Raksha’s Mysore connection
Born in Mysore in July 1982, Raksha had a troubled childhood by all accounts. Her father, Jaya Manjunda Raj Urs, died when she was just a child, forcing her mother, Maya—listed as a “housewife” in her college application—to run a canteen at a local engineering college. “Her mother tried her hand at many things. She ran a PG for some time, even opened a kirana store. She had borrowed a lot of capital money for these ventures and got in trouble with lenders here. I think she fled to Bangalore while her daughter continued to study here. Her brothers still live in Bangalore,” says an elderly relative who lives on Dewan’s Road in Mysore, home to some of Raksha’s maternal relatives.
The Urs families of Mysore have owned prime property in the city since the days of the Maharaja and Dewan’s Road, where large, genteel homes painted in pastel colours line the street, is no exception. “We are a cultured community. One girl’s wrong doings have unnecessarily dragged us down into a controversy,” says a neighbour.
Everyone here must have known Raksha as she grew up, yet don’t want to talk of her and her mother. “Maya cut off all links with the family 30 years ago. We don’t know anything about her,” says a distant relative.
Says Raksha’s aunt, Lekha, who left Mysore in 1962 and returned recently, “No one should be allowed to get away with such fraud. I will say this even if she is related to me.”
At Vinayaka Layout, where the Urs lived in a corner house 12 years ago, the roads get narrower and the houses are packed close together as if jostling each other. “This is the area Maya married into. It used to be a village. They were clearly not well to do,” says a relative. Today, the house Raksha and her mother rented is a women’s PG.
At the Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts, Mysore, crumbling walls and hallways bear memories of the young men and women who have walked its corridors since 1982—haunting oil portraits, alabaster busts, and contemporary art. Dean V A Deshpande too has a few memories of Raksha J Urs. “It shocks me to think she was capable of such fraud. She was a bold, active girl and was proficient in languages. She would offer to anchor events,” he says.
After Class X at Sarada Vilas Girls