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Memoirs of Belagavi

Photo of author

Over the years, life undergoes changes and time passes by. We may age, but we don’t truly grow up. If you were to remain in Belagavi, you would undoubtedly long for the days that have slipped away.

The memories of our childhood create an indescribable sense of nostalgia. We were raised in Nanawadi, Tilakwadi, and Camp – places that still bear the lingering presence of the British era.

Each season held its unique joys for us. The year, filled with excitement and adventure, didn’t commence with the academic calendar but rather in March when the winds of exams blew through. These gusts, like small tornadoes, served as a forewarning of the impending exams. However, it wasn’t the exams themselves that we eagerly anticipated; they were merely a formality to endure before the much-awaited vacations.

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The exams were not all that much tension too, plus there were plenty of hawkers with Karwandas, Tamarind jigli and Jambhul to ease the pressure. My personal favorite was the raw cut mangoes which made my exams easy to appear.

jambhul
PC: santosh Purohit


Chickenpox, typhoid, viral etc made their occasional appearances in friends during this period. Somehow exams were over in no time, we actually had two exams a day and no holidays in between, I wonder what today’s kids would do with that format.

Once the small tornadoes appeared, parents would plan vacations, but wait it was not foreign locations or themes, it was usually a grandma’s home or mama’s town. A place around two hundred km away yet visited only once a year and there would be so much excitement, sweets, pickles, and all the packing.

cork-ball
Balls were made by crushing these. Photo:Santosh Purohit


We would however be busy making cricket balls of some weird fruits we called cork balls, God knows what those shengas were. Somehow the grandma’s place seemed like the best destination and yes it used to relax the moms so much for the next academic year.

football-belgaum


Soon exams would be over and there would be the last ritual football match before we went home for two full months, by this time there would be occasional showers and it was considered offensive not to get wet, although it would lead to the inevitable fever and cold, that was not a big deal.

tamrind-tree


Those who lived in the camp and Nanawadi would then go through the annual mango crusade, stealing mangoes and tamarind made us feel like pirates, and getting caught and reported to our parents was heroic. Desai farm and St Mary’s church were our favorite haunts. Those not visiting grandmas also had lucrative options, there were evening picnics to military Mahadev where you could see fish, and animals and play on the slides, biscuit Mahadev, there was Laxmi tekdi and the water used to flow freely there and then there was the queens garden with its magical mirrors in the garden.

mahadevnew


We did not have chips and the best snack was churmura and chiwda. There used to be one cricket summer camp in Union Gymkhana, otherwise, our summer training was in every galli and playground. There used to be a competition to be first on the ground to get the best pitch, the games usually lasted till you could tan yourself no more.

lele ground-football


Results came on the tenth of April and that was the only day we ever knew who our post man was. Results were usually pass for all and we did have ranks that mattered to the uncles and aunties around your house, getting a pass was enough.

Femila Ice Cream Photo Santosh Purohit
Femila Ice Cream Photo Santosh Purohit


Then came the mangoes and we never had to use the knife, mangoes of every variety from every tree were yours to have, there was no concept of organic and all that because they were all as natural as it gets. Eating mangoes was a competition and there were no pressures to lose weight.

By the time the Jambhuls came it used to be time to get back to school. It was time to get your uniform stitched, once a year if you were lucky and the cloth shop and tailor were fixed, you had to buy books from Salgoankar stationary and mama shop, that was the last you ventured into the city. Fresh books, fresh covers, fresh uniforms and heavy rains to drape them.

water - nala


Kids today would never know the fun of crossing nalas full of water in heavy rains and yes we got holidays if it rained heavily, we miss the heavy rains so much. Paper boats and rockets were essential basic crafts for this season. This was the time to go after the crabs, which suddenly came into the field from nowhere and tasted yum.

The trees were so abundant that we did not need to plant, it was considered outcasts not to be able to climb a tree and you would get only the leftovers that were dropped down. Getting fruits from markets and eating like we do today was not fashion. With the rains coming to an end we started the second round of picnics Sogal, Dhupdal, Gokak, Hidkal, Vaijanath and if you were a little more adventurous Amboli were the happening locations, not very far but equally rewarding, the batata bhaji and chapati were the best companion for this and mom had the best recipe.

Kite flying was restricted to mid-term holidays alone during Dasara and Diwali and kites with long tails and longest tails was fun.

swamy bakery
Swamy Bakery camp

We also had our Swamy bakery if you wanted some hot and creamy buns and rolls giving a touch of the colonial past of camp. Memories would go on even in winter with Diwali and Christmas vacation as Belgaum would then be cold and cosy.

We played at the ground which now houses the Shivateerth, the BMS school ground, and the ground behind Laxmi Mandir near Nanawadi. All these grounds have now been either closed to the public or something else has occupied the same. In those days we also used to get the occasional entry into the lido tank used by the commandos.

Ashok Bhavan Nanawadi was a hotspot once
Ashok Bhavan Nanawadi was a hotspot once
balkrishna
Photo Sandeep Chandgadkar
rex-belagavi
RexCinema
globe
Renovated Globe- Photo by Santosh Purohit


Movies were seen in theaters and Globe, Rex, Balkrishna and Arun talkies were for those who had the money, well tickets were around ten rupees and we could afford a maximum of two in a year. Popins, greens, pawan and raswanti were the options if you had money to indulge in food and the dosas, misals, alipak was delicious.

alepak belgaum 5
Alepaak (Alipaak) along with Sugarcane Juice in Belagavi


The arrival of the circus during Ganapati was common and seeing those elephants, Lions, hippos, Camels, and Horses was a treat on the Station ground.

rambo-circus bekgaum

People used to gather for poojas and exchange wishes instead of going on vacations. It was a joyous time for every child, and I often find myself wishing that our children could experience such simple pleasures in today’s competitive world. It’s disheartening to witness parents fighting for grades even in kindergarten, making me question why children are subjected to such immense pressure.

Sometimes, I yearn to travel back in time and relive those cherished days in Belagavi. The freedom to go out and play with friends just for the sheer joy of it, without any professional aspirations. Eating fruits straight from the trees and basking in the sun, leaves us with memories that will endure, unlike the results we achieved in exams. I long to stroll in the rain once more, without a care in the world about getting drenched.

33 thoughts on “Memoirs of Belagavi”

  1. Very much appreciated the Golden memories of olden days of Belagavi, some more to be Post in your ABB. Thanks.

    Reply
  2. You just refreshed my childhood. I share every bit of this. Loads of Cigarettes with friends at Ashok ‘s adda of Nanawadi, playing chess, Carrom..
    Roaming in Belgaum special Bhangi Bols , playing kalla police…
    Waiting to get a piece of ice at Mahatma Phule road ice factory…
    Playing at Jakkyan honda.. cricket tournaments with 1 rupee bet.. 10 paisa each… Everything Madhav..

    And you remember Femila ice cream? It was somewhere in Kacheri galli shahapur.. it closed.. then came duplicates .. Fremila, pemila..

    Making manja in shahapur smashan.. Now kle hospital is there..
    Oh.. old days..

    Reply
  3. Apology for being specific to St Pauls. There used to be summer camp in st pauls where you could exchange library books every day. End of the camp used to be treasure hunt.
    The camp ( army ) area was and is still full of fruits, we army kids spent most afternoon and evenings on the trees, kaju, ambe, jambul, ilyachi chinch, fanas were all freshly stolen from trees.

    Reply
  4. Yes i memorize all these moments n places in Belgaum.When i was teen i always go to Goodshed road to watch the
    steam engine trains.Steel i can experince the smell of that charcoal .Thanx Dr. prabhu for sweet memories.

    Reply
  5. You have also missed out the Tambdiya ke Bhel & also during summer season the Lassi Ice,Orange Ice ,Kalingad Ice of Mainu Bhai near St Mary’s & Islamiya School.

    Reply
  6. Hi, since I lived in the Bungalow area, I reckon we had more fun than kids living in the City area. The reason being that during the kite flying season, we were the one’s closer to the kite that’s zapped after the duel.
    Those were the days which will never come back. The memories still linger on my mind. I don’t think that children these days get an opportunity to have so much adventurous holidays.

    Reply
  7. Wonderful sir..the story is the same.whether u were in camp tilakwadi hindalga or bhagyanagar..those were the best days of.my life..thank u for taking me back to past and yo belgaum..

    Reply
  8. Excellent write up many of the things still exist. So not completely lost. At least traces of what you have written are there.

    Reply
  9. What a lovely write up of the Loveliest Town in the world .
    Its not the things around, nature and architecture which make a township.
    The people in it are most important and Belgaum has indeed got the best
    of them.

    Reply
  10. While studying in St Mary’s High School,we miss a lot, ie Meenaxi Bhavans Delicious Puri Bhaji and Amba Bhavans Khanda Bhaji,etc but Mainos crushed burf ice cream was so good we could not forget that, still more memories are there…

    Reply
  11. We had libraries where we can borrow comics, magazines. novels in Belagavi on rent which starts from 25 paisa to 50 paisa’s per day. In our Camp area there were Jack & Jill , United and Novelty books where we can get materials for reading on rent. We were excited to ride bicycles which were on rent from Dilip , SA. cycle shop on hourly basis per hour 15 paisa. What a luxury and healthy life was that. Miss this and wish to go and leave in same timeline like Back to the future movie.

    Reply
  12. We had libraries where we can borrow comics, magazines. novels in Belagavi on rent which starts from 25 paisa to 50 paisa’s per day. In our Camp area there were Jack & Jill , United and Novelty books where we can get materials for reading on rent. We were excited to ride bicycles which were on rent from Dilip , SA. cycle shop on hourly basis per hour 15 paisa. What a luxury and healthy life was that. Miss this and wish to go and leave in same timeline like Back to the future movie.

    Reply

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