Sunday 23 April 2017 News Updated at 08:04 AM IST
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All in the game - Deccan Herald
All in the game
Nina C George, DH News Service,
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(First row, sitting) Raj Kamal Dogra, Vandana Rao and Pushpa Nachappa. (Second row) Asim Handa, Ashwini Nachappa and Anu. (Third row) Rupinder Singh. (Standing) Rup Handa, the author and Krishnaswamy.
This picture was taken at a friend’s house in Bengaluru in 1985. It was clicked during a get-together when a few of my friends and athletes came to the city to attend a competition.

I did my schooling from Christ the King Convent in Mysuru, and later went to study at Maharani’s College for Women there.

I got my first international exposure during the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi. I continued to train at the Kanteerava Stadium when I moved to Bengaluru in 1984 after getting married. I trained in heptathlon there. I lived in Richmond Town and the stadium was only a three-minute walk from home. I used to go to the stadium on the moped.

Seen in the picture is myself along with my close friends Ashwini Nachappa, her sister Pushpa and Vandana Rao. Seen there is also Rupinder Singh, a middle and long-distance runner. A few other friends were also with us. Ashwini began training after she moved to Bengaluru from Kolkata in the early 80s.

We would spend time together during the national camps held in Patiala and even while training in the city. Vandana and I have known each other since we were 14 and have kept in touch since then. We trained together through university and went to the same national camps. We are close friends even today. It is the dream of excelling in our chosen field that brought all of us together and made us train hard, even though the facilities weren’t good. We never cribbed and only worked hard towards our goal.

Old Bangalore was rightly called the 'pensioner’s paradise’ because it was calm, quiet and beautiful. We would enjoy hanging out on MG Road, Commercial Street and Fraser Town. Our bike rides were interesting because it never took long to reach our destination.

The roads were free of traffic jams and there were no one-way roads.You could reach anywhere in the city in 10 minutes. We would watch movies at Rex, Plaza, Symphony and Galaxy theatres where a balcony ticket cost Rs 30 then.

Commercial Street was one of our favourite shopping destinations. Shrungar Complex on MG Road also had a few interesting shops.

My friends and I would go to Indian Coffee House and KC Das for 'cutlets’, 'samosas’ and coffee. We were regulars to Lakeview for ice cream and Bowring Lassi Shop for fresh juices and 'lassi’.

Today, I miss the weather of old Bangalore, where we never had to use a fan. Now, one can’t do without an air- conditioner because it is so hot. Traffic jams which were once unheard of have now become the order of the day. I miss the Bangalore that once was.

Reeth Abraham
(As told to Nina C George)