Friday, 17 January 2014

Chikkanna – The man who loves his job.

Chikkanna woke up regularly at 5 am in the morning. His family depended upon the meager income that he brought home. 

Chikkanna though was a carefree person. Ambition had not touched his soul and he wished to continue his life’s journey as he had done thus far. The opinion of his family in this regard is not the subject matter of the story as the protagonist, Chikkanna, never bothered to ask this of his family.

Chikkanna was a helper, working passionately at a nature park in Mysore, Karnataka. The nature park or Karanji lake as it is known, is situated quite close to the zoological park. The zoo, being the major attraction for the tourist, almost always hogged the limelight. The weary tourists generally made an apologetic visit to Karanji Lake, mostly as an afterthought.

Most of them though skipped it for want of time and energy.

A few blessed souls do end up visiting the Karanji Lake only to avoid the maddening crowd at the zoo. People like us visit the Karanji Lake as we are the self-proclaimed animal lovers who wished to see the animals roaming free, rather than caged!

The first time we met Chikkanna was on a day when the Lake was deserted. We decided to ask him for a ride on his cart drawn by two of his cows. He obliged! When my children climbed on the cart he shared his tiny seat with them. There was thrill written over my children’s face and sheer happiness on Chikkanna’s.

His simplicity and dedication was written on every grain of sand...

In about four to five minutes they got down and we bade goodbye to Chikkanna. We continued with the rest of the wonders that Karanji Lake had in store for us.We frequented Karanji Lake as its sheer simplicity and cleanliness attracted us. By now we also knew what contributed to the cleanliness, while the simplicity, I guess, was due to its geographic positioning!

We continued with the rest of the wonders the Lake had in store for us!

This winter we went to Mysore and had time only for Karanji Lake. We met Chikkanna again, for the second time. This time the lake was crowded, compared to its own standards.  We smiled at Chikkanna and he smiled back, not because he recognized us, but because he was always happy doing his job! My children wanted to climb his cart. This time I hesitated, but Chikkanna did not. With the same happiness elongating his lips into a smile, he took them aboard his vehicle.My sister’s family was with us and we had four young boys and girls. I wondered how they would get on the cart for Chikkanna’s seat seemed smaller, as the kids were now bigger.

They decide to take turns. Meanwhile I spoke to Chikkanna. In the years gone by I had managed to pick up the relevant phrases in Kannada. After asking his name, I also asked him his permission to click a few photographs of him and write this article about him.
The kids climbed down quickly and as we were about to leave we saw a huge queue of children behind us, waiting for their turn to get an aerial view of the Lake from Kaka’s cart!

Did we interrupt Chikkanna’s work for the day? We did not wish to dwell on it because if he made my children happy he will make other children happy too. Chikkanna’s passion for his work showed in every inch of the park.

Luckily, we had the time to stand and stare and click...

Karanji, in Kannada means fountain. True to its name the Lake has a water fountain in the middle of the lake and fountain of happiness all around!