Demolition and Modification

(Part I) 

There is no vacuum in the human heart.

Certain demolitions take place, and it is well that they do,

but on condition that they are followed by reconstructions.

Victor Hugo, French Poet (1802–85)

After inaugurating Kaveri Hall, we had a few family get-togethers and Rotary meetings. In July 2004, Hema took over the mantle of President of Inner Wheel Club of Koramangala, which has members among the wives of the Rotarians of Rotary Bangalore Koramangala and women residing in Koramangala interested in social work. The installation programme was conducted in Kaveri Hall. There were well over fifty participants. We also celebrated our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in May 2005 when Roots and Wings (a book about my mother) authored by my nephew Naresh and my son Hari was released. My mother’s Shatabhishekam (80th birthday) was celebrated in 2007.

As part of consolidation and my plan to hand over the management to my next generation, I informed both the tenants (Escorts Shoe Company and Raghavendra Metal Mart) in the beginning of 2004 to vacate the shops at the earliest. While Keshavaiah vacated in August 2004, Vargheese dragged on, as there were talks of Metro Rail and he thought he might receive some compensation from them. He vacated finally in August 2006. After close to thirty-four years, we were the sole occupants of the whole building, which was now a three-storied one.

In early 2007, we received the notice from Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) that they plan to acquire about 370 sq. ft. of area of our home for the purpose of road expansion in view of construction by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC). After fulfilling all the requirements by submitting copies of the necessary documents to KIADB, we received compensation which was less than 40% of prevailing market price for the land in our area.

As a precaution, much earlier to demolition, with the help of a local contractor, I had gotten the front door and shutters shifted inside by leaving about eleven feet from the road which was a little more than what KIADB had indicated. A team of Metro engineers had visited the premises in April 2008 to examine the building condition before demolition. In May another team visited to mark the cutting lines for demolition. When I measured the area marked for demolition, it was some 50 sq. ft. more than what they had paid for.

I brought this to the notice of the Managing Director of BMTC through a letter, requesting them either to remark according the dimensions indicated in the earlier land acquisition letter or pay the appropriate compensation should they require the additional area. After the visit of their engineers, they agreed to pay the additional compensation but informed that a special permission had to be obtained from the Ministry of Finance, Government of Karnataka because the compensation was paid by the State government. The BMRC authorities issued a letter assuring compensation for the additional area and requested me to allow demolition.

On the PhD front, by the end of 2007 I had submitted synopsis of my doctoral thesis to the university authorities, seeking permission to submit the final thesis. During mid-2008, while I had completed writing a couple of chapters, I observed that there was a growth in my right nostril. I consulted an ENT surgeon, who after examination suggested that I get admitted to his nursing home for a day to get the growth surgically removed.

We decided to shift to Malleswaram as we were expecting the demolition of the front portion of the house by Metro anytime. After shifting to Malleswaram, I got admitted to the nursing home for surgery in the middle of September. The polyp was surgically removed and sent for biopsy. The growth turned out to be malignant and was designated ‘Soft Tissue Sarcoma.

Since the demolition had not yet taken place, I wrote a letter to the Managing Director, BMRC, explaining my health condition and requested him to postpone the demolition of our building to a date after I return from medical treatment.

After getting the biopsy done again in another diagnostic lab and with the malignancy reconfirmed, I consulted two specialists – a Head and Neck Oncologist and a senior Onco-surgeon for further course of action. While one suggested to undergo another surgery to establish the negative region, the other suggested to have another scan done for taking a decision. I discussed with my wife this and we decided that I undergo another surgery to establish negative region.

I again got admitted to an ENT nursing home during the first week of October 2008 and was operated by a team of doctors – an ENT surgeon, plastic surgeon, and anaesthetist led by a Head and Neck Oncology surgeon. The operation went on for nearly four hours. Tissue-nerve-bone samples close to the area where the polyp was present were drawn and sent for biopsy. Fortunately all the samples were found to be benign. The Head and Neck Oncologist suggested that I visit him once in three months and undergo protocol checkups every six months.

A day after the operation, I was informed that Metro had demolished the front portion on the day I was operated without any prior information. The same night there was a theft in the house. As Hari had gone to the US to attend a conference, Hema managed the situation all alone.

On getting discharged from the hospital, I had several issues to be sorted out; though getting back to normal was the priority, equally important were modifying the demolished home and completing the unfinished thesis.

July 01, 2021 | Ravi 47