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Glimpse of Gandhi : Part II

Posted by Shreyans Jain Monday, 6 October 2014 0 comments
Glimpse of Gandhi : Part I

“Yogesh…Shyam Lal…” I screamed at the top of my voice, as they were the only peons present on that day after everyone had left. They didn’t respond. I got up again to shut up this nuisance but the moment I stepped out of my cubicle, something cracked under my feet and I slipped and was dragged a few metres till I clasped the corner of a table and caused my head to bang against the adjoining wall. I could see myself lying on the floor in a pool of salt, white salt. What the hell was happening in the office? What was driving me insane? I failed to comprehend. Suddenly a strong gust of air caused the curtains to blow violently and the windows cracked open, bringing in shards of glass. The wind made whistling sounds as it passed through an orifice and scattered all the papers that were lying on the table. My heart throbbed as the memories of the brutality carried out at Dharasana Salt Works during Gandhi’s Dandi March raked up. I pinched myself for thinking ‘out of the box’ and started praying again to the Almighty. The God obliged and all these sinister movements calmed. A rat, as big as the size of a kitten, hopped over the table and disappeared into a hole in the wall. Gosh! I was so terrified that I could have mistaken a rope for a snake. It was only an illusion. Wasn’t it? I got up by myself and ran to my desk.

But it was not over. I had just finished a few reports when the lights went off. There was absolute darkness everywhere and the crickets came out to have a gala time. None of the peons turned up to set the generator in motion, leaving me at unease with myself. I decided to close my eyes and wait for the power to be restored. 

“Tuck… Tuck… Tuck…” I could hear somebody’s footsteps followed by the striking of a wooden cane against the floor.
“Who’s there…who’s…?” I shouted.
“Security…Guards…!” I shouted again for help before I could run for my life.
“Don’t be afraid of me, son…”

I heard a sound consoling me as an old, lean figure emerged from the darkness. Terrified, I cursed myself for choosing this day to work when I should have been enjoying out with my friends. I wished I could find my friends in the darkness who would come and embrace me and help me get rid of this fear. But nothing of that sort happened. I was left deserted. Quite surprisingly, the figure didn’t intend any harm to me. All it wanted to do was a bit of talking. It came closer and closer to me and what I saw next made me suspicious of my own sight. It was Mahatma Gandhi; yes Bapu himself, clad in a khadi dhoti-kurta with his spectacles. Was I hallucinating? Yes, I was. No. I wasn’t.

“Bapu…?” I inquired in a breaking voice and was reciprocated with a toothless grin. 
“Help me Rama. Help me.” I stuttered, still not able to believe what was there in front of my eyes.
“Prayer is not asking, my son”, Bapu began. “It is a longing of the soul. It is a daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

How legitimate these words seemed to me. Why was I begging the all-powerful for help when I didn’t require any! Asking God for everything has become a human prerogative. Am I not supposed to help myself on my own? I started experiencing turmoil in my mind.

“Please get away from here”, I warned with a paper weight in my hand.
“Nobody can hurt me without my permission. You too can make an attempt”, Bapu replied in a soft voice.

Of course, I had no intention of hurting anybody. I was fighting my own fear.

“You got hurt, didn’t you? You were assassinated, weren’t you? Your assailant didn’t seek your permission, did he? ” I mustered some courage and began a conversation, now with some interest.

“Could he kill my thoughts? Nay. Could he wipe off my teachings? Nay. He took away my flesh but could not take away my soul. It was an act of cowardice.  But I forgave him. The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”, Bapu explained in the most convincing tone. These powerful words left me spell-bound and made me wonder how easy it is to douse the fire in the heart of a person by trampling over his ideas, by subjecting him to adversities, by stripping him off his resources. But his passion still lives on. Given an opportunity, this supressed flame rises from the ashes and brings the unfulfilled dreams to fruition. 

Bapu could see through my mind. He could peep into my conscience. He shared some more words of wisdom as he continued, “When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it – always.”

The fear in my mind subsided and I started enjoying the conversation.

“How am I to prepare myself if I want to realise my dream and sing the song of my watan?” I asked.

“A man is but a product of his thoughts. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end up really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I can surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” Bapu hit the right nerve with each of his golden words.

“Does my destiny have a role to play in my endeavour? What if I fail even when I work to the best of my ability?” Bapu had aroused my curiosity and I started feeling more and more inquisitive.
“To believe in something and not to live it, is dishonest”, he said as he moved his cane from one hand to the other. 

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour. Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”

In five brief sentences, Bapu had summed up all my apprehensions and provided me a remedy to all my fears. He had charged up the atmosphere with his noble words and had instilled a sense of self-importance in me. Seeing me cribbing about my work, he added, “Remember son, wealth without work is as deadly a sin as worship without sacrifice. Your future depends on what you do today.”

After a long time, I thanked my stars for introducing me to arguably the noblest soul that had ever lived in this world. I felt elated at being able to learn the lessons of life from a person whose life is itself an example to emulate. As I turned to Bapu to express my gratitude, he had already turned away to return.

“Stop Bapu. Please don’t leave me alone. Stop, please…” I pleaded. By now, I had hunkered down on the floor, on my knees. But he didn’t stop walking.
“Listen to the little voice inside you that wants to talk to you”, he mumbled. “This voice is easy to ignore but it tells you what you really want. This is the voice of the God.”

With these words, he disappeared into darkness and I found myself drowned in a delirium of ecstasy at being sermonised by Bapu himself.

The next thing I remember about the day is my journey back home in the evening. I am not sure about the truthfulness of my encounter with Bapu, but I am sure about the fact that he reiterated his teachings to me on his birthday. The message that he wanted to convey to the entire world, had been conveyed to me, that too individually!


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