30th JANUARY, 1948

Just across our house was a playground belonging to the New Era School.

In the evenings, some enthusiastic seniors used to conduct classes for

young boys and girls, imparting them training in various disciplines

in order to make them responsible citizens of future India. There were

about forty to fifty participants. The classes started at 6 pm,  but many of

us reached there early to play.

On that fateful evening, I must have reached there around 5.30 pm when

a boy named Sudhir arrived and announced that Gandhiji had been shot.

His father had just received the news from New Delhi while talking to a

business friend over the phone. In those days, having a telephone was a

luxury and long distance calls were only made when absolutely necessary.

The gravity of the news did not sink in immediately, but I nevertheless ran

back home to announce this. My older sister immediately tried to switch on

the radio, but sadly ours was not working. The valves had blown!

Both the transmission and the reception, were very poor back then.

So we went to our neighbours’, where the news was confirmed.

The next thing I remember is grabbing some chalk sticks and spreading

the news by scribbling it on the roads and pavements of our neighborhood.

This was the easiest and fastest way of communicating with the masses back

then, in the absence of telephones.

People started gathering, all in shock and total disbelief. An elderly Parsi Lady

living right across, came over to check with my father if the news indeed was

true. Only a  few days earlier, a bomb had exploded at Gandhiji’s prayer meeting

but fortunately. he was not hurt then.

The next day, Gandhiji’s funeral was held and we were all glued to the radio

listening to the live running commentary by Melville D’Mello –

to my mind the best commentator India has ever had. He would describe the

minutest details in his own inimitable style and a booming voice.

A few days later, an urn containing the Mahatma’s ashes

arrived in Bombay and was taken round its  streets prior to its immersion

in the Arabian Sea. I took some photographs of the event with the simple

Kodak camera I possessed then.

It is now seventy years to that tragic day and looking back, I feel

very sad as to what has become of this great country.  Then, we had

dozens of selfless leaders across the length and breadth of the country, serving people,

sitting  at the feet of the Mahatma. Today, we only have self-serving

power-hungry  scoundrels who call themselves leaders.

Thousands of years ago, there was one Mohan (LORD KRISHNA)

on the banks  of the river Jamuna, who charmed everyone with his magic

flute and who gave mankind the Epic- the Gita. On this day in 1948,

another Mohan ( Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi) , the great apostle of peace and the

father of our nation, lay on the banks of the same river, slain by the bullets of a

frenzied coward.

On the seventieth anniversary of his martyrdom, I join my countrymen, in paying tribute

to Mahatma Gandhi!

 

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The Sky, Your Window

Imagine the sky as your open window,

Neither rods nor curtains,

No shape nor size.

Through which

Good thoughts can blow in,

The bad sucked out,

Cleansing

Your Heart, Mind and Soul.

 

 

Relax a little while.

Leave aside all worries, relax a little while,

Listen to your inner voice, relax a little while.

Mind’s motion is like a pendulum

So, stop in the middle, leave extremes,

Relax a little while.

Have seen plenty, enough now,

Shut your eyes, look at self,

Relax a little while.

Your existence is sinking in darkness,

Light a candle in heart,

Relax a little while.

Your ego will melt,

Only “YOU” will remain,

Relax a little while.

 

This is an attempted translation of an article I had read.

 

To My Naughty Sweetheart

Restrain your words, my sweetheart,

for anything that you utter,

even in your mischievous innocence,

pricks like a thorn my tender heart.

At mid-day you seem to decipher,

the script written by stars,

your incessant chatter,

cannot quench the thirst,

ever present in my heart.

There is a lamp burning,

without oil, without wick,

for you, in my heart

O my sweetheart,

protect it against any storms,

by restraining your words,

O my naughty sweetheart.

 

Conceptualized from an old Gujarati song.