Submitted by alvin on Tue, 2016-08-02 10:48 Bengaluru: Aralikatte village near Tagadur in Nanjangud taluk, Mysuru district, is eerily silent. There are very few residents. In fact, there are only two families. The youth have fled, leaving behind the old and infirm, who are struggling to cope. And the school is falling to bits. That explains the silence. Once prosperous, Aralikatte village is in ruins with houses in a state of dilapidation. “There were about a forty-five families here,” says Chandramma, an old woman, who is one of the residents here. “They were all dependent on agriculture. But after the droughts began, they left for Bengaluru, Mysuru, Gundlupet, Nanjanagud and other places. Some of them come back every year only on the day of Ugadi (Hindu New Year day) and return the very next day.” The effects of the exodus can be seen in the village, which is just 50 km away from Mysuru and part of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s Varuna constituency. The exodus began in the early 2000s when the region witnessed back-to-back droughts. The farmers invested heavily on drilling bore wells, but incurred severe losses. “People had no other option but moving out. Since then, no one is keen on returning,” says Chandramma, who refuses to leave the village, which even her husband, now a labourer in Mysuru, abandoned. The village school, inaugurated in 2003, is on its last legs. Several houses are covered in dust. Walls of at least a twenty houses have collapsed for lack of maintenance. Most of the residents who left the village possess a BPL card bearing the village address, but do not want to be associated with the village in any other way. Under a huge peepal tree, there is a figure of a deity. A priest from the neighbouring village comes to wash and worship the god. He is the only regular visitor to this place apart from the annual visitors. And even the annual visitors will soon stop coming. And Aralikatte will cease to be a village. It will be just a memory.