It was early 40’s. My father a medical doctor in the service of Madras Local fund authority, was under under orders of transfer from one northern station to a southern town, which involved a travel of more than 40 miles. My mother, I, my brother aged 3 years, two sisters aged 5 and 2 were moving by the passenger bus. The world War II was raging and every vehicle was requisitioned for the use of the armed forces. Armed forces moved in a convoy of 30 or 40 vehicles from Bangalore Cantt to Madras or back. When army convoy is in the road, moving or stationery, the civil traffic is said to be sidelined and wait for the convoy to move and then only to take the liberty of the road. My father had gone to Palakod fixed up a house for us to stay and arranged for admissions for all of us in the local elementary school and came to take us. Our loyal servants, Abalappa, Ramappa, and Mariappa were also accompaying us to Palakod.
The bus was an old model, Bedford, with seats laid like benches across the body of the bus, without any protection on either side except a bent iron rod which acts as a stay and a handle. The bus runs on methane gas, I think, because somebody filles the rear boiler with a bag full of charcoal and set fire at the bottom and go on rotating the blower. When the charcoal is lit it gives a bright yellow/red glow through the bottom opening of the boiler. We started our journey in the early morning and my mother had packed lot of boxes with food items and drinking water, be cause we the urchins will also be hungry and always ask for food and water. At the most inconvenient time we used to ask to go to nature calls. Father used to scold us for making things so urgent and asked us to hold on for some more time. A big army truck came and slowly it overtook us. We could see the faces of the white soldiers looking at the occupants of the bus. There were women and men and children in the bus all anxious because of the situation. The soldiers got down from their truck and went around the bus and had a closer look at the female occupants. My mother was the star attraction, in her early twenties, fair and well endowed. They came and went around the bus and again came and stood near our seats. We were all worried and my father was very angry. No body dared to speak a word against the soldiers. Their truck never moved and they did not allow our bus also to move. My brother wanted to urinate and that too urgently. Abalappa carried him on his shoulders and took him to a nearest tree and asked my brother to empty himself on the tree trunk. My brother stood for a long time ready to flow but the stream did not come because of many onlookers.
Some more trucks came and there was no way and hence the truck which stood near our bus had to move. The English soldiers were looking at us and laughing and moved away and after halt of more than an hour we moved on. We were all hungry and thirsty and amma gave us all, food in packets and water in bottles which satisfied our needs for the time being. In those days there were no way side hotels, or restaurants or tea shops and people were scared of the section of the soldiers who may come ask for eatable, after eating may walk away without paying anything.
It was in the afternoon when we reached our destination, we were all huddled up in a horse drawn cart and with a part of the luggage were driven to our new house by the side of a pilliar temple. The floor were all laid with granite slabs and large rooms and large living room gave us plenty of space to move around. We immediately built up friendship with the local boys.
I and my sister Rema were put in the fourth standard and second standard in the local school. It was very close to our house in a walking distance only. The hospital where my father was in charge was a huge building with lots of staff and it was always crowded. My father asked us not to visit him in the hospital because there will be always patients with so many diseases.