Meet this Karnataka man, living in Ambassador parked deep in the forest for 17 years

A Karnataka man identified as Chandrashekar has been living in the dense forest area nestled between the villages, Adtale and Nekkare near Aranthodu of Sullia taluk, of Dakshina Kannada district. Giving up on the life amid civilization, the 56-year-old has chosen the life of isolation in his Ambassador car parked deep in the forest.

The way to the man’s location is quite tricky, considering how one has to walk about three to four km inside the jungle to find something that seems like a small plastic sheet resting on bamboo poles. In the middle of the poles, stands a rusted white Ambassador car with an old but functional radio on its bonnet. With just a pair of rubber slippers and two pieces of clothes, Chandrashekar has adjusted himself to life in the wilderness. Half bald head and no shave-no haircut is his signature style.

Chandrashekar was once the owner of 1.5 acres of farm in Nekral Kemraje village. To improve the production of areca nut on his land, he took a loan of Rs 40,000 from a co-operative. After not being able to repay the loan, the bank auctioned his farm.

After the incident, Chandrashekar took off to his sister’s house in his Ambassador car. Later, due to a rift with his sister’s family, he decided to live alone. He drove away into the dense forest and parked his car there. To protect his vehicle from rain and sun he then covered it with plastic sheets.

During his solitary life in the jungle for the last 17 years, Chandrashekar celebrates life within nature. He takes bath in the river that flows within the jungle and weaves baskets using dried creepers around him which he sells at a shop in Adtale village. With the profit he makes with his sell, he takes the rice, sugar, and other groceries in return.

His only wish in life is to get his land back; he has also safely preserved all the documents of the land.

The man also owns a very old cycle that he occasionally uses to move around in the nearby village. In his free time, he enjoys listening to the Akashvani Mangaluru station on the radio and loves old Hindi melodies.

On learning about Chandrashekar’s condition, a few years ago, the District Collector- A B Ibrahim- visited him and offered him a proper house to live in. However, he refused it saying he didn’t like living there considering it is built in the middle of a rubber forest.

Wild elephants, boars, antelopes, leopards, etc have peeked into his tent several times. Even snakes crawl around very frequently, but he refuses to leave the place. Albeit that the forest department also never had any complaint of him living in the forest, as he has never looted resources from the forest or harmed anyone. According to Chandrashekar, he has never even cut bamboos in the forest to weave baskets, as he doesn’t want to lose the faith that the forest department has on him.

Despite having an Aadhaar Card, Aranthod Gram Panchayath visited him and provided him his dose of Covid-19 vaccine. During the time of lockdown, he had to survive on water and wild fruits for weeks.

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