It was year 1992, I was staying in Rajajinagar 4th block on the north side of Bangalore now very famously named as “Dr.Rajkumar Road” The street was always bustling with what you call as “Peak traffic” then, may be the daily routine of 7 fiat cars and 6 ambassadors and about a dozen of Bajaj chetak’s were off roads. A sea of calmness had its effect and then there were odd tyres from strangely or ‘not-so strangely’ “Madras Road Factory” (MRF) were burnt symbolically to declare the bundh.
“It’s the Cauvery issue again” my mother whispered into my ears! I was just 8 then, “The Tamilians on the 9th cross have been displaced form their houses” my father declared by pointing the headlines of Newspaper. It was probably my first encounter on how bad water can cause a rift between two cities who were once governed under the same “Raj” The city wore the same deserted look for the next 7 days and it was a bumper offer for the children except for that odd shouts from inside the house “Be, careful they might throw a stone!”
Bangalore had then witnessed the biggest riots ever probably post independence!
Times flew by and every year, Cauvery always played a very important role, I am not talking about the river as such! The Riots, it was as if a part of my life! Considering that my entire family has a lineage from Mysore, Cauvery was always an issue which raised frustration, irritation or some times an artificial ignorance.
Growing up the politics around the river gradually changed my perspective! May be the river herself never wanted to be in such a limelight! I always thought what if Cauvery was asked “Who’s side you want to be?” may be she would have answered “Spare me!” but how can we? It was always an issue that came with its own prestige. The Cauvery board set up by the Union Government in tandem with both the State Governments also created a new platform for Fight, hatred, tussle and Ego. Losing Cauvery to Tamil Nadu is/was like loosing a cricket Match to Pakistan! The levels of frustration increase every time when the issue is/was spoken about and how our successive government’s have/has failed in getting the right measures in, blame it on either side, so much to the fact that Software companies in Bangalore boycotted speaking about cauvery issue with their Tamil counterparts in 2006 and 2007, the mail said “It is always a sensitive issue and the company takes no stand of its own!” unknowingly we had made it “sensitive”
Imagine a football and how it is maneuvered from one leg to another with one difference that the football finally reaches a goal, cauvery will never reach that goal! But yet Cauvery issue will matter, more so because of the baggage we have created with it! Every year we are just adding it on. Its an universal agenda, every film actor’s dream launch, Kannada organisations trump card, question of the dignity for the law makers and more so matter of TRP for media houses nowadays.
Having spent 30 years of my life in Bengaluru, Cauvery always mattered to me! more so it mattered to millions of common citizens like me only on the point that if at all we get any drinking water tomorrow! if at all they cut the water lines due to agitation! the cauvery that mattered to me was those plight of the farmers who really toil in hot sun to make sure we eat on time! Cauvery that always matters to me is if at all the neighboring state will ever consider our request and allow us to find glory within and may be share with happiness than creating a fuss?
The cauvery that matters to me is if at all the river will be let off, ‘Just as a river?’