By P.T. Bopanna
I first came to Mumbai 40 years ago as a jobless youth. It was at the instance of my cousin Satish Ganapathy I left my native Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka and came to Mumbai, then known as Bombay. I managed to get a temporary job as a time-keeper on daily wages.
Like most of the Kodavas (Coorgs), I too went and met K.M. Chinnappa (Kuppanda), the legendary managing director of Tata Electric, who was once involved in mentoring industrialist Ratan Tata. He gave me a decent job in his company.
However, being an idealist youth, I wanted to ‘change the world’ and thought of taking up journalism, without knowing much about the profession. It was a tall order because I had studied in Kannada medium at school and had not written anything until then to claim that I had writing skills.
Despite all the insecurities and inadequacies, the only thing I had in plenty was the passion to pursue my dream. I got enrolled at Mumbai’s Bhavan’s College of journalism for an evening course. After completing the one year post-graduate course, I headed back to Kodagu. I was again back to square one as a jobless person. It was a frustrating experience for my parents to see their son with a master’s degree and a post-graduate diploma sitting idle at home.
As months passed by without any job prospects, I met K.M. Nanjappa, brother of field marshal K.M. Cariappa, who had retired as chairman (custodian) of the Allahabad Bank. He wrote a letter to the owners of The Hindu newspaper who offered me a job as their Mercara (now renamed as Madikeri) correspondent. There has been no looking back.
After three decades of journalistic career, working mainly for The Times of India (at Bengaluru) and The Pioneer, I quit active journalism a decade ago to become an author. I have authored six books and the seventh book is on the way. My book ‘The Romance of Indian Coffee’ won the international Gourmand award. Presently, I am active on social media and run five Coorg-centric websites.
Now I have come back on a visit to the happening city of Mumbai where it all began. Thank you Mumbai and thanks to all those who made it possible for me to fulfill my dream.