Portable homes

Planning to build a house? Ask K A Bhagyadev for an easy solution. That of portable, easy-to-set-up houses.

Bhagyadev is an engineer from Kadabagere town in Chikmagalur district, and has constructed houses in Mandya, Mysore, Hyderabad and other places. Once the foundation is laid by the owner, he takes up the rest of the task. As per the owner’s choice, he sets up walls, windows, roofs and other parts.

These houses are most suitable for small offices and security personnel. Shifting a house means detaching the components and reinstalling them in the new location. Many people have taken the advantages of these houses.

Na Karanth Peraje

Hundred and still going strong

Perched atop the hills of Madikeri and overlooking the valley is St Joseph’s Convent School, an essential part of Coorg’s history. It was instrumental in educating generations of women. “Education at St Joseph’s is not limited to just books. The school moulded us into ladies with fine tastes and a strong character,” shares Muthu Monnappa who passed out of its portals in 1944.

Even if you haven’t studied here, not having heard about the school or its stories is rare in Kodagu. Meet a group of Josephites and memories come pouring out — stories of laughter and fun, of pouring rain and howling trees, of never-ending dormitory and academic discipline, of the teachers they grew to love, the list is endless. It was in1909 that a group of six sisters of St Joseph’s of Tarbe arrived on a bullock cart from Bangalore and pitched their tent in Madikeri.

This was in response to a plea made by Rao Bahadur Kodandera M Cootaiah and Rao Bahadur Coravanda M Nanjappa to start an institution to provide education for local girls. It was later seconded by the then chief commissioner of Bangalore, Sir Stuart Frazer and the then commissioner of Coorg. September 1, 1909 witnessed the establishment of the Mercara Girls’ Lower Secondary School, with 21 students on the rolls.  

It was when Coorg had its first lady graduate and lady doctor, Kodanda Bollavva Poovaiah and Kodandera Accamma respectively, that it dawned on the management that it was time to start high school education for local girls. A high school was set up in 1922 and the first batch of passouts included two students, who successfully cleared the SSLC examination in 1925. Later, boys too were given admission till class VII while the Kannada medium was set up after independence.

“Completing 100 years of imparting education is a blessing for this institution. What started with 21 students is now a strong institution of 2,804. A PU college with science, commerce and arts streams was also established in 2004,” says Sr Anne, mother superior, St Joseph’s Convent. “True to our motto, ‘From Bloom to Blossom’ the school has stood for wholesome education through the years that provides holistic development to students,” adds Sr Cicily Kutty, headmistress of the high school.

The school has kept up with the times. However some things that remain unchanged is heartwarming for the alumni. A 1974 alumnus shares, “The dormitory is the same except that they have bunkers now. I am absolutely thrilled to be back here.” As the school gets ready to throw open it’s gates for its centenary celebrations, many of its alumni will raise a toast to their alma mater.

Anjali Kariappa