E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Ajji was fuming as she fanned herself with a beesanige in the October heat.
The scheduled power cut in Ajji‘s votthaara varied from eight to ten hours a day, apart from the unscheduled power cuts which could stretch to any length of time depending on whether they was a BJP meeting or a BJP rebels meeting or a Congress meeting at the National High School grounds.
“After atheevrishti, now it’s anaavrushti. After the plenty, now the poverty,” thought Ajji.
Less than a month ago, there were serial light thoranas of 100 bulbs for every 50 feet on major roads through out the City for 10 days. Not to mention the Amba Vilas palace with one lakh bulbs lit for 10 days, three hours every night.
My brother’s son, Papu, who had come for Deepavali holidays and was preparing for his geography exams read aloud ‘Kaggatthaleya Khanda–Africa’.
An incensed Ajji corrected him.
“Papacchi! ‘Kaggatthaleya Kugrama Mysuru’ antha odo.”
I was surprised, for Ajji normally never loses her cool.
“Yenu samachara Ajji? ‘Muttidare Muni’ aagiddiya ivatthu?’
“Alvo! Is anybody bothered about Mysore? There is endless ‘powarkattu’ day and night. Businessmen and industrialists are twiddling their thumbs. Roads at night look like daily Amavasya. Walking is a Herculean exercise moving between Shobha Karandlaje’s potholes that is Mysore now!’
“That’s true, Ajji.”
“But just a month back the minister, her CM, cabinet colleagues and the babudom from Vidhana Soudha were all holidaying here with lights on day and night at a stretch. If we didn’t have the light thorana, they could have illuminated a quarter of our City, and in four years the whole city would be well lit.”
“That was Dasara, Ajji.”
“Yes, the “world–famous Dasara” for 10 days! Mysoreans go through hell, the rest of the year, the balance 354 days, having to endure poor infrastructure such as horrible roads and no streetlights even on major roads. Hunsur Road has no street lights and so too long stretches of KRS Road leading to world-famous Brindavan Gardens. Most of the jobs ‘completed’ for Dasara are all hotchpotch third-rate work. Contractors are lucky to get away scot-free.”
“Ajji! Chescom chief Shanthi says two out of four generators in Raichur Thermal Power Station are down.”
“Is there anything new? I have been hearing the same story over the last 10 years! When has it ever worked fully? I read in Prajavani, if we stop illegal corrupt connections, thefts and power losses, we will have enough power to light up even a small hut in a village in the whole of Karnataka. Shanthamma herself will agree that there is enough money in Karnataka amongst some of its polticians and government staffu to start four more thermal power stations. Santhosh Hegde knows who all can be called upon to finance the project!”
“Ajji, you are batting like Sehwag hitting sixer after sixer!”
“Matthenu madodu? Mysoreannu keLuvare illa. Subbamma’s son, Venkatesha’s electronic relaysu chipsu factory anthe. Since there is no power whole day, doesn’t even go to his factory.”
“Ajji! This is not chips that you eat! It is an electronic component.”
“Whatever! Aayamma Karandlaje , what is she doing? I read, she is already planning for next Dasara! For heaven’s sake! You know what should be the slogan of Mysoreansu? “Shobamma! Give us our daily power, better roads, water to drink. Thanks!! Please Keep Dasara to yourself”!”