‘Back in the winter of 69’

Old Bengalureans recall the colder November mornings of 1970s and 80s

Published: 30th November 2016 02:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th November 2016 05:52 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

BENGALURU: “Is winter coming?” is what several Bengalureans have been wondering for few weeks now, with the city experiencing days as hot as summer.
City Express asks senior citizens to spin the wheel of time and tell us how they remember winter in Bengaluru back in the day.  

VSS Shastry, a 62-year-old Bengalurean says, “My family used to stay in Basavanagudi. I remember it being so cold. The newspaper boy, the flower vendor, everyone would come to our house only after 8 am during winter. Otherwise, the boy used to deliver the newspaper by 6 am during other seasons. Restaurants around my place, even the famous ones, that would usually open by 5.30am, wouldn’t open until 7 am during winters.” He also mentions how sweaters were a trend during the season. “It was cold and foggy. Everyone would wear a sweater. Christmas was Christmas in Bengaluru because of winter and sweaters,” he adds.

Shastry also shares a funny winter incident when he was a kid. In Gandhinagar, he saw a man walking with an umbrella open. “He was wearing a Mysore topi (cap), a black coat, with an umbrella. I wanted to tease him, and ask him sarcastically, ‘Is it raining?’ But when I saw him, I was shocked. It was Masti Venkatesha Iyengar, the Jnanpith awardee. I later realised the purpose behind the umbrella was to avoid bird droppings,” he says.
Another resident, 55-year-old Narayan Murthy, explains how Bengaluru would change into an indoor city during winters. “We would leave home only by 6.30 am. Streets would be empty before that time. If people had a choice, they would be home by 4.30 - 5pm. Most people would be home by 9.30 pm, nobody would stay out after 9.30 pm,” he says.

His friend Gopinath S adds, “Lalbagh wouldn’t open before 6.30 am. In fact even at 6.30 am, one wouldn’t spot anyone there. My family’s food menu would change during winters. Everything would be served hot. My mom always had boiling hot water to drink. It was a beautiful climate.”

Devadas Rao came to the city in 1973. He asks the same question, like many others, “Where is winter? Back in those days, winters would start by the end of October or the beginning of November. It is November 29 today, where is winter?”

Rao continues to express his discontent and mentions a report he read a few months back, which spoke of an upcoming ‘Dead Bengaluru’, “The report did a research that said that in another 20-30 years, Bengaluru is going to die. Pollution is increasing. Summers are hot. Winters aren’t cold anymore. How can I not believe it?”

A school teacher, Prasanna, spoke on the temperature range that existed back in the 1980s.
“The temparature would barely touch 10 degrees Celsius. The summers were our spring and the winters were cold and beautiful. Today, the range has crossed 20 degrees Celsius,” he says. “I talk to my students about what we have lost”.

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