In one of my earlier blogs, I’ve talked about how Shankar chose cricket over studies, when the Aussies were touring India in 1959/60!! That was a trial run.🤪
Few years later, as a boarder at Bishop Cottons Bangalore, one would have thought its easier to bunk classes, away from the prying eyes of parents. Banish the thought! There was the asst warden who had his outpost literally at the gate, just to catch these pecadillos .😩 . On one such occasion, Shankar almost ran into him, and to escape attention went out of the gate and into the nearby Shilton hotel. There he runs into the great West Indies opening batsman, Conrad Hunte. Hunte had come, not to open the innings, but to pursue his other passion; moral rearmament.. Cricket connection once more 🤔.
Moving on, Shankar was in the hostel all through his 5 years at Guindy Engineering College, and cutting classes was a no brainer and didn’t hold much charm either.🤣.. I didn’t have it that easy, coming from Loyola College. As the popular saying went: Rowdies of Pachyappa’s, gentleman of Christian and slaves of Loyola.😩. It is said that when the Betram hall was being inaugurated at my college, the chief guest commented that it was a ‘ fine building ‘ which drew a guffaw from the back benchers – built from the fines collected from students.😲. Professors were fond of saying ‘ I am paid to talk, if you want to talk, , you need to pay!! I didn’t want to risk losing my precious pocket money of Rs. 10 ( Shankar got 15)!! On the odd occasion, I got away , I cooled my heels in cold comfort!! 😂. This needs an explanation..
The Finance minister, Morarji Desai brought in the Gold control act in 1962, which according to amma was a retrograde step. Many a jeweller shut shop.. There was one, however, which turned this adversity to an opportunity, Vecumsee.. On their existing land on prime Mount Road, they built the first theatre multiplex in India, possibly one of its kind in the world!!. Three theatres under one roof- Safire, Emerald and Blue Diamond.. Blockbusters of the day, like Sound of Music,My Fair Lady, Lawrence of Arabia, among others were screened there.. Of the three theatres, Blue Diamond was of special interest to college students.. It exhibited continuous shows from 9am to midnight. You pay once and get in anytime and get out anytime. A first of its kind anywhere in the world.!! Invariably you would see the 2nd half of the movie and then to see in the proper sequence, sit through the movie from the beginning and if you liked it so much, see it all over again. I saw Topkapi , starring Peter Usinov two and a half times all in air-conditioned comfort, rather than sit through some boring lectures.🙄
Gone are the good days..☺️ The Safire multiplex doesn’t exist anymore. Demolished; I wonder what has come in its place.. Had they been around, Bharath would have stuck to his seat like Fevicol, watching from dawn to dusk, the likes of Border, Loc Kargil, Legend of Bhagat Singh, Ghazi, among others, and Blue Diamond would have closed shop sooner than later.🤣