04 February, 2008

self reliance

Aristocrat, Everinsky, Own opinion, Track Lightning- to the uninitiated these might sound as some random words from the dictionary. An avid race goer of the early eighties will immediately identify these champion thoroughbreds.
Those were the days when the Bangalore Derby was the only derby still eluding Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy. The Punters were divided as to whom among M. Jagdish and V. Shinde was the champion Jockey. Though R.R. Byramji was far ahead of other trainers, A.B. David was immensely respected. Bangloreans were yet to discover the I.T.E.S and one could fend oneself with five hundred rupees a month.
I was a science undergraduate at the prestigious Christ College. Through some enthusiastic horse racing YMCA hostel mates I got introduced to this pastime of the rich and the famous. The race course was the place I spent several of those days at Bangalore instead of College. When cash ran out and all options of borrowing from friends too came to a naught I used my great equation with the Reverend Father Principal to borrow money on the pretext that the money order from home is late in arriving; which was promptly reimbursed from the winnings.
One fine race day a champion horse by the name self reliance a sure bet was running. The punter in me got the better of me and throwing all caution to winds, wagered the princely sum of three thousand rupees on the forty on sixty odds on favourite. The race started “Self reliance” was leading the field from the start, coming to the home stretch still in the lead. Alas but was piped at the post by the second favourite which too belonged to the same owner. I felt like sinking into the ground, how will I repay to all those whom I had borrowed.
Those days for students owning a four wheeler was extravagance and two wheelers luxury. What I had was the lowly moped but luckily two of them- a T.V.S.50 and a Kinetic Luna. Luna the older of the two was sacrificed at the altar of racing and all loans squared off.