When I look back on my days at the college hostel I feel those were the finest days in my education career. The first thing was I had totally unburdened my parents from payment of college and hostel fee. I used to feel a sense of satisfaction during my mandatory visit to my home on weekends. I needed only a small amount from my father for my textbooks and other miscellaneous expenses. Unlike in my Shimoga hostel, here I had no inferiority complex of a free-student. I got great respect from the hostel mates.
That year some of the lecturers had set up their families. All those who had not set up their families were taking their food in the hostel even though they were not staying in the hostel. As such, they were instrumental in ensuring the quality of food. We got three new lecturers for chemistry. Shanbhogue from Sirsi took organic chemistry and became head of the department. Ramaswami took inorganic chemistry and Hegde took physical chemistry. The physics department was strengthened by addition of Nagaraj from
and Vekataramana Bhat from South Kanara.
Krishnappaiah continued as the Head of the Department. Overall we found the
quality of coaching continuing to be good as far as two major subjects were
But we were really in soup as far as mathematics was concerned. While we had the best existing lecturer N R Bhat remaining as the Head of the Department, the problem was with the new lecturer Srinath Sastry. (Bhat was the man who was responsible for my securing cent percent marks in mathematics). Sastry was actually a top rank postgraduate student from
He was the grandson of illustrious Kannada littérateur and Professor Thee Nam
Shree (T N Srikantaiah). For those of my readers who do not know him I wish to
inform that the well-known Mysore University South
End Circle in
is actually named after this great man. In fact even a statue of him is also
placed in the Circle. Bangalore City
Sastry was a fine example of how a highly merited student could become a very bad teacher! He would start his class with a problem to solve. After some time he would get totally entangled in his effort to teach us how to solve the problem. Then leave alone teaching us how to solve it, he would himself land in such a mess that he could never come out of it! In the end he would simply say sorry and wipe off the problem on the blackboard. He would start with a new problem in his next class. The presumption was that he had completed solving of the earlier problem! The whole exercise was a total misery for the students. In fact after sometime a sort of fear started engulfing me. The situation was such that we were going to perform very badly in Sastry’s subjects. Then leave alone securing any rank it was doubtful whether I could secure pass marks in his subjects! I often started witnessing nightmares! I had a personal discussion with Bhat. He tried to counsel me at his best. He assured me that I could secure cent percent marks in spite of Sastry! I was not at all convinced. The misery continued and Bhat was simply helpless.
It may not be out of place to mention here that Sastry left our college after two years and joined National Aeronautical Laboratory (NAL) in
. When I met him many years later I
could find him highly satisfied in his new job. In fact he was responsible for
starting an in-house magazine in NAL in the name of great ancient Indian sage Kanada
(who theorized that Gurutva was responsible for the falling of objects on
the Earth). It was clear that Sastry was only not fit for the lecturer’s
job. It was simply not his cup of tea! Bangalore
I had earlier forgotten to mention the name of our Sanskrit lecturer T S Venkannaiah who taught us in my PUC. He also hailed from an illustrious family of great Kannada Professor of
his name sake (including the initials). TSV was also the son of T S Shama Rao
another great Professor in the Mysore University . T S V was a
good lecturer but he was an expert when it came to teaching Kalidasa’s literary
works. He simply excelled in explaining the highly amorous details in his
romantic works. He was a bachelor in our PUC and probably had some limitations
at that time. But he married a beautiful lady by second year(when we came to B
Sc). He could now handle romantic and
amorous details with authority in view of his practical experiences! At least
that is what we felt at that time! T S V
later retired as the Principal of the college. Mysore
We had a great teacher in NBN as far as English was concerned. He simply excelled in his teachings. He was a master in English poetry and Shakespearean drama. We had the Shakespearean drama Othello for our detailed studies. I can never forget the tragedy faced by the beautiful Desdemona when her faithfulness was put into test by her husband Othello. The scheming Iago simply made Othello so jealous that he murdered the lovely innocent lady. Hats off to NBN, this intense drama unfolds eternally in my mind whenever I think of him.
But here again the other lecturer (I forgot his name!) was a total disappointment. In view of the scarcity of postgraduates in English in those days an elderly High School teacher (M A in English) from Chennai had been recruited. He continued to teach us like High School students only! He appeared to be a zero candle bulb against a hundred candle high voltage NBN! Later the management recruited a local, Suryanarayan, a B A (Hons) degree holder in English, again a High School teacher, as a Tutor in the Department. This gentleman was simply a disaster as far as teaching was concerned. In his opinion English teaching meant translating the sentences to Kannada! Indeed that is what he did! He spoiled the prose teaching which otherwise should have been a pleasure.
One of the new boys who joined our class was Shivashankarappa. He was also my hostel mate. He was a soft spoken man. We became close buddies after some time. He hailed from a reputed rich Lingayath family from Birur. His father Margada Mallappa, the eldest son in the family, was a practicing advocate. He commanded great respect in Birur and Kadur. I visited their house during the summer holidays and enjoyed their hospitality. Mallappa stood for Assembly elections in the year 1967 and won the election. Later he became the Health Minister in the Devaraja Urs ministry of Karnataka.
Mallappa had a textbook for his B A (Hons.) degree written by Krishna Hutheesingh, the beloved younger sister of Jawaharlal Nehru. Shivashankar gave it to me for reading. I read the book by name ‘With NO Regrets’ and found it highly sentimental and interesting. It was a rare book worth preserving. Seeing my interest, Shivashankar presented the book to me. The book remains with me till today. Whenever I get the mood I re-read the book and find it still worthwhile. It also reminds me my association with Shivashankar and the regards we had for each other in our college days. We lost touch after our graduation. But his association remains still green in my memory.
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