daily dose of one by two coffee.
The shopkeepers after downing shutters at night would reach home with a  parcel of Mysore pak or Jhangri catching kids just about ready to sleep.
At late night, last of the businessmen selling his ware would speed through the city in his cycle lit by wick and kerosene lamp shouting’ Thati Nungu , Thati Nungu’ just as people settled down  to listen to Melville De Mello or a Chakrapani or Roshan Menon , for  the 9’0 clock news.
So would end the business cycle before sleep embraced the city again.
E.R. Ramachandran


kbsyed61's picture

Simple life!

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E.R. Ramachandran avare,

Many Thanks for reminding those wonderful times in which there was definite certainty and predictability. Can not forget the Cherishing mantra of simple life.

Hope one day our future generations too would resort to simple living without having to burden themselves with unnecessary societal pressures.

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