Farmhouse a testimony to his love for nature, arts

Malnad magic in Mysore
Last Updated 23 August 2014, 19:50 IST

A country-tiled house on an elevated spot located in the midst of abundant greenery, replete with coconut trees and plants of different types, with grass spread over every bit of the farm, make ‘Anu Vana,’ the farmhouse of Anantha­murthy, between Dyavalapura and Alanahalli in the city.

Ananthamurthy shifted base to Mysore from Melige village, Thirthahalli taluk in Shimoga district, which is part of the Malnad belt. A visit to ‘Anu Vana’ shows that he had recreated Malnad in Mysore. He did so with perfection on his sprawling 10-acre farm, 24 km from the city.

 When he was alive, he took time to be here, away from modern trappings. A board on the gate reads ‘Anu Vana, Ananthamurthy,’ named after his daughter Anuradha. On Saturday, a portrait of Ananthamurthy in the verandah, with flower adorning the same, greeted visitors. 

Sulochana Somashekarappa, a family friend who resides in the neighbourhood, told Deccan Herald, “Ananthamurthy was very keen on building the house akin to those in Malnad, allowing air and light in abundance. One look at the house from outside says it all”.

Sulochana knew Ananthamurthy through her husband B Somashekarappa, who retired as a senior assistant director in Fisheries department. When Ananthamurthy was residing on New Kantharaj Urs Road, the Somashekarappa couple lived nearby and they bonded well. They continued to live close by as Somashekarappa shifted back to Alanahalli, his native place. They (Sulochana and Somashekarappa) played a perfect host to Ananthamurthy.

Quoting Esther, Ananthamurthy’s wife, Sulochana said, “Ananthamurthy had expressed his wish to stay in Mysore for some time a few months ago, but his health deteriorated further.” Recently, Esther and their son Sharath visited the farm.Sulochana said, “When we (family members) went to enquire the health of Ananthamurthy at his Dollars Colony residence in Bangalore several months ago, he had expressed his wish to stay for some time at his Mysore farmhouse. But God willed otherwise,” said Sulochana.

Prema, wife of Somashekar, the caretaker of the farm, said, “Whenever they planned to visit the farm, Ammavru (referring to Esther) would inform us over phone one day in advance. Recently, Ammavru had indicated to us about the wish of Appavru (Ananthamurthy) to visit the farm. What came was the news of his death.Ananthamurthy had created a mini-library of sorts at his farmhouse. 

A rack in the corner of the house has books in Kannada, English, Tulu Malayalam, Tamil and other languages. The books include the biography of late prime minister V P Singh, ‘Poorvapara’ a collection of critical works of Ananthamurthy in Kannada and several of his plays. 

The interiors of the house are decorated with paintings and sculptures, a testimony to his love for art.  Also, there is the glorious moment in Ananthamurthy’s life sealed in frame. A photograph of the writer receiving the Jnanpith award from then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao.

(Published 23 August 2014, 19:50 IST)

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