An interesting incidence of my life with Bhava is worth narrating here. This was when I was in sixth standard and relates to the year 1955. The monthly school fee was eight annas and Bhava gave me one rupee and asked me to give him back the change in the evening. I paid the fee of eight annas and spent four annas on ice candy – four friends of mine ate four ice candies at one anna each – and in the evening gave the remaining twenty five paise to Bhava. He did not say anything till I finished my evening thindi and was about to leave home to play cricket at Nagarajas. I lied him that there was a fine of four annas for late fee. He was annoyed at my lie and told me in a stern voice – “Gopala, Don’t lie, if there is a late fee it would have been mentioned in the receipt. The receipt shows as eight annas.” He said, “You are lying. Tell me what you have done with four annas ?”. I broke down and started crying loud. I told him the truth that I ate ice candy with four of my class mates. Then he consoled me saying, “That’s fine and never tell a lie again.” From that day to this day, I have never lied in my life.
Bhava was an asthma patient and suffered from it often. One such attack took his life in 1958, when I was in High school first year.
V. Nagaraja joined National High School for his high school studies and I continued mine at Acharya Pata Shala. The association with him and the playing in his compound became less frequent as our timings differed.
Acharya Pata Shala had a good cricket team to reckon with. A.V. Venkatanarayana, Ramani, H.R. Venkatesh, Shamanna, Joki Pinto, Raghunath Beerala, Paul Royan, were the few names which made rounds in NR Colony cricket circles. A.V. Venkatanarayana led the school team with distinction. He along with Raghunath Beerala represented Mysore in Ranji Trophy. Add to this were, the Sports Secretaries Shri S. Keshava Rao and Shri Shartrugna. The latter played for a team by name “Bangalore Dynamos.” A.V. Venkatanaryana and Raghunath Beerala later represented Mysore in Ranji Trophy. A.V. Venkatanaryana and Ramani represented Mysore State Schools also.
I was a decent left arm bowler and wanted to represent the school team. Even though I had the requisite credentials, there was a firm NO from my grandparents. It became a fully confirmed “No” after my classmate M.S. Anantha got badly hurt in a School match.
I owe my cricketing career to three of my class mates – Late Shri A.V. Venkatanarayana, Cavale Sundarraja Rao and Raghunath Beerala. How they have influenced me and how their concerted efforts have a bearing on my cricketing career will unfold in the next few paragraphs.
I was a Southpaw – left hander by birth and used the left hand for all purposes including eating. The story goes that my mother used to apply neem oil (Bevina enne) to my fingers before eating and stopped the habit of eating by left hand. She also taught me to write with right hand. Thus the right hand became a cultivated hand for writing and hence I had a very good handwriting. The entire class knew about my handwriting.
It was a Saturday and a friendly match was arranged between Acharya Paatha Shala and National High School at National High School grounds. It was in the year 1960, when I was studying in ninth standard. There used to be a last period let off when our school cricket team played matches to enable students to watch the cricket match. I went home and had my breakfast and went to National High School ground to witness the match. Skipper A.V. Venkatanarayana won the toss and elected to bat. To his utter dismay, the scorer had played truant and had not reported at the ground. On seeing me, A.V called me, “Gopala, come here and act as a scorer, as you have a very good handwriting” (Gopala, baro illi, score maado, ninna handwriting chennagide). Thus my initiation to scoring began in 1960. From then onwards, I became a regular scorer for my school team, courtesy my team captain A.V. Venkatanarayana.
A word about my handwriting – how it had impressed my lecturers in the college is worth narrating here. I pursued my college studies in Vijaya College, Basavanagudi – Did my Pre University course as well Bachelor of Science Degree with Physics and Chemistry as major subjects. My Chemistry practical record was appreciated by lecturers. One such incident I would like to recall – it was in the final year of the course. We had a lecturer by name Ms V. Vatsala. Normally mistakes were corrected by the lecturers who were in charge of the practical classes. There was a mistake/error in one of the experiments that I had carried out previous week. Ms Vatsala called me and asked me to rewrite it again, as she did not want to correct the mistake/error. Our practical records were evaluated during the final examination. She did not want me to lose marks for the practical records in the final examination. We had three practical examinations in final examination – Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. The marks allotted to records of inorganic Chemistry was ten, while the other two branches carried five marks each with a total of 20 marks for the practical record. It’s no wonder that I earned the full 20 marks for my practical records – the first ever student to get the maximum – in the history of the College. So much so for my neat and impeccable handwriting – courtesy my mother.
To be continued