Captain MV Prabhakar Indian Navy (Retired), came across one of our earliest articles written by another old time Bangalore resident Usha Srinath, and wrote to us, sharing his blog post on his experiences in learning swimming in Kempambudhi Kere, in Gavipuram.
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In Amidst Women Swimmers Then (and Now), Usha talks about how she and her sisters learnt swimming in an old well off Bannerghata Road, from Munivenkatappa, held to be the national swimming champion of the forties and was well known in the Basavanagudi area as ‘the’ swimming teacher.
Capt. Prabhakar also seems to have learnt swimming from the same teacher, and here is his experience
Mr. M from Bangalore, not to be confused with the M from James Bond was a bachelor who lived near Gandhi Bazar circle. A man of gigantic proportions, he worked in HAL and represented the state in swimming. He taught swimming to two generations of boys and girls in and around Gandhi Bazaar. His training camps were held in a huge well in Dorasanipalya, located in the outskirts of the city. The main well was very deep and may be 50 feet in dia. It also had a key shaped shallow end meant for drawing water using a Koda. The facility had a pump house and acted as the change room. A load of us, cousins and friends used to be driven to the well in a car three times a week. Under the watchful eyes of Mr. M we learnt swimming – undoubtedly the “King of Outdoor Activity”. Thanks Mr. M.
I can never forget the triumvirate Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. To mark the end of that day’s training, all of us were subjected to a frightening manoeuvre in the well. It had three deadly parts. Using his massive arms, Mr. M would push us down yelling, “Brahma!” As we were going down, “Vishnu!” was his battle cry and finally he would push us further by exerting a massive force on our shoulders through his legs. The cry “Maheshwara”, accompanying the most powerful of all the three dips. This was followed by tucking down huge helpings of idly, dosa or uppit in the Iyer’s restaurant opposite the well.
For many years, Sunder, Babu and I used the well to enjoy ourselves and also to impart training. We taught Dooma Chandu, Guru, Kumar, Mallesh, my brother and our neighbour’s children Raji and Ramu. The list was endless…
I learnt my diving in a well located in the compound of Maratha Hostel which was close to my house. Unlike in Doresanipalya, the water level in this well was about 20 feet below ground level. We used to stand on the rim of the well and dive in, a frightful experience till you mastered the technique.
For the full post, read it here: samundarbaba.blogspot.com.