There's a howl if there's a problem. It ensues battle between two communities.
If one of those communities prefer to remain silent, allowing only the other community to dance in rage, then the conflict will not last longer.
It's like clapping with a single hand!
It means silence is the solution for most of the problems on earth!!!
In this page, to begin with, let me narrate the story entitled ANGUISH, in installments. When I wrote it in Kannada (an Indian language) decades ago, before publishing it as a story of the week, editor of UDAYAVANI (magazine section) commented that it was both a rare imagination and compilation.
Swaroop always thought that wealth can purchase anything life. He drove his car filled with his co-students to the campus where he was pursuing his second year degree. His money made him surrounded by friends, for whom he threw lavish parties regularly.
For a long time he dreamt of sipping a beer in company of his classmate Siddhi alone. But leave aside meet up in a bar-cum-restaurant, Siddhi was not ready to even smile at him, in spite of his repeated advances. Thank god, though always looked at him with her stiff eye brows, she never reported about him to the class teacher.
Swaroop mis-interpreted her self confidence of not seeking support of anybody to safeguard herself. He presumed it as her indirect expression of love, regarding which he went on building castles up to the height of the sky.
With a sharp remark, Siddhi always refused the costly gifts Swaroop tried to offer. The offers included a diamond necklace, on which the amount spent was ten times more than what he paid towards the costliest party he threw, in his life. Even then, he failed to realise that principles weigh higher than money.
For children, the principle is to concentrate on academics, not the existence of being drunk or being involved in love affairs.
As expected, before his science graduation, Swaroop became capable of manipulating anything and everything on earth, with the help of his money. But the money couldn't win him his sweet heart.
He developed a deep anguish in himself and married Shweta, on the same day on which Siddhi wedded the ex-serviceman Shashank. His wedding has been a pompous show in Haranahalli (Hassan - India), whereas Siddhi tied her knot in Kodi Matha, a well known religious centre in the surrounding, under blessing of main priest as well as a handful of relatives and friends.
It has been the time when people were anxious about the ongoing survey for a major irrigation project covering a stretch of 50kms between villages Gandasi and Javagal. It was cutting in to the hearts of Haranahalli surroundings. Farmers were under the grip of fear, visualizing that they could receive government notice, demanding surrender of their cultivable land on which their families were dependent since generations.
Farmers divide and harmony is lost for certain amount of time, due to Irrigation projects. A section of farmers make merry since their portion of land gets covered by command area, for which the project will feed water to cultivate. Another section of farmers will be in distress since their beloved pieces of land get covered by catchment area, which is a must to get submerged under the enormous water, for storage of which alone the project is meant.
Swaroop's enraged mind began to think what best it can make using this project as a tool, to take a revenge against Siddhi who rejected his wealth. His wealth actually blinded many girls who continue to enjoy secret life with him, but Siddhi was the only girl whose attitude was up to his nerves.
Too early in the morning next day, Swaroop's sedan appeared before the guesthouse where Er Sudheendra's survey troup was camping. The troup had the responsibility to submit feasibility report, after conducting preliminary survey for Habbanaghatta major irrigation project.
Morning walkers heading from Haranahalli to the 4kms away Habbanaghatta got wondered by seeing the newly wedded Swaroop alone over there, during wee hours!
'Hey, what are you doing here, so early?' - one of the morning walkers volunteered to ask.
'Had an urgent matter to discuss. It won't be possible to discuss, when the troup is busy with the field work during the day.' - Swaroop replied.
'Surprise, Shweta allowed you to go at this time.' - another person taunted.
Inside the guest house, young team members of the troup were hurrying up to leave with equipments for field work, while Er Sudheendra was yet to wake up from sound sleep.
Alone on the bench outside the guesthouse, Swaroop was recollecting the conversation he had on previous day with Sandip, who headed the team of L-Section survey. Survey of the longitudinal section in an irrigation project will decide the most economical location of the dam, which will have catchment (submersible) and command (cultivable) areas of land on either of its sides.
On the previous day, stopping close to Sandip on the work spot, Swaroop alighted from his car and walked a bit to shake hand with him.
'Nice to meet you Sandip. Knowing that all of you're here to help our farmers immensely, I just thought of talking to you in person to find whether I can extend any cooperation.' - he began conversation with a smile.
'It's something you need to discuss with our team leader, Er Sudheendra.' - Sandip replied.
'Is it so? When will it be convenient to talk to him?' - Swaroop posed his next question.
'Better if you see him around the time we leave for field work early in the morning. After field work, till late night, he won't be able to talk since concentration of the entire troup will be on plotting.' - Sandip.
Ground levels derived during the L-Section survey, when plotted, will provide indication about the quantum of excavation (soil digging) and embankment (soil filling) which the dam requires.
'Can you please explain to your team leader about my intention, and give me a ring if he's free for a small talk tomorrow?' - Swaroop further questioned.
'Why not? Let's exchange our mobile numbers.' - Sandip replied.
* * *
After almost an hour's waiting, subsequent to the juniors' exit for field work, Er Sudheendra came out to get involved in a talk with Swaroop, over a cup of tea.
'It's so nice to have you and your team of surveyors with us.' - Swaroop said smiling and welcoming Er Sudheendra.
'It's so inspiring for us too to find natives like you showering interest on us. You really surprised me by choosing to meet during early hours of the day.' - Sudheendra replied.
'Haranahalli natives in fact intend to organize a treat for you shortly. That apart, I'm here to extend my personal cooperation. Please order me to do something. Task you're about to achieve will boost up confidence of the farming community around here.' - Swaroop.
'Praise the government for it. We're just servants to work for the project.' - Sudheendra.
'God, to help his creatures like us, has arrived here in the form of you. We can't ignore it.' - Swaroop.
'Such a big saying. Let our troup try its best to justify the faith you have in us.' - Sudheendra stated, without doubting that there's something in Swaroop's mind behind this conversation.
* * *
Conversation at the guest house has laid the required foundation for friendship, with Er Sudheendra.
'I must get ready fast to go and check up all that's going on today w.r. to Chain Survey, L-Section Survey, Cross Section Survey and so on. Things go haywire if I do not issue practical instruction at the work spot everyday.' - Sudheendra grinned.
I believe in elaborating a few terms used in Irrigation Survey since Community deserves to have a broad idea about it, and react if required in similar situations.During narration so far, I already wrote briefly about L-Section, Catchment Area and Command Area.
Profile of the project requires Chain Survey all along L-Section and Cross Section, to record linear measurements of the Dam itself, Catchment and Command areas for estimation purposes. Cross Section Survey provides information about the entire landscape, so as to plot the ups and downs of the ground, location of the valley resulting to be the main water source, water gushing from rest of the surrounding towards upstream of the Dam etc., in the Contour Map.
* * *
There was an urge in Swaroop to accompany Er Sudheendra to the spot where juniors could have been extremely busy with their work. But he controlled himself, since it was the exact time of Siddhi carrying breakfast to both her husband Shashank and father Kshitij, who used to supervise activities at their own agricultural and horticultural lands, as a routine.
Siddhi usually carried breakfast from Haranahalli to the farmland of her family via the road over Guttanakere valley (main source of water on which the survey troup had attention), in her two-wheeler. Today for some reason she appeared to be walking along, leaving her scooter behind. Swaroop slowed down his car, getting tempted by looking at her beauty from behind.
When it was just a few yards behind her, he parked his four-wheeler at the roadside. He started walking carefully, ensuring that her attention doesn't fall on him. Spiralling temptation!
Swaroop got close to Siddhi, the most attractive female of equal height, and grabbed her waist using both his arms tightly. He couldn't withstand pleasure of her smooth belly, held in his palms. Subject to the pressure of his hands, backside of her body got more and more pressed to Swaroop showing him the heaven on earth!!!
Shriek erupted from Siddhi's throat due to dare devilry of Swaroop was much above the fear of death. She felt herself as finished with her waist and stomach held tight, surrounded by a serpent. The street never in past witnessed such a panicky yell of a human, which overtook the sound produced by the water flow in Guttanakere valley.
Man dares even death when he's mad due to a desire. That's what Swaroop enacted, in an otherwise unmanned street, where only himself and Siddhi were present. It was his day dream imagining the soft feeling of the two would mellow down the discrimination Siddhi had, towards him. If that could be the reality, he was prepared to give up the manipulation he had in mind, w.r. to the ongoing investigation for the proposed Habbanaghatta dam.
His imagination was thrashed. There was no instance in the past, when anyone took Siddhi's side and argued with him wildly. But at evening on the day, a red hot Kshitij, Siddhi's dad, throwing fire from his eyes, with a sickle in his hand, appeared before Swaroop's house. At that time, the cute and bubbly Shweta, Swaroop's wife, was alone in the house.
'Swaroop, are you there?' - Kshitij roared, knocking the door from outside.
Then he threw his finger on switch of the calling bell. Bell rang repeatedly, and shaken Shweta inside the house for a while, as she was tying saree above the midriff of her sleek body. Due to shock, her saree slipped down from her fingers, and her navel got exposed in front of the mirror. She adored her own navel, oiled it frequently and maintained it to be lovely, ensuring it to be more and more sensuous always, when her husband's hand or lip is in its contact.
The raw, repeated ear drill of the calling bell didn't allow her to pay her usual attention to her navel reflected in the mirror. She bent down towards floor, grabbed the saree, and tied it up in a hurry.
She has been able to see the enraged Kshitij and ready-to-kill pose of the sickle in his hand, through the door eye.
'Swaroop is not there in the house.' - Shweta told loudly from inside the house without opening the door, so as to ensure that Kshitij can hear it.
Kshitij's body action was such at that time, the weapon in his hand would have dismembered every inch of Swaroop, if found.
'Shweta, tell Swaroop that he won't be alive if he's seen near Siddhi anytime in future from now.' - He bragged after a few minutes, thumping his feet outside the door.
Shweta trembled inside the house without opening the door, and continued to view the goings on outside the house, through the door eye.
Sometime later, with an enormous force, Kshitij threw the sickle held in his hand towards a tree in the compound. Like a bullet triggered from a rifle, it went and stuck on a branch of that tree.
Thank God, Swaroop was away from the house when Kshitij came to attack with a sickle. Oh, what a tragedy it would have been, if the two were face to face at the pitch of that moment!
Hours before, provoked and heavy headed due to morning's incident and the worst possible abuse thrown at him by Siddhi, he dialled up Er Sudheendra.
'May I beg your pardon Sir.' - He began the conversation.
'Never mind, Swaroop. Any urgency?' - Er Sudheendra.
'We were in a hurry to conclude. I couldn't spell out what was required.' - Swaroop.
'We just began, Swaroop. Vast lengths of the road we must and should walk is laid out there!' - Sudheendra.
'I understand that, Sir. Even then, don't you think the beginning we made needs to be much brighter?' - Swaroop.
'Accepted. What then?' - Sudheendra.
'Then..., is it impossible to discuss it over a peg?' - Swaroop.
'Not at all. Do you wish it to be today itself?' - Sudheendra.
'Yes, if you don't mind.' - Swaroop.
'Then I must complete the day's commitments right away.' - Sudheendra.
'Should I be there near the guest house to pick you up?' - Swaroop.
'No no. I'll join you near bus shelter on the main road.' - Sudheendra.
Telecom got over soon after that. Sudheendra felt it as a great idea to be toxic on the day. Exigency of work has allowed him to hit a peg only a long ago.
He had a glance at various surveys carried out during the day, delivered the plotting instructions to juniors, and jumped into the departmental pick-up-van meant for daily use of his troup.
He ordered the driver to drop him at Haranahalli bus shelter and return. It was close to sunset when he occupied the front seat next to Swaroop, who drove the car towards Arasikere town.
Swaroop, in his attempt to enhance closeness with Sudheendra, went on to brief him about speciality of the villages Yalavare, Boranakoppalu and Geejihalli, throughout the time the travel took to reach Arasikere.
* * *
Though a seventy year old, as a farmer right from childhood, Kshitij was an example for the fitness actually a male body should have. He was extremely handsome and had every organ of his body up to the exact measurement, as we could witness in any of the catchiest sculptures preserved in any country across the globe. Strength in his arms was such that his palms could easily have extended iron grip over the necks of two erring youths, make them collide, and break their major bones. He would have crushed the whole of skeleton inside Swaroop's body if he got hold of of him that day.
Kshitij, the elderly person in frustration, returned home and sat down on sofa. Sweat oozing through his forehead kept dripping on the shirt he was wearing.
'Where did you go, and what you did? You didn't care my call and left two hours ago.' - Siddhi complained while questioning.
'Rascal was not there in the house. I wouldn't have allowed him to be alive and come out of the house any more.' - Kshitij blabbered violently.
'Have you gone mad? Are you so immature to commit something like that and land up in prison at this age?' - Siddhi appeared to have lost control over her version, frightened due to what father has said.
Kshitij only then imagined the dilemma for which he'd have subjected his family.
'As I've never told you all that was happening between me and him for a few years, I'd have remained silent about even this incident. I gave back to him all that he deserved, after the incident. I told you at the fit of the moment, only since I wouldn't have been able to throw my emotions in front of Shashank, my husband.' - Siddhi uttered, developing breathlessness in herself.
Realisation began to get clear in Kshitij's mind. He
continued to listen carefully what his daughter was saying.
'I can protect myself. I'm that much strong mentally. I told you thinking that you're able to put it across wisely that he is married, I'm married, and are responsible to our respective families. I believed in your life experience to do so.' - Siddhi's throbbing mind rolled out the inevitable words.
Kshitij went on blinking at her, besides structuring his mind on what he has to do next.
Siddhi's facial reactions were enough to defeat Swaroop's advances in the past years. He was shaken this time by her screeching abuse, and just a oral warning, with emotions in control, from Kshitij would have been enough to keep him away from thinking about any repeat of such future incidents.
But what now?
Ripples of fear rendered Shweta to be restless till such time Swaroop returned home in an inebriated state, almost at the stroke of 12, that night. He appeared to be walking towards bedroom without looking at the food items laid out on the dining table, without even the courtesy of enquiring whether Shweta ate or not.
Drained out of distress, unknowing anything about the intensity of the crime her husband would have committed, even then withstanding the strain of cooking dinner items, Shweta didn't deserve any negligence at that time from her husband. But the neglect was clear. Shweta had the only go, to exercise her continued patience.
She held his shoulder, tried to move his uncontrolled body, and enable his face take an about turn from bedroom towards the dining table. Swaroop's attention hasn't been clear on anything. His body was losing balance, as alcohol assumed control of his entire brain. While Shweta's arm was supporting Swaroop's elbow to provide a push and make him move, one of his heavy hands did fall on her lower waist with fingers pricking and hurting that part of her body.
* * *
Senses didn't allow the drunken Swaroop to feel the taste of food in front of him. They didn't even allow him to utter a word to calm down Shweta's heavy heart, which was pouring out all that has happened, in his absence. He half ate the food, and was about to sleep with his head on the dining table itself.
As he continued to exist under the hangover of liquor that hour, Shweta washed his hand in the plate in which he ate, made him stand, and walked him towards the bedroom.
As he laid his back on the mattress, romantic mood got evoked in him, he grabbed Shweta from both his hands, and pulled her towards himself. Feeling uneasy, Shweta soon stood up getting rid of her ongoing friction with his body. Unlike on any other nights since marriage, she left him to sleep alone that night, and went to another room.
A barrier appeared to be standing tall between them, without allowing them to be romantically together any more, that moment onwards.
* * *
Swaroop was almost back to his senses next morning. He woke up with his crooked mind of intensifying the amount of harm he was planning against Siddhi's family.
He recalled his previous day's talks with Er Sudheendra.
'I'm no more a stranger. Call me by name.' - Sudheendra smiled, raising his toast.
Swaroop returned the smile, with his thumbs up.
They ended preliminary conversation, each other explaining about their background, till their roots of friendship began to show up the sprout on ground.
'There is a need to be something specific w.r. to the dam location and the land to be submerged.' - Swaroop began, coming to the point he had in mind.
'Your question is not relevant for the time being!' - Sudheendra.
'What do you mean?' - Swaroop appeared to be perplexed.
'I mean, that ours is a preliminary investigation which will throw a light on B C Ratio. Project gets green signal only if the B C Ratio is approved.' - Sudheendra.
Swaroop, struggling to put forth his intention in a way it's properly understood, besides not having a guess what B C Ratio is, kept quiet for a while.
Sudheendra, with a long experience in explaining his subject to the people, suggested Swaroop to be with him for an entire day to know what role he's playing in the proposed project.
'So good of you. I'll join you tomorrow itself.' - Swaroop.
'Then meet me at the work spot by 10.30am.' - Sudheendra.
* * *
Friendship sprouted over a small drink was about to bloom and spread its fragrance. Swaroop began to get ready to meet Sudheendra at the survey spot, exactly at the scheduled time.
In Asian zone of the globe, a ritual known as OBSERVE is performed to seek strength from the universe to withstand the after effects, when worst situations are confronted.
It requires an individual to assume the position for prayer after bath in the morning. It's to be performed without winking the open eyes. Perfect result is ensured, if it's performed with belief. Shweta got ready to perform it as her family was forced to endure the ignominy, as explained in the previous installment of this fiction.
Positioning herself with palms open to the sky, she fixed her gaze towards the north-east direction, and first of all offered her gratitude to the nature, for keeping her family alive on earth. Gratitude followed for the ups and downs experienced so far and the awareness of life prevailing, in the minds of family members. She then recalled the recent unrest, sought strength from nature to withstand its repercussions, and repeated it seven times.
Exactly when the above ritual got over and she turned her face towards kitchen, Swaroop was ready to leave for his meeting at the survey spot.
* * *
L-Section survey was supposed to be carried out on one of the few alignments selected form the contour map, during the day. Er Sudheendra ordered a helper to bring Swaroop from his house to this spot.
The helper was instructed to hang around till 10.30am and knock the door after that, only if there's no sign of Swaroop getting out of it. He came running when he saw that Swaroop appeared without delaying, at 10.15am itself at the main gate of his house.
'Welcome my friend, you deserve a thumbs up.' - Er Sudheendra, with a sign of appreciation glowing on his face, by seeing Swaroop exactly on time, at the work spot.
'We agreed to call each other by our short names, Sudhi.' - Swaroop reminded.
Soon after, Swaroop could make out that the ongoing alignment of the L-Section survey indicated that the property owned by Siddhi's family existed within the safest command area, nearly half a kilometer away, from there. It was to show that Siddhi's family was about to be the biggest beneficiary of the project. Swaroop was hell bent to witness exactly opposite of that.
'Sudhi, shall we walk up to there?' - Swaroop asked pointing his finger towards that property, with the temperature raising in his head, thinking whether it'll be yes or no, to his wish.
'Why not? But give me a few minutes.' - Er Sudheendra replied, and went up to Surveyor Sandip, who was leading the skilled team of L-Section survey.
'Sandip, you know we're nowhere near the minimum B C Ratio, in spite of five alignments processed so far.' - Sudheendra.
'I'm aware sir.' - Sandip.
'We're running out of time. Our sub-division is demanding us to specify when exactly we'll be able to submit the final report.' - Sudheendra.
'I understand sir.' - Sandip.
'So, overall works such as plotting and assessment w.r. to our present focus must get over today, at any cost.' - Sudheendra.
'Agreed sir.' - Sandip.
'Keep in mind. I'll show you the new alignment to start work from tomorrow.' - Sudheendra.
The survey troup was almost convinced, that it'll be remote possibility for Habbanaghatta dam to receive a priority attention by the government.
Calculation runs into a number of alignments when investigation is carried out for any irrigation project like this.
Benefit-Cost Ratios (B C Ratio) are derived, and the best of those will be considered, to raise proposal for construction.
Benefit means the revenue proposed to be generated by discharging the water stored in the reservoir, for cultivating purposes.
Cost involves the expenditure for construction of the dam, cost of electricity, outlay for periodical maintenance etc.
Normally the proposal for construction will receive acceptance if the B C Ratio is above 2.0. It means the benefit of the project in a span of 10 years is not less than double the cost incurred, to execute and maintain the project.
B C Ratios of 1.28, 1.39, 1.57, 1.46 and 1.63 obtained so far as per the interim reports submitted by Sudheendra, were not at all enough to command eligibility for approval by the government.
[12/10, 07:01] Advocate Varadarajan: Superb. Suspense ridden.
[13/10, 03:20] B S Ranganath: Thank you. Hope the narration captures the reader's attention till the end of the story.
* * *
[12/10, 10:01] Srinivasa Rao: That's great.. I always see inspirational words in your writing.. Jai Gurudev
[13/10, 03:22] B S Ranganath: Thanks Srinivas. Happy to know that my imagination impressed you.
* * *
[12/10, 19:55] C T Joshi: Your story is well-drafted. It is simple and direct. No bombastic language--that is the style these days.
Only it would be better if you have more conversations, instead of plain prose. See if you can more of them.
[13/10, 03:26] B S Ranganath: Thank you Sir. Your opinion reminds me the letters I used to receive decades ago from Bannanje Govindacharya, often when my short stories appeared as story of the week in Udayavani.
* * *
[13/10, 10:39] M C Sharada: 👏👏 very nicely taken 👍
[13/10, 12:55] B S Ranganath: Thanks. I welcome suggestions reg improvement of the future text material, involving many more installments.
* * *
[11 Oct 2020, 18:48] Brian Tracy • email@example.com: You have more potential than you could use in 100 lifetimes. You appear to make the most of it, faster than you ever thought possible.
[14/10, 10:19] B S Ranganath: Thanks Brian. Shall attempt to live up to your expectation.
* * *
[15/10, 08:47] Satish : Nice. Interesting read
[15/10, 09:40] B S Ranganath: Happy to know that you found it as worth reading.
* * *
[15/10, 06:07] Arjun (Art of Living Mysore Ashram Content Writer): Superb
[15/10, 19:12] B S Ranganath: Thanks. I look forward to go through write-ups from your end.
* * *
[15/10, 08:03] Vijayan P K: Your story is simple, great. I don't have befitting words to write further.
[16/10, 11:17] B S Ranganath: Happy to note that the narration impressed you.
* * *
[17/10, 09:32] Shyamasundara (in Kannada): ತುಂಬಾ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿದೆ ಕಣಯ್ಯ. ನಿನಗೆ ಅದು ಸೂಕ್ತ ಬಹುಮಾನವನ್ನು ತರಲಿ ಎಂದು ಬಯಸುತ್ತೇನೆ.
English meaning: It's very good. I wish it to reward you suitably.
[17/10, 09:42] B S Ranganath: ನಿನ್ನ ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯ ಸ್ಫೂರ್ತಿದಾಯಕ.
English meaning: Your opinion is encouraging.
* * *
[18/10, 09:38] Ravi Kiran: Read all anguish parts dad.. you have done a fabulous job... Keep it going, great!
[18/10, 09:40] B S Ranganath: Thanks Ravi.
* * *
[21/10, 10:57] Raman Iyer: Never forget to pass your sweet Fragrance like smile. Keep it alive. No matter what ever happens in your life. In every harsh condition small flower never forgets to pass its smile and fragrance. Be like a small flower.
[21/10, 11:01] B S Ranganath: Thanks
* * *
[31/10, 09:37] Srinivasa Rao: How come you manage to merge a tricky subject like irrigation engineering when you compile a fiction?
[31/10, 09:46] B S Ranganath: True writer is not supposed to be choosy about subjects!
[31/10, 09:51] Arjun Mysore Ashram Content Writer: 👍🏼
[31/10, 09:52] B S Ranganath: His/her imagination has a rapid flow, besides an attempt to throw little knowledge about the subject.
* * *
[31/10, 14:31] Harishchandra Bhat: Excellent story and very good narration!
[01/11, 08:11] B S Ranganath: Thank you very much sir.
I reached this extent drawing inspiration from a stint as reporter under you.