Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sports in the blood

This 1888 testimonial of my great grandfather K.Mylar Rao (he spelt as Malhari Rao earlier) says that he had a good physique and was an ardent cricketer in his college days. He was good at Bridge (cards) and played some tennis also in his later years. He was a life member of Cosmopolitan Club and Mysore Sports Club, Mysore after he retired from service in 1926.

Surely he must have had a good physique as I am told he took regular strolls and used the dumb bells to maintain his body and health. He must have been a supreme example of a healthy mind in a healthy body - he was an avid reader too which the big library suggests.


My grandfather K.M.Subba Rao was even better. He was a much renown sportsman esp. in his heydays and even till the end, aside from his profession as a respected, renown (and honest, I must proudly add) lawyer and a distinguished citizen of Mysore.

H.H. The Maharaja of Mysore, Sri Jayachamaraja Wadiyar hands over the cup to Subba Rao for Golf at the Mysore Sports Club's tournament, about 1966, at the MSC grounds as Farrokh Irani looks on.


Probably this picture was taken in 1952 at the Cosmopolitan Club during a Tennis tournament. His good friend BS Dattatri is to his right, extreme left.

Madras Christian College Cricket Team, Winners of Inter-Collegiate Cricket Shield, 1918.

Subba Rao is the non-striker at the far end in this picture, probably of the early 1950s or thereabouts, playing in a Lawyers tournament [most likely]. The ground is the "Ovals" [now the Athletic Ground opposite Crawford Hall]. In the background is the Maharaja's / Yuvaraja's College Buildings and the Oriental Research Institute.


This must be a picture of the early 1930s. One of the few where both KM Subba Rao and his father K Mylar Rao are in together [see marked arrows]. Also together in this are HH Krishnarajendra Wadiyar IV, HE Kanteerava Narasa Raja Wadiyar (The Yuvaraja of Mysore) and a young Sri Jayachamaraja Wadiyar and Sir Mirza Ismail. The building is of the Mysore Sports Club. Probably this is a group of elite Mysoreans who are sports-lovers. Mylar Rao was also a keen sportsman skilled in Cricket in his younger days, Tennis and Bridge. Mysore Sports Club was formed later. The building is still there but a facade has come up.

Below is a letter from J.G.Tait to K.M.Subba Rao. Tait was his teacher at Presidency College, Madras. Tait remembers his student with great affection and shares his feelings like a friend. He remembers a few other names also so vividly even after many years after his retirement. It shows how that bondage between the teacher and pupil was in those days. Subba Rao and Tait exchanged letters even after Tait went back to England in the early 1920s after his retirement. Apart from Subba Rao's all-round talent Tait in this letter remembers a cricket match:

[ Page 4 and 1 here] - click to enlarge and read

[ Page 2 and 3 here] - click to enlarge and read

On the left side, which is page 2 of the letter, Tait vividly remembers one of Subba Rao's famous bowling spells where he had turned the match in one over by taking "four of their best wickets". It was for Presidency College (in 1920) against Madras Christian College. He also feels sorry when he came to know about the accident Subba Rao sustained and had to stop playing cricket [it might have happened a few months or a couple of years before 1926]. He used to describe the incident to us, showing his little finger that had broken while taking a catch. That little finger can be seen in one of the pictures I am with him [in one of my other posts].

Notable is J.G.Tait, his teacher, seated centre in the picture below.

Presidency College Athletic Association -Cricket & Hockey, Madras, 1919-1920.

Presidency College Football Team, Madras, 1919-20

Medals and Trophies in the showcase.
Left Picture - of 1920s; Right Picture - 1952.

Grandfather KM Subba Rao with his treasured trophies won in many sports: Athletics, Badminton, Billiards, Bridge, Cricket, Football, Golf, Hockey and mainly Tennis. What a list!

I am told by Capt. P.Alasingachar (P.A.Char), who was a schoolmate of my father K.S. Ramachandra Rao that he too was very talented in Football but his poor eyesight curbed it greatly. My father was fond of telling that once his nose was struck from one side by a football and turned it to that side, but another blow from the other side a few years later almost straightened it. But I have seen him play Table Tennis with great skill as he used his spin to great effect and Bridge in which he was quite an exponent.

Ramachandra Rao is seen in the above picture, top row in his father's Mysore Sports Club Blazer. He represented his Institute in Bridge, 1976.

So much of my forefathers.


In the above picture, I walk off after a memorable bowling spell (the captions tells most) that won our CSIR team the final match at Nagpur, 2001.

When sports is in the blood, we will not be discouraged at home. Sports gives us so much in terms of joy and friends and develops a personality while it teaches life through its successes and failures, importance of hard work, discipline, etc. Sports makes us as people! It teaches many lessons, if only they are pursued in true spirits.

My own tryst with Cricket has been put together in my blog separately. I have tried my hand in sprints, long jump and tennis and it was only then I realized how hard it is to be proficient in more than one sport and that is where the greatness of my grandfather is to be admired.

B.S CHANDRASEKHAR, nephew of Subba Rao. Each time Chandra took a 'five-for', he used to congratulate him by writing a letter.

Sports in the blood is quite a fortunate thing to be blessed with!

2 comments:

Mr Jones said...

Just thought you may find it interesting that I have begun an article on Wikipedia on Professor John Guthrie Tait.

RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

Interesting to see the cricket vein in your family