We took that time in a mix of confusion and looked around. We were surrounded by a semi-urban scenary. There was this hugh double – main road but sans the people, traffic and choas that urban centres are infamous far. There was limited greenary around and we were exchanging glances with locals who were looking rustic with red lips and minding their own businesses.
It dawned to us as vijay who also hailed from north karnataka educated us that in mysore side ( south karanataka is referred as mysore in general like all south indians are madrasis for north indians!) we provide coffee to any visiting guest and in this place, they would offer bettle nut and yele and that was why everybody seemed to be crunching on the ‘yale’ with red mouths. I concluded that red lips are far better than red faces.
It looked like that rudrappa and his scooter was gone for years that we sighted the dust swirl on a side road and the chetak screeched to a halt with a perspiring rudrappa. Inbetween breaths he explained as if he had run the marathon and not mounted the scooter – ” Bus sikktu adre alle yaru illa marayre…. conductor sikllilla adre kalu thasu iddru yaru kellake barlillre..” ( He reached the bus but nobody was their to claim the package. He waited for 15 minutes but nobody came).
Rudrappa said , lets first reach home and get fresh as the muhurath is for 10.35AM and we woudnt want to miss the marriage. Nodding our head, we moved belongings and ourselves and went through the maze called gadag.
We got into one of maheshs brand new house and did our daily essentials and were treated to ‘karada puri and ounde’ for breakfast. Tough but we managed it assuming a sumptous lunch would help us forget this breakfast.
The wedding went through fine and we had all forgotten the marriage till in the afternoon when we got back to his uncle’s house for a couple of hours cat nap. It was prabhakars curiosity which killed the cat!. After concensus, we opened the package. Bombs were unknown in those days -nor was anthrax known so it was safe to open the package and out emerged to white, VIP banians!! And, there was one more packet wrapped in ordinary brown package.
Quickly we opened the inner package and were immideatly treated to the fresh aroma of dharawad mishra pedas – about 1 odd kilos!!!
This was a royal treat of sweets to all 6 of us including his uncles. Rudrappa decided to donate the banians to his house hold help while we thanked the unknown gifter and with some guilty heart munched away at the fresh pedas!
By 2pm we took a small car and went visiting the famous badami where we would not forget one mistake for ever. We left all our shoes/chappals in the car and attempted to walk the heated stones at 3pm which resulted in smiles from locals while we learnt a quick course bharathanatyam. An old woman whos face had more wrinkles than features offered us majjige ( butter milk) and refused to accept money saying that was her ‘kayaka’ to treat gods messengers!!
Badami was followed quickly by a visit in the evening to kudagala sangama and we sat in silence in front of bashveshwaras samadhi while listining to the swirling sound of water above his samadhi ( one has to walk downstairs inside the sangama for this). It was a devine feeling with which we came back tired to gadag the same night.
The return journey was un eventfull as the same story repeated and we fell asleep on each others shoulder, bag or what ever and reached bangalore.
Mahesh is happily married with a kid and we recount his marriage experiences even today when we meet up ocassionally.