I have been meaning to do this piece for a while, but couldn’t get down to it, presumably, due to the L-factor that seem to afflict many of us Mysoreans. L here stands for lethargy. I plead guilty to name-dropping, in the process of saying, thank-you, to those who turned up in response to my e-mail invite, and also those who wrote to say they wished they could make it, to the Regaalis on November 18 evening. They included veteran journalist Mr Krishna Vattam, who came to the hotel, only to leave a note at the reception desk, saying that he couldn’t join us because he didn’t not wish to pass on his cold & cough to the guests at the party.
I was looking forward to meeting him. We have been in e-mail touch for several months, but could not find time and occasion to meet each other till this date. The thing about our Nov.18 party was that it gave me an opportunity to put a face on many names in my e-mail address book. I also realized that quite a few of our guests had also not met one another earlier. The pretext for our get-together was to celebrate Siddarth who was visiting his grandparents in Mysore for the first time since birth one year ago.
Excited at our first meeting some of us traded promises to keep ourselves in closer touch. Dr.(Lt.Col.) Y N I Anand, a retired military doctor specialized in nuclear medicine, overwhelmed us by dropping in at our place the other day to deliver a CD of the pictures he had taken at Regaalis. I was equally touched by the gift of a book by the Madhavans. Must concede that, at the time of posting this piece, I had read only 55 pages of the 160-page novel, The Silver Pilgrimage by M Ananthanarayanan. Mr A Madhavan, our former envoy whose postings included Berlin and Tokyo, and his wife struck a connection with my son, who shares his first name with theirs. And both are based in California.
Dr Javeed Nayeem, cardiologist by profession, responded to my invite, in letter and spirit, by turning up with his wife, daughter and son. The doctor has, in recent months, blossomed into a widely read Star of Mysore columnist. My grouse is Dr Nayeem doesn’t write more and frequently for his blog, which is part of our new-found site – Mysore Blog Park.
Mrs & Mr T S Satyan (need I say who?) were among the first guests to arrive. A stickler for keeping time, the Satyans were there right on the dot, at 7.30 p m. I can brag that we have known each other since the early 60s, when Mr Satyan was a Life magazine photo-journalist, and I, a minion at the Press Information Bureau, New Delhi. Another Delhi connection of ours who showed up at Regaalis, from Chennai, was Mr Sam Rajappa of The Statesman. Mr Satyan mentioned that he had last met Sam Rajappa some 30 years back.
Another friend who came from Chennai was Mr M R Venkatesh of the Telegraph. Speaking of outstation guests I was pleased to meet my new-found blogger friends Mr C N Ramesh and Mr L Venkata Ranga, who came with wife and two-year old kid from Bangalore. Another out-of-towner who came to Mysore specifically for the party was Mr Vijendra Rao of Bangalore Bias. We count him among the five charter members of the now inactive MyMysore Forum.
My professional affinity with journalists probably accounts for the presence of quite a few of our tribe. Mysore media veteran Mr Gouri Satya and wife, who were not likely to come because of a previously committed engagement, showed up briefly. It was such endearing gestures, particularly by those I didn’t know long or well enough, that made my evening. Mr Srihari, a retired CFTRI scientist who has morphed into a Star of Mysore editorial writer, turned up even though he was nursing a fractured ankle. Another Mysorean who has taken to writing in his ‘second adulthood’, Mr E R Ramachandran, was there and wanted us to invent excuses for such gatherings with reasonable regularity. Of the NRI parents who turned up was Mr N D Bhagavan and his wife. I had got in touch with him after reading a media report on Mr Bhagavan's initiative to form an NRI Parents Association in Mysore. As was the case with most other e-mail contacts of mine, Mr Bhagavan and I were looking forward to meeting each other.
Must mention here the help I have had from two of our guests – Mr T Raghottam Rao, and Mr M B Nagakumar. A former Lions Club president who is into full time social work, Mr Rao, used his membership of the Cosmopolitan Club as well as the Institution of Engineers, to arrange much needed accommodation for rooming some of our outstation guests. Mr Nagakumar, a leading light in the Mysore chapter of the Builders Association of India, put in a word that weighed with the Regaalis management to give an appreciable discount on our food bill.
Notable among those who e-mailed to say they wished they could be there was Mr Shankar Prasad, an IT executive and active member of the Mysore IT Forum. Shanks, as he is generally addressed, said he couldn’t make it as he got caught up in a downpour while visiting a friend on way to the party. Energy consultant, Mr Shankar Sharma, was candid enough to tell me he wasn’t a partying type. Capt. Anup Murthy, an aviator-blogger, called from Goa on the morning of the party to say he had to be away from Mysore that day on a pressing engagement.