Kin on cloud nine in Siddaramaiah's village

Kin on cloud nine in Siddaramaiah's village

“Naan eega rajaroshavaagi schoolnalli nan thaatha chief minister antha helkond odaadbahudu (I can now gloat to my friends in school that my grand-uncle is the chief minister of the State),” says 12-year-old Harshavardhana, thrusting his chest forward, while his mother and aunt are glued to the television set, keenly following the  developments in the State capital.

Even as they plead with him to quiet down, the boy fervently flips channels and gleefully jumps up and down everytime Karnataka’s new Chief Minister designate Siddaramaiah’s face appears on the screen.

Yes, Siddaramanahundi has erupted in joy. The quaint hamlet exuberantly played host to the media brigade that stomped its way the minute the news broke out, even as the rythmic drum beating and the chanting ‘Mysore hulige jai’ continued unabated in the background.

“At last mavayya’s efforts have paid off. He has toiled for 40 long years,” says Harshvardhana’s mother Ambika (Siddaramaiah’s older brother’s daughter-in-law). “My mother-in-law is hospitalised and we are worried for her. But this news has brought us so much joy that we haven’t been able to sleep properly. Even before he won the elections we knew he would be made the chief minister,” she adds.

All of Siddaramaiah’s family lives in this village, which is located 30 km from Mysore. And they are now ever so eager to meet him.

“Though I would like to cook something special for him, like a sweet dish, I don’t think it’s advisable, as Siddarama too has sugar like me,” says his 70-year-old elder sister Chikkamma. “But he has always liked nati koli and malli meenu. Maybe I will cook it and take it to Bangalore on Sunday,” she adds, sitting outside her humble abode.

“I continue to live in this hut as there have been many financial difficulties. And everytime I asked Siddarama for some assistance, he would shoot back, ‘nanenu lancha maadiddina bereyavarathara nin sahayakke baroke...’ (I have not made money through corrupt means to be of help to you). His integrity has remained intact, and today I am overjoyed for him. He used to manage everything together –– his studies and farm work. He has indeed struggled a lot,” adds Chikkamma with a smile.

One of Siddaramaiah’s oldest and trusted friends is Chikkaveere Gowda, who continues to live in the same village. “I have known Siddaramaiah for nearly 40 years now, and it is his fearlessness which has made him what he is today. He has always been straightforward –– never the one for diplomacy. Though it is against Congress’s culture, Siddaramaiah openly proclaimed that he was an aspirant to the chief minister’s post.”
Gowda, who went to the same bar association as that of the Kuruba leader, recalled that Siddaramaiah had always been more inclined towards politics. “His aim and his goal was to attain the highest position in politics. This is however just the beginning. Siddaramaiah’s next milestone will be a Central Cabinet berth.”
Gowda said that though Siddaramaiah’s father never encouraged him to study, it was his mother who pushed him. Of the six siblings, Siddaramaiah is the only one with education. “His mother Boramma ensured that Siddaramaiah got good education. He is highly intelligent, and can grasp things quickly. Because of this, he could afford to play the fool during the academic years. He is a great lover of food, and cannot live without his ‘togarikalu-mallimeenu’. Mathe avaru nidraapriya (He loves to sleep). His other weakness is his quick temper,” adds Gowda.

Though buses are being arranged to transport the villagers to Bangalore for Siddaramaiah’s swearing-in ceremony, what the villagers and family members are looking forward to is Siddaramaiah’s participation in the ‘Thayoor jatre’.

“He is a great dancer. One needs to be well trained and strong to balance the nandi kamba and dance through the procession. It will be very symbolic for him to be part of the jaatre as the chief minister,” said Siddaramaiah’s nephew Shivaswamy.

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