Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Remembering Bapuji

Recently, I read that "the best classroom in the world is near our grand-parents' feet". I can't recall where I read it, but I really liked it. Then I realized that it's not only limited to grand-parents but any experienced elder family member so long as we are patient to sit with them, next to them to listen to them. And while I pondered upon that I realized that I had promised to Cuckoo that I will share this story with her.

Dr. Anantrai V. Dave A little background before I tell the story. A couple of months ago, I got this book from Nalinifaiba (mom's aunt, grandpa's cousin). First of all, thank you, Faiba! For sending this one. I didn't even know this book existed until then as it was written in the year 2000 after I left India and didn't know there were folks working on such a book since past few years at the time. It is a book by Shri Moolshankar Jeevanlal Pathak & Shri Kiritbhai Moolshankar Pathak; it is my maternal grandfather's life story. These are the two men to whom I am eternally grateful to for putting this book together because I've got to know more of my grandpa from this book than his life that I saw when he was with us. They've gone around and talked to people and pestered them to share more and more stories they know of grandpa to put this one together. I won't go into the details about that as it would fill up yet another book about how they started writing the first drafts and put together their collected information about someone who was not related to them but touched the deep chords of their hearts by how he lived his life and what he did. Tears well up in my eyes at every single page of thsi book and I feel more blessed reading each and every single story in it - to have such grandfather who is not only an inspiration to the family members but to almost every single person that knows him.

The book and stories are written in Gujarati so I will share that as well as my attempt to describe the incident in English.

ગરીબ કુટુંબ પતિ-પત્ની, બાળકો માંડમાંડ ગુજરાન ચાલે. વેતરાં અને ઢસરડાને કારણે પત્નીને ક્ષયરોગ લાગુ પડ્યો. મોડી ખબર પડી. ઍક્સ-રે જોઇને કુટુંબના દાક્તરે આશા છોડી દીઘી. સલાહ આપી થોડા દિવસની મહેમાન છે. થાય તેટલી સેવાચાકરી કરો. ભાઇને માથે તો આભ તૂટી પડ્યું. ગરીબ સંસાર ચૂંથાઇ જશે, બાળકો કેમ ઉછરશે વિગેરે ચિંતામાં તે પણ અર્ધો થઇ ગયો. કોઇએ સલાહ આપી કે 'દાક્તર અનંતરાય દવેને બતાવો'. દાક્તર દવેએ એક્સ-રે અને બીજા રિપોર્ટ જોયા. પત્નીને ઝીણવટથી તપાસી ગભરાવા જેવું નથી હવે તો ક્ષયરોગ કાબૂમાં આવી ગયો છે. જિંથરી ક્ષયની હૉસ્પિટલમાં લઇ જાઓ. હું ચિટ્ટી લખી દઉં છું. ખર્ચની ચિંતા ન કરતાં. બધું ગોઠવાઇ જશે અને બધું એવું ગોઠવાઇ ગયું કે એ બાઇ અત્યારે દિકરાના દિકરાને રમાડે છે અને સવાર-સાંજ ભગવાનની સાથે સાથે ડૉ. અનંતરાય દવેનું નામ લે છે.
Source: સમાજ સેવાના વ્રતધારી ડૉ. અનંતરાય વી. દવે, જીવન કથા (Life Story, Dr. Anantrai V. Dave - the one who vowed for social service)

Needy family, husband-wife, kids were barely surviving. Because of overwork and no proper care, the wife was diagnosed with tuberculosis. It was too late. The family doctor looked at the x-ray and gave up all hopes. Said nothing could be done now, just help the wife spend rest of her remaining life as best as they can. The husband was suddenly overtaken by this great misfortune. Suffering thoughts of how his poor family will be tormented, how will the kids be raised, bothered him. Someone suggested 'take your wife to Dr. Anantrai Dave'. Dr. Dave looked at the x-ray and reports and performed a detailed check-up. He said things seem to be in control. Take your wife to Jinthri TB Hospital, I will write a note. Don't worry about the expenditure. Everything will be fine and everything became fine such a way that today the wife has become a grandmother and day and night she prays to God along with to Dr. Anantrai Dave.
And today's fortune reminded me of Bapuji even more. It says "To be simple is to be great". May God bless him to be in a better state wherever he is and for me to be more like him.

God bless.


Nishit said...

very inspiring! Thanks for sharing..

Kumar Ahir said...

I wonder will there be anybody of us whose grandchildren will write a book about.
Times have changed !!!

Cuckoo said...

I had read this post when you posted but commenting now.
Thanks for doing this inspiring post for me, I am humbled.

And you let us know many more things thru it.

Thanks once again, Kanan.

Kanan said...

Nishit, thank you! you're welcome. :)

Kumar, you said it, times have indeed changed. No one keeps in touch with each other let alone staying together or growing up with grandparents around. Such a loss for both sides, IMO. I still believe this is the time to stick together, for each other and for ourselves. I think I should stop here and make a post on this. :)

Cuckoo, thank you. I am glad you reminded me for creating this post. There's so much more that I'd love to share, in fact if I had time I'd translate that entire book in English but then there's never enough time, is there? you're quite welcome and thank YOU! :)

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Kanan!

The best classroom in the world is near our grand-parents' feet.

This is *so* true! I had the good fortune to spend the first few years of my life, almost through my teens, with my paternal grandparents until they passed. There's so much knowledge there.

Coincidentally, everyone in our house and extended family referred to my grandfather as 'Bapaji', and I had to share that bit of info because the title to your post totally reminded me of him. :)

Cheers! Hope badhu first class chaale chhe.

Cuckoo said...

Well, translation can go in pieces..slowly.. .. chapter by chapter but when you do it, you're going to have a sense of fulfillment.

Go for it. You have already found one reader in me !

Haresh Bhatt said...

Let me share my memories of your great grandpa. I knew him as one of the high achievers in the Dave family. He instilled “ do no evil” in every one that came to. Panchavati was a learning center for so many. I experienced his leadership in the 60’s (during the jyotimasi/ushamasi dual weddings.) One week of that experience left a lasting image of what social networking was really all about. In Dec 87 I could not resist visiting Panchavati.

Grandpa was as motivational as ever. He was fascinated with what a camcorder could do. He was as active as ever and wanted me to come along in celebrating in the joys of social service.
A great soul easy to emulate

Kanan said...

theBollywoodFan, you're very fortunate to have had that opportunity. Like you said, it's knowledge and much more beyond that.. like respect, tolerance towards the generation gap, appreciation and awareness of our roots, and numerous other wonderful things.. the list is endless actually. Thank you for sharing the info about your 'Bapaji'. :) Brought a big smile to my face. Badhu ekdam first class chaale chhe. Aasha raakhu tamaare pan badhu first class chaaltu hashe. :)

Kanan said...

Cuckoo, that's right. Just that there is so much similar stuff to do but very little time.. many times I think one day the time will run out to do these things. Every moment of the day is time to prioritize and learn, isn't it! I will surely share more stories. Thank you for your encouragement. It means a lot to me. :)

Kanan said...

Hareshbhai, it's so nice to read your comment and your personal experiences and fond memories. I agree with you, Panchvati is indeed a learning center, more of an indirect one. There is so much to learn just by observing; so many role-models and so much simplicity, acceptance and tolerance. It's mind-blowing.. sometimes I can't even imagine anyone doing things that we have some of our family members do for each other, not just immediate family but extended as if they are more than immediate. Those things are so valuable in life, to keep that relation with family members. I see it changing and it's unfortunate. In any case, I am very happy that the positive effect that our forefathers and family members have left on us is so tremendous that we can't help but let those values and goodness surround us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

chinmai said...

Lovely! Totally agree to your thought on elders being the living classrooms..In the fast paced technology driven world, learning and spending time with elders teaches a lot..

Nice to know a little about your grand father and his kindness act apart from the near god existence as a doctor!