Still hoping of reliving his dream life, Chandrashekar, a 56-year old man has been living in a dense forest between Adtale and Nekkare village near Aranthodu of Sullia taluk, Dakshina Kannada district for the past 17 years. Detached from civilian life but serving fellow humans, Chandrashekar has made his favourite car, an old white ambassador his home to reside in.
When one walks about 3-4km inside the jungle, a small plastic sheet resting on bamboo poles under which a colour faded old ambassador car with functional radio playing old Hindi melodies will be heard, and this is the living space of the man who chose to live an isolated life after experiencing various troubles in life. All he now wants is to get his land back that was lost as he was unable to repay the loan to the bank.
The 56-year old man owned over 1.5 acres of land in Nekral Kemraje village, where he grew areca nuts and lived a peaceful life. But unable to repay a loan of Rs 40,000 taken from a co-operative bank in 2003, the bank auctioned Chandrashekar’s farm. Following this, he drove his ambassador car to his sister’s house in Adtale but a continued rift with his sister’s family led to his decision to live alone after a few days. Without a single thought, he drove into the jungle and parked his favorite car, and from then on it's just been him and his car.
Chandrashekar, therefore, has been living in his car alone for 17 years with no shave-no haircut, and 2 pieces of clothing and rubber slippers on him. With his lean physique and strong limbs, the man has adjusted to life in the wilderness. He bathes in the river that runs through the forest. He weaves baskets from dried creepers and sells them in an Adtale village shop, travelling with his old bicycle. In exchange, he takes the rice, sugar, and other groceries.
The man lives amid the wild animals. He encounters several elephants, Bison, wild boar, leopard, and snakes very often. The forest department isn't considered about his stay in the forest as he has never damaged or looted forest resources. The only resource he uses is the dead creepers to weave baskets. Chandrashekar said, "I will lose the trust of the forest department if even a small shrub is chopped."
Upon hearing this man's life, A B Ibrahim, the District Collector visited him a few years ago in his ‘ambassador abode’ and assured him a proper house to live in. But, Chandrashekar denied staying in the house reasoning that it was in the middle of a rubber forest and he didn’t like living there.
Aranthod Gram Panchayath visited him and gave him his dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, despite not having an Aadhaar card. He had a tough time during the lockdown as he survived only on water and wild fruits. After living here for 17 long years, Chandrashekar still dreams of getting back to his plot and driving his ambassador home, although his old ‘abode’ may be too derelict to move around by now.