I am reading a fascinating book called The House of Kanooru by the great Kannada writer, K V Puttappa. He is popularly known as Kuvempu. The book was first published in 1936.
The story is set in Malenadu which covers the western and eastern slopes of the Western ghats. This region is known for its abundant rainfall, flora and fauna.
Some years ago we went to the village of Kuppalli, the writer’s birth place. His house is now a memorial to him. Having seen the house and the beautiful surroundings, I can connect to the story.
The author describes the beauty of the region with its lush forests. This was in the 1930s. In the introduction written in 1999, the famous playwright, Girish Karnad, writes how the the social structure has changed from those times. He also writes the dense forests, the animal life, the torrential rains so lovingly described by Kuvempu have also disappeared.
Life has changed so much now.
We have seen so many changes in our small place. The green forests have given way to a concrete jungle. There was a valley to the left of the road climbing up the hill to our town. Some years ago it was filled up and so many trees destroyed, birds and animals rendered homeless, for the sake of a cinema , a hotel and a few shops. We hardly see any customers in these places. Most of us are happy about it, though what has been destroyed cannot come back.
A building is going to come up in the plot behind our house . Work is going on. I have written about it early this month. Rumour is that it is a five star hotel owned by a big Indian brand.
Ours is a small place and we wonder who will come to stay such a place. As it is many of the apartment complexes are empty. Maybe they are being constructed to launder black money.
There is no end to human greed.
I remember the whistling thrush which whistled every morning near our house. The whistle enthralled me. We have not heard it for a very long time.
A tragedy is happening.