Looking at Nothing in Mandya

25 Jan 2009

When I arrived at Mandya after a rather comfortable and short journey, I hardly knew what to see. The guidebooks I had at home didn’t mention anything of this town. I had not heard from anyone anything worth a visit at Mandya. However, this is a convenient place to stop for my visit tomorrow to Somnathpur.

I enquired with a few people if there was anything interesting in town. “There’s nothing here”, was the universal response. No one could point me to an interesting building, a local event or even a temple. Museums, art galleries and operas were out of the question. So here I was at Mandya with a few hours to kill and nothing to amuse myself. So I decided to walk through the streets and look at ordinary lives of ordinary people which they term as nothing.

What is this nothing? – the highway busy with traffic plying between Mysore and Bangalore; a traffic policeman trying to direct traffic from his high podium when the lights don’t work; private buses waiting impatiently to fill up; a lorry watering some dry tracks for tomorrow’s parade; hawkers sitting cross-legged on walkways waiting to sell their grapes, oranges and pomegranates; beggars sprawled in dark subways hoping for pity and generosity; passing commuters stopping for a quick snack or a cup of tea; men walking from wine shops with an unsteady step; shops closing for the day; a man burning hay in an otherwise vacant backyard; dark, narrow and empty lanes where the shadows of a lone stranger move ominously.

This nothing is nothing more than the common events that we fail to notice in the course of our everyday lives. The same scenes in our usual place of living may not trigger curiosity. We are too busy for that. But in a different place and in a different time, everything is interesting. Even everyday scenes, from whose observation there’s perhaps nothing much to be gained, can be interesting. This change of place can help us look with fresh eyes, as an outsider and as if we are not part of the scene. In my case, it is a Bangalorean looking at how people of Mandya live. My life may be different or same. The point is that my life, no matter how uninteresting, is part of Bangalore’s social scene; and it is imporant. Such a realization came to me this evening in the streets of Mandya. It is about how you see yourself fitting into the fabric of society.

getting-there Getting There
I took the 1415 hours train from Bangalore City. It takes only an hour and half to get to Mandya at a cost of Rs. 42.

hotel Accommodation
I stayed at the Gayatri Lodge which close to the bus stand. You will have to cross the railway line by an underpass to get to it. Room with a TV costs Rs. 200 while one without TV is Rs. 150. The room was clean except for the sheets. The main problem was someone smoked in adjacent rooms and the smoke drifted into my poorly ventilated room through the common corridor.
food Food
Walk past the bus stand towards Mysore. There is a good Andra style restaurant on the left. A meal costs Rs. 35. This was the only decent eating place I could find in this town.

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8 Comments

  • Sudhir says:

    This is a very different and intriguing post. Arvind, you have hit the nail on the head. Nothing actually does mean ‘something’.

  • Ram says:

    I fully agree with Sudhir – nothing actually means something. As a matter of fact I would like to quote a friend who occasionally says ” Jo Kuch Nahin Karte, Wo Kamaal Karte Hain”.

    So it is worth while going to places like Mandya and enjoy the so called ‘nothingness’.

  • Dileepa P says:

    There is a nice park on the Mysore-Bangalore highway that I have always wanted to visit when I travel to Bangalore. It’s even got a dinosaur!

  • tanya says:

    well I agree with u Arvind….its the most commonnest things that we fail to notice…and then feel surprised n elated on noticing it!!!

    Ram- i like that “Jo Kuch Nahin Karte, Wo Kamaal Karte Hain!!! :))

  • Vijay Raghav says:

    Dear Arvind,
    Thanks for pointing out “something in nothing”. Thats your positiveness. But, still there is something to see in Mandya. I’m a Mandya localite but now from last 2 years residing in B’lore. Seems you’ve not approached right people.

    First there is Sugar factory established by Sir M V. in the days of Mysore Maharajas. Mandya is well know as “sugar city” Secondly there is international standard indoor stadium and swimming pool at P.E.S trust. There are two three beautiful parks where you can relax. On sunday evenings you can enjoy music fountain at the park in front of DC office.
    Within 15 kms you can find Melkote temple.

    Rgds
    Vijay

  • arvindpadmanabhan says:

    Vijay, thanks for your inputs. Local knowledge is always valuable. I heard of the sugar factory. Is there a way to visit the factory? Are there organized tours of the place? Thanks.

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    Interesting Write-up Arvind.

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