Gardening & Discussions

Posted By Author on April 24, 2011


At 6 A.M. Ramanidada brought the summons to change clothes and be present immediately.  Baba was outside with Chinu on his shoulder.  He told me to transplant the remaining tomato plants. He already prepared a bed for that. After completing the task I finished routine chore and returned to Baba.  Shyamlal came with milk.  Baba directed me to pluck okra (bhindi or ladies’ fingers) and give it to Shyamlal.  Then I finished breakfast of curd, jaggery and chapatis.  Played with Chinu for a while and then with Ramanidada weeded bed of ‘poi’ vegetable.  At 10 A.M. took lunch, drove monkeys and had much needed nap.

After getting up resumed weeding.  Ramanidada joined.  He looked funny.  Gita gave him a raw haircut.  He told that he was to entrust that job to me but did not disturb my sleep and hence Gita had to substitute.  I was unlucky to miss barber’s performance.  It started raining.  He milked the cow and held the calf outside shed.  He came out completely smeared in cow-dung.  He said, “Look cow threw me.  I shall have to take bath again.”  I could not resist laughing.  Baba was sitting inside for a pretty long time.  Intermittently it was raining.  In the evening Dasmana came when I was loitering with Chinu on my shoulder.  Dasmana was given tea and vegetables.  Plucked some okra for Gita.  Dined and had a brief chat with Ramanidada. Slept.


Sunday.  Ramanidada woke me up.  With change of clothes I rushed to Baba.  He told me to plant tomato saplings.  After that I weeded the remnant bed of yesterday.  I had to throw away a big heap of weeds.  I was exhausted.  Took rest and finished lunch at 10.30 A.M. Again took rest and read P.A. Sorokin’s Crisis of the Age given by Baba.   It had wonderful thoughts and language too.  It was sunny and I left for river, washed and spread clothes for drying.  Did not sleep.  Got bored.  At 2.30 P.M. Baba called me.  Together we collected, spread up and dried soil and put it into beds.  Simultaneously we gossiped. He said, “Gobind did not send telegram.  I am in anxiety to know whether he reached safely.  The spiritual energy is not for squandering away when things can be done by physical aid.  I have to spend minimum three hours to know it, which can be done by a telegram. (I did not believe that he could see distant things) Then he analysed good and bad points of Radhakant, Ratan, Krishnakant, Rajat and Ramprasad.  Afterwards together we prepared beds.  We were in front of each other while preparing each bed.  A short spell of showers made us wet.  He was telling me details of Amiyo Bose, Dijen Bose, and other members of Bose family. He gave details of Subhash Bose’s brothers.  Who took education where and what was their nature was described by Baba.  He said that after twenty-two years now Amiyo remembered his uncle Subhash.  From Nehru in industrial cases he earned ten to twelve lakh rupees.  He and editor of the Anand Bazaar Patrika are friends.  In the name of Netaji he earned lot of money.  Subhash Memorial Hall, Research Bureau, etc., what business they are doing I do not know.  He turned out to be a stigma to the family, etc.

Then together we were busy in transplanting cabbages, cauliflowers, and ‘Gath Gobi (Nolkol). For hours together we were toiling for winter vegetables.  Baba then gave me a break off as postmaster of Okhimath and Mitranand came.  He talked with them for a brief moment and then both of us resumed our work.  It was getting dark. Lastly dahlia cuts were planted.  We stopped work.  At 7.30 P.M. he gave the following dictation. The reference to this was that Gobind left on 4th August, reached Calcutta on 7th August and sent telegram on 9th August.  I casually remarked that the delay might have had been due to bad health of his sons.

Baba observed, “The following things are involved in it.

1.  Not attentively and seriously taking a categorical    direction.

2. Lack of sufficient sensivity to understand that behind that categorical direction lays an anxiety, which will gravely increase if information does not come in expected time.

3.  Oppression on the feeling of others that is inability to genuinely feel that here somebody is feeling for them.

4.  General mental sloth.  These are the things involved.”

Before he left he instructed to finish the remaining transplantation and that he would not come out much.  I dined and gossiped with Gita. As Capstan was not procurable, Scissor cigarettes were brought for Baba and on my request she smuggled one packet for me from Baba’s hut.  In return she demanded that I should advocate on her behalf and secure permission for her to go back to Ashram to see her mother.  We discussed and she explained dexterity and skill in preparation of special Bengali cuisines.  Then she requested me to obtain her mother’s photograph. She was eager to see her mother.  I then returned to my hut, completed diary and slept. Today was the day of festivity of ‘Rakshabandhan’ and full Moon.  Sister ties an ornamental cord to wrist of her brother. It is also called Narali Paurnima. After lapse of turbulent monsoon fishermen start fishing in the sea.


Twice Ramanidada tried to wake me up but in vain. I got up at 7.30 A.M. I was under wrong impression that Baba would not come out. He was planting ‘Knight’ rose graft. He was collecting soil for it. I joined him and collected soil. He enquired about pain in my lumber region and I told that it persisted. I had burning feet and concentrated urine due to fever previous night. (I realised that physicians too are ignorant in their profession. Even today, after forty years, my feet still burn.)

Shyamlalji came with our daily milk quota. He did not bring cigarettes, as Bachan Singh, the shopkeeper of Okhimath, bluffed that cigarettes’ parcel already reached at Kund chatti and it would be brought today. In fact he was proceeding to Shrinagar for purchases today. Baba was upset. He warned not to depend on others and that he was to perform fast during which scissor brand would create trouble. He wanted Capstan today only. There was no money. He brought out his utensils, plate, vessel etc. and told to sell it to obtain Capstan. I knew his usual trick and threats. Naturally Shyamlal bent and requested him to stop that and that he would get the Capstan. He would collect twenty rupees advance given to Bachan Singh and add three rupees and get a carton. Consequently Baba relinquished the sale project and dramatically transformed sombreness by soberness. This was his routine method to extract work. I had a balance of seventeen rupees only. Shyamlalji was leaving. Baba changed his mind and called him back. He again insisted on sale of his utensils. He refused and that confirmed that he would get the cigarettes. He left. Baba was restless for his Capstan brand. He told me to swallow a couple of chapatis and proceed to Rudraprayag to purchase another carton of Capstan. He ordered to catch 11 A.M. bus. I got ready and before leaving requested Baba not to worry if I was delayed and came by the last 7 P.M. bus.

I reached Chunni at 8.30 A.M. and Shyamlalji arrived late by 9.15 A.M. He handed over twenty-three rupees including refund of twenty rupees advance given to the shopkeeper. He informed that a bus from Okhimath would arrive at 10.30 A.M.  I waited and waited till 11 A.M. with no hope. I saw buses of 11 A.M. leaving Guptakashi. I walked down to Kunda junction. The Sun was boisterous. I missed the 11 o’clock gate. I had a snack and waited for the bus. At 1 P.M. bus came for Okhimath, which would return to Rudraprayag. I climbed in it reached Okhimath and by 2 P.M. my onward journey began. Reached the tunnel of Rudraprayag at 4.30 P.M. For return journey buses going to Guptakashi were already assembled in a convoy for 5 P.M. gate. It was last timing. Time was limited at my disposal. I rushed to Sharma Panwala and purchased twenty-five loose packets of Capstan cigarettes for thirty-one rupees. Then got two days National Herald from Bhat and almost ran across the bridge and crossed the tunnel, a distance of half a mile. Caught 5 P.M. bus and purchased ticket for Kunda. My mouth was dry, spine aching and stamina exhausted. The driver of the bus was a young boy who was dangerously speeding the vehicle. Two miles before Kunda there was another settlement and huts were just like Kunda. I wrongly got down there and realized the mistake. The bus started. I ran and climbed over the footboard holding the rear ladder by one hand and parcel of cigarettes, newspapers and umbrella in another hand. The speedy bus was jolting up and down on the bumpy road. It was a feat from circus to reach Kunda to avoid walking. It was twilight and hence I had to walk like an athlete of marathon race. I was drenched in a swamp of my own sweat.  I hurriedly entered the forest below Chunni for my descent to the island.  I heard mild thud and I was shocked to witness Baba climbing up on the next turning.  It was raining heavily. He was under his umbrella with his torch on.  He was whimpering in utter exhaustion.  He knew I had no torch and hence was reaching the top to receive me with torchlight.  It was his nature to worry and care for others or might be a type of imposition.  Whatever it might have been it was most undesirable to undergo dangerous and draining climb on slippery footpath in heavy rain and stygian darkens at his age.  It was amazing.  I told him I brought the Capstan cigarettes. He was relieved and heaved a sigh of relief for my safe return.

(It may be noted that Subhash Bose was a smoker of Capstan from his college days.  Smoking in those days was not an uncommon vogue amongst the youth of Bengal, which mostly culminated in life long addiction. Vivekananda too was a smoker.)

There was a gushing brook with two transverse logs on it.  Baba brooked no delay in crossing over it with astonishing feat of balancing without any support. It was an astounding sight and I wondered whether I would be able to even crawl across at his age.  We cleared safely the hurdle of the fragile bridge on the gushing river and reached the destination. Baba told me to change clothes and take dinner and rest. He went inside.

Gita purposely preserved rice and other dishes for me.  She served and I had a sumptuous meal.  My headache due to overstrain vanished luckily.  We talked a lot.  She cynically said, “Sureshbabu, now we do not want planes and helicopters but we are prepared to go by bullock-cart or even walk to Shaulmari.”  Ramanidada arrived and she stopped her venting of feelings abruptly. Gita always opened her heart to me alone. Her woes were immense and unfathomable. I pitied her dreary life at tender age.

Ramanidada assigned me the task to reach an empty can to Shyamlal Pradhan in the morning. I was reluctant.  Milk from other places came in owner’s vessels but Baba’s quota was supposed to be brought in our can.  I thought it would not matter much if Shyamlal brought milk only one day in his can.  Ramanidada would not listen or compromise and threatened to go himself.  I had to be submissive and had to agree to go. He never realized that I was dying of over physical exertion.  There was not an iota of adjustment or sympathy. I was supposed to take second round to Okhimath for obtaining the dak.  I was going to be crushed like oilseeds in an expeller. With tense mood I went to sleep.


Tuesday. At 5.30 A.M. Ramanidada awoke me.  Finished choir and changed the dress.  With Chinu on his shoulder Baba was casually moving around the garden.  After talking with me for two minutes he went inside.

I told Ramanidada that after handing over the can at Chunni I would proceed for dak to Okhimath to avoid second round.  I expressed my physical inability to go twice.  He became thoughtful and was worried about my breakfast.  I told him I preferred to forego it to extra round.  He was afraid that if Baba called him he would have to face the music. Then he concluded that let Shyamlal bring milk in his can.  I thanked God.

Shyamlalji arrived with milk.  I gave him variety of vegetables more with an intention to bribe.  I told him to give some vegetable out of it to doctor at Okhimath.  It was my crafty plan to avoid going to Okhimath.  Since he was going to Okhimath I cancelled my going and gave him one rupee to get lemons for Baba.  For Shyamlalji, the son of the soil, two rounds were an easy and routine affair but for me it was debilitating task.  I was wily enough to go on supplementing my demands and requested him to fetch wheat, charcoal and dak.  He agreed.  I knew a rupee given for lemons was his bonus, as he would get them free from his village.

Baba came out and told Ramanidada to prepare tea for Shyamlal although he was denying.  Ramanidada grumbled and prepared it.  Baba gave Chinu in my lap and then surmised that the T.M.O. would come today.  I told him that if Chandrashekhar had gone to his village it might be delayed by a couple of days.  He went in and I took Chinu for frolic and play.

After some time Baba was in bare ‘anguchha’ (thin and pink chequered loin’s cloth commonly used as towel) on his way to take bath on the river.  He stopped and told me to get help of Gita and Dipali and prepare three sacred threads.  I promised to try it, as I had previous experience with Radhakant.

Ramanidada was as usual repeatedly hammering me to cut grass for cow. I took breakfast and collected grass from 9 to 11 A.M. Took lunch and went for rest. Unknowingly I slept for two hours. Then with great difficulty at 2 P.M. with Gita and Dipali we prepared two sacred threads. The forty feet long thread for each one was so brittle that it would break which was a taboo. I brought the difficulty to the notice of Baba to avoid consequent resentment. Baba permitted to knot it and go ahead. Last time he was off for that and I wondered at his tolerance and adjustment.

Shyamlalji arrived. He knew we had no wheat flour and the gentleman in him compelled him to bring flour from his house, as wheat was due late. He yearned for vegetables for compounder and watchman of the dispensary of Okhimath. I complied.

Together with Baba we worked in the garden. I was digging the pit and he was removing the soil. Then another successful graft of the ‘Knight’ rose was fixed in it with proper manure and watering. While working Baba disgustedly told that Gobind’s letter from Calcutta reached after thirteen days. I raised the fear that if my leave application reached similarly late by the grace of postal services I would be in deep trouble as my leave was for limited period. He confirmed whether it was till first week of September and I nodded. He then left assigning me the job of removing heap of plucked weeds. I did it and then retired for rest.

After a while Baba called me and gave the following dictation:

“If you feel any emotional or material urgency for earliest possible going to Amravati then as soon as the money comes you have to start.  If on the other hand in spite of some sort of disturbance factually and emotionally, the factual and emotional balancing force is there at work too, then keep one hundred rupees reserved so that, if nothing comes about by 31st August, you may start with this money on 1st or 2nd September.  I am now trying to do something by bypassing the main issue but I am not yet sure whether finally the Mother will lay bare the channel for the bypassing and if I am not allowed to bypass the main issue then the start of the external work will be immediately delayed in as much as if bypassing the main issue is not allowed then all knots of the last eight years will have to be unknotted one after another which will require much time, I cannot say how much, then here time will have to pass through intense suffering.

The point is I cannot handle anything in dilly-dallying manner and you must note it for yourself if without powerfully balancing force at work any of you remain here with allowing the disturbance and mental balance to get disrupted, it will add to my difficulties.  As you have written the other day, the working of my brain and heart is the one side of the picture in this work of universal transformation what all of your brains and hearts workout adds force to it either of acceleration or of retardation.”

The above note was dictated while it was raining and we were seated below the arboreal tree.  I point blankly told Baba that I was under the burden of refunding loan secured in Amravati and by leave I lose salary.  We discussed other matters and he anguished, ”I have no will to do work. Mother gave it and took it away. All doctors told Niharendu that he would not be completely cured but that idiot does not know how much labour I had to undergo for his complete cure.  Did he ever say a single word about it?”  Gita bluntly remarked that if Niharendudada did not know anything that you did it, how could he thank you.  On that Baba sneered whether he should beat a publicity campaign or blow his own trumpet.  He then disclosed, “Day before yesterday I untied one knot and as a result of it my left hand became numb and even now I cannot work with that hand, etc. Then he suggested that after receiving my T.M.O. a man from Guptakashi should be cleared off by refunding twenty-five rupees.  Then he went in.  Rain continued.

I witnessed umpteen times the postponement of start of work and I was certain that he would not come out.  I knew not whether his miraculous powers were real or part of imposition on Gita and me.  Like me Gita was skeptical.  We woke up every day to see more worsening situation.  Our economic instability was always colossal. Also Gita’s nostalgic craving for her mother was incessant and acute.  This issue was creating a widening rift between Gita and Baba.  He was reluctant to go to Shaulmari not only for paucity of funds but probably due to publicity of ‘wild’ things reported by the Statesman.  He was in a great quandary.  It was his greatest greatness not to cowardly deny his responsibility and disown progeny.  He therefore could not reveal his identity without which money would not come.  The vexing conundrum envisaging him was whether people would accept his act and what shock it would give to first surviving wife Emilie and daughter Anita apart from relatives and aficionados. His earlier dictations were enough proof that he was often vacillating between zenith of optimism and nadir of pessimism.  At times as a father of Chinu and husband of Gita he wished to provide all amenities for them and for that his revelation of his identity was indispensable and next instant his deep thinking added darker thoughts which would digress him to deny and shun everything and continue suffering.  It was beyond ken of those in his vicinity to know and understand vicious circle in which he was entangled neck deep. Everybody had propensity to look for green pastures but Eldorado always remained elusive discovery. He was intending to have son to run his legacy but Gita was reluctant for it. Therefore, conjugal discord often erupted in his tantrums and leaving camp alone and fasting for days together. Well. With these thoughts ravaging my mind I ran after Bholu who ran amok like my brain.  I caught and tethered it.  Dined and waded my way to my hut in the dark.  Called it a day.

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