WILL SPEAK WITH GANDHI

எனது காந்தியோடு பேசுவேன் சிறுகதை தனிவெளியீடாக ஐந்தாயிரம் பிரதிகள் அச்சிடப்பட்டு தமிழகம் முழுவதும் காந்தியவாதிகளால் விநியோகம் செய்யப்பட்டிருக்கிறது, அந்த முயற்சியை மேற்கொண்ட நண்பர் மூர்த்திக்கு எனது மனம் நிறைந்த நன்றி.

காந்தியோடு பேசுவேன் சிறுகதையை நண்பர் கமல் ஆங்கிலத்தில் சிறப்பாக மொழியாக்கம் செய்திருக்கிறார்.

•••

WILL SPEAK WITH GANDHI

I had alighted at Wardha only on that morning. This is the first time I am visiting the Gandhi Ashram at Wardha. But I have read a lot about it and have seen it in photographs also. But when I was seeing it as real, any of its greatnesses were not visible to my eyes. It was just looking like a normal old age home being run in a mediocre way.

Rachel was taking photographs of Gandhi’s cottage hut. A thatch roofed simple room – Gandhi had lived in this room! Gandhi’s walking stick, footwear, and stationeries – all had been exhibited there securely. A hurricane lamp was present near the bed.

Rachel asked me that whether Gandhi used electricity in that Ashram.

“I think ‘not.’ But definitely he would have understood that the arrival of electricity was an important factor that changed the nature of the Indian villages,” I said.

‘A rack made of bamboo,’ ‘brass vessels,’ and a tripod stool were there in Gandhi’s room. Near them were an old wooden cot and a very small window.

The life of a man starts by the way how he chooses his requirements. Gandhi looks like a man who was very conscious on his requirements.

It is easy to frame requirements, but it is very difficult to renounce them – this is what I am feeling these days. I would say in an aspect that it is this feature a reason for my attraction towards Gandhi.

When Gandhi was alive, coming and standing in this room would have been a moving event for many. That scene appeared in my vision for a fraction: Gandhi would have been sitting in this place; we cannot think that he would be simply sitting. He would have been doing some work vigorously. It occurred to me that why this much amount of vigorousness was inside him and why he considers relaxing as a weakness.

Gandhi had been living counting minutes. I am not like that. Only laziness, dissatisfaction in everything, and needless fears forged me. I structured my life through my education. But Gandhi deserting education had taken his life forward. During the end stages of his life, he was like a simple Indian farmer. Excessive hopes and excessive disappointments were the prizes he got.

I believe that reading about him will not help to understand him. Through readings Gandhi gets etched just as an opinion. We have to ‘live and feel’ the pains, the simplicity and frankness behind his actions. Only then Gandhi will slowly and slowly fall and fill inside us like the sand filling bit by bit in a sand clock.

For me, it is my mother who introduced Gandhi to me. When I pencilled a sketch of Gandhi during my 12th year and came home winning the first prize for it, my mother while becoming happy, said, “I’ve seen Gandhi and you’ve drawn him realistically!”

I was not able to believe that how mom could have seen Gandhi. I asked her whether Gandhi had visited her village ‘Pettaikulam.’ [Pettaikulam is situated in the Tirunelveli District of Tamilnadu]

She said, “Gandhi did not come to my village. But I went to Wardha in quest of meeting him and met him.”

When I asked her if that was true, she saying, “It’s a long story, you’re not born then,” and showed her left hand. Her left hand looked slightly bent and disfigured.

“This hand was broken for Gandhi. Do you know who broke it? It was your father. A punishment for having gone to meet Gandhi! Your father never liked Gandhi. Not only your father but majority of males don’t like Gandhi. Is that not that men, who want to dominate, hate Gandhi? But, women can understand Gandhi deeply.

When I went to Wardha and stood before Gandhi, I was not able to differentiate him as just yet another male being. It occurred as if my tongue had got thickened. I wept beyond my control. Babuji smiling came near to me with compassionate eyes and said something. I then knew not a single word in English or Hindi. But I understood that he was consoling me.

It was a ‘longing’ that ‘would it be possible to live the entire life in that Ashram?’ But I was not that gifted. Suddenly one day your father came and dragged me out to here. I struggled that I wouldn’t go out of Ashram. But Babuji stroking my head said to go back to home. I had lived with your father these much years only bounded by those words.”

I asked her, “Mom, why did you go in search of Gandhi?”

She did not answer and remained silent. Then nodding her head in negative said, “You’ll not understand. I’m not willing to tell you,” saying she abruptly cut her talking.

After that once or twice I have heard the incidents of my mother running away to Wardha. Once in anger, dad shouted at my mom, “You runaway bitch! Had it been some other fellow, he would have hacked and buried you!”

“You’ve done only that a long ago!” my mom said it calmly. Dad staring at my mom left the place.

“Your father don’t like women speaking politics. Especially an educated woman is like a bitter fruit for your father. Moreover your mom also joined the Gandhi’s party. That’s the problem between your father and mother.” Venkatarathnam uncle told once.

In that age, I had only thought this as a quarrel between a husband and wife. Then I realised only much later on that it was not just a quarrel but a swing swinging between love and hate. When mom was forced into the darkness called ‘family life,’ it was Gandhi, who had rescued her. He had proved her that with a true conduct one can overcome the derision of others. He had taught her to respect the voice of the heart. More than anything above, he had taught her that ‘living for the sake of others is always painful, but the satisfaction arrived from that living is great.’

While discussing about this, Rachel said, “Lats, in reality, it’s Gandhi who had filled this world, which was deserted by God. That is what had happened in your mother’s life. Two miscarriages followed by successive child births, poverty and the insults she endured in a joint family – when all these had compressed her to suffocation, it was Gandhi who had been the ray of hope of hers. This simple belief called ‘GANDHI’ is stronger than the man called Gandhi who was a social rebel. Those who have realized this still love Gandhi.”

What Rachel says is true. Indian women have not understood Gandhi at a social worker level. But they have understood Gandhi as a simple man who had lived a self experimenting life surrendering him to righteousness in a time, when majority of the people had renounced morals, and had started owning sins and shams.

Rachel knows the cruelty of violence. She is a Jewish girl, who got introduced to me as my student and who later married me. She has more attachment towards the womenfolk of my family than me. Once Rachel telling me that they are living daily in (German) torture camps is a real truth.

After I went to London for studying economics and later on started working there itself, one day mom asked me through telephone, “Latchuma! I like to come to London once!”

It is only mom who calls my name Latchumanan (Laxman) as Latchu´ma [ma is the short form of Amma, which means mother. It is a common custom in Tamilnadu that even unknown women are addressed as amma. Laxman is written in Tamil as Lakshmanan, which has a Sanskrit touch of ‘Sh’ syllable. In pure form of Tamil it will be written as Latchumanan, where the ‘sh’ syllable is replaced by ‘chu’ syllable]. Londoners call me ‘Lats.’ For dad and other friends it is ‘Mana.’ But when mom calls me Latchuma, it resembles a feminine name. When she calls like that there will be a unique affection in that.

I said, “Next time when I come to our town, I’ll bring you to London.”

“No dear. It’s my wish to come alone and that too by ship,” said mother.

I understood immediately. The base-tone for this desire is also her affection towards Gandhi. She likes to experience the state of mind of Gandhi, who went to language unfamiliar London at the age 19 years. What is this craziness towards Gandhi?

I laughingly said, “mom, there are no ship voyages nowadays. You can come alone flying.”

Mom came travelling alone to London like that. Her old age had given her a unique beauty. She slowly came crossing the glass doors with tiredness filled face, wearing a mild red coloured sari elegantly and wrapping an orange coloured shawl around her with her white hair resembling the white of crane.

There was not even a bit of fear in her eyes. She was not looking at any of the passengers crossing her. The way how she slowly but steadily came walking towards the exit has got etched in my mind.

I with an anxious tone asked her, “Did they ask anything in the immigration?”

“They asked me the purpose for this travel. I said, “Just like that.” The immigration officer said smiling, “Madam! People who come to London for ‘just like that’ will never go back. See… you’ll also be like that.” I told him that my memories will not allow me to stay away from my country. He raising his hands and in astonishment said that what I told was true. That’s all happened…,” saying, she travelled looking through the windshield of the car, at the busy looking London streets.

Mom was staying with me for two and half months. She travelling alone in the tube train and was visiting the University College that Gandhi studied, the roads Gandhi had walked once, the vegetarian club Gandhi was once a member – like that she was going, searching and visiting places related to Gandhi. She had not spoken much about these with me, perhaps could have spoken to Rachel.

It would be funny to see Rachel and mom conversing. Mom treated Rachel like a school girl.

One day Rachel asked me, “Indian women in general nod their heads much. Your mom isn’t like that while speaking. Why?”

Then only I noticed that there was such a thing. I feeling blank of what to say, said smiling, “women notice things sharply. I don’t have answer for your question.”

Rachel said, “While conversing with your mother, it’s scary sometimes. There are unspoken things remain buried on her eyes. She is a strange bird.”

Rachel calling my mother a strange bird was appealing to me. I too have felt like that. Not just a strange bird but a bird that searches Gandhi.

Wanting to know that through Gandhi what mom was searching for, I told her that I would also accompany her. She did not negate. We caught a train, had coffee at a restaurant at Dover Street and went to an old library that mom visits regularly.

Mom picked up a book that she had left half-read and started reading it silently. The glittering London was clearly visible through the window, near which mom was sitting. Mom has not chosen that place for just reading. She is observing and grasping the movements of London bit by bit.

She fills herself with the yellow tinted light unique for London and its moisture layered air.

After remaining silent for a long time, she said, “When Gandhi came to London, he would have felt the grief of leaving his mother at India and having coming here alone. This city makes one to feel the separation much.”

It’s true. I too have felt like that. While teaching at the university, sometimes like an ice berg breaking, the memories of a past incident would crack and the memories about the separated relationships would spurt up. That mental state would remain for one or two days and then subside later.

Rachel used to tell about that, “Indians think too much about their past and grieve. That is what their strength is, and also at the same time their weakness.”

What she says is true. It is not just a simple grief. It is a deep selfness, a friendship, a state of mind that cannot be shared with words. During such days, I will not speak even a word to her.

She would have understood that. Jewish women like her, like the silence of men rather than their words and are able to understand it easily.

Mom told me in the library,

“Gandhi didn’t have much memory regarding his father, and Gandhi was a man who felt that he had got completely detached himself from the protective shadow of his father; Gandhi too was also not a good father. But he was closer to his mother. I see Gandhi and Buddha as males who have felt themselves as women. Both have many similarities. Gandhi has the gutsy mind of the Indian women. It is strong. It does not collapse easily. If he is using fasting as a weapon, then is that not it is the means of opposition created by woman.”

Mom speaks deeply. Books have taught her a lot. I was able to only understand that what was just an information for me, had become an experience for my mom.

Other than that Gandhi did not attract me much.

After that incident, one day mom and I went to Victoria Park all the way walking. Only on that day mom told the full story of her running away to Wardha.

Mom was at the age of nineteen years at that time. She got married at the age of fourteen. She remained with her parents for six months after her marriage. In those days dad was working as a salt inspector at Marakanam [Marakanam = A place near Pondicherry].

In one harsh summer, father took mom and had started living at a house allotted for him in the seashore. The empty house, shining salt fields, the smell of salt melting and drying up, the haunting caws of seagulls, and the scorching sun – all combined and degraded the health of mom in just two weeks. She with persistent coughing was unable to sleep in the nights. Dad, unable to bear this, took mom to his aunt’s house at Kollam and left her there.

It was there that Mom – for the first time – had started to see the processions demanding Indian independence. Mom and a woman called Narayani used to wish good luck for the flags carrying congress party members, who would cross by. One day both went to the Bhagavathi Temple and prayed that congress should win. Only after that incident, mom started to hear and know about Gandhi. That too she heard from Neelammai.

Neelammai was a maid servant. When Neelammai spoke about Gandhi, she said with astonishment, “Susila you heard that? That man says that men should not drink toddy. Just this one thing is sufficient to trust him a good man. He getting beatings from the policemen has gone to prison, he himself washes his own clothes. My master even said that Gandhi cleans his own toilet. If a man conducts himself like that, then is he not the true good leader?”

After hearing about Gandhi from Neelammai, mom secretly went to the congress party meeting conducted in the town and hiding there, she listened. She heard the song about Gandhi for the first time only there. It was a soul touching song. That song created an image of Gandhi inside her – ‘He is a man struggling to rescue Indian people from the Britons; He’s a simple man; A never resting rebel.’ Even on that meeting also many spoke dumbstruck praising Gandhi. As she kept on hearing and hearing, inside her, the urge to meet Gandhi was increasing on and on.

When mom was there in Kollam, she became pregnant for the first time. Immediately they sent her to her paternal home for few months. There she borrowed a small pamphlet from Srinivasan Uncle and started reading it. As she was reading that on and on, a man called Gandhi was growing deep-rooted inside her. So many questions rose inside her about Gandhi. She was not knowing from whom she can get clarification for those.

By this time, dad again took her to Marakanam. Change of place and unsubsiding lust of dad made her tired. The noise of the faraway seashore and scorching sun were increasing her headaches. Days elongated as blank daytimes and meaningless times. In the meantime, her pregnancy got aborted. And with the occurrence of persistent bleeding, she became very weak. Dad sent a telegram to his father-in-law that he was troubled marrying a useless woman, and made him to take his daughter with him.

For one and half years she was living at her paternal home as a married sphincter spinning threads from the spinning wheel. In those days, it was Gandhi who rescued her from depression. She always was listening to news about Gandhi and kept on making threads. In the mean time, father once came from Marakanam, reconciled with her and took her. But before they were able to reach the Madurai railway station, they quarrelled. Dad beating her and breaking her bangles left her there itself and left alone for Marakanam.

Toughness of dad, his anger and rage started to compress her mental state. She as if like mentally impaired, started to shiver on just hearing the name of dad. In those days, Srinivasan uncle helped her by taking her to the library to borrow books. It was the first step in the change with mom. Going to ‘Ratnam Chetiyar Library’ was comforting her [Ratnam = Name meaning ‘gem’; Chetiyar = A caste].

When the desire to see Gandhi was burning inside her, dad came to Toothukudi [Toothukudi = A district in Tamilnadu] in transfer. Solitary living and promotion in job had created some change in him. Mom became pregnant again. This time it was girl baby that born dead. Dad, not even looked at the baby once. He simply told to bury the baby. Mom remained thinking crying about her baby for many days. Dad did not approach her for anything except for his bodily desires.

When she was pregnant again, he bought a gramophone for her to listen to songs. For mom the interest that she had on reading did not set in for music. She only wanted to read books. Dad did not permit that. There were no papers in the home except those papers that came as packing material for the provision items. Dad did not allow her to go to the local library also. That was the time when my elder brother was born. When he was a little baby, mom got the friendship of Jebamary [Jebamary = A common Christian name in Tamilnadu] who came as the neighbour. Jebamary used to buy books for mom but mom had to keep and read them at Jebamary’s house. One day Jebamary told mom that brother was at Nagpur and he would take mom to Wardha and there would not be any trouble.

When dad set out to Vedaranyam for official camp, the idea of going to Wardha should have germinated inside mom. She left for Nagpur, giving her baby to Jebamary and saying that she was going to temple.

She did not remember that how she came to Madurai catching a bus, from there catching a train to Chennai and from there how she interchanged to the train to Nagpur and how she reached Jebamary’s brother David’s home. A force – an uncontrollable force had pulled her all the way.

When David asked her to stay at his home for the night, she was adamant that she would not stay anywhere until she met Gandhi. They left for Wardha at night. But since residents at the Ashram would go to bed by 9.00 pm, it was calm.

Mom was looking with shock at that country side area containing simple huts, ‘Is Gandhi living inside his darkness? Is Wardha ashram is at such an aloof place?’ They met Shyam Lal, who was a resident at ashram. He told them that they can meet Babuji during the Early Morning Prayer.

That was the first time mom heard the word Babuji. She was sleepless that night. It occurred to her that Gandhi was living in a hut somewhere nearby and after dawn she should go and pray to him folding her hands.

By early morning 4.30 am itself, the residents of the ashram would get up. They would get ready for the Early Morning Prayer by 4.45 am. Before that, mom bathing in the cold water was shivering and waiting for Babuji.

There were more than a hundred people there. There was a European woman. Mom was astonished to see that how that woman had joined the Ashram and working there. Like mom, two leprosy patients were waiting to meet Gandhi. Nobody hated them nor set them aside; the Ashram residents treated them with compassion. In the ‘Parchure Hut’ still the medical treatments had not been started yet. Manoharji Diwan was conducting free treatments there.

There was a small hut called as Mahadev hut closer to Gandhi’s hut. Mahadev Desai was staying in that hut. He was Gandhi’s assistant and an ardent follower of Gandhi.

In that young early morning, which had not dawned completely, Babuji had got up and come for prayer service. There was no trace of sleepiness on his face, which had the beauty of the old age with the same unchanging smile and the vigour of a child. A fellow resident called Rahim – another member of the Sevragraha – was accompanying him. While Gandhi came walking while talking with the Ashram residents and enquiring their wellbeing, David in Hindi introduced mom to Gandhi and said, “She has come running away from her home for meeting you.”

Babuji asked with surprise, “Are you married?”

Mom stood mum.

David said, “She’s married and has a child also. Meeting you is her desire.”

“What’s there in me? I am just a sevak -a servant,” saying he had called mom near him and touched her head with compassion.

For mom, that touch made her tears to flow breaking out her agony. Gandhi should have understood the heat of those tears.

He said in a low tone, “Thousands of Indian women like you are crying with inexpressible agony. My child! Only God can give solace to women like you. I will tell one thing. My grit and fighting spirit are what I have learnt only from women. I treat you as my daughter. This is a house for us all. You can be here as long as you wish. But you cannot live in affluence here. You must do social service, have to nurse the sick. Will you be able to do that?”

Not a single word of Babuji was understandable to mom. But she nodded his willingness for everything. Babuji with a smile, calling her, “come my child! Let’s begin the day with prayer,” took her with him.

Like that mom entered the Wardha Ashram. Dad did not look for her that where she had runaway. He had that much anger. Scolding her “Runaway bitch!” he gave the baby to his sister for taking care of and forgot mom.

For two and half months mom had lived in Gandhi’s ashram. The proximity of Gandhi had taught her so many things. The softness of Gandhi had got blended in her speech and gaze. Mom had worked as a nurse treating Leprosy patients. Meera Ben had taught English to mom. One day when Meera Ben and mom went to a church at a place called as Golwada, mom had cried hearing Beethoven’s excellent piece of music played by Meera Ben in the piano. Meera Ben holding mom’s hand had said that ‘Beethoven is the God of Music’ and ‘Gandhi is the God of Service.’ Mom in those two and half months she stayed there, had well got accustomed to the life in that Ashram.

One should wake up by 4.30 in the morning; 4.45 am prayer; an hour of reading from 5.15 am; then kitchen duties between 6.30 am to 7.30 am; breakfast before 8.oo am; then gardening works, medical service; 12.00 pm lunch, one has to wash the plates from which he/she ate; then rest for sometime; then from 2.30 pm spinning threads using the spinning wheel; then some reading, group discussion – sometimes religious lectures will be delivered; the dinner will be over before 5.30 pm; when the sun had set, the evening prayer would start; then some chatting, sometimes music will be listened to; 9.00 pm going to bed.

This discipline and simplicity had entirely changed mom’s mindset. Mom had forgotten that there was a past for her. One day when she went to Gandhi’s room to deliver a letter given by Desai, she saw two sea shells Gandhi was using as paper weight.

She said, “Babuji, these seashells are nice.”

For that he said, “These seashells belong to Porbandar. I am keeping these with me from my young age. I had taken these with me to London. These are the only companion to me; these are the ones that have silently shared my town and its memories with me. Every individual keeps something that reminds his past to him. Others will not know its importance,” saying he smiled.

Then one day, dad along with Srinivasan uncle had reached Wardha Ashram. Dad and Srinivasan uncle compelled mom and took her along with them, who resisted going with them. Mom went to Babuji for getting blessings.

Gandhi told in a calm voice:

“I am not able to change the violence in the family setup. I only feel like a defeated man. I understand that without the participation and support of women nothing can be achieved in India. I say this to you like a mother telling her daughter. Living amidst of problems is challenge. We are forced to accept that. This servant does not have any suggestion to give for a woman with a true heart like you. But I will remain firm on the faith created by you and others, on my actions. Since it is also you one of them who created this faith, I thank you.”

Mom cried. She cried more than the day she met him. Babuji was calmly looking at her. Dad did not speak a word on the night he dragging her out and boarded the train. Breaking her hand after reaching the home was the punishment for running away from home to meet Gandhi.

Telling all these, mom said at the end: “Latchuma (Laxman)! Don’t think that this ‘miracle like thing’ had happened only to me. There are hundreds of women who had experienced this experience. They never forgot Gandhi. Gandhi is always glowing inside them.”

Until I returned home, more than mom running away, it was the harsh way that dad treated mom was pricking me more. I thought about seeking an amnesty for this. I was not knowing that how to get rid of the bitterness on a person who was dead.

That night, mom and Rachel were watching a Tamil movie in the TV and laughing. Their closeness was somehow pleasing to my mind.

That night while on the bed, I asked Rachel, “Do you like Gandhi?”

“You Indians for no reason hate Gandhi. It’s a syndrome. You Indians use Gandhi as a dustbin. This is really hurting for me,” she said.

“Why are you telling like this?” I asked.

Rachel said: “I’ve not read Gandhi much. But somehow seeing his photograph a kind of interest occurs. See the genuine smile of Gandhi! – I would surely say that a man who is able to smile like this should have lived a noble life. The one or two details I have heard about him are sufficient for me to have a liking for him. It’s true that when we know about a person much, we start a disliking inside. For me concerned Gandhi is a faraway star. It is its light that fascinates me. I don’t want to go closer and study.”

I hugged her.

It was like as if it was proved once again that women approach Gandhi from a different point of view and understand deeply.

The next day I told mom that I wanted to read the autobiography of Gandhi and asked her to borrow it for me from the library.

Mom said smiling:

“Those who quickly come closer to Gandhi will go away quickly.”

I also smiled. Mom did not bring the book ‘The Story of My Experiments with Truth’ from the library. After the passing of six or seven months that mom was in London and had returned back, I told her through phone, “It occurs that I have to visit Wardha once. I thought that you should also come with us.”

“Fallen feathers don’t stick with the bird – A line from a poem comes to my mind,” she said.

I asked her again, “Is it hesitating for you to visit the Ashram void of Gandhi?”

“Every day my broken hand reminds me Gandhi. There’s no need to go to Wardha and refresh my memories.”

Since it would be impossible to convince mom, I abandoned that plan. But after the demise of mom Rachel reminded that plan.

“Lats, we’ll go to Wardha for your mom. Is that not that we need something to remind us the past.”

It was only like that that I and Rachel had come and alighted at Wardha. From the moment we alighted she was busy taking photographs.

I was not able to believe that it was Wardha Ashram. Why the concerned authorities have kept the Gandhi Ashram as if like an ashram for the neglected, and I am not able to see any vigorous activity!

Neither they who were staying there nor those who visited – nobody – had any attraction towards Gandhi.

I and Rachel remained there until evening. While we were leaving at night, Rachel said: “In reality Indians are very strange people. They act against what they want to love. The problem of Indians is that they are not able to understand Gandhi. It is surprising that how such a wonder became possible for them. In truth it is really angering many since the actions of Gandhi question their thoughts, their weaknesses and their minds. For today’s youngsters Gandhi is a doll – a ball to kick. But it is puzzling them, that the ball coming to its natural state of rest even after persistent kickings.

Inside his mind, every young Indian surreptitiously wants to kill Gandhi. But it is not easy. That defeat makes him bitter. There’s only one way to come over it. That way is to make Gandhi a superhuman – make him holy – which you Indians have done successfully. Today Gandhi exists just as a statue – an image. The present generation have not heard his voice. You listen to his voice once. How to say, I once listened to his recorded speech in the internet. I was not able to listen fully, tears started immensely. He’s impossible. I don’t know how to say… He’s pure, He touches our heart.

What that man says is not important. But the compassion and the selfless pure thoughts that get expressed in his speech, regardless of the issue, only make him to be liked.

Sometimes he’s like my father. Sometimes he’s like my son who’s going to be born. I’m not able to say anything more than this.”

Saying she calmed down. A deep sigh emerged from her.

That instant, I started to create a Gandhi for me from Rachel. Earlier, I was also one who wanted to play kicking Gandhi (as a ball). I cannot say that I hated Gandhi. But I was one among the thousands who, for no apparent reason, wants to omit and stay away from Gandhi. Only for going towards Gandhi, a kind of attraction is required; but for hating Gandhi so many reasons have already been created much earlier.

Could there be any individual in India like Gandhi who had met that much insults and harsh verbal abuses? Even still the charisma of Gandhi has not come down. Perhaps is hating Gandhi is itself an exercise to go towards him?

If an individual goes deep inside his heart, he will feel the closeness with Gandhi. He will not be able to hate Gandhi. He will ask for amnesty for pretending that he hates Gandhi. But for the outside world people who hate Gandhi are required. This has been continuing even from the days of Gandhi.

Gandhi is a pure wind. It is not known that when it will gain rage and when it will calm down. With its power, the dust and trashes do get blown away – isn’t it?

With so many thoughts, I had started reading the ‘The Story of My Experiments with Truth’ during my travel. Then the next two weeks after roaming to Gandhi museum at Madurai, Porbandhar, Shabarmati, and Delhi, I had returned to London.

Suddenly my home was being filled with Gandhian books. I had started to talk-discuss about Gandhi with many.

One day Rachel told me: “Lats, you have started to worship Gandhi. Worshipping is not the way of study. You try to understand and live like Gandhi – like your mom.

Gandhi has named his book as ‘The Story of My Experiments with Truth.’ Experiment is not just a word. It is an action – a scientific work. There’s a scientist inside Gandhi. That scientist is continuously studying man. In general, Indians like to keep their body a secret. I consider that Gandhi is the first Indian who was not like that.

Gandhi does not use walking stick as a support. He had kept it as a companion. For him walking stick is just an instrument to increase his walking speed.

Lats, rather than the presence it is the absence that triggers the thoughts. It is only happening in relation to Gandhi,” saying she smiled.

It occurred to me that mom’s smile was also appearing through Rachel’s smile. I hugged her tightly.

நன்றி  : கமல்

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