Sadhu to ramta bhala

Hemendra B Joshi
Hemendra B Joshi

Photo: Paiting by Dr Rama Aneja

I served an esteemed institution National Dairy Development Board, during its formative years for two decades. My association with NDDB means a lot to me professionally and psychologically. I contributed to the programmes and projects of the organisation to further its objectives to the best of my abilities and in the process I “grew up”!

I want to share one of the many lessons that I learnt while working with NDDB. A beautiful lesson ‘Sadhu to chalta bhala’!.

Abrupt transfers were like a hanging Damocles sword for NDDB professional staff who had to work in the field.

In many instances, before one settled down at one place, a transfer order would come! Like a sage of the good old days one would soon learn to develop an attitude of अनासक्ति or no worldly attachment to a “place” of posting.

In 1989 I was posted at Galbabhai Dairy Co-operative Training Center at Banas Dairy , Palanpur. Soon we learnt that in the neighbouring district Mehshana District Milk Producers Cooperative Union ( Dudhsagar Dairy) was looking for a Gujarati Speaking Officer well acquainted with Cooperative Development as there was a two months field training module to be delivered for trainees in this area.

साधु तो रमता भला, गंगा तो बहती भली

One fine morning Dr Punjarath phoned me up and talked about my placement on deputation at Dudhsagar Dairy Mehsana as he was a member of the Board of Dudhsagar Dairy as NDDB representative. He suggested that I meet Shri Motibhai Chaudhary, the then Chairman of Dudhsagar Dairy. Dr Punrath told me that he had recommended to the Mehsana Dairy that I be given the Manager’s post. This was very good opportunity and a change of 180 degrees, as I was looking after training in Artificial Insemination and Cooperative Development since joining NDDB in 1977!

But for me was fa very difficult decision to make. I had to take a call on the education of my children who were then in 7th and 9th standard respectively in a English Medium School at Palanpur.

But it was the need of the hour, so I agreed and met the Chairman of Dudhsagar Dairy, Motobhsi Chaudhry, along with Shri Parthibhai Bhatol and talked at length about my posting as referred by Dr Punjarath and decided to take up the new assignment at Mehsana.

I shifted my family to Dudhsagar Dairy for schooling etc. and frequently met with the MD and Chairman of Dudhsagar Dairy for finalisation of my posting while I continued to work at GDCTC, Palanpur as per the instructions received from Anand.

I did all this in consultation with Dr Punjarath whose support was rock solid.!

The Chairman, Dudhsagar Dairy, whom I had met before shifting my family to Mehsana, however, had a change of mind. He asked me to join as Deputy Manager. That was shocking, and naturally I was very upset with at this unexpected development! For the next three month I tried to persuade the Chairman, Shri Motibhai in consultation with Dr Punjarath. But Shri Motibhai was adamant and refused to budge and my future was in a limbo.

I was in a dilemma as to what to do next. By then it was the month of August. I wondered how to take my children back to Palanpur and get them admitted in a school. Mid season change of school from one district to another is a complex process.

I consulted Dr Punjarath and asked for his final advice !

How nicely he then supported me. I forgot the problems and all that I was facing. I do, however, still remember his consoling words; “Please do not worry, you are a sincere and honest officer with wonderful track record, I am the last person to force you to agree to the revised offer from Dudhsagar Dairy and join as Dy Manager. You may respectfully regret and continue to serve in your present position at Palanpur.”

It was still a grave situation for the schooling of my children, But I was very happy. How a senior boss from NDDB like Dr Punjarath valued his junior colleague. Such sensitivity and support to juniors gives them on the job inspiration and motivation !

Fortunately, both my kids got admission in a boarding school at Pillvai and I accepted the situation delightfully. Our family disintegrated as we had to live away from our kids. Fate takes such twists and turns. One has to learn and accept unpleasant situations as well.

More often than not things do turn out to be good.

“HE” gives us what is “Good” for us not necessarily what we “Like”.

डाक्टर कुरियन; एक अभिव्यक्ति

Photo: Painting by Dr Rama Aneja

मेरे जैसै अनेक लोग जो डा कुरियन के सान्निध्य मे आए, मेरी समझ के अनुसार, उनका संबन्ध “विक्रमादित्त्य” और “बैताल” की तरह का है।

हर बार उस बैताल के चरित्र के एक पहलू को किसी एक पीपल के पेड़ पर टांग कर आते हैं । वही बैताल एक बिल्कुल नये चरित्र में हमारे कन्धे पर बैठ कर नये सवाल सामने रख देता है। आज करीब पचास साल के बाद भी !

मै अपने को भाग्यशाली समझता हू कि इस व्यक्तित्व के कुछ पहलू को जो मै देख पाया और जो शायद कुछ के ही नसीब मे आया हो, हो सकता है नही भी आया हो। वह था उनका बाल सुलभ निर्दोष व्यवहार और बाल हठ।

हालांकि, उनका यह पहलू मेरे एन डी डी बी छोड़ने और अमूल ज्वायन करने के बाद की हैं कुछ यादें ।

१. फरबरी,१९७०, बरौनी मेरा पहला साक्षात्कार !

डा कुरियन और डा एस सी रे। बरौनी मे एक घास होती है।नोनी। पूरे जमीन पर फैल जाती है। पीले फूलों से लदी हुई।सारी धरती हल्दी से प्रकृति ने पुताई कर दी हो। डा कुरियन ने डा रे से पूछा “कान्ट वी हैव दिस ईन एन डी बी कैम्पस? नो डाक्टर यू कान्ट हैव एव्री थिंग एव्री वेयर। दोनों ने एक दूसरे को देखा निर्दोष मुस्कुराहट और चल पड़े ।

२. दिसम्बर १९७५, क्रिसमस का दिन

तब एन डी डी बी कैंपस मे शायद तीस या बत्तीस परिवार ही रह रहे होंगे। दो क्रिकेट टीमें बनी। कुरियन इलेवन और वरियावा इलेवन। हम सब खेतीवाड़ी ग्राउन्ड मे इकट्ठे हुये । दोनो नौन प्लेइंग कैप्टेन अपनी अपनी टीम के साथ। एकाएक डा कुरियन ने मुझसे पूछा। कैन आइ गो एन्ड बैट? “आइ वान्ट टू शो निर्मला दैट आई ऐम स्टिल यंग एन्ड कैन बैट। बट आई मस्ट टेक परमिसन आफ द कैप्टेन” ! और वह गए। इन फुल पैड अप। और पूरे सम्मान से खेला। बालसुलभ !

३. १४ जनवरी १९७५, उत्तरायण

एन डी डी बी कैंपस में रहने वाले लोग सामने के मैदान में पतंग उड़ाने मे लीन। सब बच्चे समेत अपनी अपनी पतंग उड़ाने में मस्त। यकायक डा कुरियन अपने परिबार के साथ शामिल। उनकी पतंग किसी ने काट दिया। दूसरी पतंग उपर। एक बच्चे के पास आए। उसका नाम पूछा। उसके बाप का नाम पूछा। अपना पतंग दिया और कहा ” इफ यू लूज़ दिस काइट, योर फादर विल लूज़ हिज़ जौब “बह बच्चा दौड़ता हुआ मेरे पास आया और पूछा “पापा ये कौन आदमी है? मै क्या समझाऊ और किसे समझाऊँ?

४. औपरेशन फ्लड टू का शुरुआती समय

एफ ए ओ एडवाइजर्स के लिये लक्जरी गाडियों में से एक आस्ट्रेलियन होल्डन। निहायत खूबसूरत। देखा। मुझसे कहा “कौल मोली। आइ वान्ट टू ड्राइव हर ऐज माई फर्सट कोपैसेन्जर” । मौली आई। “मौली, यू सिट बाई माई साईड। आस्क दिस फेलो टू सिट बिहाइन्ड। आई विल टेक यू राउन्ड द कैम्पस” । ड्राइविंग सीट पर मानो एक निर्दोष बच्चा ट्वाय कार पर खेल रहा हो। “मौली, यू सी ईट हैज़ पावर स्टीयरिंग। यू प्रेस दिस बटन ऐन्ड ऐन एन्टिना पौप्स आउट” । मौली चुपचाप सब सुनती रही। बस, हूं, यस जौली। कैम्पस का चक्कर लगाया और औफिस के सामने ला कर रोक दिया। शायद रजनी ड्राइवर खड़ा था। मैडम को घर छोड़ दो। और मुझसे , “ यू नो, दिस कार नीड्स वाईट पेट्रोल, ऐन्ड माई कार शुड नौट स्टौप ए सिन्गल डे। उस जमाने में आनंद में व्हाइट पेट्रोल? लेकिन व्हाइट पेट्रोल आया। गाड़ी कभी नही रुकी। कैसे हुआ, यह एक अलग कहानी।

५. निर्मला की शादी

कितने सारे लोग आमंत्रित थे। उनमे एक सैयद भाई भी थे, उनके पहले ड्राइवर। मुझे बुलाया ‘सी दैट ही इज ट्रीटेड नौ वे इन्फीरीयर टू एनी वन हीयर। फौर मी ही द वी वी आइ पी फौर द डे। सैयद मियां के लिए अलग टेबल लगाया, एटेन्ड किया और जब जाने लगे, उन्हें बुलाया “थैन्क यू सैयद भाई” ! सैयद भाई मुड़े बिल्कुल स्पीचलेस। बस आंखे नम थीं।

लेकिन इस विशाल व्यक्तित्व को करीब से पहचानने का मौक़ा मुझे एन डी डी बी छोड़ने और अमूल ज्वायन करने पर मिला, उनके साथ, उनके परिवार के साथ साक्षात, और उन सारे लोगों से आत्मीय बात कर के। उनमे आदरणीय त्रिभुवन काका, श्री रमन शंकर पटेल, श्री मनुभाई डाह्या भाई पटेल और श्री बाबूभाई गिरिधर भाई पटेल और श्री एच एम दलाया। सन १९८७ से २००० तक इनका सामीप्य मिला। घंटो साथ मे बैठता, सुनता, प्योर, औनेस्ट, प्रिस्टीन, नौस्टैल्जिक रिवर्स चरनी औन टाइम।

एक ऐसी ही बैठक में त्रिभुवन काका के साथ। “सींहा, कुरियन ने कोई औढखी सक्या नथी। एनी व्यक्तित्व एक नानो बालक जेवा। निष्कपट, निर्दोष, चंचल। कदी शान्त नही बेसी सके। लोको एने ज़िद्दी कहे छै। आ जिद्दी नथी, हठी छे। पण एनो हठ बालहठ। एक रमकड़ा मली जाए तो बस खुश खुश। जूना समय मां मारा पासे बेसता। खबर नहीं शूं शूं अफलातून बिचार। हूं एनो समझातो, कुरियन अमे महासमर मं छीए। मने वचन दे एवं चर्चा सामान्य रीते अणे सामान्य जग्या नहीं करवानी। अणे ए आजीबन निभाया।”
श्री रमनभाई शंकर भाई पटेल “सींहा, तू केनी बाबत जानवा ईच्छे छे, कुरियन बाबत ? अरे एनो बिचारो ना उंढापण, अमे नथी समझी शक्या तो तु तो एक नाना बालक जेवी छे। अगम्य, अथाह पण मापी न सकाए एवो सारगर्भित” ।
मनुभाई डाह्याभाई पटेल “सींहा अमे राजकारणीया छीए।अमारी कार्यशैली तमने खबर होए। पण कुरियन! आ बाबत मां एनी समझ अणे चपलता अमे नहीं पाड़ी शय्या”।
बाबूभाई गिरधरभाई पटेल कुरियन एनक्लेव और एक जमाने मे कंजरी कैटलफीड फैक्टरी पर आने वाले सामान पर टोल टैक्स पूरी तरह माफ करने वाला शख़्स , बस “एक बात, कुरियन नो प्रश्न छे न। पूछवानो नही, सोचबानो नहीं”

ऐसा व्यक्तित्व , बिरला!

Dr. Kurien and the first BOHO dinner

RK Nagar
RK Nagar

BOHO, or whatever this acronym stands for, is the Social club of the National Dairy Development Board established after we moved to the campus in 1970.

The dinner was organised on the 1st of April 1971. The venue, main lobby of the old hostel. Apart from NDDB staff and their families, we had some participants from Amul as well. No need to mention, Dr and Mrs Kurien were there to take part in the fun.

Shri Anirudhan, Assistant Secretary, NDDB was ‘elected’ as the first BOHO king by random picking of slips from a bowl. It is a different thing that all the slips had only one name. He was a great sport and carried out his ‘Duty’ as the King with aplomb. 

One part of the dinner was ‘party games’ and on agenda was a very popular game where participants pick a slip from a bowl, read the slip and enact what is in the slip. It could be a dance step, singing a song or a mimicry act whatsoever. 

When the bowl passed at Dr. Kurien, he picked a slip too. He was a great sport and ready to enact what the message on the slip demanded. He opened the slip, read it, folded it, looked at the expectant audience, smiled and kept quite. He then showed it to Mrs Kurien, then they both smiled. We were all anxious to know what message does the slip contain and eagerly looked forward to his act. 

But he just kept smiling. When all of us wanted to know what is he going to do, he passed the slip to master of ceremonies-Ashok Koshy and asked him to loudly read it. 

And the slip said, “What would you do if you were the Chairman of NDDB”. 

This is called some ‘party luck’. 

Pictures courtesy G Rajan and SB Sen Mazumdar

A polygraphed magazine Facts and Solid non Facts was started and a competition to suggest a name for the club was organised by Shri Ashok Koshy, IAS the then Executive Assistant to Chairman NDDB and later Director ( Administration ) who was the moving force behind organising this social club. Entry fee was Rs 1/-. A total of31 entries were received. Finally the jury selected BOHO as the official name of the club. If I remember correctly it was PT Jacob who suggested the name BOHO and got the prize of Rs 31/- Many believe that B in Boho stands for Buffalo making BoHO as Buffaloes of the highest order. The opinion is highly divided as B stands for many other words in English. 😁🙏🏼

The Spoiler

RK Nagar, in his inimitable style of weaves a nostalgic tale of his younger days and his indulgence in food. Why he decided to put a headline for this story as “ The spoiler” only he knows.

It is his story and about him, but as he puts it, he sees “no harm in starting this story with this title for my friend.”

Calling him a spoiler would be a bit too much, but I see no harm in starting this story with this title for my friend.

And the reason is simple. He ‘introduced’ me to non-vegetarianism- not jokes- FOOD!

Yes that is right. Till I met him, I had at best had an occasional egg, mostly boiled while eating out with friends. It is because I come from a strictly vegetarian family. We were not just vegetarian, we were very ‘Satvik’ in the sense that even onions and garlic didn’t make it to my mother’s kitchen.

Of course over time it changed. I vaguely remember that when I was in tenth grade that I first had raw onion with my food at home. It was introduced by my elder brother who was doing his engineering in Gujarat and having raw onion with Gujarati snacks is a must, especially if you have items like ‘fafda’. 

I had my first egg when I entered college. I was in pre university and during our practicals of animal husbandry, we had to work on the college poultry farm. Towards the end of the class, we were allowed to buy subsidised eggs from the department sale counter. Since most of us in the class were vegetarian, some of us- more adventurous types, bought an egg, cracked it and gulped the raw egg. So, it was taking nutrition without feeling the taste of the egg. Then came the boiled egg stage at home but it still wasn’t in my mom’s kitchen. I was permitted to boil it in a separate vessel on a stove placed in the farthest corner of the terrace.

Since our cook Raoji had cooked our usual vegetarian food while my friend was away in the market, I waited for my friend to finish his cooking so that we could have our lunch together

But this ritual broke when I came to Anand simply because eggs were not available in the market. I mean they were available but in very limited quantity. The sole seller had perhaps a dozen hens and he got another 50 or so eggs from Baroda- in an earthen matka. His entire stock used to get sold out by 9-10 am. When I asked him why he doesn’t get more eggs from Baroda, his cryptic reply was, ‘that is total demand of Anand. If you want eggs, tell me a day before with advance payment’.

Simply put, if you wanted eggs, you had to go to him the previous evening in good time for him to send a message to his Baroda supplier. It was virtually making a “prayerful request to the hen to lay an egg for you for the next day”. You had to specify the numbers and the time of pick up. If by any chance you were late in picking your order, the eggs were sold away to someone else.

Manibhuvan days at Anand

So, my enthusiasm to eat eggs completely died when I came to Anand. I lost the luxury to have a not so frequent boiled egg too. 

And since Gujarati food (as it is there were very limited eating places and they all served similar limited fixed thali) didn’t suit my palate, I wondered how this Spoiler friend of mine from north India had managed to survive. He came from a family of hard core non vegetarians who loved their ‘Khade masale wala meat’. And in Anand where one could barely get eggs, for him eating good meat was a distant dream.

When I moved to share accommodation with him in ‘Manibhuvan’ , one Sunday morning he set on the parapet wall of our balcony in a pose similar to one that village folks take when they go out in darkness for morning adulation. He was unusually quiet, almost pensive. I asked him if he was ok. 

“Yes, I am”, he replied. “But then why are you so quiet”, I asked. 

“I feel like eating meat”, he said. 

“So, what is the problem? You have been in Anand for sometime and you must be knowing a place where you can get meat. Let us go there and you can have your fill”, I responded. 

“No, I want ‘khade masale wala’ meat, the type that my mother cooks”. “You don’t get it in restaurants”. 

I had only heard of meat and I didn’t know what it meant. For me meat was meat- khada masala or baitha masala or for that matter soyahua masala- was all same to me. I couldn’t help him. So, I asked, “then what do you want to do”?

“I want to cook but I can’t do it in our kitchen as YOU are a vegetarian” was his reply. 

“I have no issues with your cooking whatever you want to eat in this kitchen. It is our kitchen and you are free to cook meat. I have friends who are non vegetarians and I have shared table with them on college tours. You don’t have to deprive yourself just because I am a vegetarian”. I cleared. 

He was very happy at my reply. He immediately changed into a spotless white pajama-kurta and left on foot for market to procure meat and ‘khade masale’ for his “meal of the year”. 

He returned after about an hour and a half in a horse carriage. The way he alighted was a scene to witness, he was smiling from ear to ear, looked very happy almost triumphant. 

He kept his purchases on the kitchen platform. There was a bigger pack with about 250 grams of meat and about a dozen small ‘pudias’ containing all the ‘khada masalas’. Again changed, asked me to sit in the balcony and got down to business. It took him nearly two hours to make the long awaited dish with his mother’s recipe. 

Since our cook Raoji had cooked our usual vegetarian food while my friend was away in the market, I waited for my friend to finish his cooking so that we could have our lunch together.

Finally he emerged from the kitchen and declared, ‘I have done it, it smells exactly as what my mother’s recipe’ and added, ‘Nagar, you eat first’. 

“Why”? I asked. “Because being a vegetarian, if you see me eating meat, you may throw up. I Don’t want to spoil your lunch”. 

“Look dear, if I had to eat alone, I would have done it while you were away in the market. I waited for you so that we eat together. Now let us sit and eat. It is Sunday lunch and we must enjoy it- I my veggies and you, your meat”. 

As we set down, he waited. He didn’t start while I had finished half a chapati. So, I asked him, “why aren’t you eating? Anything wrong”. 

“No, would you like to taste the curry- just a tea spoon, just in case and that will reassure me that I have not spoiled your lunch”. 

I agreed, tasted a tea spoonful of curry followed by a small piece of meat- the size of a peanut. 

The ‘Spoiler’ had played the trick. Smart cookie. I remained spoiled for the next 30 years.

Wouldn’t you want to know the name of this spoiler? The fellow who made me recall this story- Shailendra Kumar.

A memorable moment

MM Patel
MM Patel

I heard Dr Kurien speak to a group of people only once.

While was working as a team member of NDDB Spearhead Team (SHT) at Kolhapur in 1980, I got an office order transferring me from Dairy Project (NDDB, SHT) to the newly launched NDDB Oil Seeds and Vegetable Oil Project, Bhavnagar, in October 1980.

I was nominated to part in a seminar cum training programme of ten-day duration after six months of joining at Bhavnagar. The participants were staff chosen from National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and Gujarat Cooperative Oilseeds Growers Federation Ltd (GROFED. The subject areas covered were Agriculture Extension and Cooperation. The venue was the government agriculture farm Talaja, Bhavnagar. Oilseeds Growers were also invited on the day of the inauguration of the programme.

At the inaugural function Shri GM Jhala and Dr Chothani from NDDB addressed the seminar. They briefed about the NDDB Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil Project designed on the Anand pattern, with oilseed processing plant so that farmers get a remunerative price and steady marketing channel for their produces. At the end of the inaguration programme I got the opportunity to propose a vote of thanks to the speakers and participants.

Later, along with other training programme participants, I visited Lokbharti, Sanosara, Gujarat Agriculture University Campus, National Research Center for Groundnut at Junagadh and Soil testing Laboratory at Gandhinagar. It was a study visit and at each of these institutions we were briefed about the objectives, operations and specific activities of the institutions we visited. We also learnt about research work being carried out at these institutes.

It was heartening to learn about the research work in oilseeds production through the development of high yielding varieties. During the training, we also had sessions conducted by NDDB officers as well as from the Agriculture and Cooperation Department of the Government of Gujarat.

The seminar cum training programme ended at NDDB Anand.

Dr Kurien Sir addressed the concluding session. He briefed us about the NDDB Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil Project which was designed on the pattern of Anand Milk Cooperatives for the Oilseeds sector. Objective being to integrate production, processing and marketing of Oilseeds and edible oils as also provision of inputs for increasing Oilseeds production under Oilseeds Producer owned cooperative institutions.

In his address, Kurien also mentioned the telephonic conversations he had with the Minister in the Government of India about our project. Dr kurien Sir spoke in English with some sentences in Gujarati, which was very sweet. At the end he asked about our working conditions and problems faced and about our remunerstion.

This gesture on his part indicated his concern for employees. He was sensitive to the needs of both the employees and the oilseeds producers.

I fondly remember this event when I heard Dr Kurien speak to the participants of the seminar cum training programme. I was lucky to have been present on that occasion.

I fulfilled my curiosity

Curiosity kills the cat, or so goes the adage, but a curious village lad from Gujarat working in villages of Maharashtra fulfilled his interest, without harming the buffaloes ! MM Patel fondly remembers his experience.

I got an opportunity to work as a member of the NDDB spearhead team at Jalgaon (Maharashtra) from 1974 to 1976. This was the period when Operation Flood – I was under implementation.

This posting enabled me get a very good exposure into the workings of spearhead teams through which NDDB helped organise village level milk producers cooperatives in 18 milk shed of India, of which Jalgaon was one.

My leader Dr ML Naware Sir was an enthusiastic professional taskmaster who valued hard work and punctuality most. However, I was able to earn his trust within a few months based on my working.

I used to attend village meetings with him. I enjoyed working under his leadership. Other team members and I had on many occasions breakfast and tea at his house. My family members were invited for lunch at his home when I was transferred back from Jalgaon to Anand.

I also remember some names of other team members of the Jalgaon Team, including Shri NB Vashi Sir. He is at present Managing Director of Valsad District Milk Producers Cooperative Union Ltd. Vasudhara Dairy.

Vashi Sir had offered me a job at vasudhara dairy in the year 2014, but I missed working with him as my twin brother was admitted to hospital for cancer treatment. And it became necessary for me to be with my twin brother. I am glad that I was able to be with my brother when he needed my service.

Initially, we worked in Pachora Taluka reorganising milk producers cooperative societies. The milk producers cooperatives societies in Pachora were not working on the Anand pattern. There was no system for milk testing, and producers were not paid as per the fat content of milk. Milk Producers had to bring their buffalo to an open ground near the society. The milk cooperative society staff supervised the milking of buffaloes.

We had to stop this system. Under the Anand pattern, milk producers milk their buffalo at their homes and bring milk to the society collection centre. We introduced testing of milk for fat content, and the price of milk was paid according to fat content as per Anand pattern. The producer members were happy with the new system.

After about a year of field work veterinary routes were started for these societies every week. For organising this work Dr Joseph was deputed from NDDB Anand. Fresh /experienced veterinary doctors were recruited by the Milk Union for the mobile veterinary services. Dr Joseph returned to Anand on completion of his work after a few months.

Once the reorganisation of milk cooperative societies in Pachora Taluka on Anand Pattern was completed except for me, all other team members were shifted to other talukas for similar work.

My task was to undertake visits to societies for supervision. I used to travel to societies using vehicles operating on the mobile veterinary routes.

I was curious to learn buffalo pregnancy diagnosis and administering medicine to a Buffalo through injection.

The doctor agreed and taught me the pregnancy diagnosis technique and how to inject a buffalo for administering medicine.

One day I had a talk with doctors. I had seen the doctors treating buffaloes and diagnosing for pregnancy. I had closely observed the hard work they put for treating buffaloes.

I had passed the 11th Board exam (Old SSC) with science subjects and took admission into science college. I later changed the study line and joined a commerce college due to the inconvenience of State Trasport bus timing for travel from my village to the college. I also used to work with a milk producers cooperative society in the neighbouring village. The Commerce (B Com) degree came very handy in 1981 when I was absorbed from NDDB into GROFED as an accountant and thereafter I also got an opportunity to work as Executive (Finance & Accounts) with Mehsana Dustrict Cooperative Oilseeds Growers Union.

I had seen only natural service for breeding of buffaloes in my village. Artificial insemination of buffaloes for breeding was carried out in my village only from the year 1970 onwards. We had to take our buffalo to a bull in the neighbouring village for servicing, and it was a cumbersome task.

I once accompanied my father when he had take our buffalo to the neighbouring village for servicing. On reaching that village we found that the bull was not there. During the day time the bull moved along with the herds of other animals for grazing. We had to take our buffalo to the ground where the animals and the Bull were grazing. With the help of herdsman and much hardship we were able to get our buffalo serviced.

The artificial insemination services for buffalo & cows provided through milk producers cooperative socities with the help of district milk union and NDDB is a boon to farmers and has contributed greatly the development of dairying in the country.

I was curious to learn more about pregnancy diagnosis. So while on veterinary route one day, I expressed my desire to insert my hand into the buffalo’s body to diagnose for pregnancy. The doctor agreed and taught me the pregnancy diagnosis technique and how to inject a buffalo for administering medicine.

There after I tried my hand at pregnancy diagnosis several times while on a veterinary route route and the doctors had found my diagnosis to be correct. I also used to inject buffaloes for administering medicine.

I enjoyed the learning experience and the way I was able to satisfy my curiosity. I fondly remember this even today.

એનડીડીબી-અનુભવની પાઠશાળા

અતિતની ભીતરમાં ડોકિયું કરતા અનેક પ્રસંગોની હારમાળા ઉપસી આવે અને તેને યાદ કરી માણવાની મજા આવે ,કેટલાંક કાર્ય સ્થલે બનેલા બનાવો આજે પણ સ્મરણ પટ પર રમતા જોવા મલે અને તેને યાદ કરતાં આનંદની લહેર શરીરમાંથી પસાર થાય!

આશરે ચાર દાયકા પહેલાં જયારે મારી એનડીડીબી મા નિમણુંક થઇ અને સાબરમતી આશ્રમ ગૌશાળા,અમદાવાદ ખાતે પોસ્ટીંગ થયું ત્યારે આનંદ નો સમુદ્ર મારી અંદર હીલો ળા  લઇ રહ્યો હતો તે વખતે માત્ર છવ્વીસ વર્ષ ની આયુ મા એનડીડીબી જેવી પ્રતિષ્ઠિત અને ગૌરવશાળી સંસ્થા માં સારા પગાર સાથે એક પશુ ચિકિત્સક ને નોકરી મલવી તે ગર્વ લેવા જેવી વાત હતી !

મારા રોજબરોજના કાર્ય મા પશુપાલન ક્ષેત્રે વૈજ્ઞાનિક ઢબે પશુ સંવર્ધન માટે કૃત્રિમ વીર્ય દાનની તાલિમ આપવા સાથે પરચૂરણ ઓફીસ કાર્ય અને પશુઓની સંભાળ રાખવાનું કાર્ય મને સોંપેલ હતું. સંવેદના સાથે પશુની નજીક જઇ તેનું અવલોકન કરવું અને તેની વર્તણુક નો અભ્યાસ કરવો જે મારી અંગત રૂચિ હતી અને તે માટે સવાર સાંજ પશુઓને નિરખતો.

તે વખતે ગૌશાળા મા ગાંધીજીના સમયથી ગાયો નો રખરખાવ થતો અને આશ્રમ વાસીઓને દૂધ પૂરું પાડવાનો શિરસ્તો હતો. એક સફેદ કામધેનું જેવી ગાયે જોડકા વાછડાનો જન્મ આપ્યો જે સફેદ દૂધ જેવા અને કાલી ભમ્મર આંખો વાલા અતિ સુંદર વાછરડા ઓને મે સ્વેચ્છા એ દતક લઇ ને રોજ કસરત સાથે દોડવાની તથા કુદકા મારવાની તાલીમ આપતો!

બને વાછરડાના નામ હિરા અને મોતી રાખ્યા હતાં, રોજ તેમને નામથી બોલાવતો અને દોડતા આવી જતા ,નવડાવવા સાથે શિંગડે તેલ લગાવી ને ચમકતા રાખતો અને જોતજોતામાં તો આ વાછરડા દોઢ વર્ષ ના થઇ ગયા! મુલાકાતી ઓ તેને જોઇને અચરજ પામતાં અને ઉંચી કિંમત આપવા તેયાર હતાં પણ આતો અમારા જીગરના ટૂકડા વેચાય કેમ!

એક દિવસ અમારા બોસ ડો ચોથાણી સાહેબ કોઇ કાર્ય માટે ઑફિસમાં આવ્યા ,એક એવું વયકતિતવ કે તેમને જોતાં જ ડર લાગે અને બોલે એટલે નોન સ્ટોપ, પરન્તુ હદયના નિખાલસ!  તેમણે બધાના કાર્ય વિષે પૂછપરછ કરી અને દરેક વિભાગ ની મુલાકાત લીધી.’આ સિવાય બીજું શું કામ કરો છો તમે ?’ એવું પૂછતાં મે ગભરાતાં ગભરાતાં જવાબ આપ્યો પશુને પણ તાલીમ આપુ છું એવુ જણાવતા તેઓ વિસ્મય પામ્યા અને મને કહ્યુ કે ‘ હિરા મોતી બતાવ’! મે વિગતવાર તેમની સાથે વાત કરી અને ડેમો આપ્યો તો તેઓ ખુશ ખુશ થઈ ગયા અને કહ્યુ કે ‘વાહ આતો ન માની શકાય તેવુ !પણ હવે હૂ તને ખાસ સૂચના આપું છું કે તારે એવી તાલીમ આપવાની કે કુરિયન સાહેબ પણ તેમનાં ગલા મા હાથ નાંખી ને ઉભા રહે તેવું તારે કરવાનું છે અને હુ કુરિયન સાહેબને અહી લઇને આવીશ ‘આ સાંભલી ને મારાં તો હોશ ઉડી ગયા અને ‘And Boss is always right ‘એ કહેવત ને ધ્યાને લેતાં મે મારું માથું હલાવી મૂક સંમતિ આપી પરન્તુ મનમાં એવો વિચાર આવ્યો કે ‘જોષી તારી નોકરી ગઇ’!

પછીના દિવસો બહુ ઉચાટ અને ગભરાટ સાથે વિત્યા,રાતે ઉઘ પણ ન આવે ,સપનાં મા ચોથાણી સાહેબનો રોફદાર ચહેરો દેખાય!અને એક દિવસ સાહેબ આવી ચડયા અને કહ્યુ ‘ચલ તૂ હિરા મોતી ને તૈયાર રાખ હુ આવું છું !’

પલની પણ રાહ જોયા વગર મે માણસોને સૂચના આપી અને બંને ને નવડાવી ધોવડાવી,ઉચ્ચ પ્રકારનો ખોરાક આપી,શિંગડા ઉપર તેલ લગાવી,બંનેની પીઠ ઉપર રંગબેરંગી ઝૂલ નાખીને વરરાજા જેવાં તૈયાર કરી,ચોથાણી સાહેબને તેમની બાંધવાની જગ્યા એ લઇ ગયો!બંનોનો વિકાસ જોઈને સાહેબ ખુશ થઈ ગયા અને મને આદેશ આપ્યો ‘પહેલાં તૂ જા અને ગલામા હાથ નાંખી ઉભો રહે !’આદેશ મુજબ હું આત્મ વિશ્વાસ સાથે ગયો અને વારાફરતી બંનેને પૂચકારીને ગલામા હાથ નાંખી ભેટ્યો,બંને શાંતિ થી ઉભા રહ્યા! હવે સાહેબ નો વારો હતો અને જેવા નજીક ગયા કે તુરંત શિંગડા ઉગામ્યા અને સાહેબ બે ડગલાં પાછાં હટી ગયા અને તેમને સમજાય ગયું કે પશુ સંવેદનશીલ હોય છે ,સાથે રહો તો પ્રેમ ની ભાષા સમજે છે !સાહેબે મારી પીઠ થાબડી અને કહ્યુ જોષી તૂ મારી પરિક્ષા મા પાસ થયો અને પછી આનંદથી વિદાય થયા!

આવી હતી બોસની કરડાકી ભર્યા ચહેરા પાછલ છૂપાયેલી ઉદારતા, જેને આજે પણ યાદ કરતા ધન્યતા અનુભવું છુ!

NDDB campus life Reminiscences from the 1970’s

G Krishnan
G Krishnan

Here is a small trip down the memory lane.For many of the Junior Officers who resided in the NDDB campus at Anand in the early 1970’s,the ubiquitous table pictured below is sure to bring about nostalgia.

These handcrafted tables were on sale during the evening hours just outside the Baroda railway station. And the price? A mere Rs.5!Carting a couple of them to Anand was no hassle either. There used to be a Baroda- Ahmedabad passenger train leaving the station at 6 PM, reaching Anand around 7 PM. However, transporting them to the campus was more cumbersome than carting them from Baroda to Anand! If memory serves me right,autorickshaws were either rare or yet to make its appearance in the visibility of the Anand station.

Initially, I had picked up one table and paid Rs.5.However,the next year when we picked up another unit , we had to pay Rs.7.But ,at such prices one does not complain.

The one pictured here is still in perfect shape and serves me well. And believe me, during the past 40 odd years, I have carted the guy to Delhi, Bombay, Madras and Cochin in trucks packed like sardines. Sadly,I lost its identical twin in 2000,while transiting from Madras to Cochin.

The second photograph of the three cute looking coffee mugs too have another fascinating story to tell. They were also picked up from Baroda sometime in 1977.Remember, during those days Anand was still a one horse town.

It was a case of the proverbial love at first sight! I first saw it on Professor Michael Halse’s office table. And over the next few weeks, I realised that it was a regular presence on his table. I am sure that the learned Professor must have noticed my envious glances at the mug. But he chose to neglect it, and I felt too uncomfortable to ask him where he purchased it.

However , a few days later,I checked with his Secretary Jagadish Mehta and learned that it was purchased from a crockery shop in Baroda. Other than that he could not tell me anything more. Though disappointed, there was hardly anything that I could do about it.

A couple of months passed by.And then Hey Presto ! One afternoon I found myself in the Office Library ( then located in the hostel building). I noticed librarian Jyotiben Patel holding a copy of the now-defunct Illustrated Weekly of India. And the outside back cover carried a full-page colour advertisement of the same coffee mugs with the accompanying jug.

Sadly, the advertisement carried only the name of the manufacturer-Standard Potteries and not that of the distributors in Gujarat.

However,the disappointment did not last long .During our next visit to Baroda for some small shopping,I stumbled upon the object of my desire in a largish ceramic shop in the Mandvi area!

Though we picked up 6 mugs and the accompanying jug, sadly only tthree survive today. But,as the saying goes,one has to be grateful for small mercies!

Even after four decades, I continue to use them every day. And every time I see the mugs which I have lovingly named as ‘ Mike’s Mugs’, fond memories of the late Professor flashes through my mind.

Aameen Khan Rahut writes about his passion and professional life journey!

Amin Khan Rahut
Amin Khan Rahut

My professional life centres around three prestigious Institutions, and even after my retirement, it has remained almost the same.

I joined Indian Dairy Corporation (IDC) in the year 1973. I was only 22 years old then. I shifted to Anand to work for the Coordination Department of IDC. When IDC merged into National Dairy Development Board in 1987, I also worked with the Chairman’s office.

I was lucky to have had the opportunity to work directly with very respected professionals from these organisations; Dr MPG Kurup, Late Shri ZS Chhatwal, Shri N. K. Chawla, Dr RS Khanna and Shri B. M. Vyas. Each of them besides being a boss were very good mentors.

I thank Dr RS Khanna who is responsible for my induction into IDC. He was the one who encouraged me to get into theatre in Baroda before I moved to Anand.

Last but not the least I thank Shri BM Vyas, former Managing Director of GCMMF, for whom I worked as his Executive Assistant. Shri Vyas sir has shown me the world of Dairy Marketing. He is the responsible for my overall growth in the field of Marketing. And he is still supporting me. For the past 25 years we are together and I am still working for him.

While working with the Chairmans office I worked closely with Shri Shailendra Kumar, whom I respect. He always appreciated my work and when I was wrong, criticised also.

But there is another side of my persona. Even before I got into a job, I participated in theatre.

While at NDDB, Anand, I got ample opportunities a conducive environment to explore and expand further my theatre activities. I was able to develop many employees of the organisations where I worked and their family in theatre. I also worked closely with like minded theatre persons from IRMA and Dairy Science College, Anand.

Under the aegis of BOHO Club I received all the help required to pursue my passion. I also taught acting to my fellow employees and their families, including children, and we staged different types of plays, dances, etc., each year on the eve of 26th January, 15th August, BOHO Day and so on.

Over time, I developed a number of good quality theatre persons both male and females from these organisations.

BOHO Club got recognition through out India for its theatre activities. We also got prestigious Awards. I was awarded Sanjeev Kumar Memorial Award for Best Amateur Director in 1993 at Shimla and Best Amateur Director in 1994 at Agra. Both are National level awards. Apart from these I received six Awards for acting and direction at the State Level.

I have written and staged two plays in Hindi. Written six mono acting scripts and translated five books of plays from different languages in Hindi, and managed State and National level theatre competitions.

“DEVDASI” a play written by me two years back has got many awards at the national level University competition. My another play “SAVDHAN POLICE HAI” got nine first Awards at the National level competition.

Writing poems is my passion. I have written a number of poems. All my poems are romantic, as I feel romance of life every where. A book of my poems “EK BATTA BAHATTAR”, has recently been published by Amazon and is available on its site for sale.

I am now 70 years but still actively involved in cultural activities. I spend my time playing songs on key-board, writing poems and scripts for my young friends.

My all poems are romantic, as romance is every where.

A book of my poems “EK BATTA BAHATTAR

Recently published by Amazon available on sale

એનડીડીબી-એક અનુભવનો ખજાનો! 

રાષ્ટ્રિય ડેરી વિકાસ બોર્ડ એટલે નવોદિત અનુભવોનો ખજાનો! નેતૃત્વ શક્તિ થી માંડીને શિસ્ત તથા પડકારોનો સામનો કરવા અંગેના પ્રાયોગિક પાઠો ત્યા શીખવા મલે અને આત્મવિશ્વાસ આત્મસાત થતો રહે ! અને એટલે જ મારા જીવનનો સુવર્ણ કાલ મારા એનડીડીબી ના કાર્યકાલ દરમ્યાન મને સતત આનંદ આપવા સાથે પરિપક્વ કરતો રહ્યો.

આમ તો કેટકેટલા નવોદિત અનુભવો મને મારા કાર્ય કાળ દરમ્યાન થતા રહ્યા તેમાંનો એક સુંદર અને સંવેદનશીલ અનુભવ ને અહી કંડારતા મને હર્ષ થાય છે.અતિતના ઉંડાણમાં ડોકિયું કરતાં,1985-86 ના વર્ષ માં તે વખતના ભારતના યુવા વડાપ્રધાન રાજીવ ગાંધી દ્વારા એનડીડીબીના ચેરમેનશ્રી કુરિયન સાહેબને એક પડકારજનક પ્રોજેકટ સોપવામાં આવેલ જે તે સમયના ટેકનોલોજી મિશન અંતર્ગત લેવામાં આવેલ જેમાં સેન્ટ્રલ ગવર્મેન્ટ દ્વારા સામાજીક રીતે પછાત લોકોને ફાલવવા મા આવેલ એક રૂપિયા માંથી કેટલી રકમ વાસ્તવમાં પહોંચે છે તેનો એક સાર્વત્રિક સર્વે કરવા નુ કપરૂં અને પડકારજનક કામ હતું!

સમગ્ર દેશના વિવિધ રાજયો ના સેમ્પલ લઇને આ સર્વે ગામડાં મા વસતાં જુદા જુદા 10 પ્રકારના વર્ગો ને લઇને કરવામાં આવેલ હતો.

એનડીડીબી ના મહદ અંશે ગુજરાતી જાણતા અધિકારીઓનો સમાવેશ કરી અલગ અલગ ટીમ બનાવી તેમને રાજયના વિવિધ જિલ્લા ઓમાં મોકલવા મા આવેલ હતા.

અમારી ટીમ દ્વારા દક્ષિણ ગુજરાતનો આર્થિક રીતે પછાત વલસાડ જિલ્લો પસંદ કરવા મા આવેલ હતો.અમે વલસાડ તાલુકાના ધરમપુર ગામમાં સર્વેનો પ્રારંભ કરેલ અને નિવાસ સ્થાન ચિખલી ખાતે અલીપુર મા રાખેલ હતું.

ધરમપુર ગામમાં પ્રવેશ કરતા જ તેની ભૂગોળનો અંદાજ અમને આવી ગયો પહાડ અને ટેકરી ઉપર વસતાં આદિવાસી લોકોનાં છૂટાછવાયા ઘર હતા અને મજૂરી તેમનો વ્યવસાય હતો.નાના નાનાં ઝુંપડા મા વસતાં આદિવાસી ના ઘરે જતાં જ શરુઆતમાં તેઓ ડરી ગયા અને તેમને પકડી જશે તેઓ ભય સેવી રહ્યા હતાં. અમે તેમને અમારાં આવવાનો હેતું અમારી સાથે આવેલ લોકલ માણસ તેમજ અમારા દ્વારા સરલ રીતે સમજાવવામાં આવ્યો હતો અને પછી તેઓ ખૂલીને વાત કરતા થયા!અમોને એટલો સુંદર આવકાર આપ્યો અને તેમની શક્તિ પ્રમાણે ભોજનનો પ્રબંધ કર્યો જેમાં લાગી નામના અનાજનાં રોટલા અને ચટણી ભાવભીના થઇને અમોને પીરસી હતી ,મિઠાશ તો એટલી ન પૂછો વાત અમે આગલી ચાટતા રહી ગયા !

આ રીતે સર્વેની યાત્રા શરૂ થઈ!ગામનાં સરપંચને મલ્યા તો એવુ લાગ્યુ જાણે કે તે ગામનો રાજા હતો ,કરીયાણાની દુકાન પણ ચલાવે અને સ્કુલ નો પણ સર્વે સર્વા! લોકોને મલતી મદદ જેવી કે છાપરા,નલિયા અને ઇંટો લોકોનાં નામે તેમને ત્યા પહોંચી જતી અને બારોબાર હિસાબ થઇ જતો તેવું લોકો એ જણાવ્યું જે અમારા માટે મોટું અચરજ પમાડે તેવું હતું!

ગામમાં એક મિશનરી સ્કુલ પણ હતી પરન્તુ બહું ઓછાં બાલકો તેમા જતા અને લોકો ગભરાતા અને કહેતા હતા કે સાહેબ ત્યા તો છોકરાઓને ઇસાઇ બનાવી દે છે તમો ત્યા જતા નહી આ રીતે અમોને ગામમાં ચાલતી વટાલ પ્રવૃતિ વિષે જાણવાં મલયુ!

અમારા આશચરય વચ્ચે અમોને મહુડાના ઝાડની નીચે બાંધવામાં આવેલ એક ઝૂંપડીમાં લઇ જવામાં આવ્યા જયાં કાળાં થયેલ ડબ્બા પડેલ હતાં અને પુછપરછ કરતાં જાણ થઈ કે ત્યા મહુડાનો દારુ ગાળવાની ભઠ્ઠી હતી! અમારા જવાથી લોકોમાં ભગદડ મચી ગઇ,તેઓને લાગ્યુ કે સરકારી બાબુઓ રેડ પાડવાં આવ્યા છે!પરન્તુ,અમે તેઓને અમારા આવવાનું કારણ સમજાવ્યું.

અહી કેટલાંક પીધેલા લોકો હતા ,બવાલ કરી અંદરોઅંદર ઝગડતા હતા,એકબીજાને ગાળો ભાંડતા હતાં અમો આ દરશય જોઈ રહ્યા હતાં દુખ અને વિસ્મય સાથે હતાં! પૂછપરછ કરતાં જણાયું કે તેઓ મહુડામાથી દેશી દારૂ બનાવી વેચતા હતા.અહી ગ્રાહકો શીશો લઇને આવતા હતા અને પાંચ રૂપિયા મા દારૂ લઇ જતા હતાં,શિક્ષણનુ પ્રમાણ નહિવત્ હોવાથી આવી અનેક સામાજિક બદીઓના લોકો ગુલામ હતાં!

અમે તો દિગમૂઢ થઇ ગયા જયારે છેવાડા ના ગામ દિક્ષલની મુલાકાત લીધી! અમારા પ્રવેશ સાથે લોકો ડરીને આઘાપાછા થઈ ગયા,કપડાં માત્ર નામના પહેર્યા હતાં,સ્ત્રીઓ પણ અહીં ચિકાર દારૂ પીતી હતી !લોકોએ બુમાબુમ કરી મૂકી રાજીવ ગાંધી આયા છે! આવા અતિશય પછાત ગામડાની બિસ્માર હાલત જોઈ મારી આંખો માં આંસુ ના તોરણો બંધાણા,આ હતી આદિવાસી પછાત ગામોની અસહ્ય હાલત!

લગભગ દસ દિવસમાં અમારો સર્વે પૂરો થયો કડવાં મીઠાં અનેક અનુભવો થયા અને પછી આ સર્વે ના જયારે પરિણામ જાહેર થયા તો એવું તારણ આવ્યુ કે સરકાર દ્વારા મદદના એક રૂપિયા માંથી માત્ર પંદર પૈસા લોકોને પહોંચે છે જયારે પંચાસી પૈસા વચેટીયાઓ આરોગી જાય છે આ આપણા ભારતની વરવી ન ગમે તેવી છબી સામે આવી! ભ્રષ્ટાચાર ના ભોરિગે કેવો જીવલેણ ભરડો લીધો છે તે જોય ને હૈયું દ્રવી જાય છે !

A Chapati Tale

RK Nagar
RK Nagar

Wondering? How can there be a tale about a Chapati, but there is one.

Here it is.

Back in 1971 on NDDB campus, bachelors- some twenty of us who were eating in hostel mess suddenly lost our privilege to eat there. Most of us had to make emergency arrangements that included some self taught cooking lessons. 

The next two months after loosing the privilege were a time for most of us to learn some basic survival from hunger tricks. After all how long could we survive on bread, scarcely available eggs, butter and cheese chiplets? The Indian pallet in us needed something else- spiced veggies /curries, simple daal, rice and Chapatis. 

Whereas most of us had by this time managed to cook daal, rice and some vegetables- most of the time it used to be only potatoes and onions, rice, daal and any combination thereof became the staple. Be it lunch or dinner, any permutation had to be around these basic foods. The more adventurous ones added some fresh green veggies out of the limited choices available then. And the good old Chapati was substituted by freshly baked bread from Ambrosia bakery at Jagnath Mahadev. 

Naturally therefore, after office and sports hour which used to be mainly cricket with a tennis ball, whenever we gathered on the lawn opposite hostel after dark,the talk invariably drifted towards Chapati. How we all were missing it. That was also the time for most of us to miss and remember our “Maa ke haath kiRoti”. But there was nothing that we could do to redeem ourselves out of this situation.

“Nagar, here is 1 kg atta, now it is your turn to make the chapatis”.

On one of such evenings, one fellow became so desperate that he almost criedand blurted, ‘Oh God, how long will it be before I get to eat a Chapati? How long will I have to live on this bread from Ambrosia bakery?” And soon there were other dozen or so hungry souls crying with him for a Chapati. Call it a ‘crying chorus’.

Before the atmosphere could turn gloomy, one of them jokingly stated, “you will have darshan of a Chapati only after you get married, provided your wife knows how to cook”. This was just an innocent joke but our friend who had started it all didn’t take it kindly.

“I am talking of one NOW, the fellow who was the first to start retorted. Will I wait for a Chapati till  get married”? He reacted. His frustration with the situation was palpable. 

Sensing that matters might get sensitive, I with a simple intent to divert, said, “I know how to make Chapatis. And I can make one for you but we don’t have wheat flour and at this late hour, we can’t get it either. So wait for another occasion.”

As I made this statement, I noticed that Rajiv Varma just got up, started hisscooter and disappeared. Since, this was his usual pattern,  no one paid muchattention to it. While we were busy with a much lighter conversation on Chapati, we noticed Rajiv return with a linen bag on his shoulder.

He alighted from the scooter, from his shoulder bag he pulled out a paper bag,stretched his hand towards me and said, “Nagar, here is 1 kg atta, now it is your turn to make the chapatis”.

I was caught unawares. I had never entered the kitchen in my parent’s home and here was a paper bag full of wheat flour staring at me with two dozen hungry eyes waiting for me to say ‘yes, I will make chapatis for you’. This soon turned in a chorus demanding chapatis cooked by Nagar.  

Finding myself cornered, I tried another trick, ‘but to make chapatis, you need kitchen aids. You need a Tawa, a Chakla and a Belan and no one has that. So, wait till the kitchen aids are procured’. As I thought I had just escaped the tricky situation, Gore, pulled a rabbit, “I have an equipped kitchen. There is everything there that you need to make chapatis”. 

Oh My God, how did I forget that? Gore had a cook- Shanaji until a few days ago and he used to make chapatis for him right here on the campus! Boy, I was caught in a self created tangle.

Finding no escape, I made a bold statement, ‘alright, let us all go to Gore’s house and I will make chapatis. But there is a condition. You will have to be patient as I am doing it after a very long time and everyone gets only one Chapati. There shall be no demand for a second one’.

“Agreed”, the chorus of hungry souls said in one voice. 

In my parent’s home, I had very keenly observed my mother cook. I knew how she kneaded the dough, how she rolled out chapatis, how she baked them on tawa and how round uniformly cooked and fully inflated lovely chapatis emerged. Equipped with every bit of theoretical knowledge about Chapati making, I was all set to take a plunge to translate my knowledge into practice. 

I carefully made the dough. Kneading it by adding small quantities of water, I was able to get the right consistency- not too soft nor too hard to roll into chapatis. I proudly showed them how the dough is prepared. A dozen hungry souls were very impressed and I could see restlessness in their eyes to devour chapatis. 

Now came the real test- rolling out a Chapati. Here the difference between theory and practice became very apparent. Harder I tried to make a round shape, a new shape emerged. Chapatis in every conceivable shape emerged except the round one. Cooking them on tawa was even harder-I had no idea that temperature control is also needed and that one learns only by practice. 

My observed knowledge had failed me. Not a single Chapati was round and,except the last one that partially inflated, all other turned out as flat hard pieces of, at least fully cooked, edible, irregularity shaped something for which I can’t find a suitable name. 

Anyway, the project ‘Chapati’ was a grand success. I can vouch for it becausethe expression of the dozen hungry souls had given me a thumbs up and a standing ovation. That day I learnt that a humble Chapati can be a life saver too. 

But, I learnt a lesson. The morale of the story is- if you are surrounded by hungry souls, even if you know, never admit that you know cooking. Keep your trap shut. Second, take a good look in your closest friend’s kitchen- just in case you slip his kitchen doesn’t take you by surprise. And if you find any kitchen aids that can ditch you, secretly throw them in the farthest ditch you can find. 

Finally, the humble Chapati won the hearts of a dozen hungry souls. It all happened in good time before they could turn into ‘hungry howls’.

कथा, एक मित्र के ब्याह की भाग १ और २

रश्मि कांत नागर
रश्मि कांत नागर

कथा, एक मित्र के ब्याह की भाग -१

सुप्रसिद्ध अंग्रेज़ी नाट्यकार जॉर्ज बर्नार्ड शॉ ने कहा था की, “हर बुद्धिमान महिला को जितनी जल्दी हो सके शादी कर लेनी चाहिये और हर एक बुद्धिमान पुरुष को शादी में जितनी देर हो सके उतनी देर करनी चाहिये”।

हमारा मित्र उनके इस कथन से बहुत प्रभावित था। मुझे नहीं पता की जॉर्ज बर्नार्ड शॉ ने स्वयं अपने इस कथन का खुद कितना अनुसरण किया या नहीं, परंतु हमारा मित्र, मुझे ऐसा लगा जैसे वह ठीक ऐन मौक़े पर अपने आप को बुद्धिमान साबित करना चाह रहा था। हम ऐन.डी.डी. बी. के कैम्पस में रहते थे और दिल्ली के लिये रवाना होने से पहले, भाई साहब हॉस्टल के सामने सड़क पर अपना सूटकेस रख कर, अपनी खोपड़ी खुजलाते इस दुविधा से निपटने का निष्फल प्रयास कर रहे थे। ये घटना जून १९७१ की है। तब हम सब जवान थे ।

हम में से कुछ तब और अब

हम उनकी ये दुविधा समझ रहे थे। हमें मालूम था की उनकी सगाई छोटी उम्र में ही हो गयी थी और अगर गाँव में रहते तो शायद न सिर्फ़ उनका बालविवाह हो चुका होता, पर वह अधिक नहीं तो कम से कम २-३ बच्चों की पिता भी बन चुके होते। मुझे पूरी तरह से ज्ञात नहीं, मेरा अनुमान है कि वे अपनी मंगेतर से प्रेमपत्रों के माध्यम से जुड़े रहे होंगे। एक तरफ़ शादी का लड्डू खाने को आतुर मन और दूसरी और जॉर्ज बर्नार्ड शॉ का प्रभाव। बलिहारी उन प्रेमपत्रों की।

हम ठहरे उनके शुभचिंतक मित्र।समझाया, “भाई, जल्दी कर वरना गाड़ी छूट जाएगी और सिर्फ़ शादी के लड्डू के सपने मिलेंगे”। यह समझिए धक्का मारना पड़ा महाशय को आनन्द रेलवे स्टेशन पहुँचाने में। अगर दोपहर दो बजे की बड़ोदा लोकल छूट जाती तो बड़ोदा से दिल्ली जाने वाली राजधानी छूट जाती, समय पर नहीं पहुँचते और मुहूर्त निकल जाता। सोचिए, सही निर्णय दिलवाने में हम मित्रों की कितनी अहम भूमिका रही होगी, क्योंकि ७० के दशक में आवागमन की सुविधाएँ सीमित थीं।

अपने इस निकटतम मित्र की शादी को लेकर हम सभी उत्साहित थे। कैम्पस में रहने वाले कोई बीस एक नौजवान कुँवारों बे बीच, यह पहला शेरदिल था  जो अपनी आज़ादी की क़ुर्बानी देने जा रहा था। याद रहे बचपन में हुई सगाई और बाथरूम में पढ़े गये प्रेमपत्र। उनकी भी तो अत्यधिक महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका थी। 

शाम क़रीब पाँच बजे हम में से एक बोला, “अरे यार, ये तो वाक़ई शादी करने चला गया। इसके बिना अपन तीनों शाम को बोर हो जायेंगे। दूसरा बोला, “हमारा तो ठीक है, पर उसकी ‘लोटिया भागोल’ वाली प्रेमिका का क्या होगा? जब उसे पता चलेगा तो वह लड़की तो अपने बाल नोच लेगी, सर फोड़ लेगी, रो रो कर बुरा हाल हो जायेगा बेचारी का। हो सकता है आत्महत्या भी कर ले”।

“यह तो बड़ी गंभीर स्थिति हो गयी”, तीसरा बोला और उसने सुझाव दिया की हम तीनों, लोटिया भागोल वाली हमारे मित्र की प्रेमिका से मिल कर उसे समझायें ताकि वो कोई भी आत्मघाती कदम ना उठाये।

हमने ऐसा ही किया। हमारे मित्र की प्रेमिका- कपिला बेन से मिले, उन्हें समझाया। पहले तो उन्होंने बहुत आँसू बहाए, पर इस बात पर मान गयी कि वह कोई भी ग़लत कदम नहीं उठाएँगी। ठुकरायी हुई प्रेमिका कुछ भी कर सकती है, यह बात हम तीनों को परेशान कर रही थी।

कपिला बेन ने सिर्फ़ एक काम किया। अपने दुःखी मन के सारे भाव एक पोस्ट कार्ड पर उँड़ेले, और तुरंत उसे रेलवे स्टेशन जाकर RMO के हवाले कर दिया। पत्र लिखते समय कपिला बेन के आंसू बड़ी मुश्किल से रूके होंगे, फिर भी तो- तीन तो चिठ्ठी पर टपक ही गये। कपिला बेन क्योंकि “लोटिया भागोल” से थीं, उनका हिन्दी ज्ञान सीमित था, लिहाज़ा खुला पत्र यानी पोस्ट कार्ड में उन्होने हिं -गुजराती मिश्रित भाषा का प्रयोग किया गया।

हमारे मित्र का भाग्य बहुत अच्छा था। पोस्ट कार्ड दिल्ली पहुँचा। पोस्टमैन की दस्तक पर उस दिन सौभाग्य वश कपिला बेन का पत्र सीधे उन्ही के हाथ लगा।

मित्र ने पत्र पढ़ा तो चेहरे का रंग उड़ गया। तुरंत घर के पास वाले तारघर पहुँचे और हमें तार किया, “किसी कपिला बेन का पत्र है, माजरा क्या है? तुरंत छान-बीन करो और मुझे बताओ। भाग्य ये पत्र मेरे पिताजी के हाथ नहीं लगा वरना अनर्थ हो जाता”।

क्योंकि हम तीनों कपिला बेन पहले मिल चुके थे, हमने तुरन्त जवाबी तार किया, “सब कुछ नियंत्रण में है”। तार मिलते ही हमारे मित्र की जान में जान आयी, विवाह निर्विघ्न सम्पन्न हुआ और कोई एक सप्ताह बाद वो नयी नवेली दुल्हन के साथ सकुशल आनन्द आ पहुँचे ।

आप सोच रहे होंगे के हमारा ये मित्र कौन था। ये कोई और नहीं,इसी वृक्षमन्दिर के प्रणेता श्री शैलेंद्र कुमार थे। कपिला बेन हम तीन मित्रों- बेहला, गोरे और मेरी कल्पना का नतीजा थीं, और मेरी टूटी-फूटी गुजराती ने प्रेमपत्र को साकार रूप दे दिया। पत्र पर गिरे आँसू भी नक़ली थे- आख़िर पानी की दो बूँदे गिरा कर कार्ड हिलाया और हो गया काम!

आख़िर अच्छे मित्र ऐसे नाज़ुक मौक़े सम्भालने के लिए ही तो जाने जाते हैं! 

कथा, एक मित्र के ब्याह की और हमारे बापू की भाग -२

मित्र के ब्याह की कथा आगे बढ़ायें, इसके पहले हमारे “बापू” से परिचय करवाना अत्यंत आवश्यक है। 

बापू, हमारे सम्माननीय बापू, कौन थे और उनका नामकरण कैसे हुआ यह अपने आप में ही एक कहानी है। पहले इसे पढ़िये। इस सारी कहानी में “बापू” की असली पहचान आपसे छिपायी जायेगी क्योंकि मैं अपने ख़िलाफ़ मानहानि का कोई मुक़द्दमा नहीं चाहता।

ऐन.डी.डी.बी कार्यालय ने जब कैम्पस से काम करना प्रारंभ किया, तब नए इंजिनीयर्स की भर्ती हुई। बापू इनमे से एक थे। ओहदे में तो हमारे बराबर ही थे, परंतु उम्र में शायद हमसे ४-५ वर्ष बड़े रहे होंगे। ऑफ़िस के बाद जब हम लोग खेल कूद और हंसी मज़ाक़ में लगे थे, बापू अपनी गम्भीर मुद्रा में, हाथ में ब्रीफ़केस लिये हमें भी अपनी तरह गंभीर बर्ताव करने की सलाह देते। “तुम अफ़सर हो, कुछ बड़ों की तरह, अफ़सरों की तरह व्यवहार करो। यह क्या सारे समय बच्चों की तरफ़ कूद-फाँद करते रहते हो”। 

बापू का यह रोज़ का प्रवचन हो गया था। हद तो जब गयी, जब बापू अपना ब्रीफ़केस लेकर छुट्टी के दिन भी दफ़्तर आने लगे और अपना रटा रटाया प्रवचन हम पर बरसाने लगे।

गोरे से ये बर्दाश्त नहीं हुआ। वैसे बापू ने गोरे को कभी भी प्रवचन झाड़ने की कोशिश नहीं की क्योंकि गोरे बापू से काफ़ी सिनीयर थे, गोरे को बापू के प्रवचन मुझ पर झाड़ना नहीं भाया। गोरे ने कहा, “नागर, इस बापू का कुछ इलाज़ करना पड़ेगा”। 

क्या करें, “बापू” के नाम मशहूर कर दें”, मैंने पूछा। 

“यही सही होगा”, गोरे ने सहमति जताई। 

“पर पहले उसे बताना होगा ना कि हमने उसे “बापू” के नाम सम्बोधित करना तय किया है, और ये करेंगे कैसे”, गोरे ने प्रश्न किया। 

आख़िर, “बिल्ली के गले में घंटी बांधने का ज़िम्मा मैंने उठाया”। गोरे और मैं बापू से मिले। 

मैंने बापू क़ो असली नाम से सम्बोधित करते हुए वार्तालाप शुरू किया, “आपका कहना सच है। ये बचकाना बर्ताव अब हमें बंद करना चाहिये। हम आपकी सीख का सम्मान करते हैं और अब से आपको एक सम्मानजनक तरीक़े से बुलाना चाहते है। अपर आपको आपत्ति ना हो तो हम आपको “बापू” के नाम से बुलाना चाहते हैं। ये सम्बोधन सिर्फ़ महात्मा गाँधी के लिये प्रयोग किया जाता है, क्योंकि सारा देश उनसे बहुत प्यार करता है, उनका बहुत सम्मान करता है और हम भी आपका बहुत सम्मान करते हैं”।

वह तुरंत मान गये। आख़िर सम्मानजनक सम्बोधन किसे नहीं भाता? 

अगले २४ घण्टों में वह सारे कैम्पस में “बापू” के नाम से मशहूर हो गये। 

अब लौटते हैं, हमारे मित्र की शादी पर। शादी सम्पन्न हुई और मित्र पत्नी सहित आनंद लौटने वाले थे। दिल्ली से बेहला को तार कर खबर भेजी की ‘फ़लाँ फ़लाँ ट्रेन से बड़ोदा पहुँच रहे हैं, स्टेशन पर मिलो’। रिक्वेस्ट नहीं आदेश था। 

मैं और बेहला, बेहला की मोटरसाइकल से बड़ोदा पहुँचे। स्टेशन पर एक नयी फ़ीयट टैक्सी तय की इस शर्त के साथ कि ‘अगर हमारे साहब आये, तो ही हम टैक्सी का उपयोग करेंगे। अगर नहीं आए तो हम कोई पैसे नहीं देंगे’। टैक्सीवाला मान गया। 

हमें नहीं पता कि हमारा मित्र किस डिब्बे में सफ़र कर रहा है और ट्रेन सिर्फ़ पाँच मिनट ही रुकने वाली थी। तो हमने तय किया की हम प्लेटफ़ार्म में उस जगह खड़े होंगे जहां बीच का डिब्बा आता है। फिर एक एंजिन के तरफ़ के डिब्बों की तरफ़ जायेगा और दूसरा विपरीत दिशा में। 

हमने सारी ट्रेन छान मारी। ट्रेन के छूटने की सीटी भी बज गयी, पर हमारा दोस्त नदारद। हम लौटने ही वाले थे की बेहला की नज़र दुल्हन के भेष में प्लेटफ़ार्म पर अकेली खड़ी एक लड़की पर पड़ी। 

“नागर, कहीं ये तो किरन नहीं है? अगर है तो शैलू कहाँ है? मैंने कहा, “चल पूछ लेते है कि आप शैलेंद्र की बीबी हो क्या”। पर बेहला ने पास जाकर निहायत शरीफाना अन्दाज़ में पूछा, ‘क्या आप शैलेंद्र के साथ हैं?’

“हाँ”, उत्तर मिला।

“शैलेंद्र कहाँ है?”, मैंने पूछा।

“आगे, इंजिन के पास ब्रेक वान से बक्सा लेने गये हैं”, किरन बोली। 

मैं इंजिन की तरफ़ बढ़ा ही था कि कुली के सर पर एक भारी- भरकम बक्से के साथ शैलेंद्र को आते देखा। 

आम दिनों जैसा पहनावा हमारे मित्र का और साथ सजी-संवरी दुल्हन। लगता ही नहीं था कि भाई नयी नयी शादी करके आया है। 

कोई दो महीने बाद, एक दिन किरन ने हमें ये बताया कि वह बड़ोदा स्टेशन पर बेहला और मुझे देख कर डर गयी थी। वो सोच रही थी की ये दो गुंडे जैसे लड़के क्यों मुझे घूर रहे हैं। उसकी जान में जान आयी जब बेहला ने पूछा, “क्या आप शैलेंद्र के साथ हैं?’ बेचारी क्या करती, उन दिनों फ़ोटो आईडेनटीटी का प्रचलन जो नहीं था। उसे तो सिर्फ़ हमारे नाम मालूम थे। 

हाँ, उसदिन हमें पता चला की हमारी शक्लों- सूरत किसी भले शरीफ़ आदमी जैसी नहीं, गुंडो जैसी है। पर क्या करते, ऊपर वाले ने जैसी सूरत दी है, उसी से गुज़ारा सारी ज़िन्दगी करना पड़ेगा! 

ख़ैर, टैक्सी में सामान रखा, किरन और शैलेंद्र पिछली सीट पर बैठे और मैंने टैक्सी वाले से गाड़ी रवाना करने को कहा। 

टैक्सी वाले ने प्रश्न किया, “पर आपके साहब कहाँ हैं, वो नहीं आये क्या”? 

हमने शैलेंद्र की और इशारा किया तो टैक्सी वाले ने ऐसा मुँह बनाया जैसे हमने इसके साथ कोई मज़ाक़ किया है। बेचारे का मुँह देखने लायक़ था। 

अब लौटते हैं, बापू पर। 

शैलेंद्र की टैक्सी के कैम्पस के पहुँचेने के ठीक दो घंटे बाद हमारे प्रिय बापू को आनंद से दिल्ली प्रस्थान करना था। ये मात्र संयोग था की शैलेंद्र का दुल्हन के साथ आनंद पहुँचना और बापू का तबादले पर जाना एक ही दिन था। शैलेंद्र D12 और में D11 में रहते थे। मैंने बापू को हमारी बिल्डिंग के नीचे खड़े देखा। वे बड़े बैचैन लग रहे थे। 

मैंने पूछा, “बापू, कोई ख़ास बात है क्या?”

“दुल्हन का मुँह देखना है”, बापू बोले।

मैंने कहा, “ऊपर आ जाओ”, और शैलेंद्र को बताया की बापू किरन को देखने ऊपर आ रहे हैं। कमरे में गोरे, बेहला और नन्दी नैथानी और अन्य नौजवान कुवांरे भी मौजूद थे । चाय पकौड़ी का दौर चल रहा था ।

बापू आए और जैसे ही एक ख़ाली कुर्सी पर बैठे, शैलेंद्र ने किरन को आवाज़ दी, “किरन, तनिक इधर आओ, ये हमारे बापू हैं, इनका पैर छू लो”। 

किरन को मालूम नहीं था की माजरा क्या है। उसने लम्बा घूँघट निकाला, बाहर के कमरे में आई और जैसे ही वो बापू के पैर छूने नीचे झुकी, बापू झट से खड़े हुए और फ़ौरन भाग खड़े हुए। 

हम सब की हंसी छूट गयी, पर किरन सकपका गई और शैलेंद्र से पूछा, “ये बापू कहाँ चले गए? चाय के लिए भी नहीं रुके”। 

हम क्या बताते। बापू ऐसे भागे की सीधे दिल्ली जाकर ही साँस ली। 

कोई दो महीनों बाद मेरा दिल्ली जाना हुआ। बापू मिले तो बहुत उखड़े उखड़े थे। मैंने पूछा, क्या बात है? ठीक से बात क्यों नहीं कर रहे हो?”

“तू शाला बहुत बदमाश है। शैलेंद्र की दुल्हन का मुँह भी नहीं देखने दिया। और साला मेरा पैर छूने क्यों बोला?” बापू ग़ुस्से में बोले। 

“अरे तो इसने इतना दुःखी होने की क्या बात है? अगली बार आनन्द आओ तो मुँह भी देख लेना और मुँह दिखाई भी दे देना”, मैंने कहा। 

“धत बदमाश कहीं का”, बापू की मुझे ये आख़िरी गाली थी। कुछ महीनों बाद उन्होंने ऐन.डी.डी.बी. की नौकरी छोड़ दी और किसी इंजिनीयरिंग कॉलेज में पढ़ाने चले गये। शायद उन्हें वहाँ अधिक आज्ञाकारी शिष्य मिले होंगे। 

बापू को उनका नया काम अवश्य ही अधिक भाया होगा क्योंकि मेरी जानकारी के अनुसार, वे एक प्रतिष्ठित विश्वविद्यालय के उपकुलपति के पद से सेवानिवृत हुए। 

शादी की शैलेंद्र ने, दुल्हन का मुँह नहीं देखने दिया उसने और बापू से डाँट पड़ी मुझे। कैसी विडम्बना, हाय रे कलियुग।