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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

First Page Mondays: Simply Fly: A Deccan Odyssey by Captain Gopinath

As part of the First Page Mondays on The Book Worm, here's the first page of the book Simply Fly by Captain Gopinath.

* This book was part of the Vodafone Crossword Book Award 2010 and was sent as a complimentary copy through Crossword. This is NOT a purchased copy.

Growing Up By The River

Snuggled somewhere deep within the Western Ghats, beyond Mudigere, lies the source of a pretty river called Hemavathy. This is the south-western corner of Karnataka. Meandering through the lower ranges, the river flows past hundreds of small hamlets before joining the Kaveri as its principal tributary. Gorur, of which I have vivid and pleasant childhood memories of my parents and my home, is one such village situated along the banks of the Hemavathy. It is not surprising that people in these parts consider the river sacred, for Hemavathy is Gorur's lifeline, watering its fields and sustaining the settlements along its banks. Looking back with fondness, there is a realization that quaint old Gorur, attractive in its own way, holds a special place in my heart.

A few words may not be appropriate to describe the lush countryside and the alluring landscape of Gorur and its neighbourhood, where I spent my early years. Located 23 km to the south of Hassan, the district headquarters, the settlement has an abundance of coconut groves, areca plantations, betel-leaf creepers, paddy fields, and mango orchards. The village, like many others in this region, has been a beneficiary of the water management technology evolved over centuries by local chieftains and the maharajas of Mysore, who built check-dams further upstream to facilitate irrigation of thousands of acres of farmland. These stonework barriers were constructed employing simple, eco-friendly technology that caused no deforestation or displacement of local residents, allowing the river to flow perennially, supporting human, animal, and plant life all along its course.

Gorur lies on the fringes of Malnad, which means the 'land of hills' and also the 'land of rains' in Kannada. It refers specifically to the southern ranges of the Western Ghats of Karnataka and their foothills. Malnad features some well-known towns such as Mudigere, Chikmaglur, Shringeri, Madikeri, and Tirthahalli. The hillside is awash with coffee estates and dense pristine rainforests.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta