I Live In A Bazaar And Am Loving It!
|Fire station at Dandia Bazaar Opp. my home|
As a member of our national fraternity organization, I was once confronted by a very strange request. A typical tight upper-lip gentleman gynecologist from one of the four huge metro cities of India walked up to me and said: “Can’t you rephrase your postal address? Dandia Bazaar – what an address!” Well my postal address is indeed “Guru-Krupa”, Opp. Alankar Apartments; Dandia Bazaar… I was amused. I asked him: “What is wrong with Dandia Bazaar?” Out came his bias “You live in a bazaar? Dandia BAZAAR – so middle-class!” I burst into an uproarious laughter.
|The typical tight upper-lip snob|
Some years ago I was told by a gynecologist friend: Do you know – one of our federation office-bearer who is always so proud of having studied in UK for three years (forgetting he studied in India for twenty five years preceding) and wears bow-ties (probably even while sleeping) to look so upper-crust British told me – “How you can be close to Pankaj? See the name of his residence: Guru-Krupa - so rustic, so rural, so dull!” Obviously amused I asked: “So what did you decide?” He replied “In fact, one of the first attractions for me towards you was this name in your postal address - “Guru-Krupa”. I find so much piety, faith and our Indian value-system reflected in that name”. This was touching but amusing too: One man’s attraction was another man’s revulsion.
|Typical Father: Loving, kind and non-complex|
It reminded me of a true story mailed to me by a dear friend in Mumbai Ms. Binal Shah and I copy paste it here: An old man, staying in a small south Indian town came to visit his son in Mumbai recently. The son in his early thirties is a successful businessman living with his wife and son. The father, having spent most of his life at his birthplace, hardly understands a splatter of Hindi or English, only Marathi. But he doesn't care. 'I have come here to spend a few days with my son and his family. I don't have to go out and socialize with the city people,' he said. The son is very excited about his father's rare visit to Mumbai. He wants to make the best of it. He and his wife went to show him around the city. And yes, the son enjoys those evening hours too, when he and his father go out and sit in a good bar, sipping their favorite drink. Last week he was in a very good mood. 'Let's go to a five star hotel's bar tonight,' he told his father. It was a beautiful evening. Talking about everything under the sun they had a few drinks. As usual they were offered some salad, peanuts, wafers etc as accompaniments with their drinks. The old man being almost toothless was not much interested in eating. But that day when they got up to leave, he simply took a handful of chana and stuffed it in the fold of his dhoti. He might have thought about munching on them, sitting in the car, or whatever. Unfortunately while walking in the lobby, he missed a step and stumbled. Down he went, scattering the chana on the plush carpet. Now try to visualize that scenario: Someone else in his son's place would have been mortified, embarrassed to death. He might have cursed not his father but his own self for causing this awkward situation. 'Never again will I take my old man to such hotels', he would have vowed. No sir, not this son. Gently, with a smile, he helped his father get back on his feet. Instead of feeling irritated or angry, he was amused. He found the whole incident very funny. Laughing, they both went home and on the way they decided to return to the same place the following Sunday. The old man liked the place and liked the chana too.
Many times I have seen this – the area of our residence, the brand of the car we drive, the schools in which our children study, the holiday destinations we visit, the hotels we stay - all symbols, become more important for many a mediocre in the world to evaluate others. In reality these are least important. The area in which I live “Dandia Bazaar” is understandably very densely populated middle class area of the city. But this is the area where I was born. Having travelled nearly two-third of the populated globe, I still return to Dandia Bazaar and feel – My Home! It has given me so much love, so much courage, finest human beings, finest value-systems and above all the happiness in their eyes when they see me return home. “Our Pankaj!” (अप्ला पंकज!)– the old Marathi lady said last year when I completed the public Ganpati Puja at our Mandal and bowed down to her as she was the senior most alive!
|The Ganpati of the mandal in Dandia Bazaar|
|Dense Dandia Bazaar: View during Ganpati procession|
My parents named our house “Guru-Krupa” meaning blessings of the Guru. There was great sentimental value of that name and I always felt a sense of faith when I read the name on letters and mails addressed to me. Names like Woodworth Manor, Crescent House or Kingston End have never impressed me. I find my parents’ warmth, their Guru’s blessings and my brother’s love in that name. Why should it be an embarrassment? No way!
I have seen many who say that my wife can't speak proper English; she doesn't know what's happening in the world, so I avoid taking her out or introducing her to my friends and business associates. My parents can't eat with a spoon and fork, so I don't take them to restaurants. My husband is working as an ordinary clerk, so I feel awkward when I introduce him to my rich friends. My brother is mentally challenged, so I don't feel like going out with him. Most people have this fear of other peoples' opinions and comments. What would others say? Why should that bother us? It is their problem.
I always love to say: “Guru Krupa, Opp. Alankar Apartments, Dandia Bazaar, Baroda” – take it or leave it!
|My Home - Guru-Krupa: |
Lit up for Deepawali celebrations