E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: There is much happening in Mysore but it’s all mostly topsy-turvy. They are trying to convert a bus-stand into a park, and a park in to a bus stand, all because a lot of money is flowing through the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) or some such.
It has upset everybody and no wonder Ajji is most furious. She threw the Praja Vani she was reading in disgust.
“Ideno anyaya! Why don’t they let things be? Because they are getting money from Jawaharlal Nehru should they break everything at sight and build it all anew?”
“Ajji, Nehru is not giving any money. He died long back. In his name they have started a mission and money is coming from the mission.”
I tried to calm her down.
“I don’t know why these misshines are breaking each and everything. Why do they want to build a bus stand in place of a park?” she demanded.
“So, that there is more space for buses to move around.”
“Don’t people need parks to walk around? And they want to convert the bus stand which is centrally located into a park. What kind of logic is this? Are we going back to Mohammed bin Tughlaq days?” she thundered.
I marveled at the memory of the 90+ woman, considering she barely went to school before she was married.
“Ajji, you are right. These days Tughlaq- style development seems to have become popular again.”
“Yenopa! Nanage ondu artha vagolla. Alla! If they want both the bus stand and the park, it is available at one place. Why don’t they consider it?”
Here was a googly from Ajji which beats the best of doosras from Muthaiah Muralidharan.
“Where is it available, Ajji? If our CM or Shobha Karandlaje likes your plan, you will surely get a Rajyothsava award later this year.”
“Avasara padabedvo, Ramu. They want to save the palace. Don’t they?” she gave me a Karan Thapar–style stare which unnerves most of his interviewees.
I tried to avoid her eyes.
“They also want a good park there. Right?”
“Absolutely. Is there such a place Ajji?”
“The palace, the palace itself. Where else will you find a nice park and a splendid building for a bus stand?”
I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. It was preposterous of an idea, if there was one.
“Ajji! Ninge thale sariyagi ideya? Have you gone crazy? How can you make Mysore Palace a bus stand although I agree to the bit of a park surrounding the Palace?”
“If you can make a bus stand out of Peoples’ Park, why is this not feasible? More over it is very easy; the building already exists. All you have to do is put some stone benches for people to sit next to their luggage. Convert a room into a military hotel, have some kind of announcement blaring continuously, with buses moving in reverse to the bay overseen by a whistling conductor, you have a bus stand all set ready to go. Our traffic police will try some experiments like “No Entry to northbound vehicles from south gate and vice versa.” All you need are a few more things like boards giving the time table, a ticket counter and a tea stall that sells newspapers It’s so easy. You can return the money to Jawahar Lal Nehru Masshines’.
“Ajji! It is JNNURM or you can say ‘NURM’.”
“Nurmu, gurmu I don’t understand. But this is feasible compared to the Tughlaq Plan.”
“Ajji, what about foreigners who flock to see Palace? What about Dasara?”
“Tourists will love sitting in the park eating sippe kadalekayi watching buses come and go. As for Dasara they can shift the 10-day programme to the exhibition grounds.”
“What about the world-famous Dasara exhibition there?”
“Don’t worry Ramu. By that time they will take money from Nurm or some Drum and build an Exhibition centre in Bannimantap,” said Ajji.
Ajji is sending her proposal to the Government.
I am waiting to see if she gets a Rajyotsava Award for her ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking.