WHAT HAPPENS WHEN 2000 CARS CONVERGE ON ONE-HORSE TOWN AMMATHI

By P.T. Bopanna

Ammathi is a one-horse town near Virajpet in Kodagu (Coorg). Noted writer Kavery Nambisan, who also heads the Tata Coffee-run hospital in the town, has aptly described the town as follows:

 ammathi

“Ammathi is a little town with two-and-a-half streets, a post office, a hospital, a convent and a government school, a police outpost, bank, vegetable vendor, three liquor shops, one of which is also the newsagent, a bakery and others that sell everything from lipstick to cattle feed. Many houses huddle alongside the shops, while larger bungalows hide inside coffee estates that stretch in all directions beyond the town.”

 In the circumstances, one could hardly imagine that traffic jam in the town could hold up vehicles for three hours at a stretch. This is precisely what happened when this writer visited the town recently to attend a wedding. The wedding was at the Kodava Samaja wedding hall.

 The relative affluence of the Kodava community has led to a situation where everyone owns a car. Not that all the coffee planters are rich. It is a trait of the Kodava community to show off and everyone wants to buy a big car, even if it involves taking huge loans.

 Imagine a situation when 2,000 cars converge on the one-horse town. To top it all, the Ammathi Kodava Samaja seems to be only interested in generating revenue, but not concerned with the guests who turn up at the wedding hall. With hardly anyone to regulate the movement of traffic, huge traffic pile ups take place.

 When the traffic pile up started, it also began to rain heavily. This made the situation impossible. It was a pathetic sight to see women dressed in Kancheepuram saris getting drenched as they tried to make their way to their cars, parked nearly up to 2 km from the wedding hall.

 The traffic jam was so severe, that it blocked the movement of vehicles even on the main road of the town which is connected to all the major roads leading to Bengaluru, Mysore and Kerala.

 This writer who was in a hurry to return to Bengaluru, took a detour of 8 km via the Kavadi temple to escape the traffic jam near the Kodava Samaja, but ended up in another traffic jam on the main road leading to Ammathi town. By then a few policemen from Ammathi town came to the scene and tried to clear the traffic.

Though all the major towns in Coorg have witnessed lot of developments in the past decade, development has eluded Ammathi. It is a town frozen in time, even though some of the rich coffee planters live close to the town. The planters seem to be a contented lot and happy with their ‘club’ functioning from a rundown building.

 But Ammathi lives on hope and every resident of the town knows the slogan “still hopes Ammathi”, a slogan that was coined when the Ammathi hockey team was on the verge of a defeat at a local hockey match. Nobody is sure whether the slogan worked.

 It is time for the residents of Ammathi to wake up. They can start by sorting out the traffic problems first and probably come up with a brand new club house where they can even take their ladies for an evening of relaxation.

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8 Responses

  1. monnappa says:

    3rd time in aa many occasions that fate befell on us, who to blame! !! Our egoistic fellow kodavas who parked cars wherever they thought was their rights “God bless these egoistic souls:it took us 1hr to get out of the traffic a la coorg.

  2. kuttappa says:

    Hi Sir,

    At least one place in coorg where you can find kodava’s at their best. Let it remain the same. lets not ruin it in the name of development.

    Thanks
    Kuttappa

  3. kuttappa says:

    “Channang Adjust madiyoli …!!!” that happens rarely so its ok.

    • Coorg News says:

      Dear Kuttappa Anna,
      I understand that a similar traffic jam happened a couple of days back at Ammathi. Apparently, the Kodava Samaja has not taken any remedial measures. It is high time the Kodagu SP intervened and drew up a traffic plan around the wedding venue. To start with, parking should be allowed only on one side of the road. The Samaja could also make it a condition that weddings will be allowed only after the hosts have requisitioned police personnel to regulate the traffic. P.T. Bopanna

  4. Neha kaveri says:

    Dear sir,
    This above article written by you is a good one.
    So here’s what I found. The article is an article based not on facts but based on word of mouth or other sources.
    Ammathi is definitely a small town. Ammathi Kara are proud of this small town as it is calm and peaceful.
    I quote “To top it all, the Ammathi Kodava Samaja seems to be only interested in generating revenue, but not concerned with the guests who turn up at the wedding hall. With hardly anyone to regulate the movement of traffic, huge traffic pile ups take place.”

    Sir, have you visited the Kodava Samaja recently? I hail from Ammathi. The Kodava Samaja unlike other samajas have developed at a rapid speed. Who would have thought of a rain water harvest in a Kodava samaja early in 2000s? But Ammathi Kodava samaja implemented it avoiding shortage of water in and around the Kodava samaja. Which has benefitted the people living in a kilometer radius around the samaja. If you haven’t noticed there are “no parking” boards kept on the right side of the road. But people are ignorant, that they park their vehicles right under the board. There are parking lots in the samaja. The hosts of the ceremony block those space let out for parking. Who is to be blamed? The samaja authority or the host of the ceremony?

    The traffic happened because of the lack in parking etiquette. The vehicles are parked haphazardly on either side of the road restricting easy movement of traffic. The hosts of the ceremony are asked to take police help with a mere payment of Rs.800 to control the traffic. The samaja takes a minimum amount of Rs.20000/- as rent. When the hosts can spend lakhs of rupees for the wedding and invite that many people,is Rs. 800 a burden on them?! Sir, here I’m just trying to place before you the facts. There was a wedding in December 2014, the hosts arranged for two policemen to control the traffic and inspite of 5000 odd guests, there was no hiccup in traffic movement.
    Since I’ve seen the functioning of the samaja from close proximity and the pain they take to maintain its cleanliness and smooth functioning… I think there should be more appreciation. This is one Kodava samaja which does not have a cultural club attached to it.
    Criticism is well received by the management and they try very hard to improvise. Constructive criticism is well accepted.

    Thanking you
    Yours Sincerely
    Neha Kaveri M.D
    Ammathi.

  5. Yes, this is a huge problem in the Ammathi Kodava Samaja. Apparently this samaja was built in the last century when no Kodava had any cars. These days as the author rightly point out, every Kodava wants to have a car even if it is through a financially debilitating car loan. This may satisfy the egos of some Kodavas for 3 hours while it is crippling the traffic and normalcy of other Ammathi residents for the entire day.

    Prudence requires all Kodavas to consider the location of our weddings and the infrastructure capacity of the venue and the township. Neha Kaveri above has mentioned that is this “adjustable” as this is just once in a while, let me remind her that the Ammathi Kodava Samaja has weddings EVERY DAY during the WEDDING SEASON from November to June EVERY YEAR. This has become a torture to the eyes and ears of every Ammathi Resident. Knowing that this Samaja is built in the middle of town, decency demands that you travel in buses or taxis instead of creating a huge traffic nightmare in Ammathi.

    Beware that the wedding parties, bride and groom are all being cursed on the wedding day by hapless Ammathi residents. Apart from being tortured through out the night with the loud music.Maybe its time to think of moving this nuisance kodava samaja to a different location, far away from hard working residents who need a good nights rest? This may also help the poor Kodava souls who get married in such a cursed location which disturbs everybody in sight.

  6. Chengappa says:

    Well, the writer faces the same problem in bangalore and he is fine with it.. but has a problem in ammathi town when he visits kodagu. So please don’t complain.

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