21 October, 2020

Buried Under Landslides, Coorg’s Coffee Planters Peer Into Oblivion

Before the rains started, coffee planters in Coorg were talking of a good crop —the plants were well rested after a lean year and went through the process of blossoming and forming fruits. That settled, seasonal certainty is gone with the wind and merciless lashings of torrential rain.

Helpless
A planter contemplates nature’s carnage where once existed a fecund patch
Photograph by Ajay Sukumaran
Buried Under Landslides, Coorg’s Coffee Planters Peer Into Oblivion
outlookindia.com
2018-09-07T10:41:34+05:30

A fully-done crossword puzzle is on the table next to Chitra Subbaiah who confesses that she could forego reading the newspaper, but not the crossword. We are in the cottage of a home-stay in Madapura, north Coorg, resplendent in the evening sun—the first day in two months that the rain has let up. It brings some rel­ief from fear. Chitra, nearing eighty, rec­ounts a painful experience with great fortitude. “You have to do some mental jugglery, you know. You can’t curse your fate.” She’s staying in a friend’s cottage because her home, in the neighbouring village of Hattihole, now lies beneath a pile of earth which slid down the hillside, burying everything she owned.

“Wiped out, totally. I don’t have one pin. There is nothing to say there was a house,” she tells Outlook. All she could reach out for in time were her spectacles, medicines and some gold the wor­kers from her coffee estate had ent­­r­­usted her with safekeeping. The workers’ quarters on her coffee estate too went...

unsub

THIS ARTICLE IS PRICELESS...

To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.


More from Ajay Sukumaran


Latest Magazine

October 26, 2020
content

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section