It was my friend Pramod’s wedding on Sunday; we (Madhu and I) were traveling in the Gandhidham express and ….
Madhu: “When we seldom attend our classmates’ weddings in Bangalore, why are we going so far to attend Pramod’s wedding?”
Me:Yes… I knew him from my KGs, but after school, I can count the number of times we’ve met.
Madhu: But, I’ve not at all met him after school …
Me: I had a kodaikanal trip from office, my grandmother had organized a ‘Yakshagaana’ in her field and had called me to attend, had so much works. But still don’t know why I’m going to Belgaum…
Madhu: May be something is waiting for us. I mean… some setup(laugh).
Me: Maybe we are destined to see the state of opening batsman(1st among guys of our batch to get married) among our friends. Let’s see..
Zzzzz…. Over night sleep, grumbling for the train-delay (1 hr) brought us to the Belgaum railway station. Luckily, we could meet Pramod’s cousin in the same train. So, it was very easy for us to locate the car which was waiting for us. We straight away moved to a lodge, freshened up and reached the wedding hall by 11:30. All through my way, I was just wondering… am I in Karnataka?
I could see Shop boards and banners written both in Marathi and Kannada, or only in Marathi. Some who didn’t want to invite trouble had banners written only in English.
Pramod’s uncle took us in a cab to the wedding hall. There we also met some of our school friends. The pressure on openers was easily visible on Pramod's face.
A hearty lunch, some gossip… by 3:30 everything was over. We were free till 9:45pm. So, we decided to check out if we can change to an earlier bus. We took a city bus to reach the VRL office.
The bus was only for namesake K.S.R.T.C. the conductor inside was yelling “Maghe chala” (get inside).
Every stranger starts his conversation in Marathi.
At the office, we got to know that since all the buses were full, there was no chance to change the bus.
So, we set out for sight seeing. One localite suggested us to see the Belgaum fort. The fort which is in the heart of the city has a very big circumference (about 6-7 kms I guess).
On our way, we enquired an old man about the places in and around the fort. Initially he too started off in Marathi. Later when he came to know that we didn’t know marathi, he continued in kannada. He told us that there were a couple of temples, jain basadis and Ramakrishna Mutt inside the fort. A large part of the fort was in defense control.
The cool looking old man, suddenly became furious as soon as he came to know that we were from Bangalore.
Old man: ನಿಮ್ ಬೆಂಗ್ಳೂರ್ ಏನೂ ಸುಖ ಇಲ್ಲ್ರೀ. ನಾನ್ ಬೆಂಗ್ಳುರ್ನಾ ನೋಡೀನ್ರೀ. ಎಲ್ಲೋ ತಮಿಳ್ನಾಡಾಗಿರೋ ಹಾಗೈತಲ್ಲ್ರೀ. ಕನ್ನಡಿಗ್ರಿಗೇನೂ ಉಪಯೋಗಕ್ಕಿಲ್ಲ. ರಾಜ್ಧಾನೀನ ದಾವಣಗೆರೆಯಾಗ್ ಮಾಡೋಕ್ ಏನಾಗಿತ್ತ್ರೀ ಇವರಿಗೆ?? ಇಡೀ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ್ ಮೂಲೆ-ಮೂಲೆನೂ ೨೦೦ ಕಿ.ಮೀ ಒಳಗೇ ಬರೋಲ್ವೇನ್ರೀ??
ಈಗ ನೋಡ್ರೀ.. ಸಣ್ಣ್ ಸಣ್ಣ್ ಕೆಲ್ಸಕ್ಕೂ ಬೆಂಗ್ಳೂರ್ ಮಟ್ಟ ಹೋಗ್ಬೇಕು. ನಮ್ಮ ಮಕ್ಕ್ಳಿಗೆ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಲ್ಸ ಸಿಗೋಲ್ಲ. ಎಲ್ಲರೂ ಬೆಂಗ್ಳೂರ್ಗೇ ಬರ್ಬೇಕಾ??
ಏನಂದ್ರೂ ಕೆಲ್ಸಕ್ಕೆ ಸೈಕಲ್ ನಾಗೆ ಹೋಗೋಹಾಗಿರ್ಬೇಕು. ಈ ಕಲೆಕ್ಟರ್ ಗಳು ಮಾಡೋದಾದ್ರೂ ಏನು? ಸೈನ್ ಮಾಡೋಕೆ ೫ನೇ ಕ್ಲಾಸ್ ಸಾಲದೇ?
ಈ ಮಂತ್ರಿಗಳೆಲ್ಲಾ ಬರೇ ದುಡ್ಡು ತಿನ್ನೋದೇ ಆಯ್ತು. ಅವರಲ್ಲದೇ.. ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಯೋಜ್ನೆನಾಗೂ ಆ ಮಂತ್ರೀ ಮಕ್ಳೇ. ಅವರ್ ಮಕ್ಳೂ ದುಡ್ ತಿನ್ತಾವ್..
ಈ ನಕ್ಸಲ್ ವಾದನೇ ಕರೆಕ್ಟ್ ರೀ.. ಈ ಮಂತ್ರೀ ಮಕ್ಳನ್ನ ಗುಂಡಿಕ್ಕಿ ಕೊಲ್ಲತಾ ಇರಬೇಕು. ಕೊನೇಗೆ ನೋಡ್ರೀ ... ಖರೇ ಹೇಳ್ತೀನಿ...ನಾನು ನಕ್ಸಲ್ ನೇ ಆಗೋದು (I'm wondering how many more years he has in stock).
ಆ ಸುವರ್ಣ ಚತುರ್ಭುಜನೇ ತಗೊಳ್ಳಿ... ಒಂದು ಕಿ.ಮೀ ಗೆ ಸರ್ಕಾರ ೫ ಕೋಟಿ ಅಂತ ಇಟ್ಟೈತಿ, ಈ ಮಂತ್ರೀ ಮಕ್ಳು ೨ ಕೋಟಿ ಖರ್ಚು ಮಾಡ್ತಾರೆ, ಉಳಿದದ್ದು.. ತಿನ್ತಾರೆ..
ಈಗ ೬ಸಾವಿರ ಕಿ.ಮೀ ರಸ್ತೆಗೆ... ೧೮ ಸಾವಿರ ಕೋಟಿ ಮಂತ್ರೀ ಮಕ್ಕಳು ಹೊಡೀತಾರ್ರೀ...
(we are dumb.. on hearing his exact statistics).
ಇಷ್ಟು ವರ್ಷದಲ್ಲಿ ದೇಶ ಏನಾದ್ರೂ ಉದ್ಧಾರ ಆಯ್ತಾ?? ಪಾಕಿಸ್ತಾನದ್ ಜೊತಿ ಮಾತು-ಕತೆ ಅಂತ ಏನೋ ಮಾಡ್ತಾರೆ, ಅದೇ.. ನಮ್ಮ ಕಾಶ್ಮೀರಾನ್ ಚೀನ ಹೋಡ್ದೈತಲ್ಲಾ... ಏನಾದ್ರೂ ಬಾಲ ಬಿಚ್ತಾರಾ??
ಅವರ ಹತ್ರ ೧.೫ ಕೋಟಿ ಸೈನ್ಯ ಇದೆ... ನಮ್ಮ ಹತ್ರ ೬೦ ಲಕ್ಷ ಅಷ್ಟೇ.. ಅದಕ್ಕೇ, ಬಾಲಾನ್ ಮುಕ್ಳಿ ಒಳಗ್ ಇಟ್ ಕುಂತಾರ..
so on... went his comments. It had lot more, and that too with exact statistics.
Finally some how(maybe by seeing our exhausted faces), he decided to stop and bid farewell to us. Madhu had only one sentence to say.. "Simple living and high thinking". That old man was easily above 75yrs, but still he had all the current affairs in his finger tips.
One thing we learnt was, the rural Karnataka is really really furious about the (undue)importance being given to Bangalore. He also taught us, what makes the innocent people turn terrorists/naxalites.
Silently, we roamed around the fort(that old man had dumbfolded us).
The fort had 2 beautiful jain basadis. The sculptures were very beautiful. There was also some restoration activity being carried out by the Archeological Department.
I don't understand one thing, when the archeological dep. can put boards citing the schedule/rule under which the monument is protected and the punishment for spoiling the monuments, why can't they put boards about the history of that place??
Next place we went was the Ramakrishna Mission. The mission building is built in place of a house, where Swami Vivekananda had stayed for 10 days.
In Bangalore, I'd never sat for the full bhajan session. Only here, I got a taste of Satsang. I didn't know when it was 8.
Aftwer that, we had our dinner and alighted the bus to Bangalore.
What I'll savour for life was the bhajans at Ramakrishna Mission. I think I had been to Belgaum just to enjoy those 2 hrs... only me and God.... no one else.