Monday, November 10, 2014

Bridge bet

Basavanapura, a small village en-route from Mysore towards holy town Nanjangood. The village was known for its serenity. River Kabini made the village ever green. Until recently, one had to use the launch boat to cross the river. Passing by vehicles were loaded onto the platform like looking boat to cross the river. After a lot of struggle the government had constructed a bridge here.

 

Ramu Gowda was a localite.  He worked as an office boy at the village bank.  He loved spending time alone under the bridge. Playing games, singing song, all alone, it was his private space.

Siddu was from the nearby Mysore town. He was visiting his uncle, who was recently posted to the village as the bank manager. Siddu and Ramu met each other at a bank function. Acquaintance turned to friendship.
Siddu found good company in Ramu. They were often seen hanging out together. Once Ramu took Siddu to his hideout, a small vent by the side of the bridge. This had now become their meeting point, their 'adda'
The bridge was a famous landmark village. River Kabini flowed through the rocky patch to her fullest. This created scenic spot in the village. Despite the beauty villagers feared going to this place. They claimed it haunted. There have been several accidents by the bridge. It was a usual to see a vehicle tragically fallen off the bridge with everyone in the vehicle dead. All these accidents happened on the Amavasya, the no moon day.

It was one such mornings when Siddu was in the village saw a two wheeler crushed between the rock. Ramu said "The bridge takes its next victim". Siddu replied "This is no ghost deed". "I don't believe in these nonsense" he added. Ramu said "Bet? You lose, you lose your life. I lose I pay you 10grands."

Next Amavasya Siddu plunged in his bike and hit out to win the bet. His gut shivered as he passed by the bridge. "This was easiest way I made 10grands". With the adrenaline rush he moved over bridge back and forth. He then noticed Ramu sitting nearby the milestone 'Mysore 13km'.
Siddu was scared to see Ramu sitting there smiling. Siddu mockingly said, "'You came here to check if I have come here or not? See I win, you can pay me in installment". Ramu laughed and said "Here, take it, There aren't any installments in my bet"

Next day Ramu was passing by the tea shop. He saw the local newspaper it read "Another young man from Mysore loses his life at the Basavanapura bridge". Ramu whispered, there are no installments

ಸೇತುವೆ ಬಾಜಿ

ಬಸವನಪುರ ಒಂದು ಪುಟ್ಟ ಊರು. ಮೈಸೂರಿನಿಂದ ಸುಮಾರು ೧೩ ಕಿ ಮಿ ದೂರದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದು ಕಬಿನಿ ನದಿಯ ತಾಣ. ಒಂದು ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ಊರನ್ನು ದಾಟಬೇಕಿದ್ದರ ಲಾಂಚ್ (launch ) ಬಳಸಬೇಕಿತ್ತು . ಈಗ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಸೇತುವೆ ಕಟ್ಟಲಾಗಿದೆ . ಸೇತುವೆ ಬಳಿಯ ಜಾಗ ತುಂಬಾ ವಿಸ್ಮಯವಾಗಿದ್ದು ಸದಾ ಹಸಿರಿನಿಂದ ತುಂಬಿರುತ್ತಿತ್ತು


ರಾಮು ಗೌಡ ಬಸವನಪುರ ಯುವಕ . ಹಳ್ಳಿಯ ಬ್ಯಾಂಕ್  ನಲ್ಲಿ office ಬಾಯ್ . ತುಂಬಾ ಬುದ್ದಿವಂತ ಆದರೆ ಸೊಂಬೇರಿ . ಸೇತುವೆ ಕೆಳಗೆ ಕುಳಿತು ಓಬ್ಬನೆ ಹಾಡಾ ಡುತ್ತ, ಒಬ್ಬನೆ ಚೌಕಾಬಾರ ಆಡುತ್ತಾ  ಸಮಯ ಕಳೆಯುವದು ಇವನ ಹವ್ಯಾಸ.

ಸಿದ್ದು ಮೈಸೂರಿನವ. ಇವನ ಮಾವ ಬ್ಯಾಂಕ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಮ್ಯಾನೇಜರ್ ಆಗಿ ಸಧ್ಯದಲ್ಲೇ ಬಂದವರು . ಸಿದ್ದು ಮಾವನ ಮನೆಗೆ ವಾರಾಂತ್ಯ (weekend ) ಕಳೆಯಲು ಬರಿತಿದ್ದ . ಬ್ಯಾಂಕ್ ನ ಒಂದು ಸಮಾರಂಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿದ್ದುಗೆ ರಾಮುವಿನ ಪರಿಚಯವಾಯಿತು . ಪರಿಚಯ ಸ್ನೇಹಕ್ಕೆ ಬೆಳೆಯಿತು . ಸಿದ್ದು, ರಾಮುನ ಭೇಟಿಯಾಗಲೆಂದೇ ಬಸವನಪುರಕ್ಕೆ  ಬರತೊಡಗಿದ

ರಾಮು ತನ್ನ 'ಅಡ್ಡ ' ವನ್ನು ಸಿದ್ದುಗೆ ಪರಿಚಯಿಸಿದ್ದ. ಇದು ಈಗ ಇವರಿಬ್ಬರ ಪಾರ್ಟಿ ತಾಣ . ಇವರ ಭಾಷೆಯಲ್ಲಿ 'ತೀರ್ಥಕ್ಷೇತ್ರ'

ಸಿದ್ದು , ಒಮ್ಮೆ ಹೀಗೆ ಹಳ್ಳಿಗೆ ಬಂದಾಗ ಅಲ್ಲಿಯ ಸೇತುವೆ ಬಳಿ ಅಪಘಾತ ಆಗಿರುವುದನ್ನು ನೋಡಿ ಚಕಿತನಾದ . ಹಳ್ಳಿಯವರ ದೃಷ್ಟಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಇದು  bridge ದೆವ್ವದ ಕೃತ್ಯ .
 ಮಧ್ಯಾನ್ಹ ರಾಮು ವನ್ನು ಭೇಟಿಯಾದಾಗ ಅವನು ಹೇಳಿದ 'ನೋಡ್ಲ ನಮ್ಮೊರ್ bridgeಉ ಇನ್ನೊಂದ್ ಬಲಿ ತಗಂಡದೆ '. 'ಪ್ರತೀ ಅಮಾವಾಸೆಗೆ ಒಂದ್ ಬಲಿ ತಗಳದೆಯ '. ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ಸಿದ್ದು 'non sense , ಬಲೀನಾ ? ಏನ್ ಆಯ್ತೋ ನಿಂಗೆ ? ನೀನು ಈ ದೆವ್ವ ಭೂತ ನಂಬ್ತೀಯಾ ?'

ರಾಮು 'ಹೂನ್ ಕಣ್ಲಾ , ಬಾಜಿ ಕಟ್ಟು ಬೇಕಿದ್ರೆ '. ಬಾಜಿಗೆ ಒಪ್ಪಿದ ರಾಮು ಅಮಾವಾಸ್ಯ ತಡ ರಾತ್ರಿಯಂದು ತನ್ನ ಬೈಕ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಸೇತುವೆ ಮೇಲೆ ಹೋಗುವದು . ಬದುಕುಳಿದಲ್ಲಿ ರಾಮು ಸಿದ್ದುಗೆ ರೂ  ೧೦,೦೦೦ ಕೊಡುವದು.

ಮುಂದಿನ ಅಮಾವಾಸ್ಯೆ ರಂದು ಸಿದ್ದು ತನ್ನ ಗಾಡಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಆ ಸೇತುವೆ ಮೇಲೆ ಭಯದಲ್ಲೇ ದಾಟಿದ . 'ದೆವ್ವ ಇಲ್ಲಾ ಭೂತ ಇಲ್ಲಾ , ಬರೀ ಭ್ರಾಂತು '. ಇದೆ ಕಿಕ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಸೇತುವೆ ಮೇಲೆ ಹಲವಾರುಬಾರಿ ಓಡಾಡಿದ . ಒಮ್ಮೆ ಹೀಗೆ ದಾಟುವಾಗ ಅಲ್ಲೇ ಮೂಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ರಾಮು ನಿಂತಿದ್ದ . ಸಿದ್ದು ಒಮ್ಮೆ ಬೆಚ್ಚು ಬಿದ್ದರು ರಾಮುನನ್ನು ಕಂಡು 'ಬಂದ್ಯಾ? ಸಾಕಾ ದೆವ್ವ ಭೂತ ಏನು ಇಲ್ಲ , ತೆಗಿ ಕಾಸು '.

ಮರುದಿನದ ಪತ್ರಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಸುದ್ದಿ . "ಮೈಸೂರಿನ ಯುವಕ ಬಸವನಪುರ ಸೇತುವೆಗೆ ಬಲಿ ". ರಾಮು ಮನಸ್ಸಿನಲೇ ಉದ್ಗರಿಸಿದ "ಕಾಸ್ ಕೊಡಬೇಕಂತೆ   ಕಾಸು, ಅವನ್  ಯೋಗ್ಯತೆಗಿಷ್ಟು  ... "

Monday, November 3, 2014

Her cry

She always cried when her dad carried her on his shoulder to the school. He had a smile. He muttered, 'drama queen'. 
But today as he drops her to the school her cry was the same; Only he could make out the difference. There was worry in his eyes. He muttered 'god keep her safe'
#safeschools #stoprape

Monday, September 22, 2014

|| world

Peter was fascinated by the parallel world, another world somewhere in this universe just like us, or may be even better. He quit his job to find one such world. The society branded him insane. His friends exclaimed why on earth you want to find out about another earth
Peter was a stubborn kid. He grew up with the stubbornness. He wanted to prove something to the society.
During his research he figured out that to search for a parallel world one needs so.ething that can travel faster than light.  Books, universities, professors, internet none of it provided him answer. His frustration grew day by day. His grandpa saw his franstration in the form or dark circles unattended beard. Once well dresses corporate executive now looked like a mad man
His grandpa one day asked Peter as to what was bothering him. Mocking his grandpa's academic knowledge his said 'I want something that travels faster than light'
With a subtle smile on his face he said thought.. Thoughts travel faster than light
Peter hugged his grandpa tight. The old man sighed and murmered you don't need a degree to know it.
20 years passed by that day. Peter was missing. His family and friends think he is dead but the insurance company and police think he is missing as his body is not found yet. He now only lives in the thoughts of his family and friends. Thought which sometimes proclaim that wherever he is he is happy... Somewhere in a PARALLEL WORLD.

For believer's... Peter could invent a way to transport himself to another world. He was happy and sometimes when he wanted to talk he used his used his thoughts

For nonbeliever's... Depressed of not being able to find the parallel world Peter ended his life. What remained was only his thoughts

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Urn god


I had spent half of my childhood here. Yelling, screaming, rejoicing. I still hear those echoes now. Those desi games that we played here, those fights I had here just passed by my mind. Those huge copper urns always fascinated me. The scar on my hand, the Scar, still reminded me how angry the Maha Darshari was when I tried to open the urn's seal. 15 years hence and I had decided to do my thesis on this very temple. May be it was that childhood fantasy of mine to know what is  in those urns. I had studied so much about Indian culture and never seen a caste, sect, religion, tribe worship an urn, sealed urn.
I started off with an apology to the Vāsaṇa prabhu as we referred to it, loosely translated to urn god. Apology was that ‘oh god forgive me, forgive me for the fact that I will unravel the mystery inside you’. With a small pause I said 'bless me'


The temple had history. It was the royal temple; it belonged to the Maharaja of Thane. The priests once were the key members of the Maha Sabha or the cabinet. They were rich. So rich that sometimes one wondered if they were priests or businessmen. The eldest of the Darshari family was called the maha Darshari or the chief priest. The legacy was passed on to his son and like many cases; this was a family business now. 

The exact replica of this temple was in the Royal palace. Only Darshari's worshipped the miniature Vāsaṇa Prabhu at the Palace. It was very easy to guess that the Royal family believed in the Vāsaṇa Prabhu. The rumor was that the Darshari's were given lots and lots of gold and some they have stocked it inside the urn and this is the Royal family’s emergency fund. That also explained the fact why the Darshari's were that rich.

As a historian my job was to bring in facts and findings to prove this rumor right. I asked my grandfather about the darshari's. He said all those things that I knew from childhood, what caught my interest was when he said, they are unique.
He said nowhere in India you will find people with the family name as Darshari's.
This was interesting. Generally in India priest have family names such as Pandit, Sharma, Poojar. Which mostly mean scholar, worshipper so on. But what does Darshari mean. There is no word in Sanskrit or Prakrit or for that matter any ancient language that I know of having any meaning to this. 

Darshari, Darshari, I repeated it to myself. I could just not stop thinking about this word. My sixth sense prompted me that this was the key to the mystery. The word started resonating in my mind. I started to write it down. I must have written it at least 5 times in all different languages before I got up to go for an evening stroll. The mystic wind blew by the table and the paper fell on my feet, upside down. It was that moment of excitement. Irahrad, The secret keeper. I felt a shock pass by my spine.

Secret keepers', not wealth keepers or gold keepers. I dig deep. This is now getting more exciting than I thought. I pay another visit to the temple. Not with the coconut and flowers this time but with my historian's gadgets.
I notice that the lid of the urn was not sealed for at once. The lid hinges are smooth. They must have opened and closed several times in the past. I closely watch the engravings of the pillars. Striking resemblance of the two carvings on the two pillars, group of people worshipping the Vāsaṇa Prabhu, the king in the foreground and seen prominent. Only on a very close watch you will see that there is one less person in the two engravings. I notice it but decide to ignore as it is a carving. I later go to the palace to see what is the difference between the mini temple in the palace. They are exactly the same, even the one less count of the number of people in the carvings!

I then go back to the history books to study the Royal family of the Thane. Every history book said that they were the humble dynasty. They always married their subject and made her the Maha Rani. Honor always given to the first wife of the Royal family. It is common in India that the off spring of the Maha Rani was always the heir of the Royal throne. Every single Maharaja of Thane married someone who was not from any Royal family. That was the humbleness of this dynasty. 
I decided to draw their family tree. Maharaja Pratap, his wifes Komala, Shantala, son Maharaja Rudra... so on. Wait a minute. The humble family does not seem to be so humble either. The heir has always been the off spring of the second or third wife. There is no mention of the first wives anywhere in the documents. Shocked. Those carving with one missing person. Is that the maharani herself? ‘In human’ I tell it to myself. I study more about the Maharaja's of the Thane. I stumble across a belief that. The Kings were cursed that the off spring of the Maha Rani will kill his father.
With a theory in hand that the Urn houses the dead bodies of the Maha Rani I get a permission of honorable high court to open the sealed Urns. I term it as the most inhuman I have ever seen or heard of.

The village was on a rage, Some against me for spoiling the holy temple and some against the Darshari. They were now to answer the thousands of villager who seek an explanation. Finally the secret keeper spoke.
Maharaja Pratap of Thane was cursed by a sage. Curse was that the son of Maha Rani will kill the Maharaja, his father. It was the moola or original pandith of the Royal family who had a solution for it. The solution was the Urn. It was a secret well executed and well-kept by them'. The King honored the life of his lady by making that Urn a place of worship. Honors the Pandiths with new cryptic designation 'The Darsharis'

I look at the scar on my hand and smile back at the Urn. I win, thank you god.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Girl in the window

You meet a lot of people during your daily travel. Stranger yet your companion. This story is about one such companion, Pink.
Pink is about 3 year old cute girl. Pink is not her name, it is just what I refer her as. I call her so because she has got that natural pink cheeks. The chubbiness makes it more adorable
I see her almost every day from my office shuttle. She stays in an old house near the Frazer town signal. She puts her head on the window and keeps waving 'bye' to the all the passerby. Some respond back, some don't even notice.
She waves me bye every day. Sometimes when I am busy talking with my shuttle mates, I curse myself later for not having seen her that day.

One day I am going to my office in my bike. I am disappointed; pink isn't seen at the window that day. As the signal turns green we rush, there is a race between the bikers. 'Uncle' I hear from my back. Suddenly I stop to turn back, expecting to see Pink. There is a sudden scream from the front; the biker next to me who had just overtaken is hit by a speeding truck. I rush to attend the biker, he is bleeding badly. We call up 108 and next 15 minutes is spent in his first aid.
Later in the day while relaxing it strikes to me that, if I hadn't heard Pink calling 'uncle' and I would have been hit by the truck. May be I would have been dead by now. 
I decide to take a chocolate and a doll, give it to Pink and thank her. I knock the door. A young adult attends the door. I introduced myself and narrate the whole story. I tell him that I have got chocolate to give it to the small girl.
He laughs, says there is not kid in the house. They are 6 bachelors staying in the house for the past 3 years.

"There is no kid in the house" kept resonating my ears for the next few days. I was sleepless after that day. 

It must have been about a fortnight, the same signal a man standing next to me says, "Are you the same person who admitted that guy when he was hit by a lorry?” I said "yes, how do you know?” He said "I was also standing in the signal that day, my vehicle did not start". He continued "If my vehicle had started and if you hadn't stopped suddenly then we both would also be lying around in hospital today".
I got curious; I asked him "Do you know why I stopped? Did you see any girl calling me?". He said "No, I did not see anyone nor did I hear anything. Whatever it is, it saved you buddy"
I want to find out the truth, the girl exists or does not exist? Is it some wandering soul, did any small girl die in that house? Has she become an Angel now? Did the angel save me?

I am so much into it that I start to ignore my personal life, my professional life is affected. Worried, my wife decides to take me to a psychiatrist. The doctor puts me on a medication, I am somewhat normal.
One day I am discussing this with my shuttle mate Pavan. He laughs out and says, you waved at someone at Frazer town signal? Daily? No way, you are deep asleep then. Acute pain passes my spine. That answers; I see her, wave at her only when I am not talking to Pavan. Meaning I see her, wave at her only when I am sleeping!!

 I go back home and rush to my doctor, I tell him “Pink is only my dream”. My wife and the Doctor smile and say yes we know, until now you just did not accept it. He takes the prescription and scratches out the medicines and says "you are fine now"

Pink might not have existed in reality but indeed she was an angel, she saved my life.

Update: Just as I write this story, I see Pink in the window of her house waving bye and blowing a flying kiss

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pool rugby

Engrossed, we played the water rugby, the dried leaves in the pool looked like fishes. After a while I noticed that the leaves are all gone. “Pretty good pool purifier they have”, I remarked. “Goooaalll” remarked Ranjitha. My attention was on my legs, I see a leaf imprint, from within the skin, moving deep in