By Dr. K. Javeed Nayeem, MD
With a little extra rain even our rock solid Chamundi Hill seems to be in some amount of danger going by the fairly disturbing landslide that occurred there three days ago. Since the rain that we have experienced in and around our city has not been above average, I feel it is not the quantum of rain that has hurt the hill but the way we have been managing the flow of rainwater which is at fault.
I say this because I regularly measure the rain we receive in my home rain gauge which says that till today morning we have received nearly eighty centimetres of rain this year which cannot be called an excess. If you drive up the hill you will notice that along all the roads there are rainwater drains along their inner side which is the way it should be. In addition to this, at periodic intervals there are drains under the road that convey the rainwater from these drains to the far side so that it can flow away along the hillside.
It is the blockage of these passages with dead leaves, sand and even trash over the years that is now hampering free drainage of rainwater which is weakening the subsoil on which the hill roads are perched. If periodic attention is paid to keeping these underground passages clean, I think we will not see any landslides on the hill which thankfully is otherwise largely composed of very stable rock.
Incidentally, while talking of the Chamundi Hill I would like to make a mention of a change which has been made there by our authorities which according to me qualifies to be called an act bordering on vandalism. There used to be a large semi-circular lay-by with a couple of stone benches half way up the hill road where it bifurcates into the temple road and the Nandi road. This place was the spot where most visitors could stop their cars without obstructing traffic and get down to enjoy the breathtaking view of the sprawling city below. At nights, especially on the days when the Mysore Palace was lit, this would seem like a view of fairyland itself !
Now, for some strange reason this View Point which had remained unmolested over the ages, has been barricaded and converted into some kind of garden which seems very unwelcome there. I cannot help feeling that this is part of a conspiracy between someone in power and the agency that has been entrusted to install and operate the binoculars close to this spot. This may be a ploy to increase the footfalls and revenue at the binoculars by diverting the tourists who are naturally eager to enjoy the view !
Whatever the reason for this new arrangement, it would be better if it is immediately undone and the privilege granted by our Maharajas to the common people is restored back to them. Yes, this was indeed a gift from our Maharajas to visitors to the hill created very thoughtfully, when they laid roads across the hill. Incidentally, there are two other places where such alcoves exist. One is midway along the road that runs behind the hill joining the Nanjangud Road and another where the road from the Nandi joins the Nanjangud Road. They both have a couple of narrow stone benches very quaintly built as recesses in the stone walls themselves! Since both these lie on stretches of road on which there is practically no traffic, they have been serving our family as some of our favourite picnic spots and some of my fondest childhood memories are intertwined with them!
A very touching gift !
Two days ago I had been invited as a guest speaker at a joint meeting of three Rotary Clubs in the city. The topic of my talk was ‘The Joys and Sorrows of being a Doctor’ which also happens to be the favourite topic of my own recollections in my moments of solitude !
This is so because I don’t think there is anyone out there who has struggled as much as I have just to enter Medical College, let alone to become a doctor. This was because I was buffeted by one wave after another of adverse circumstances that seemed tailor-made to prevent me from donning the white coat ! But thankfully they are all now a thing of the distant past and since I went on to become a doctor and a fairly successful one too, going by my own sense of satisfaction, I can now look back upon those difficult times too with a sense of achievement and happiness.
After my talk, when it was the time to receive the customary memento, I was happy that I was given a beautiful plaque depicting a pair of lilies. But when I examined it closely I discovered that what I had received was in fact an original watercolour painting. And, when I was told that it had been done by Sudheer Acharya, a Rotarian himself, I was overwhelmed !
Sudheer is a young hotelier in our city and he paints under the brush-name of Kalicharan. He seems to be really gifted going by the fact that he has done an exceedingly good job of bringing out even the very fine highlights in his work which is not very easy while working with watercolours which is a difficult medium to master.
I convey my happiness to him and his fellow Rotarians for giving me a gift that my family is going to cherish for all time to come and I hope we Mysureans get to see more of Sudheer’s artwork very soon in an exhibition that the Rotarians themselves can arrange !
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