Today is the festival of Diwali. On this occasion, I happen to remember a Diwali that had come eleven years ago, i.e., in 2006 when myself and my little son (who was only 3 years old then) had visited the residence of my music teacher Pandit Naaradanandji and my son had fired crackers outside his residence (at Rawatbhata, Rajasthan).
Shortly after arriving at Rawatbhata in January 2001 due to my transfer from Tarapur Atomic Power Station (Boisar, Maharashtra) to Rajasthan Atomic Power Station, I had come into contact with Naaradanandji who despite his very old age, used to teach music to the interested ones at a nominal fee. By convincing the management about his importance and utility for the employees and their wards, we (myself and some other pupils of him) had arranged a residential quarter for him in the C3B colony and in the year 2002, myself alongwith my wife and little daughter had lit lamps at his residence (C3B-24) on the Diwali day (last year I had written a blog on that).
Due to lack of students, he had left Rawatbhata in the year 2004 and returned back to his native place, Peepli (a village in the district Rajsamand of Rajasthan). He had done so without my knowledge and I had come to know about it later only which had made me sad as well as hit by guilt-complex that I could not help my Guru in his crisis time and he had to leave that way. After roundabout two years, I had succeeded in bringing him back to Rawatbhata, this time arranging another, better, quarter for him in the Anu Kiran Colony where I myself lived with my family. He was allotted quarter No. H1B-13. Now I was determined not to allow any such situation to prevail that had forced my Guru to leave the place two years back. Having been blessed with a son on 3rd November, 2003, now I visited him very regularly, taking care of his various requirements and checking his welfare with my little son also visiting him alongwith me. Mostly he accompanied me in the morning when I took tea for him in a thermos. Those days my little son used to ask me very innocently in the mornings -‘Papa, Babaji ko chaay pilaane chalen?’ (Shall we visit Babaji to offer him tea Papa?) and this gesture of my little one always touched me. While sharing tea with him at his residence, I used to sing songs to him with or without playing the harmonium (the one which he always kept with him) with my son becoming my audience. He always touched the feet of Naaradanandji with me and got his blessings.
As Diwali came near, Naaradanandji moved off for his native place to spend the festival with his family. On the Diwali day, my son who despite his tender years (only 3 years old then) was very fond of firing crackers, insisted me to fire crackers at Naaradanandji’s residence. Bowing before his urge, I took him to Naaradanandji’s residence, i.e., quarter No. H1B-13. That quarter was located in the colony in such a way that firstly, it was a separate quarter and not in any residential block containing certain number of quarters and secondly, it was not on the main road but somewhat inside with a small service lane type road and some empty area outside the main door. In the year 2002, I could light lamps at his residence, i.e., quarter No. C3B-24 because he had given a key of his quarter to me before leaving. This time he had not done so. Hence lighting lamps inside the quarter was not possible. However my son could ensure that Diwali is celebrated at my Guru’s residence too by firing different types of crackers outside his residence (in the empty space available). I lit a lamp and kept it on a small stony bench outside the gate (such sitting benches were a part of the layout of such quarters situated at the ground floor) and with the help of that my son fired a lot of crackers, enjoying himself on one hand and getting the satisfaction of celebrating Diwali at Babaji’s house on the other. We returned after some time with a lot of joy in our hearts.
Now eleven years have passed since that day. My son is going to complete 14 years of age shortly and 8 years have passed since Naaradanandji’s sad demise also. Some 3 years and a few months post his demise, his elder son also passed away underscoring this reality of life that man is just a bubble in the water of the world knowing not which moment his life is going to end.
I miss my Guru very much and my son too misses him either when he happens to see the old photographs in our albums or when all of a sudden, he recalls Naaradanandji and the time spent with him. Those two Diwalis (of 2002 and 2006) have become an inseparable part of my memories.
The link of my last year’s relevant blog is :