Thursday, March 28, 2013

समाधी साधन…

हे भक्तीगीत ऐकले की मी एकदम वेगळ्याच जगात जाते. जुने दिवस आठवतात. घरातले त्या वेळेला घडलेल्या घटना जशाच्या तशा डोळ्यांपुढे राहतात. खरं तर त्या घटना काही एकदम वेगळ्या अशा नाहीत. पण कसे कोण जाणे, पण ह्या गाण्याचे आणि त्या गोष्टींचे एक association झाले आहे माझ्या मनात.

कालंच ऑफिस मधून परतत असताना हे गाणं कारमध्ये ऐकलं. डोळ्यांसमोर पहिली गोष्ट उभी राहिली ती म्हणजे पाठमोरी आई ओट्याजवळ, चपात्या करताना. वेळ आहे सकाळी पावणे आठची.

आणि मग पूर्ण दृश्य उभे रहिले. शाळेचे आणि कॉलेजचे दिवस आठवले. आई सकाळी उठून आमचा डबा बनवायची. त्या वेळेस आमच्याकडे चपात्या करायला बाई नव्हती. आईच करायची. तिच्या चपात्यापण किती मस्त व्हायच्या. एकदम खुसखुशीत, माऊ, आणि ताज्या. तव्यावरची एक गरम-गरम चपाती घ्यावी, आणि नुसती खावी. काय स्वाद असायचा! मला 'समाधी साधन' हे बाबूजींचे गाणे ऐकले की तो चपात्यांचा घमघमाट पण येतो.

आम्ही कायम उशीरा उठायचो शिकत होतो तेव्हा. आई दररोज ओरडायची. चपात्या करत असताना स्वयंपाक घरातून आवाज द्यायची. सकाळी सात पासून. आम्ही कसे-बसे आठ-सव्वा आठला उठायचो. तो पर्यंत आईची भाजी टाकून झालेली असायची आणि चपात्या सुरु झालेल्या असायच्या. 

बरोब्बर त्याच वेळेस सकाळी रेडिओवर भक्तीसंगीत लागायचे. अजूनही लागते म्हणा. बरोब्बर त्या वेळेस उठणं व्हायचं. बाबा काम करत असायचे, सकाळच्या आवरा-आवरीचे. आणि आम्ही निवांत कशा-बशा उठणार. "किती हाका मारतेस!" असे म्हणतच उठायचो. 

मग आमची हळू-हळू गाडी सरकणार पुढे आवरायला. आरामात तयार होवून, मग शाळा अथवा कॉलेजला स्वारी निघणार. तो पर्यंत आई-बाबा, दोघांचे आवरायचे, आणि ते पण त्यांच्या कामांना बाहेर पडायचे. 

सगळ्यांचाच नवा दिवस सुरु व्हायचा, भक्ती संगीताने आणि खमंग चपात्यामुळे!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

(Boring) Long Weekend Coming Up

We have a holiday on Friday, a long weekend is coming up. It's been quite a long time since we've had a long weekend.

I had proposed if we should go for a short trip. But as usual, Sanjeev has flatly denied. He has some presentation to be given in the next week and he wants to prepare for that.

That means entire three days will be gone, sitting at home, doing nothing. I don't believe he is going to work every hour in those three days. But he just doesn't want to take the efforts of managing things properly.

And because I'll be at home all three days, I am going to get totally irritated and angry. I am not going to like it at all. I am damn sure that he won't even be ready to step out of the house for a movie or an outing. He'll just loiter around, spend time the way he wants it, and spoil my long weekend.

I know I am going to be totally bored and irritated by the time Monday comes. Once Monday's here, it will be back to work. No respite, despite having a long weekend.

Tired of these repetitive happenings!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Shakespearean Words By Baba

It is not the thing in itself that is good or bad.
It is the maker of the thing and what thou thinkest of him
That makes it thus or thus.
Done by the one, it is remarkable,
Done by the other, it is reprehensible.
Done by the one, it is commendable,
Done by the other, it is condemnable.
And thereby hangs many a tale.

Story behind these lines

Baba: Can you recall from which Shakespearean play these lines are?
(He recited the lines.)
Me: Are they from The Winter's Tale?
Baba: (Smiling cheekily, pointing to himself) They are by this Shakespeare!

Amazing what Baba can come up with!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Baba As A Teacher

Baba has always been a great teacher, be it English grammar, Sanskrit shlokas, English literature, and even Marathi literature. He has always helped us understand the grammar rules and the logical ways of learning a language. And he has always been a humorous teacher. He would explain things in a funny way, giving funny anecdotes, play on words and bring out the humor in the language.

But of all this, I become proudest when I hear his praises from his students. All over Pune, somewhere in a mall, on a road, in a hotel, in a ticket line, we come across his students. All of them say that he has not changed a bit since all those years. They name the students from the batch, the year when he taught them.

Baba never remembers them. He never remembers names or faces. But his students remember him even after so many years. That, I think is the sign of the greatness of a person. That people remember him even after so many years, including the way Baba taught, what subjects he taught, his jokes, his personality. That is when I feel proudest!

I feel emotional and extremely happy to see his students bowing down to take his blessings. I grin madly when I hear the students telling their spouses or friends who are with them about how wonderful a teacher he was, how much it has affected them, and how much they still remember him.

Baba has taught students of standard five to right up to the university. Now-a-days he teaches English to students appearing for competitive exams. There have been so many cases where students have remembered him in the smallest possible ways and repaid him.

I remember a Bengali student, Shaunak, who used to come home to learn English. After he passed his exams with flying colours, his parents had specially come to present Baba a gift. They had also gifted Aai a saree. Frankly, it was completely unnecessary to gift a saree to Aai. But that was the power of Baba's teaching and Aai's hospitality.

Another incident that happened recently was when a student offered them a trip to Goa, all costs paid. It is extraordinary how people have reciprocated their appreciation and love. And I love it all. I say it again, I feel extremely proud.

I am so glad to have a father like Baba. My sister and I have been really lucky. Love you Baba!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chai Time Musings

It's 5 PM and a weekday. In office, after a long-drawn meeting, you decide to take a cup of tea. Because your friends had already been earlier for tea, you are left alone. A cup tea all by yourself is always welcome. Gives you time to relax and contemplate.

And so I walked into the canteen, got a cup of tea and some snacks. I tried getting a good spot at the "balcony," but the best ones were occupied. After around 5 minutes, one of the tables became vacant and I quickly moved on to sit at the balcony.

My office canteen is an open area on the first floor overlooking a road. Across the road as I had mentioned in an earlier post, the Yerwada Jail fields are spread out. There are around four-five two seater tables arranged just at the canteen railing. These are really good for a quick chai and a quick dekko.

The road has been newly constructed. Earlier it was a dusty road, bumpy all over the place. Now it's transformed into a tar road and got a character of its own.

As I sat having my tea, I could see so many things happening around me. People in the canteen were enjoying their break from work. The food caterers were busying serving. A few people were having "chai-time meetings."

What intrigued me most was the road below. Earlier when it was a dusty road, hardly anyone walked by. But now, although not a main thoroughfare, there were a lot of people walking by, going for their work, teenagers talking loudly, gossiping, and laughing away to glory. Some bikers zoomed past on the smooth road. And I watched it all.

It felt as if I was standing still in the vast ocean of activity and life was happening and passing by. I felt as if I was the only stationary object for whom time had stopped. It was a kind of strange feeling. I suppose it's exactly how old ajobas and ajjis feel when they sit at their windows watching people walk by.

My own ajji had her house in one of the busiest places in Pune, right in the centre of the city. We all cousins used to fight for the coveted place in the small window that opened out to the main road. I remember  looking at the people working, talking, walking past, loitering, fighting, travelling. People going on with their lives and we mute spectators. It was like a bird's eye view. It was how God would look at the going-ons in this world, except that it was not at all our creation. Things just happened and we were the by-standers watching and observing. Never playing a part in it.

All ajjis and ajobas would be feeling the same I guess. They must be contemplating on how life has been for them, what future they have in store, what problems they faced, and how they overcame them. What life really was for them. Waiting and watching!

That's what perhaps I will be doing 30 more years down the line. Who knows! I will be one of those ajjis in the window up there, looking down at the fast world around me, thinking of my own life gone by. While everybody then would be in the fast lane, going at a speed of 80 km/h, I would be ruminating at my life in the slowest and farthest lane, going at a constant speed of 30 km/h.

The destination would be in my sight, but no deadline of reaching it!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

All For Money

The other day, I had to submit some papers for insurance claims. And I made everybody work for it. In the run to submit the papers, I fretted over small things, got frustrated, made other people work for me, and ultimately felt bad about it all.

The story goes like this...My Baba was admitted to the hospital a month back due to undiagnosed fever and drug reaction. He was in the hospital for eight days. He is now fully recovered and in excellent health. Because I have paid the premium for the insurance under which he is covered, I thought of claiming the hospital bill.

I duly downloaded the form and got it filled from hospital authorities. Then I immersed myself in work, gave reasons that I had no time to call, or complete other formalities to submit the claims, and delayed the submission.

In the first week of March, I thought of calling the insurance helpline to cross-check if I had got all documents. That's when I realised a couple of things. To start with, I had filled up the wrong form. Secondly, the end date of submission was 30 days from discharge. And I was already on day 26 from discharge.

Now started the run against time! The same evening, I took a printout of the correct form and left early from office to visit the hospital to get the new form filled. As luck would have it, the TPA section had closed early that evening and I returned empty handed. That also triggered the chain of making others work for me.

I handed the form to Aai to submit it to the hospital authorities the next morning. She also had the additional task of coaxing them to fill up another form when they had already filled one before.

Fortunately, the hospital authorities filled up the form without delay and I got it back the same evening when it was submitted. To fetch the form from the hospital, Aai had sent one of her office staff.

By the time I got the form, I realised that I also had to photocopy all the medical reports. The documents had to be couriered to Bangalore the same day. I couldn't locate the Blue Dart office near my office and asked Aai to show it to me.

Just opposite the Blue Dart office, I could find a photocopier, who was copying a lot of documents for two customers who were there before me. I fretted over the lost time as I waited for my turn. Finally as I got my copies, the Blue Dart office was about to close. We stepped in and they closed down the shutters.

We finally did manage to send out the courier by 8 PM that day.

But I felt quite sad after all that. I had made a lot of people work for me to submit those docs. Especially when I had wasted time initially and not downloaded the correct form.

Was the money really worth the tension and frustration that I faced that day?