Mysore Talk

1 June, 2007

Mysore’s surrounded by forests in every direction except the one that takes you to Bangalore. That’s what my team lead told me – I have him here for a couple of months to work with us as I ramp up a project. He was born in Bangalore but grew up in Mysore; went to the University of Mysore. He knows exactly where Gokulam is: ‘Eight kilometres from the Hotel Metropole Uncle-ji’ he tells my Dad, before adding for further detail ‘on the road to Coorg’.

I invited him home to spend last weekend with us so that he could enjoy a home cooked meal, and watch a bit of Zee…and escape for a day or so the loneliness of his Hotel Apartment (even Queen West and Simcoe gets boring after a while…especially for this quiet lad who’s not one for going on benders). He evidently loves the countryside though, and he was taken with the lushness of our Niagara Escarpment. He said it reminded him of the Western Ghats.

Most of all he loved playing with Diya which took him back to his own little girl back in Bangalore. Or at least he tried to play with her…he’s tall, thin, mustachioed, and bespectacled and she was quite scared of him…and only really got used to him just before it was time for me to drive him back downtown.

He lives in Bangalore now – one of our firm’s five ‘centres’ in the country. But he’s got his heart set on going back to Mysore…and he’s lucky…our company’s Mysore campus will be ready in 2008 and a transfer is his if he wants it. He’s building a house there on fair sized plot that cost him what a half-decent bicycle would cost here; ‘But that was three years ago Ash’, he tells me before gushing…’now it’s worth four times as much!’ Evidently the corporates are tiring of swollen Bangalore and beginning to decamp for Mysore…wonder what that spells for the place.

Like Sharath he spends a lot of time in those forests and he regaled me all weekend with stories: being chased by frenzied elephants in the night; or spending evenings in shelters that were built by rangers who once scoured the forests for the dreaded, but now dead, dacoit (bandit) Veerapan. His talk of Gokulam, Tigers, Bandits, Forests and ‘the road to Coorg’ made me want to go. The coffee is fantastic in Coorg.

My manager is now contemplating sending me to India for a two year stint. It came up in conversation and I said ‘I’d go’ (rather blithely when I think of it now). I even added that I wouldn’t even have to consider it if I got to live in Mysore…I’d be on the next flight. And now she might hold me to it. Quite apart from the ‘details’ (wife, kids, and the house – on the lush Niagara Escarpment – that we all adore), I’m really taken with the notion. Can you imagine that? Seriously, that is having your nanaimo bar and eating it. imagine keeping your Canadian job and studying Yoga in Mysore for two years…simultaneously. Stuff of dreams innit. Two years at AYRI. Crap…that’s a lot of wonga. I wonder if they have an annual membership.

I suppose I better run this idea by the wife though.