Saturday, October 07, 2006

Bye Bye Malgudi, Hello Mysore

October 10 is R K Narayan's 100th birth anniversay. My tribute to him:

Under the overcast sky, the green of the paddy fields looked as dense as the grey above — so picture perfect that I could have tried my luck with National Geographic if I was not standing at the door of the train. In fact, when a hill appeared in the backdrop of the lush greenery, I did turn to fetch my camera. But I found my path blocked by the suitcase of an elderly fellow traveller who announced with an apologetic grin, “Mysore is coming.”

Mysore is one of those places like Siberia: you’ve always heard about it, but you never really see anyone booking a ticket to get there. For the lay traveller, the city is on the itinerary only when a trip to Bangalore permits enough time. It was hardly surprising then, when, 90 percent of the passengers on the Chennai-Mysore Shatabdi Express detrained in Bangalore.

Mysore is also a city whose mention — particularly if you have never been there — conjures up some image or the other in your mind: it could be colourful silk sarees or the smoke emanating from a sandalwood agarbatti or just a soap. But as I sat in the nearly-empty train presently pulling out of Bangalore, the faces of two elderly men floated in front on my eyes every time I tried to visualise Mysore.

One is 90 years old, while the other would been exactly 100 if he were alive.

Read on

7 comments:

Arun Pillai said...

Good One

Deepa said...

read it first in the paper this morn. always prefer holding the paper to read.
anyway, good one.
this is how it is in all small towns that are getting their share of modernity. almost the same goes for Mangalore. the city is so rooted in tradition, sometimes orthodoxy too, that it is having a tough time coming to terms with its new status as the next IT destination.

Deepa said...

``The old world seeking to survive in the new'' I absolutely loved this line. Be warned, i am going to use this line somewhere, someday....

Rupali said...

Nice travelogue!

I had faced this “big-small”, “new-old” contradiction when I had shifted to Pune from Delhi. It really takes time to adjust to the new status of a place of which one had a different image in mind.

For Mysore, the first association that I have in my mind is of the mighty museum in the city palace. Would love to visit that again someday. And the second association is of the Mysore silk sarees and of course, the “oh so famous” agarbattis. :-)

Nandhu said...

was the old man really a good writer? i wonder if beneath all the simple writing was...simplicity itself.

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Nandhu: If you seek my personal opinion, then I would also wonder just like you. Just that what he wrote was understood easily even by the layman. Simple writing is a great art in itself, no doubt there, but if you want to know what I mean, you should read Ved Mehta's account of his meeting with Narayan, and Narayan's account of his meeting with Mehta. The two had met in New York in the 1960's.

Nandhu said...

where do i find this account? my days?