Varanasi’s experiences 1977-2012_ An honest tongawalla of 1977, Santoshi 2012 Barber Santosh; A foreign lady with four under 10 kids
Varanasi is the greatest pilgrim centre of Hindus , on the holy bank of Gnaga, situated between Varuna and Asi rivers and is a great tourist attraction. It is said to be on the Trishul of Lord Shiva .
We read in the Satya Harischndra Play in Hindi about the city,
Shashi Sam jasi, asi Barnau asi aisi lasi Varanasi hai..
I was to take admission there in the Central hindu Boys’ School, Kamachha as per suggestion of Bhideji the staltwart RSS organizer who later became its Vishwa Prachark Pramukh but could not fill up forms sent by him as I had developed pyemic abscesses in my body otherwise my course of life would have been different, maybe like other Govindacharya moulded by the great man-maker Bhideji there but this is the city which changed the course of my life when at the age of 22 I had gone there on the direction of senior friend Govindacharya ,’If you want a national organization of medicos, come ABVP’s 23rd national Conference,’ and I went there leaving my special pathology classes of Prof. A.B. Khan which were so important for my ensuing examination. (Yet, I fared very good in my examination.).
Here I will recollect some of the amazing moments in that city.
In 1977 when I had gone there from Darbhanga, in fact out of state of Bihar it was my third visit and to the biggest city( after Puri-Cuttack in 1973) and of course of Biratnagar, a smaller town in neighbouring soverign Nepal though from Mithila point of view that is a hometown Forbesganj’s satellite township at a throw stone distance of 12 km.
I recall my first journey when in fact I was a young traveler and had visited all the places
In my Hindi book I had read Bedhab Banarasi’s writing on Varansi that there brabars ulte asturesse kaat lete hain ..(people are deceived by barbers) but I was surprised by the honesty of a tanga puller when we were to leave at the Varansi Cantt station(main station with a temple like look) November 1977. There was a group of students from some state who had hiered the tonga but finding free conference bus they left that and hurriedly jumped in the bus forgetting one of the luggage- the poor tangawala ran behind to give that, Babu, apna saman lel lo!”
He may be a rare species of honesty but I saluted him.
I have been there 17 times during 1977 to 2012.
1 4-6.11.1977 ABVP 23rd National Conference at Sampurnanad sanskrit Iniv.
5.11.1977 NMO NMO foundation
2 18-21/12/1984 NMO NSICon
3 21.9.1999 AMP Bhogendra Jha kichhu bat
4 5.11.2001 NMO Silver Jubilee
5 30.4.2002 NMO midnight Vijayendras's chhat-he did not open doors
6 10.1.2003 NMO Vijayendra-Kanchan
14.1.2003 Academic-API read paper on medical education
15.1.2003 RSS makarsankranti karyakram adhyakshata
15.1.2003 Pilgrimage Pradosh Vishwanath Puja
16.1.2003 Pilgrimage Sarnath, Sankatmochan, DLW
16.1.2003 NMO Rly Hospital
16.1.2003 Familial incidental meet withDr. GN Jha 26 h in late train
7 23.8..2003 Pilgrimage Vishwanath darshan
8 9.2.2006 Pilgrimage Ganga-Vishwanath
9.2.2006 NMO Vijayendra etc.
9 13.11.2008 Pilgrimage gangasana baba Darshan nahi bhay sakal
10 20.12.2008 Familial Ma k varshi
11 29.1.2009 Pilgrimage Dashaswamedh-Baba Vishwanath darshan
29.1.2009 AMP Neelkanth; BHU me
12 17.10.2009 Familial
13 13.1.2010 Familial Barshi Babujik
14 1.3.2010 Pilgrimage
15 20.2.2011 AMP
16 17..8.2011 Personal
17 28.1.2012 AMP Saraswatipuja at the BHU
28-29.1.2012 Familial Babuji's IV Barsi at Shubhji dera Kakarmatta
I would not go into the details of each journey but the last journey just concluded I have two impressions to share-
Bedhab Varansai was a bit right when I asked for tonsuring my head in Kakarmatta- I asked charge. Rs.35. I offered 25 but barbar said no. I walked some distance towards Bhelupur at one place I was asked Rs. 30 fixed rate(in Ranchi I use to give Rs.20 so I thought it was more) at other place surprisingly Rs.10 but I was asked to wait one hour. I walked further and I saw a small wooden boxed saloon where many were waiting.
I did not ask him rate and thought I should by this way give some money to a relatively poorer young man and he requested me to wait.
There were some kids and persons but Santosh was so fast and perfect in his work that I admired him mentally. His house was demolished under anti-encroachment drive and so he had closed his shop and was busy in making house for some previous days as he replied to some of his customers who had lively relation with him.
I also could know the political temperature from standing persons in queue. One person said that Mayawati ould make Varanasi, a capital(after quadrifurcation move of UP, and capital would go towards babatpur, the eastern side of present city).
The same man saud that ‘ dearness can be controlled only by BJP because it has big businessmen as well intellectuals.
I felt he was right as the UPA govt. failed on this front where Vajpayee led NDA was successful. He praised Sheshan for electoral reforms .He also praised Bihar’s governance and I listened to his street politics very minutely. In fact, such spokespersons are mass leaders of the ground and need winning by any political move.
After sometime I became restive as I had to return my brother’s residence and Santosh tonsured my hairs and beards soon and perfectly. I gave him Rs.15 (though initially I was thinking to give him Rs.25 but saw one person giving him Rs.10 for long hair dressing which took much mire time compared to my tonsuring) and he took that happily.
I spent less but gave it to a poorer as well as I was benefited to walk for that morning and could know many things for the UP from the ground realities.
Afternoon- Punditjee did not came nor did reply my brother’s several calls- a habit of Maithils I often come across- they do not want to say, “NO.’
Somehow other pundit came and incidentally I had the Varsh Kritya that I could fulfill rituals under his guidance with correct mantroccharan.
Evening at the cantt station- waiting for Ranchi train..
I saw a young foreign lady with four kids – one in the lap, second in the bag like extension of her jeans, third catching the fingers of mother and fourth eldest walking independently – all under 10. Her husband was also walking with luggage. What proud life with four kids. I though might be a Muslim from Taskent area but may be from Europe also. Whether our ladies of elite class will learn from her.
I missed to snap them but here blonde faces will always remain in my memory.