On reading Sanjay Kini’s letter titled “Destination Devaraja Market: A Jewel of Tourism Industry in Mysuru” in SOM dated Nov.5, I was reminded of the following incident.
It was December-end 1976. I was travelling to Bombay by train after completing winter vacation at home via Arsikere – Davanagere – Hubli – Miraj – Pune – Bombay route. The track was meter gauge up to Miraj and from Miraj to Bombay, it was broad gauge.
From Mysore till Arsikere, the compartment was almost empty. The occupancy improved slightly at Arsikere. A European couple entered the compartment and occupied seats in the coach I was in. I don’t know if they were husband and wife. There were no other passengers. After a while, all three of us became tired of reading the books and we started talking to each other.
Both of them were from France. They must have been in their early thirties. Both had worked for some time in France and saved some money. They had quit their jobs and come to India to see the country. They would continue as long as they had money in their pockets. I was aghast when I heard this. I asked them how they will manage when they go back since they had quit their previous jobs. They weren’t unduly worried. They said they will get other jobs. But to us Indians, quitting a job just to go on jaunts like this was terrifying and unthinkable.
Then I enquired about the places they had visited in India. When I asked about Mysore, the gentleman burst out “beautiful market.” I was completely taken by surprise.
If he had said Palace or KRS, I would not have been surprised. Having been born and brought up in this city, I had taken the market for granted. But his remark set me thinking. By then, I had seen several places in India — Bangalore, Mangalore, Udupi, Madras, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Agra, Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Goa. I had spent four months at Bombay for my first semester M. Tech in Electrical Engineering at IIT Bombay. It then dawned on me that none of these places had anything comparable to our Devaraja Market. The more I thought about it, the more I became fascinated by it. It required a chance remark by an unknown Frenchman to open my eyes to its beauty and utility.
I feel the views and suggestions by Sanjay Kini need to be taken seriously so that our iconic market continues to serve and fascinate us.
– Ganesh Kini, Mysuru, 8.11.2018
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