The other day a friend told me – ‘You write about the past. Why don’t you come up with something about the present and the future?’ That got me thinking, and I said to myself –‘Yeah, why not I play Nostradamus?’
I went up the attic and took out the family heirloom that was bequeathed to me by my grandmother. It’s a crystal ball handed down over several generations. I gave the glass a good shine and uttered those magic words (we call it password nowadays), and the crystal ball lit-up and was ready to give me a peek at the future. Well, – ‘Don’t ask me too many questions, and you will be told no lies!’
First of all I was interested in knowing what shape my town Gonicoppal had taken. The one street town had transformed. The main road had been broadened further and there was a steady stream of vehicles. All the old buildings had been replaced by sleek structures. The modern town had a fine town square where the present bus stand is located. There was a flyover, which skirted the entire town. A beautiful fountain graced the center of the square. Then I noticed that the name of the town had been changed! It was known as Supriya Nagar. That made me happy because I always thought this town deserved a better name than Gonicoppal. The main street was known as Chengappa Boulevard. Intrigued, I checked the reasons for the change. Supriya, a local lass, had won the Miss World title six year ago, and was at that point in time a top Bollywood and Hollywood actress. She was the daughter of a famous tennis player named Chengappa who had reached the semi finals at Wimbledon and French Open. She had visited her hometown and had donated a billion dollars for further improvement of the town where her grandparents still lived. The grateful citizens had passed a unanimous resolution to rename the town after the famous daughter. Chengappa and his daughter Supriya were the toast of not only Goni…. I mean Supriya Nagar, but also of entire Coorg. Supriya was dating a young and promising US Senator whose great grandfather was from Coorg. The Senator was a strong contender for the Republican Presidential nomination for the election due in 2052.
I panned the crystal ball to see what was happening in Madikeri. The district capital had spread as far as Sunticoppa, and had several flyovers crisscrossing the town. There was a new building, which looked similar to Vidhana Soudha but smaller. I looked up the details of this structure to find that it was where the Karnataka State Assembly met for sessions during summer months. This was a compromise formula worked out in place of the demand for restoration of statehood for Coorg. This settlement had apparently not pleased some for the pressure groups. There was a protest in progress in front of the Gandhi Mantap.
Then I noticed several large balloons gently bobbing in the wind high up above the flyovers. On closer scrutiny they supported huge power cables. It then dawned on me when I observed the direction in which they were headed. Kerala finally found a way to have their power lines pass through Coorg without disturbing the land and the forests!
I took an aerial view of Coorg. I could count 15 golf courses dotting the landscape. Each golf course had a helipad. Invariably there was a resort next to the course. Coffee estates too were there but only on flat land. Undulating lands were converted to golf courses and resorts to attract golfers from all over the country and overseas.
Coffee estates had transformed. I zoomed on one estate. Each row of coffee plants had a road on either side, wide enough for a tractor to move freely. It was harvesting season. There was a tractor-trailer on one side, and on the other a large water tanker was parked. A massive machine straddled the row of coffee bushes. It was a combined harvester, weeder, pruner, irrigator and fertilizer. The machine was named – Coffee Alligator. As it moved slowly above the bushes, it first weeded the ground around the bush. It then sent a burst of high decibel sound waves, which dropped the coffee beans. These were sucked by vacuum and transferred on to the trailer. Once the harvesting was completed, four tubes were inserted around the coffee bush and sufficient water injected into the soil along with the required nutrients. Coffee bushes were pruned as the Alligator slowly drove ahead. I counted six workers in the entire estate. I had a look at the production per acre. It was substantially more than what our present day plantations yielded.
As I was busy looking at the coffee estate, a huge shadow fell on the land. It was a massive hot-air balloon. It had ‘Coorg Trails – A TATA Coffee Enterprise’ emblazoned across it. It was indeed a highly environment friendly mode of seeing the various places of interest, and also the animals in the forest. The air space above Coorg was quite busy, what with all the helicopter and hot-air balloons.