Baba arrives in Amravati

Posted By Author on September 18, 2011

18/11/1968:

Reached Nagpur at 8.30 A.M. and immediately rushed to State Transport’s bus stand but missed 9 A.M. bus.  So we went to M.P. Deshumkh.  Aunt had gone to Hinganghat. I had a chat with Dada, Surekha and Nandu.  Gave them sweets.  Had bath and lunch and then caught an express bus at 12.30 P.M. I was bit worried as Shri Deshumkh gave news that my mother had a snakebite in the bathroom.  Also came to know that eldest brother Ramesh chandra purchased a new Ambassador for rupees sixteen thousand.

In the bus Damu Wakhre, my classmate, and Baban Sabnis, neighbour were there.  I had collected my wife’s ornaments from Deshumkhs and kept the steel box on the rack.  It fell and injured an old lady Mrs. Sathye.  She was profusely bleeding.  So, I stopped the bus at Naka and tried first aid from my cousin Bhau Ghatate but, in vain. At Kondali I offered oranges to the old lady.  She was O.K. The bus reached at Talegaon pretty late and hence we changed the bus.  I was racing after time.  We could therefore reach home at 5.30 P.M. I was worried about mother but had a pleasant surprise.  She was busy in playing bezique with father.

After taking a bath I hired a bicycle and went to Prabhakar Wadodkar.  He gave thirty rupees and Shivram Pawar promised rupees two hundred.  On Wadodkar’s scooter both of us reached Wadali tank at the outskirt of the town. His maternal uncle Mama Upadhye was in-charge ranger of that forest area.  He was not at home. His son Mukund is now Assistant Commissioner of Police, Delhi.  We went to secondary secluded tank but there was not a drop of water.  The site was rejected. In forest nursery there were lot of labourers working and hence no solitude.  What I planned and dreamt before proved a stark illusion and fiasco.  I was in a state of shock.  I feared my word given to Shri Baba would be dishonored.  How to manage Shri Baba’s stay was a haunting problem.  There were other problems too that baffled me.  There was no time to think or arrange.  I was nervous and panicky.  Prabhakar encouraged me.  There was no money, no place and yet I promised everything.

I returned to home and put on a sweater. Weather was chilly. Prabhakar went to Pandurang Pawar and managed about two hundred rupees with great difficulty.  He came late.  On his scooter both of us rushed towards the rendezvous.  Before ‘Naka’ an Ambassador car crossed us.  Its number was 422.  It should have been 411.  However Prabhakar was confident about the number.  What a fate that number 422 should baffle us adding confusion to our worries.  We went ahead up to fifth mile and after waiting a while came back to the naka.  To our relief we spotted our taxi from Raipur.  Shri Baba and Dada were loitering along the roadside.  We met.  Dada gave a ring to my home from the Naka and my brother informed him that I was already out.

We had a chat and discussion.  There were two alternatives before me to choose a place for rest.  One was garden of my college, Vidarbha Mahavidyalaya, out of town and second was main Wadali tank far off the town. I rejected the former for want of water.  I took the firm decision and with our scooter as a pilot vehicle led the taxi via Collector’s bungalow, Circuit House, Chaprasipura to the Wadali tank.  At the bottom of bund adjoining the filtration plant near bottom of slop of the bund  I unloaded the luggage. There was a municipal watchman.  I gave him reference of my childhood friend S.D. Muley who was his high officer.  He did not object to our short stay.

I thanked Darshan Singh, the Taxi driver, and cleared his bill by paying rupees two hundred and fifty. Hundred rupees advance was already given through Haribandhu.  Bade goodbye to taxi.  Shri Baba then asked Prabhakar whether he would accompany them.  He expressed his inability. Then Shri Baba enquired about the thesis of his Ph.D. in Chemistry.  I requested Shri Baba to take rest and with Prabhakar on scooter we rushed to the city to arrange a car and money.  Chandrashekhar Dandge was out of station.  He had been to Himalayas like Prabhakar with me.  Shri Baba knew both of them well.  Dandge had gone to Yeotmal.  So I met my cousin Advocate Vijay Keole.  I revealed the secret to him. He paid rupees hundred and promised to try our Ambassador car. Dr. Bose’s Hindustan car was not in order.  I called upon Wamanrao Sherekar for money.  He expressed inability.  His younger brother was my classmate (who later became minister).  We came out.  Sherekar’s house was next to Chandrashekhar’s.  Prabhakar happened to spot Dandge’s fiat car.  We were very lucky.  A minute less or more and we would have missed him.  We rushed and talked with him.  He was stunned and could not believe that Shri Baba was at Wadali.  He promised to start immediately.  Four blocks away I went home and told wife that I was leaving.  She was grim and silent.  I grabbed a rug and raced down to Dandge.  With difficulty he found the torch and both of us sneaked out.  We pushed the car outside silently and then ignited the engine to dodge his wife.  We made the tank full at the petrol pump and reached Wadali.  Shri Baba had already told me to avoid Chandrashekhar Dandge because of the past incident of not parting a penny in the Himalaya mentioned earlier.  I had no other go.

At Wadali I went ahead and told about bringing Chandrashekhar with car.  Shri Baba remained reticent.  To my shock and surprise I saw a mobile police van.  I was dazed. Pyarelal Pahelwan had the contract of fishes in the tank. He was president of Subhash Mandal at railway Station Square. In our absence he smelt a foul play.  He rang the police that a Sanyasi, a lady and couple of persons were behaving in suspicious manner.  Hence the police gang was there. I talked with the cops and told that I was friend of their boss the Superintendent of Police.  I offered them cigarettes.  They were convinced and pleased. Pyarelal Pahelwan arrived and recongnised me. He expressed regret for inconvenience caused due to him.  A great complication was avoided.  I could then breathe normal.

I had discussion with Shri Baba.  He decided to move immediately.  I gave ‘laddus’ collected from Vijay Keole to Haribandhu.  Gitamasi with Chinu were asleep.  Nobody took food.  Later I came to know that on way from Nagpur they had a brief halt and Gitamasi cooked food. The vegetables were not properly cooked and therefore Shri Baba frowned on her.  Altercation followed and she retaliated with double vigour.  Everything took place in presence of driver and Shri Baba took it insulting.  Since then Shri Baba and Gitamasi were not talking with each other.  Anyhow we snatched a rest of half an hour.

My wife brought Tiffin.  She came with Prabhakar and Pandurang Pawar.  Wife had a chat with Gitamasi.  She compelled her to eat something and offered to Dada also.  Shri Baba took fruits.

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