In ATM Halli, CM’s cheques are starting to bounce

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Now that the carpetbaggers have gone home lock, stock and barrel, there’s very few crowds near the Vidhana Soudha. An assortment of horses, pigs and a few donkeys, all real ones, were grazing there.

Ditto with the Vikasa Soudha.

Then I saw an old farmer, again a real straightforward one, looking at the Soudhas, and muttering “Shivane! Yaake hingaayithappa!”

I  asked, “Are you feeling sad?”

“Sad? I am ruined. I am from Akkithimmanahalli. I had borrowed a loan when CM decided to stay in our hut. Remember, it was his first ‘Home Stay’? I ran to Bangalore and alli ellarigu kai bechhage madidamele, his cook gave me a laundry list of CM’s food habits, his favourite dish, etc. I rented a cot with beds, a generator and a hurricane pedestal fan and set it up for his visit. While eating donnemenasinakayi chitranna with tomato mosarabajji, CM promised a loan of one lakh to start a business, a job for my son, and free medical aid for my cows.”

“How did he keep his promise?”

“The same way he kept his promise to Yediyurappa! Forget getting a loan, I have still not repaid the loan I had incurred for his one night stay! My son is still roaming like undadi gunda and one of my cows died without getting medical help. I have become the butt of all jokes in my village now,” cried the farmer.

Just then another young man came there.

He looked at Vidhana Soudha and said, “Ella kochhkondu hoythu!”

By then a motley crowd had surrounded the boy and asked him to explain in detail.

“Although I am not a brilliant student, I studied hard and passed my PUC but couldn’t seat in an engineering college.”

“It doesn’t matter at all. A lot of students don’t get seats for engineering and still do well in other courses and do well in life,” I consoled him.

“You don’t understand. My problem started when I met CM in his janatha durbar.”

“What happened?,” asked the farmer from ATM Halli.

“He didn’t give the advice you people gave me just now. He asked me not to worry and phoned somebody on his mobile and said he has given permission to start an engineering college in my halli itself. He must have thought either I was from Hassan or Ramanagara. I was not able to raise the money to start a college. The bankers ask me for a guarantor to sign the deal. When I mentioned it was the CM’s pet project, they asked me to bring the CM to sign the papers. They promised me 10 times the loan even if he puts his initials on the dotted line. Now there is no CM. I am finished now’.

Likewise, a pujari was promised a mutt by the deputy CM, a nurse was promised a medical college! Most of them had already spent money of their own or through a loan, stupidly following a dream that turned a nightmare.

By then, most animals had moved away except the donkeys. They were still grazing there. The old farmer said, “Katthegalu ille meythive.Mayokke idakkintha bere olle jaga yelli sigutthe ivakke?”

The crowd understood whom he was referring to and silently moved on.