Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A memorable Dasara Exhibition visit

Seemingly trivial incidents often make their way deep into memories for the sheer thrill. During the 1970 Dasara holidays for Mysore schools, I and my two neighbourhood friends, Gopi and Manjunath had planned to visit the Dasara Exhibition, on our own, together. Gopi was my 8th std. classmate and also a short-time enemy towards the end of our 7th std.! It was to be my debut trip sans family elders from whom I had obtained permission. On that chosen evening, my grandfather had agreed to pick us up at about 9 p.m. on our return.

We reached the destination by bus, just 4 stops away, bought single tickets for fifty paise and entered the dreamland. In those days, the grand exhibition was at the building next to the Railway Offices - a location renowned for its very special ambience. The most catchy, cascading waterfall facing the entrance greeted visitors.

With hardly a few rupees in our pockets, we got pleasure in strolling around the shops, more than shopping. I remember to have bought a metallic toy that made a loud ‘tik-tok’ sound, for ten paise. The spring-monkey [made from a cycle spoke, a little plastic monkey and a spring] was also available for ten paisa, but we had finished playing with it in our younger days. There was that ‘China Ball’[ a small balloon filled with water] a trifle costlier, tied to an elastic band. Those churumuri and paani puri had not yet made a popular impact inside the premises. Eating junk was not a thing then!

We had forgotten time till we realized we must return home, to go out and wait for my grandfather. On inquiry, we found that it was time to leave. As we were coming out, the clouds started coming down, almost from nowhere! I tell you, it was a very heavy downpour. So we knew only panic and got scared. The threesome rushed to a nearby bus-shelter, already drenched. Power went off, darkness engulfed. The many flashes of lightning provided some light in which thick raindrops could be seen. Loud-sounding thunderbolts added to our scare. Every minute seemed like an hour. Then suddenly in one of the brighter flashes of lightning, I could spot my grandfather under his umbrella, maneuvering the soggy path.

Wasting no time, I loudly cried out “Tata, Tata”. Immediately, he turned towards the familiar voice, he too probably relieved having found us. Only then those minutes of uncertain suspense ended. We felt, as if saved from a death trap. An auto rickshaw took us home after dropping the two friends back to their homes. Our arrival home also brought relief to my worried grandmother, more than anybody else.

I cannot imagine what we would have done if I had not spotted him. For, it was a continuous downpour which went on well into the next morning prompting the following morning’s newspapers to carry a front-page headline “Fourteen hours of continuous rain in Mysore”!


Capt. Anup Murthy said...

I remember many rained-out dasaras. I also vividly remember the exhibition when it was held next to the railway officers and I vivdly remember buying a tin boat, that would go around in circles in a bucket of water,if one lit the candle in the center-inside of the boat and that would make a phut-phut sounds as it went around! Quite a modern toy those days!

ER Ramachandran said...

What prompted to write is: I noticed your interest in cricket. I am originally a Bangalorean and has now settled in Bangalore.

Whatever happened to A.S. Krisnaswamy- ASK-? I remember how he boldly faced Gilchrist's bouncers in Central college Grounds in Bangalore without helmet and chest pads etc.Along with L.T. Adisesh and Subbu he was the mainstay for Mysore - now - Karnataka with Kasturirangan and Varadaraj taking care of bowling attack.

Hope you will be able to tell about ASK.Thanks.

Dinakar KR said...


Hello Sri Ramachandran,
You will find ASK in my compilation in the above URL. I've played against him in a festival match many years back. He played for our club. Am sure the above blog is useful to your interests!! You may find some old names and pictures there to bring back more memories!! Let me know. I used to read your column in SoM. Thanks for visiting my ba-bla-blog!