E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Once in a couple of years, like a bad penny, the subject of turning the JK grounds in Mysore into a bus station resurfaces itself.
It starts with the fantasy of a new district in-charge minister or a transport minister determined to leave a diesel-smeared footprint at the Operation Theatre of the Mysore Medical College, or the Krishnarajendra/ Cheluvamba Hospitals.
People were already waiting outside when I entered the medical college Principal’s room for our appointment.
“Good Morning. The transport minister has again proposed to shift the suburban bus stand to the JK grounds. As usual, are you going to protest against this move?” I asked.
“Not this time! We welcome this. Actually, we want the City Bus Stand (Na.Ba.Ni) also to move here.”
“Really! Do you mean it?”
“Of course. Worldwide, studies are conducted to see the effects of vehicular pollution, acceptable noise levels and so on, on its citizens of different age groups. With the suburban bus stand and Na.Ba.Ni. as our neighbors, there will be round-the-clock supply of diesel fumes, smoke, Solid Particulate Matters (SPM), carbon monoxide etc. What’s more, it comes free! The effects of these on respiration, heart congestion among patients, young and old, can be studied thoroughly. This is medical goldmine for us!”
“Young and old, did you say?”
“Indeed. We are doubly blessed, as the children’s hospital is so near! Premature births and deaths will shoot up by the dozen. But that’s a small price to pay. Once the bus services becomes fully operational, we can find out what the children will breathe, if they breathe at all! Imagine the sounds of 150+ decibel noise on the new-born when diesel buses are revved up all through the day! The sweet lullaby of engines and horns will keep them blissfully awake day and night. Where else can you get a 24-hour free supply of diesel fumes, acid rain and continuous din of noise, free of cost for your research? We are just thrilled by the prospects.”
“What will you do with your Golden Jubilee Building?"
“Good question! We will donate our Golden Jubilee Building to KSRTC to serve as their 24-hour central workshop! We will move our geriatrics and psychiatric wards next to the workshop as old people hardly sleep 3-4 hours at night. Their khit-phit will end when they are subjected to bang-bang day and night.”
“How will this all benefit your college?”
“In many ways. First. We don’t have to depend on IMA, ICMR and all that crap for funds! Let Arjun and Manmohan divide people and multiply castes at will; we will say ‘two hoots for them’! WHO, UNICEF are waiting for me with proposals and grants as soon as you finish. Secondly, In view of the anticipated heavy traffic and accidents, corpses will fly here! Don’t look so horrified. Our plans are ready to increase the orthopaedic wards and respiratory wards by five times. Finally to encourage children, we will institute bravery awards during Chacha Nehru day—Children’s Day—if they survive their stay in the wards."
“What are your future plans?”
“Future is holy smoke! If this succeeds, we will also try to get the railway station into this ground. It is not all that difficult. If we remove the Jagjivan Ram statue and drill a hole along the road wide enough for an engine, the trains can come and stop next to the platform at our Jubilee Building, er, the new 24-hour workshop! Every thing is mobile nowadays we can also get mobile platforms! We will get Laluji to open the mobile platforms. Now, if you excuse me… It’s already time for the WHO and UNICEF meeting.”
My head was spinning. “One last question. What will you do with the tracks already made ready for the students practicing athletics?”
“We will retain a small portion of the grounds. This will be useful for children, women and senior citizens to practice running so that they can chase and board a moving bus.”
I bade him good-bye and ran out as fast as possible.