E.R. Ramachandran writes:
Bangalore in the 1950s and 60s was still a Pensioners’ Paradise and very much a sleepy town. It was mostly divided into “City” and “Cantonment” with Basavanagudi and Malleshwaram the best known among its residential areas. Jayanagar and its famous mosquitoes had not made their debut yet.
The City Market was really a conglomeration of various petes – Chikkapete, Balepete, Tharugupete, Akkipete, Cottonpete – holding the business community. Dandu, or Cantonment (‘Contrumentru’ as the villagers would call it) was still a very far off place for most Bangaloreans. Almost as far as London itself!
One got a fair idea of the City when one used BTS, or Bangalore Transport Service to give its full name (“Bittre Tiruga Sigodilla”, was the other full form). 50 years ago, the only other modes of transport for a common man were the Jataka Gaadi (horse driven covered cart) or natarajaservice— local lingo for footing it out. The word ‘autorickshaw’ had yet to enter the lexicon, the contraption was yet to invade our roads.
The best way of seeing Bangalore and getting an idea of what was happening in the city in those days was to travel by BTS route no. 11. Route no. 11 started its journey from Gandhi bazaar in Basavanagudi opposite Vidyarthi Bhavan and took you to Tata Institute (now Indian Institute of Science) on Malleshwaram 18th cross, after eons of time spent amidst chatter, sleep and fights over annas and paisas. Then the bus would cross the police commissioner’s office. The commissioner, lucky fellow, had his residence right opposite his office! Yet when he drove in his car to his office in style, the police constables gave a guard of honour for him standing on either side of the gangway. This happened every day and a sizeable crowd collected to watch the ceremony. At the government engineering college (which became UCE and finally UVCE) bus stop, those who took the bus to Attara Kaccheriof the government would get down and loosen up their stiff limbs as also the students of Jayachamarajendra Occupational Institute started by Sir M. Visvesvaraya from his lifetime earnings.
Subbu Murthy, 1976 Electronics commented:
Nostalgic! The 11 bus stop was bang opposite the home I grew up. This article brought back the pleasant memories of not just the famous cricket players mentioned, but the several street boys who played in our home front yard, and the occasional six (fortunately with a tennis ball) just grazing the double-decker bus carrying the tag No. 11, and the friendly bus-conductor gently twisting our ears for our shot selection. Mr. Ramachandran thank you for this heart-warming article. You brought back memories hidden in the deepest corner of my heart, though now located 10,000 miles away in Chino Hills California, still cherishes the wonderful time with Route 11. Next time you mention the article, you may add that Route 11 also carried a young dream-filled boy all through the engineering college at UVCE from 1971 to 1976.
(For full article published in the blog, refer this link). We had published this article in Sampada-33