From Calcutta to Ashram

Posted By Author on June 19, 2010

28/6/1966:
At 6 A.M. both of us got down at Mogalsarai station and by taxi went to Chakraborty’s house.  He had gone to Nainital therefore Radhakantji took me to Mr. Munshi postmaster.  He complained about Ratan Maheshwari.  After ablution we left for Banaras station.  On way we collected our luggage from a petrol pump where it was left. It was raining and both of us were drenched in spite of Tonga.

The train arrived and we occupied an absolutely empty compartment.  Radhakantji went to purchase sweets and snacks for breakfast. (Jalpan)  I opened my holdall and removed every stitch of wet clothing and shoes.  He came near window to handover edibles.  I asked him as to how the mail compartment was empty.  He said by chance it so happened.  Only one person sitting there heard and told that it was Jaunpur passenger terminating in the yard of Mogalsari, three miles away.  The train moved and because of safety bars nothing could go out of window.  I had to run to the central door and throw our luggage one by one.  As the speed increased the gap in landing of our goods widened.  Radhakanji was busy in collection.  The platform was crowded with passengers of the mail. People were enjoying the fun.  I was wrapped in a towel only.  Lastly I jumped and the towel betrayed and flung away.  I was standing in the Nature’s suit amidst peels of laughter.  I pounced and wrapped the towel but the diagonal ends were held.  Though front was covered the rear was bare.  I had to unwind it and rewrap again.  The audience had uncontrollable peels of laughter after laughter.  I was crestfallen but Radhakant came with bundle of collection and whispered, “Paddheji nobody knows that you are a professor.“ His bitter consolation was great.

Immediately Punjab Mail arrived and we boarded it.  Radhakantji told that Najibabad would come at 4 A.M. and we should enjoy sleep but the lady next to us warned that it would come at 11 P.M. Thank God.  We would have got up at Ludhiana.  As per our trunk call from Banaras to Ramprasadji at Kanpur he sent his brother to Lucknow and we collected fruits and vegetables that Ramprasadji sent with us as his offering to Baba. The train reached late to Najibabad.  We got down at 1.30 A.M.

29/6/1966:
From Najibabad via Kotadwar, reached Srinagar. Okhimath road was blocked due to landslides since two days.  There was no traffic towards Rudraprayag.  It was shut down due to landslides since three days.  We caught a bus and went to Deharadun. I met Capt. Ram Wadodkar and Capt. Sudhir Deshmukh in the cantonment.  Borrowed hundred and fifty rupees, had dinner with them in a hotel and bade adieu. We Reached Rishikesh at 10 P.M. and took rest at Budhiballbhji’s house at Bhajanshram No.3.

30/6/1966:
Luckily traffic opened and caught first bus to Rudraprayag at 4 A.M.  Owing to landslides road was uneven.  Army was busy in clearing debris. Just before Deoprayag we narrowly escaped death.  The debris of scree piled on the road and blocked the traffic. The rear wheel of our bus climbed up the valley side road-level supporting stone parapet.  A stone slipped and the wheel revolved in the ditch without forward motion and the valley was 2500 feet deep.  By providence onlookers gave a push and we moved.  If the bus would not have moved and reversed back to the ditch another stone would have slipped plunging the bus down and we up in the heaven.  Again near Srinagar the debris blocked the road.  There were more advisers than workers as is the rule of the world.  I helped in removing debris and after an hour we pushed ahead.  We reached Rudraprayag.  Shomu met us.  He was stranded in Srinagar since six days due to traffic jam.  All of us reached Kunda chatti.  There was no coolie and luggage was heavy though I left my bag at Rishikesh. When we reached island of Gangtoli I was drenched in sweat.

The dry bed of the island was full of gushing water.  A temporary bridge about sixty feet long was erected.  Radhakantji stayed and I crossed the bridge to obtain permission for his entry.  Baba was standing outside but as I was clean-shaven and in full pant. Baba presumed me to be a stranger and went inside.  I changed clothes. Message was sent.  I was called in.  It started raining and with permission I sent an umbrella for Radhakant. Our talk began. Baba said, “ I shall not allow Radhakant to come.  He will be murdered if he comes before me. I shall cut off his hand. No, moreover I have to start work tonight. It will be disturbed. Keep him in Gharat (flour mill) outside. I persuaded him a lot but in vain.  Ultimately, I requested him to let him see Ramanidada.  With great difficulty he agreed and warned that his ego and habit must be demolished.  Then Baba dictated me the content of registered letter sent to him and an extra note for him and directed me to read out to him and be back by 8.45 P.M. I informed Baba as to how legal position was in jeopardy due to substitution.  Baba compelled me to take food in his kitchen and then allowed to go.
I brought Radhakantji to my hut and explained the situation.  He was adamant and not willing to accept his mistake.  I narrated my talk to Baba.  Baba categorically refused to see him until he accepted his mistake.  I said he had thick skull and not having brain enough to understand.  Baba laughed and flared, “When after four months the external glamour of the Ashram would flourish then he would definitely come and accept the mistake.  I shall not see him tomorrow.  Let him go at 8 A.M. tomorrow and you leave a day after.”
Radhakantji had finished his meal.  I told him if he desired to see Ramanidada he can, but Baba would not see him.  He was a mini Baba.  He flared and while winding up his holdall roared, “ I shall leave just now.  Give me money only for ticket.  There is no more father-son relationship.”  I apprised Ramanidada.  He sent Dinbandhu to calm him down.  Both of us tried. He remorsed, “I was kept away and Paddheji alone was served inside as if I am an untouchable.  This is intolerable insult.  I shall go just now.”  I assuaged him that I did not dine and that Baba has directed him to leave next morning.  It was possible that Baba might call him.  He calmed down.  I offered him mango.  He refused.  I told him that then I would not dine.  He accepted and all of us retired.

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