Anyone who is well into Kannada literature would have heard the name of Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar, a man who had a wonderful way with the pen. I call him the RK Narayan of Kannada literature….his writing is realistically captivating, and leaves a powerful imprint on the mind. This man was from the village of Gorur, which is about 22 kilometers from Hassan. Just like Narayan, who describes Malgudi in his imaginative detail, Ramaswamy too writes usually about his village with great fondness and natural pride. His writings were so powerful that they beckoned me to Gorur, and I somehow made sure I visited the place I had read about so often, last year. When I finished reading a marvelous novel written by him ( Namma Oorina Rasikaru), I just couldn’t stand the urge to visit the place. The same way RKN’s fans would feel if someone told them Malgudi existed, or Harry Potter fans were invited into the Hogwarts school of witchcraft. The place had changed over the years, as I observed from the car window. The book written by Ramaswamy Iyengar is half-a-century old, and the vivid description of the village and it’s people stayed in the depths of my mind as I made a quick comparison between the old and new faces of the village and I realized that the little village nestled in between the refreshing greens of the Malnad region of Karnataka was on it’s way to change---with modern bus-stands, trendy new buildings, this was not the village I had read about. But still, the visit was not all that disappointing. We did visit the temple on the banks of the river Hemavathi---it was one structure which remained unaffected by the constant changes and even didn’t forget to peek into Mr. Ramaswamy’s house!
This time, there was in additional bonus—we visited the Hemavathi dam, the waters were surging because the river was overflowing with water this monsoon. The Hemavathi Dam, I think is one of the best places to visit in Northern Karnataka, especially during the monsoons. The atmosphere of the Malnad region is truly magical. The cold winds will heal and revive you, the unpredictable sun who plays hide and seek in between the clouds can mesmerize you and the breathtaking view of the turbulent and vigorous waters of the Hemavathi river will numb your senses. The silent beauty of Hassan and surrounding regions will command respect and you’ll find yourself falling in love with this region, it feels better than home. This region is characterized by Abundance, and even the weather suits people like me who prefer the cold and wet kind of a climate. It is a stark contrast to Bangalore, and you can lose yourself in nature, all the elements here are free and strong, with nothing to arrest them---the winds, the water, the thick emerald forest cover….you will not see meekness, even Hemavathi river is a ferocious, you cannot swim in it when it’s overflowing, she will drag you away. For all those dare-devils, a visit to the Dam can invoke a rush of tingling excitement. Just stand around looking at the water, and there will be an unexpected surge of cold water, and before you know it, you are drenched to the skin, shivering, and waiting for more of it. It’s better than the fun rides at GRS! I got really wet, and to top it all off, it started raining the next moment, which made it all the better, of course. I am secretly proud I have no fear of water or the rains, I welcome it, (I think I could still go get drenched once more, even after falling sick, because I stayed out in the rains too long on Thusday!) Hey, and I forgot to mention! I did a bit of bird-watching too! Malnad is a bird-watcher’s paradise! I spotted the Indain Roller once more, the blue-tailed bee-eater (One of my favorites—I haden’t seen one in a long time), the common tailor bird, cormorants and plenty of cattle egrets. I was dancing around, trying to get pictures, which the adults did not appereciatet too much. The photos too did not come out properly, because it was raining outside, or I would have surely posted them. That ended a memorable weekend, a weekend that I am sure not to forget.