Mysore was developed as a garden city. City Palace was surrounded by gardens. Gardens were developed in every layout. Development of a park was a default function of urban development. Gardens were also developed at the centre of road junctions. One among such road junction parks was located opposite present VV Puram police station.
I remember this park very well. There used to be one Anand Bhavan Boarding and Lodging, an upper class drive-in hotel located in the very place where presently Nagarjuana Apartment stands. I had the good fortune of being brought there along with other kids of my age, practically every evening by the owner Seth Revathi Prasadji. Vehicular traffic was absolutely nil during the decade of early fifties, and therefore, all these roads were practically empty. Road opposite Anand Bhavan got divided into two sections, one leading to KR Sagar and the other leading to VV Puram Extension. Yet another road from Mathru Mandali to Ramakrishna Vidyashala cut across these two roads at a little distance from Anand Bhavan, thereby creating a triangular road junction. Since roads were not very broad the triangle at the centre was adequately large. In triangle of these roads was this triangular park. It had a cement slide and a small water pool with some plants all around. We kids used to walk across the road, have play in this park and enjoy rolling down the cement slide.
This park remained unrecognized and dormant till “development” took over the area. Gradually the roads surrounding this park were being repeatedly widened. The area of the park started getting shrunk. During sixties the city municipality under took ‘development’ of parks. And this park also underwent this development process. Now reduced area of the park was dug up and the iron fencing was removed. The boundaries of the park were decorated with cement balls. Multi-colored cement-concrete balls arranged in conical shapes with bigger balls at the bottom of smaller ones on the top. And it is then that this park got a new name, Ball Park. After some days a concrete slab displayed the name of local area people’s representative. And this park was also called by that name.
However, some years ago another round of road widening resulted in further reduction in the area of this Ball Park. In this round of ‘development’ balls vanished and were replaced by a short iron fencing. The park floor level was raised to make it a divider between the three roads. Not too high enough to obstruct the vision of the drivers. In this process this park lost its stature and significance of a park. It became an elevated divider with a misnomer of being called a park!
However, very interestingly even when during four decade the park lost its existence over falling prey to “development”, multiple people started to seek immortalization by forcefully claiming to be its “developers”. There have been agitations and group clashes demanding their right to entrench the name of their “leader”. It looks both the groups seem to be very powerful in their own way because the concerned authority seems to have found it difficult to deliver its final judgment in favor of a particular group.
Consequently, today this misnomer of a park has two concrete slabs located sideways with two names. This is a fit case for Ripley’s Believe it or Not, or Guinness Book of Records !!!
My memory also tells me that a small decorated cement elephant statue was located at the sharp end of this triangular park towards Anand Bhavan. This elephant statue is now located at the junction of roads leading to KRS and Vontikoppal, that is opposite Vivekananda Statue. However, Mrs. Girija Madhavan, who lived during late forties and early fifties in one of the Railway quarters on KRS road, is of the opinio that this elephant statue has always been at its present location. Well, I better believe her than depend on my memory!!
- Chandra Prakash