Chamarajpet days

A J Asok Kumar Feb 28 2018, 21:16 IST
(First row standing, from right) Rajalaxmi (10th) and Bhagyammal (12th), the author's aunt and mother respectively.

This group photograph was taken in 1921/22 at Mahila Seva Samaj School, Basavanagudi. My mother late Bhagyammal was a student then at this school and so also my aunt Rajalaxmi. This was the most popular school for women in those days.

My grandfather lived in a palatial house in Chamrajpet opposite to the house called 'Aney House' which is situated in the corner of the circle just opposite to today's City Institute Club in Chamrajpet. He was a manager in a British Bank in the late19th century.

After his death in the early 20th century, his eldest son took over the same job and took care of all his younger siblings, two younger brothers and three sisters along with his own children. Well, those days this was possible! This house is currently owned by a Bank probably IOB bank.

The students were all in the age group of twelve and thirteen years. And most of the girls discontinued studies after this and were married off to prospective bridegrooms of 18 to 22 years of age. This situation slightly improved when my two older sisters studied in the same school in the early 50's and they were allowed to finish their 10th class called SSLC after which one sister was married off and the other completed her ISC in Mount Carmel college and then got married. We used to make fun of this by saying that for girls SSLC means 'Stop study and learn cooking!'

Thank God now most of the girls are equally or sometimes even more educated than men. What a change now we have women as political leaders (most of them more powerful than their counterparts), IPS officers, Army, Navy and Air force officers, scientists, sportspersons etc.

Mahila Seva Samaj School used to teach English from the primary class itself and therefore my mother who passed her 8th grade in 1921 and discontinued thereon, got married was able to read and write in English fairly well.

After my mother married my father late A V Jayaraman, the small family of seven brothers and two sisters lived in Uttaradi Mutt Road Shankarapuram from 1942 to 1959. My father was the first batch engineer from The Government College of Engineering, retired as executive engineer Mysore PWD in 1953.

At that time there were no houses in the Uttaraji Mutt compound and it was full of huge Honge and Sampige trees. There was a nice cricket field in the centre. NUCC(National United Cricket Club) team was formed here in early 40's by two of my brothers Venkat Subramanyam, Srinivasan, Venkatram who was the son of my aunt Rajalaxmi, as well as MSK, Chandu. All were living in the same neighbourhood.

All of us, the seven brothers studied in National- Primary, Middle, High School and also College. One of my sisters did her primary and middle levels in the same school. In those days girls were not taken in National High school and college and they had to shift to a different school after the middle school. My older sister studied her complete schooling in Mahila Seva Samaj School before she went to Mount Carmel College.

My Aunt Rajalaxmi married Late K S Krishnaswami Iyer, an Advocate. They had two children a daughter and a son. The daughter Padma (a retired lecturer) an ex-alumni of Mahila Seva Samaja and daughter-in-law Venkatram live in their ancestral house in National High school Road next to Karnikara Patashala Basavanagudi.

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