Second virtual zoom meet of some former NDDB employees at Vrikshamandir held on 6 September, 2021





On 6 September, 2021 some of us “Former NDDB Employees” had our second meet at “Virtual Vrikshamandir ”. We had two meetings that day first at 0700 am and the second at 0730 pm (India Time). Like the first meeting this time also there were more particpamts at the evening meeting. There was a marginal increase in number of participants too.

I wrote an email to all those who participated in the meeting thanking them for their presence and their contributions.My email message and reactions, suggestions received from many of them are given below. One of the many high points during this emotion filled virtual meeting, like last time, were the songs by Dr Hemendra Joshi. There was a surprise too. Participation by Dr. GB Shukla.


Shailendra
Shailendra

7 September

Thank you so much for your time and for contributing to the interactions ( बतकही, बतकुच्चन ऐंड कुछ नोंकझोंक) at the “2nd Virtual Vrikshamandir Zoom Baithak”  held on 6th September 2021 at 700 am and 730 pm ( India Time). 


We missed many of you who had shown interest to join. 

– Shekar Roy had sent me a message a day earlier and shared the sad news of  death of his daughters mother in law and regretting his inability to join. May she get Sadgati. 

We also got the sad news of passing away of Shri Kailash Vyas firmer MD Amul and Mrs Nair. Our condolences to the bereaved families. 

– Rajan messaged to say earlier in the day to inform that a relative of his was hospitalised and that he needs go and attend and would not join. 

-MK Sinha called on whatsapp while the meeting was going on. He was not feeling well so excused himself from joining. We all wished him and hope that he gets well soon and is ready to join the “3rd Virtual Vrikshamandir Baithak” after a fortnight. 

After that there was no news from him despite my repeated calls and messages. I am glad to inform you that I spoke to him earlier today. He has moved from Haridwar to Noida and is staying with his son Shishir. He feels a little weak but was in good form and we had good “old men talk” ( Added 10 September )

– Siddiqui too sent several messages about the difficulty in connecting but despite sending him link again things did not work out. 

– Mrs Manchanda messaged me after the meeting was over and regretted her inability to join due to health issues.  

– SBS Senmazumdar joined but we could neither see not hear him. He later called me on WhatsApp saying he saw all of us and also heard a part of our conversations. He made comments on my beard. (अच्छा नहीं लग रहा काट दीजिये नहीं तो ट्रिम करवा लीजिये। मोदी जी से कंपिटीशन मत करिये” ! ) I accepted the advice that I have been receiving from my wife, sisters and children and after Mazumdar’s “counselling” this time and I got my beard trimmed.

You might notice another gentleman in the picture on your left. He is a friend who lives close to our house. A friend whose ancestors originally migrated from India to British Guiana. He moved to Canada at the age of 18. Sitaram ji is a devout Hindu and has a murti of Bhagwan Shiv at the entrance of his house. He was looking for a rudraksh and I am glad that I found and gave him one rudraksh out of the three that my father had given me.

The next day when I met him I found that he had put the Rudraksh in the middle of the mala of beads around his neck. I could not resist but ask him for a picture and he agreedd.

He does not know from where his ancestors came from India to British Guina but has been going to India and travelled to Varanasi, Prayag, Ayodhya, Haridwar etc. I propose to write a separate blog on my friend Sita Ram. ( Added 10 September)


I have not heard from others who wanted to join but could not do so for whatever reason. 

I need apologise for the inconvenience caused to some of you for the  difficulty in connecting due to my error in sending link and password etc. . 

Internet connectivity,  other commitments and the confusion I caused in sending confusing messages and link for the second meeting have been the major causes that came in the way of many of you joining the meeting.

My apologies again. I have learnt a lesson and going forward would be careful.

We had 9 participants each at the two  meetings including some  who attended both the meetings. 

I am not disappointed  at the small number who joined at the meeting as I had stated during the first meeting the principle guiding these Virtual Zoom Baithaks  are;

– Whosoever show  up for the meeting are the right persons 

–  When the meeting starts is the right time 

– When tge meeting ends   it ends

 And if something good and concrete comes out of it as a result of such interactions It is Gods Gift 🎁

Therefore, I have no regrets and with a deep sense of gratitude thank  the “divinity” that resides in each of us ( those  who participated as well  as those who could not make it) for the opportunity that I got to be of service as a Sutradhar to bring my former colleagues  whose “young lives”  mattered and who contributed in their own ways in making NDDB of the yore achieve many its objectives.

I would be grateful for your comments, suggestions and most importantly your feelings after attending the meeting. I would like to do a blog by collating your inputs and upload it on Vrikshamandir. 

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Warm regards,

Shailendra

PS: As suggested by Kishore Motwani I am not sending this mail to you as bcc but addressing each of you so that you all have each other’s emails. I am marking bcc copies to 11 others who had indicated their desire to join but could not and also not sent any message. 

—————+


Dear Shailendra Sir,

N Belavadi
N Belavadi

8 September 2021

Thank you for your emails with slides and innovation list .

I was wondering whether it is ok to add following two to the list

1. Encouraging and assisting HMT to set up dairy machinery manufacturing facility and subsequently IDMC as a wholly owned subsidiary of NDDB- with a view to break the monopoly of milti-nationals in dairy equipment and machinery which was required visualising the growing demand of the dairy industry

2. Initiating reforms in cooperative legislation- A model coop Act (drafting and assisting the planning commission’s committee; partnering with cooperative development foundation (CDF) and assisting a panel of Eminent cooperators including Dr. Kurien. With this initiative AP Govt was the first to enact a parallel legislation for self reliant cooperatives (over10000 coops in AP are under this Act.

Dr. Kurien also envisioned a level playing field with other corporates for coops and articulated in several forums about the need for bringing about the powers of RCS on par with those of Registrar of Companies and had also proposed to the Govt amendment to Companies Act providing incorporation and regulation of Cooperative Companies. But this became a reality only much later (2002) with Producer Companies legislation becoming a part of Companies Act

Best regards

Belavadi

Shailendra
Shailendra

8 September 2021

Dr Belavadi,


Yes please we need add, delete, modify the list. As I said the list is not “cast in stone”.  Also we all are getting old and memory loss is natural. Though in some cases ( like my father) he would remember his past so clearly but not the present. Towards the end he would not even recognise me. He had Alzheimer’s. 

In my case  at 75 I notice that I forget details of many incidents of the past but if some one gives a hint I remember. 

Both the points you mention are important and noteworthy. 

Unfortunately the last meeting due to various reasons did not go as expected. Dr Naware and I had planned to spend more time discussing the list that is why in the slides I inserted blanks to take nots but did not get to that important task and it remained blank 😁🙏🏼

May be in the next meet we focus on the list. Rajan too has suggested some additions. 

Marking a copy to Dr Naware to keep him in the loop. 

Warm regards, 

Shailendra

N Belavadi
N Belavadi

7 September 2021


Thank you very much Shailendra Sir. It is so nice to see the passion with which you have taken up this initiative. Would it be possible to share/email the slides you have prepared?  If I understood correctly, you would be putting together anecdotes/important and interesting  incidents of the period -1965 to 1998. Best regards Belavadi

Shailendra
Shailendra

Dr. Belavadi,


Yes,  I think by keeping the timeline for collecting important and interesting incidents / anecdotes as 1965-1998 we would cover the period Dr Kurien was at the helm of affairs at NDDB. 

I am attaching  the PowerPoint slides that I shared in the meetings of 6 September. I am marking a copy of this mail to all others who participated in the 6 September Zoom meetings so that they too are privy to our conversation and get the power point slides. I am also sharing the list of 50 innovations that Dr Naware put together some years ago.  

As of now I am not sure about  final shape  of the stories and anecdotes that get collected would be available for people other than us to see. I keep fingers crossed and hope that we come out with something worthwhile. 

I would rather wait and  how many and what quality of stories and anecdotes we finally get. I will take a call in consultation with the group that has volunteered to be a part of this initiative. 

Shailendra
———————————————

SC Malhotra
SC Malhotra

8 September 2021

Sh. SK,


Following innovation may be added, if deemed fit: 

1. Selling of Blended Vegetable Oils.

2. Sale of Vegetable oils in TetraPack weight basis.

SCM

———————————————-

G Rajan
G Rajan

Our ARD lab at NDDB had also developed,


1.  choclate  bricks   for  milch animals       ——    name Minimole  ( by late  Dr. George kunju )

2. Mumra chikki   (Natraj Murthi )  which was a supplement  for  the weaker section marketed through Ttribhuvandas Foundation  ooutreach project.

I am not sure  if any of these products developed by erstwhile NDDB colleagues find any place or recognition or mention  in today’s NDDB 

Thank you.

Rajan G

———

Arun Wayangankar
Arun Wayangankar

7 September 2021

Shailendra sir


As always both the meetings were great. It was nice to see Prusti saab & Dr Motwani after ages. Dr Nawre Saab’s presentation was precise & he explained subtly about NDDB innovation. 

I would volunteer for writing anecdotes pertaining to implementation of OF 2 in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. 

There are some stories about Board meeting of Baroda Dairy where I represented NDDB . Probably these stories are post Kurien Saab’s tenure. 

I may not be off target stating that NDDB’ s Women Dairy Leadership Programme was a sort of innovation particularly in a male dominated society in rural India. The programme was initiated when Dr Kurien saab was NDDB Chairman. I have anecdote pertaining to this programme which occurrd during my promotion interview. I will share it at appropriate time. 

Dr Joshi’s melodious voice gave positive impetus to the zoom meeting.

Looking forward for next meeting.

Regards

Arun 

——

Hemendra B Joshi
Hemendra B Joshi

8 September, 2021

Dear Sir,

It was quite interesting to attend the second Zoom meeting !

My feedback on 2nd Zoom meeting held on 6th September,2021 as follows:

1.Such meeting is really served as boon to people who have been faded up from the screen of mind ,a beautiful recollection and reminiscences are quite nostalgic n how abruptly a lesser known face becomes intimate that was happened in case of Dr Motwani and Sri Nagar saheb !it was quite delightful to listen their dilogues initially looming with question marks n suddenly their expression changed !

2.sinusore of all eyes was the wonderful presentation made by shri Shailendra Kumar ji,how nicely depicted 50 innovations of NDDB authored by Dr Naware..you have nicely underlined the interesting short anecdote write from the innovation such as Development of Amul pattern three tire cooperative system ,depicting the end result of socio economic development of people n improving their living standard !

3.More technical stuff and prolonged discussion over leads to monotony ,it could be made interesting by presently precisely no need to support with data,how it helped is very important what I personally believe!

4.some sense of humour in between would generate more interest how the meeting proceeds while focusing on the agenda.I had note and pen to write down some points so that we could have references for future meeting.

5.I think we all should try through various sources in a joint effort to inform and acquaint our former NDDB employees to join such meeting to have better attendance to sustain interest besides better outcome.

6.I really appreciate shri SK ji for his endeavour about formidable task he is undertaking of making all procedural arrangements with lightening communication with each of us ! At the same time publishing it in the blog ,Vrikshamandir in a beautiful format thus doing commendable work for all of us !Sir ,hats off !

Thanks n regards

Hemendra Joshi

B  G Pai
B G Pai

7 September, 2021

I could not get the connection. However I shall join on the next/ third oneWith kind regards. BG. Pai

Mukund Naware
Mukund Naware

10 September 2021

Since a complete list of fifty innovative ideas is circulated it is likely that there would be fewer suggestions now although we are open for them. Accordingly in the forthcoming meeting the second section of technological innovative ideas may be discussed. That should be followed by section three and four.


After discussion over all four sections let us work out a list of those ideas on which we can develop articles. If necessary two three innovative ideas could be brought under one title.

This way let us generate a list and call it ‘ Table of Contents ‘ for publication.
By that time let the participants come forward individually or jointly who would like to write a particular article.

The subjects not chosen by anybody could be assigned to somebody by exploring possibility.


All the articles may be written in next say two/three months.


We will need few editors to go through and edit them. Editors could be writers also.
As we progress in future let us discuss the way in which articles could be published whether on line or in hard copy form through any publisher.

Mukund Naware


Tribute to Prof. Dr.M.N. Menon

Dr. MPG Kurup
Dr. MPG Kurup

Former Executive Director National Dairy Development Board

Dr. MPG Kurup writes with substantial inputs from his classmate Prof.Dr. M Krishnan Nair, Dean , Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences about Prof. Dr.M.N. Menon, Former Animal Husbandry Commissioner & Jt.Secretary , Government of India , New Delhi

Dr. MN Menon was one of the most outstanding Veterinary Professionals in India : the crowning position he held in the country was as the Animal Husbandry Commissioner and Joint Secretary to the Government of India for a period of 5 years.

After a distinguished / brilliant , academic career completed the 5 year GMVC/BVSc Course in 1945 , from the Madras Veterinary College. Dr.KS Nair was the Principal and his Mentor. Dr.Menon , then joined the Indian Dairy Research Institute and acquired their Associateship. He then went to United Kingdom and took MRCVS From the Royal Veterinary College London , and later the Royal College awarded him FRCVS , for the innovative Thoracic Surgery Technique in Dogs , he developed.

In 1958 , the Kerala Government invited Dr.Menon : then Professor of Surgery in Madras Veterinary College , to join the Kerala Veterinary College and appointed him as the Principal and Professor of Surgery . The Government later appointed him as the State Director of Animal Husbandry , in 1961 .

In 1971 , Dr.V Kurien , Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board as well as the Chairman of the Indian Dairy Corporation , persuaded Dr. Menon to join the Indian Dairy Corporation as its Regional Manager in Chennai. Dr.Kurien wanted him to actively participate in the world famous Farmer / Dairy Development Project “Operation Flood” , he launched in 1970 ! Soon he moved to the Head Office of the IDC as Head (Milk Production Enhancement and Procurement : MPEP) , in Baroda , Gujarat.

Meanwhile I was already the Dy.Director of Farmer Organisation and Animal Husbandry , in the NDDB , at Anand , also in Gujarat. We thus became Colleagues in the Same National Set Up. Among other things , one of the interesting and important tasks we did jointly was to acquire from the World Market , very high genetic quality Breeding Stock of Dairy Cattle : Pregnant Heifers and Young Bulls , thousands of them , from Europe , North America , Australia and New Zealand . We also organised the massive Air transport of the globally acquired Dairy Seed Stock by specially chartered Boeing 747 Cargo Air Crafts ,from the International Airports to Various Air Ports in India.

In the second half of 1975 , Dr.Menon was appointed by the Government of India , as The Animal Husbandry Commissioner , as well as , the Joint Secretary , ex officio , in the Central Ministry of Agriculture. When Dr.MN Menon became part of the Central Government , I took over as the Head (MPEP) of the IDC in Baroda and continued the tasks.

Dr. Menon was the Protégée and also the Son in Law , of Dr.KS Nair and has two Children : a daughter and a son. Dr.Menon , after a very distinguished career , retired to his home town ” Thiruvananthapuram ” .He left for his heavenly abode in the late Nineties.

Dr. Menon was a Man of unassailable integrity , both personal and professional ! He was also a wonderful human being. He was my , teacher , Boss , mentor, later Colleague and all through my friend , Philosopher and guide. I can summerise my feelings for him as nothing less than “worship” !

May his noble soul continue to rest eternally in peace , in his heavenly home ! Guru Sakshath Parabrahma , thasmii Sree Gurave Namah.

❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️

No sir, you can not “drink” !

RK Nagar
RK Nagar


This funny incident also happened in 1982 in Pakistan. The scene- Hilton, Lahore.


This was our second week in Pakistan. After first week in Islamabad, which was mostly meetings with policy makers and senior bureaucrats in the government of Pakistan, we were now to undertake field visits to the proposed project areas in the Punjab province. 

Dr. Kurien left for India after the first week. So, when we reached Lahore, Mike and I were to ourselves, while the rest of the mission members from the world bank had their own way of socialising between themselves in the evenings. 

After we checked in the hotel, Mike asked the hotel manager, if alcohol is served in the hotel. The manager replied that as foreigners, we could get a permit that would entitled us to a  ‘unit’ of alcohol during our stay of one week in the hotel. He added that the hotel issues the permit and we will be required to do a bit of paper work. 

The paper work was simple. We had to just fill out an application form with our passport and visa details. The person responsible for issuing the liquor permit verified the details and issued us the permits. One permit entitled a person to either a one  litre bottle of ‘finest’ whiskey made in Pakistan or 16 bottles of beer. So, between Mike and me we had two permit with a choice of picking two bottles of whiskey, 32 bottles of beer or one bottle of whiskey and 16 bottles of beer. 

We chose the last option and decided to use Mike’s permit first and picked a bottle of Pakistani whiskey from the hotel’s wine shop. 

I don’t know how strict the current prohibition laws in Pakistan are, but we were there during the rule of General Zia Ul Haq. During his time, drinking by Pakistanis and especially Muslims was strictly forbidden. The law breakers were awarded severe punishment and there was an atmosphere of fear among the citizens lest someone is caught breaking the prohibition law that included not only the person found drinking, in illegal possession of alcohol and the one who served alcohol.

The ‘finest’ Pakistani whiskey was a disappointment. And that was Mike’s opinion as he understood the qualities of whiskey way better than I did. And if I couldn’t relish the taste of it, imagine what Mike’s reaction must have been. So, we decided to opt for beer on my permit after we were somehow done with the Pakistani whiskey. 

This was the middle of the week and after the day long field visits, we were relaxing in Mike’s room. We decided that we will ask for just four bottles of beer- each was 650 ml for the evening. 

I called the hotel’s wine shop and placed the order. I gave Mike’s room number where the beer bottles were to be delivered. 

नही साहब आप साइन नही कर सकते,आप तो आर्डर भी नही दे सकते

There was knock on the door after about 5 minutes. I opened the door and found a handsome young waiter, in his twenties holding four bottles of chilled beer in a tray. He very politely asked, ‘May I come in sir’? I said, ‘yes, please do come in’. 

He then came in and placed the tray on the table. He then passed the bill to Mike for him to sign. 

Since, the permit was in my name, I asked him to hand the bill to me to sign. The young man was horrified that a local person was hosting a white man and is going to sign the bill and that too under General Zia’s regime. 

We understood his dilemma, exchanged glances and decided to have some fun at the poor waiters expense. 

Mike, without uttering a word, pointed towards me indicating to the waiter that he will sign the bill. This young fellow, I guess knew some English but was intimidated in Mike’s presence and fumbles in Urdu, ‘wo sahab sign nahin karsakte’. 

As he said this, I realised that he is confused about my nationality and if I used my limited urdu-punjabi, it will confused him more. Why not have some lighter moments, I thought and told him, ‘order hamne kiya hai, to sign bhi ham hi karenge. Ye angrej kaise karenge’? 

‘Nahin sahab, aap sign nahin kar sakte. Aap to order bhi nahin de sakte. Aapko pata  hai na ki musalmaano ke liye sharaab peena mana hai aur kanooni jurm hai. Aap ko to saza hogi aur aap mujh garib ko bhi jail bhijava denge. Meri to nayee nayee naukari lagi hai’. 

This knowledge was more fun. I decided to carry on the tussle for a while as Mike continued to enjoy it. Mike, although didn’t speak Hindi, could understand what was going on between me and the waiter and signalled me to carry on for a little longer. 

I then changed my expression- pseudo anger and told the waiter firmly, ‘Hum na sirf bill sign karaenge, balki poori do bottle beer bhi piyenge. Chupchap bill hamare hawale karo’. 

Poor fellow was terrified. The fear of losing the job had taken him over. I saw his frightened expression. Then he acted fast, hurriedly picked the tray and held it close to his chest. 

‘Sahab,aap ko bataya na ki Pakistani log aur khas kar musalmaan sharab nahi pi sakte. Ye kanooni gunah hai. Aap musalmaan hokar bhi ye baat nahi samajh rahe ho’. He fired the last salvo and turned towards the door.

I then stopped him, asked him to keep the tray on the table, pulled out my passport and showed it to him.

I said, Main Hindustani hoon. Jara mera naam padho, kya ye Muslim naam hai’?

As he read my name, he turned pale. With tears about to flow from his eyes, he profusely apologised and requested me to not to complain to the hotel management about his rude behaviour. 

I smiled and told him that He doesn’t have to fear as we were just having a little fun at your expense. We have no intention to harm you in any way. I then signed the bill and tipped him double the normal amount. He was hesitant to take the tip but we insisted saying, ‘this is just a token reward for your sincerity towards your job’. 

He left reassured with a smile and we had the most courteous room service for the rest of the three days in the hotel.  


Also a news item about legal/ illegal trade of alcohol despite prohibition.

Will it survive the fall?

RK Nagar
RK Nagar

Nagar writes about the early morning cacophony of musical and not so musical sounds in the calm and serene atmosphere of NDDB hostel in 1970s. And how it stopped thanks to Shri GM Jhala – the then (Director Technical) and later Secretary NDDBrenowned for his quick decision making.



Here I am not talking about a flowering or ornamental plant surviving a harsh winter following the ‘fall’ season. I am talking about a man made device for entertainment. And the device- not one but two under reference here are a Radio and a Harmonium.



But why these two poor lifeless things should deserve such a fate for no apparent fault of theirs? Actually the fault didn’t lie with them, but with their rather helpless owners.

The introduction to this story is a bit too confusing at this stage. So let me come straight to the point.

Year 1971. I was one of the initial four occupants of what is known as the old hostel on the NDDB campus. These were the times when after office entertainment meant playing some outdoor games and after dark, play cards or some board games followed by after dinner gossip sessions till midnight, (nay early morning as they invariably lasted until 2-3 am).

I was not fond of cards or board games but joined the small group in our daily gossip sessions. It used to be any nonsense other than ‘shop’. Politics, films, sports, stories- mainly made up ones and what not, but we always had some new masala to stretch the sessions up to early mornings. Although one of us had a transistor radio, we used it only to catch up on the day’s events as a feed for our gossip sessions.

Now, on a working day if you hit the bed at 2 am and have to start next day in office, fully alert at 10 am, then quiet understandably you need about 7 hours of uninterrupted sound sleep. It was all working well for us- especially me as I needed just 30 minutes to get ready and be on my desk at 10 am sharp. I, in fact seldom got up before 9.30 and yet always made it in time, thanks to the room I has been allocated where I had the attached bathroom to myself.

This sweet routine received a severe jolt when the first batch of trainee engineers joined NDDB.

One morning at 5 am, I heard someone play Harmonium and after sometime, the melody of the instrument was joined by a Radio playing Hindi film music. The sound of these two gadgets may have been a sweet melody to the ears of those who played them and other early birds of the hostel, but to my ears, it was unbearable cacophony.

I didn’t react for a couple of days but after about three days, I decided to find out who was disrupting my sleep and that too at an hour when the sleep is in its soundest phase.

The proud owners were both lovers of music. The harmonium belonged to an engineer from Maharashtra, who loved classical music and did his “Riaz” (as most singers to) in early morning hours and he had to play the musical notes at a particular volume to support his singing. The owner of the Radio was from Punjab. He had assembled it himself and took immense pride is his creation.


I must talk about his creation. The radio had some unique features. First it had no body- only skeleton. Second, you needed a plier and a screwdriver to operate it. Third, it had no volume control. Obviously no one other than the creator could operate it. So, if the creator went to the bathroom after starting it, the only way to ‘shut’ the damn thing up was to pull the plug. But you couldn’t do it as he would be enjoying the music while doing his daily business in the bathroomand his room firmly bolted from inside.

On the left NDDB Hostel 1970. Foundation for multi-storey hostel was not yet laid. (Photo SK).Right Top NDDB Gate 1971 ( Photo G Rajan); Right BottomChummery for bachelor officers later converted into Guest House 1970 ( Photo SK )


But the problem had to be solved. So, I and with me others who were feeling as irritated by what had become ‘noisy nuisance’ for us, decided to take up the matter with late Shri GM Jhala, who as head of NDDB’s technical division those days was involved in training of these young engineers.


He said, ‘Just ask them one question,but ask them individually’. ‘What question’, I asked. 

‘Will your gadget survive a fall from the second floor of this hostel’, he answered and walked away. 

I posed the problem to him while he was on his routine evening walk and he came up with the simplest possible solution.

He said, ‘Just ask them one question, but ask them individually’.

‘What question’, I asked.

‘Will your gadget survive a fall from the second floor of this hostel’, he answered and walked away.

We didn’t have to ask the question. Someone from amongst them overheard our conversation with Shri Jhala.

The problem was nevertheless solved in no time. The fear of a’fall’ is immense!


Looking for a Cowasji in Karachi

RK Nagar
RK Nagar


Nagar writes yet another story basis real life happenings in his own inimitable style.

Year 1982. I was in Karachi with Mike (Dr. Michael Halse, my guru). We were members the Pakistan Dairy Sector Review Mission fielded by the World Bank and led by Dr. V. Kurien.

The evening we reached Karachi, Mike told me that he had a call from the principal of his high school in London just a couple of days before our leaving India for Pakistan. The principal invited him for ‘The old boys’ meet scheduled later that year in London. Mike also told him that he is going to Pakistan in the next two days and will be out there for a month.

His principal asked him, ‘Are you going to visit Karachi?’

‘Yes’ Mike replied. 

To this his principal made an unusual request, ‘While in Karachi, can you look for a man by the name Cowasji/ Kowasji? He was a student of our school during the same period you were in the school. He was probably a couple of years your senior and was a very good cricket player’. 

The principal didn’t know his full name,  address or phone number. 

So, Mike asked me, ‘RK, how do we try looking for this man? I have never met him or heard of him, but I did promise my principal that I would try and look for him while I am in Karachi’.

I suggested that since we are here for a week, we will scan through the telephone directory and call a few numbers every evening. ‘After all how many Cowasjis/ Kowasjis are likely to be listed in- 20, 25 may be 30 at max’. I said. 

And this looked quite doable. 

So, the next thing we did was to open the directory and make a beginning. We first decided to go through names listed under C, call them first and then go to names listed under K. 

I opened the directory, went to the listing and found that there were nearly three pages full of Cowasji and the listing was in two columns on each page. ‘That’s hell of a lot of Cowasjis. Karachi seems to be full of them’. Mike exclaimed and continued, ‘I hope we don’t have as many listed under K. Looks like we will spend all seven days looking for this cricketeer Cowasji’. 

We anyway decided to begin the search with the first Cowasji entry under C. We didn’t even bother to go to the listing under K lest that dampens our spirit.

I called the first number. A gentleman from the other side picked the phone and said, ‘Hello, Cowasji speaking. May I help you’? 

I introduced myself and said that I am from India and that my English friend is looking for one of his school seniors who studied in England during the late ‘40s and who played cricket. He now lives in Karachi. Sir do you know that Cowasji?’

‘I am sorry, I don’t and I can’t help you’ and he disconnected. 

I called the sixth number. ‘Cowasji &Co’. How can I help you’? 

Cowasjee family of Karachi

Reading this story I got curious about Cowasji / Cowasjee and internet search resulted in Ardeshir Cowasjee from Karachi. I don’t know if Mikes school mate was from this family of Cowasjee or not. But surely Ardeshir Cowasjee of Karachi was an interesting individual.

I tried the second number but no luck. I tried 3rd, 4th, 5th numbers and no luck. I then told Mike, I am going to call the last number for the day. If we are not in luck today, we will go for dinner and then try tomorrow from the next number onwards. He agreed. 

‘I don’t know him, but if you call ‘Cowasji, Cowasji, Cowasji, Cowasji & Co, they maybe able to help’. He gave us the number of the ‘all Cowasji company’. 

Since we had the number, we in our wisdom decided to immediately call this number. 

‘Cowasji, Cowasji, Cowasji, Cowasji & Co’. How can I help you?

For the last time, I repeated the request. ‘Oh, I guess I know him. I’ll give you a number. Call him, he MAY be the man you are looking for. 

I hesitantly called this number. 

‘Hellos, Cowasji here. May I know who is calling’? 

I repeated the story. 

She is my wife-second’ he said, and she promptly added ‘and he is my husband-third’.

‘Oh, did you also study in that school’? He asked me. I said, ‘I didn’t but this friend of mine who is with me right now was in that school during the same time you were there’.. 

‘I will be very happy to meet you and your friend tomorrow. Where are you staying’? 

I gave him our hotel address and room numbers. I then handed the phone to Mike. They had a nostalgic conversation for next 25 minutes or so. Mike was very very happy to locate ‘The Cowasji’. 

Next evening Cowasji came to meet us at the hotel with his wife. 

‘She is my wife-second’ he said, and she promptly added ‘and he is my husband-third’. 

That was a happy ending to our search for ‘The Cowasji’ in Karachi on the first day itself. It was quite an interesting experience.


   

Aching Joys* ~ by G Krishnan



On 23 August some of us “Former NDDB Employees” had our first meet at “Virtual Vrikshamandir ”. We had two meetings that day first at 0700 am and the second at 0730 pm (India Time). Eighteen of us spent an hour and half during these two meeting each lasting well over ninety minutes. Participation at the evening meeting was higher compared to the morning meeting.

Why two meetings ? This became necessary to enable persons from the former NDDB employees diaspora spread over continents from Australia to North America.

G Krishnan shares his feelings after attending the Zoom meeting of 23 August 2021.

Aching Joys



First of all let me thank you for remembering a village bum and inviting him for the meet despite his limited tenure in the NDDB. Let me also confess that I do not have a computer or laptop. No Wi Fi either.I am managing with a tiny contraption better known as mobile phone and the mobile data provided by the service provider.

Thus, as far as modern communication technology is concerned, I am something of a primitive cave dweller. Believe me,this was the first Zoom Meet I have attended.

Naturally, my hands were shaking and voice stammering. Hopefully, time will prove to be a healer!

Another point is that out of the 8 people who attended the morning meet ( probably I had the shortest stint in the NDDB,about six and a half years , that too, one year with CLUSA in Delhi. That is why, out of all the invitees, I knew only four !

Now, as is my wont, I have penned a longish introduction, without saying anything of substance.But then, as the adage goes , what else do you expect from an empty vessel?

You feel the ache because it was all so beautiful and demanded time and energy. It is also something that emerges from memory, from a distance.I feel only aching joy’s now when I recollect those beautiful days and moments of my past. But it aches to know that they are gone, but there is joy in the memory that they happened and joy in narrating them.


Now, a couple of points regarding the meet. Frankly, I found the limited participation somewhat disappointing. I was expecting at least around 20 people in the morning session. Did not find any of the guys who joined in 1973 as part of the Planning Cell under Dr. KJ Singh. At least 5- 6 of us are still around!.


Out of the 8 who attended in the morning, I knew only you, Bhela, Arun and Malhotra (Malhotra, despite his dark mustache,which seem to have done the vanishing trick! )Notwithstanding the above, let us hope that over the next few weeks , participatin will move up.


Another thought creeps up in my mind. Since the platform can accommodate upto 100 participants can a person be allowed to join the evening meeting also with a view to meeting old friends and colleagues whom we would have missed in the morning meet ? In my particular case ,I missed Nagar, Siddiqui and Sekhar.


Will add a couple of paras a little later.


* Aching Joys is a phrase stolen from Willim Wordsworth. Regards,Krishnan

Pictures in the two galleries on this page were taken during my visits to Krishnan’s home near Cochin amidst a plantation of spices, fruits and other agricultural crops. On our second visit Shri and Smt. KP Muralidharan accompanied Kiran and me.

I remember those visits filled with warmth, love, and camaraderie.

Other friends too have written about the meeting notably Nagar, Behla, Belavadi, Malhotra, Siddiqui and Shekhar Roy. I will be sharing their observations, comments and suggestions on these meetings separately.

Before I end , a question ?

Why the picture of refrigerator in the gallery above? Any guesses ? Please leave your comments in the box given towards the end of this page.



Immigrants आप्रवासी

इंटरनेट की दुनिया अलग तो लगती है पर बहुत कुछ अपनी दुनिया जैसी ही है। आन लाइन बकवास, बतकुच्चन, बड़बोली, झूठ, फ़रेब, आदि तो हैं ही पर बहुत सा अच्छी चीजें भी है। दुनिया भर का ज्ञान भरा पड़ा है। बस कौशल चाहिये सही जगह पर पहुँचने का ।वैसे ही जैसे अपनी दुनिया में ।

विनीता से मै मिला इंटरनेट पर । विनीता , मेरे मित्र और सहकर्मी डाक्टर एस पी मित्तल की बिटिया ।कविता लिखती है ।अंग्रेज़ी मे । फ़ेसबुक पर संवादों के आदान प्रदान के बाद मुझे उसकी यह कविता Immigrants बहुत अच्छी लगी, दिल को छू गई। मैंने हिंदी अनुवाद किया तो विनीता को मेरा हिंदी अनुवाद अच्छा लगा। यह बात 26 मई की है। डाक्टर मित्तल और श्रीमती मित्तल अब दुनिया में न रहे । इतने दिनो सालों बाद डाक्टर मित्तल की विनीता से संपर्क हुआ । धन्यवाद इंटरनेट का। मई महीने में मेरी माता जी और उसी महीने में विनीता की सास का भी निधन हुआ। कोरोना का क़हर !

पुरानी यादें । डाक्टर चोथानी और उनकी “त्रिमूर्ति” डाक्टर माधवन, डाक्टर मित्तल और डाक्टर एस एन सिंह ने आणंद पद्धति की दूध उत्पादक सहकारी संस्थाओं को सारे देश में स्थापित करने और सशक्त करने में सत्तर और अस्सी के दशक में महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका निभाई। इनमें से दो डाक्टर माधवन और डाक्टर मित्तल तो आपरेशन फ्लड के शुरुआती दौर की स्पीयरहेड टीम के लीडर भी रहे ।

अस्सी के दशक में जब एनडीडीबी में लेबर यूनियन और मैनेजमेंट के बीच विवादों, कोर्ट कचहरी का दौर था डाक्टर मित्तल और मुझे मनोनीत किया गया था लेबर यूनियन से बात करके मामले सुलझाने के लिये। डाक्टर मित्तल मृदुभाषी थे कम शब्दों में काफ़ी कुछ कह जाते थे। वैसे लेबर यूनियन वाले हम दोनों की इज़्ज़त भी करते थे पर बातचीत के दौरान जब नोक झोंक होती मुझे ही ज़्यादा बोलना होता था। डाक्टर मित्तल बिगड़ती स्थिति को सँभालने में माहिर थे। हमारे प्रयासों से और लेबर यूनियन के प्रेसिडेंट स्वर्गीय अरविंद पटेल और उनकी टीम से हुई बातचीत से बहुत से मामले अदालत के बाहर समझौता कर सुलटा लिये गये ।उस दौरान हम दोनों ने साथ मिल बहुत काम किया । डाक्टर मित्तल और मै दोनों साथ 1987 में केनेडा / अमरीका भेजे गये थे तीन माह की ट्रेनिंग पर। पुरानी फ़ोटो कहीं पर हैं ढूँढ रहा हूँ । इस यात्रा के दौरान हम एक कमरे में रहते थे । बहुत से सेमिनारो, ट्रेनिंग प्रोग्रामों में भाग लिया और यात्रायें की । विनीता मेरे बेटे राहुल को राखी बांधती थी । फिर हम सब बिखर गये ।

आज ट्विटर पर मुझे विनीता की यह ट्वीट दिखी । बहुत अच्छा लगा ।

नीचे विनीता की मूल अंग्रेज़ी कविता और मेरा हिंदी अनुवाद दिया गया है ।

To forsake your roots,

to drift from place to place

language to language

culture to culture

to bring nothing of your own where you are

except a sorry desire

to be accepted as one of 'them',

is true nakedness.



To be rootless is to be vulnerable

like a sapling deprived of soil

or an unfired clay pot.

It means you always stand apart

from a relaxed conglomerate of people

who laugh and joke about ordinary things

while you shift like an autumn leaf

rustling aimlessly on alien soil.

Unmourned by the tree.

not particularly welcomed by the ground.

Yours is a small lightweight existence

like a bonsai:

flowering and glimmering in the smallest of spaces

on just a spoonful of water.


~ Vinita Agrawal

विनीता की अंग्रेज़ी कविता का हिंदी अनुवाद

छोड अपनी जड़ों को,

भटकना यहाँ से वहाँ

भाषा और संस्कृति का बदलाव

जहां अब हैं, वहाँ अपना कुछ न लाना

सिवाय ग्लानि भरी इच्छाओं के

स्वीकार किया जाना “उनके” जैसा हो कर

वास्तव में नग्न हो जाना है

जडहीन अतिसंवेदनशील हो जाना

बिना मिट्टी की पौध या कच्ची मिट्टी से बने बर्तन की तरह l

साधारण सी चीजों पर भी संतुष्ट

अलग थलग आस पास के मानव समूहों से

जो लगते हैं परिपूर्ण, मगन अपने में

जब कि वह पतझड़ में गिरे पत्ते की तरह उड़ उड़ फिसलता

न आती दया किसी पेड़ को और धरती भी न करती स्वागत जिसका ।

बोंसाई सी छोटी सी जगह पर फलना फूलना और चमकते रहना अंजलि भर पानी में औक़ात है उनकी।

विनीता अपने क्षेत्रों बहु प्रशंसित, सम्मानित कवियित्री है । उसकी वेबसाइट का एड्रेस है https://www.vinitawords.com/

नीचे कुछ स्क्रीन शाट पोस्ट कर रहा हूँ विनीता की वेबसाइट के ।


अनुभूति -9

मिथिलेश कुमार सिन्हा
मिथिलेश कुमार सिन्हा


हरिद्वार मे जहां मै रहता हू , वह इलाका अभी भी पुराने जमाने मुहल्ले की याद दिलाती है। आधुनिक मकान और होटल तो हैं,सकरी गलियां भी है। छोटी छोटी किराना की दुकानें हैं ।लोग एक दूसरे को पहले नाम से या फलां का बेटा, फलां गली के तीसरे मकान के फलां का भतीजा है के स्तर पर पहचानते है या रेफर करते हैं। हांलाकि गली के बाहर मेन रोड पर आधुनिक मार्केट है, शाम के समय सब्जी और फलों के ठेले लगते है और बड़े ही आत्मीयता से खरीद फरोख्त होती है।


बावज़ूद इन सब के सुबह सुबह सब्जी वाले अपना ठेला लेकर, हर गली मे आते है और ऊंची आवाज़ मे अपने ठेले का पूरा मेनू बताता हुआ गुजरते है। हरेक ठेले का एक निर्धारित समय है। हरेक का करीब करीब निश्चित घर और ग्राहक। 


ऐसे ही एक सब्जी के ठेले वाले है श्री टेक चंद। कद करीब चार सवा चार फीट। लोग उन्हें टिंगू कहते है। फूल और सब्जी साथ में बेचते हैं। हमारी गली में इनके आने का समय लगभग साढ़े ग्यारह और बारह बजे दिन में है। दूसरे ठेले वालों की तरह कोई आवाज़ नही। हर कोई जानता है टेकचंद इस समय आएँगें ही।

किसी एक ने देखा और सारे मुहल्ले मे ऐलान “टिंगू आ गये, टिंगू आ गये ” और हर घर से लोग कबूतरो की तरह दड़बे से निकल कर उनके ठेले के चारो ओर से अपनी अपनी फ़रमाइश करते है और हमारे टिंगू भाई एक वैरागी की तरह सब को जवाब दे रहे होते है। मैने कभी उनको न उत्तेजित होते देखा, न कभी ऊंची आवाज़ मे बोलते, न झल्लाते।

एक जिज्ञासा हुई जानने की आखिर इस इन्सान में ऐसा क्या है कि लोग इसके लिए इन्तजार करते है जबकि न जाने कितने दूसरे सब्जी वाले ठेला लेकर आते है। दो तीन दिन लगातार देखता रहा और आखिर एक दिन उनसे मिला। निहायत ही खुशमिजाज। हर अन्दाज़ खुशनुमा। 


इनके पास वही सब आइटम मिलेगा जो बेमौसम हो और जो दूसरे नहीं रखते। सारी दुनिया नारंगी बेच रही होगी, टिंगू भाई बेल लेकर आएगे, दुनिया बीन्स बेच रही होगी, टिंगू भाई ड्रमस्टिक। दुनिया गेंदे का फूल बेच रही है तो टिंगू भाई गुलाब और मोगरा।रोज़ गेंदे या गुलाब के फूल से पूजा करने वाले भी जो फूल टिंगू जी के पास उस दिन मिलेगा, बेहिचक वही ले जाएगे उस दिन पूजा करने। 


कभी कभी ही मैने टिंगू भाई को तराजू बटखरा इस्तेमाल करते देखा। किसी को कोई आपत्ति नही। लोगों से पूछा। सब ने बस एक ही जवाब दिया “इतने वर्षों से इन्ही से ले रहा हूँ, कभी कम नही हुआ, हमेशा ज्यादा ही रहता है ” ।

अब टिंगू भाई का जवाब सुनिए। “साहब, क्या जाता है मेरा, दो पांच ग्राम इधर या उधर। अपनी ज़िन्दगी का हिसाब हम नही कर पाते तो इस साक सव्जी का हिसाब कर के कौन सा फायदा। और कुछ तो नही दे सकता तो कम से कम इन लोगों के चेहरे पर थोड़ी देर के लिए ही सही, खुशी देखता हूँ तो मुझे भी खुशी ही होती है न। इसकी कीमत कौन लगा सकता है या लगा पाएगा। ये तो मेरी खुशनसीबी है कि मेरे पास लोग बिन बुलाए आते हैं, नही तो कौन किसको पूछता है।


अजीब लगता है न सुन कर कि एक अनपढ़ इन्सान ज़िन्दगी को कितने क़रीब से समझ पाया जब कि हम जैसे सो जिन्हें “ हाइली एजुकेटेड ऐन्ड सिविलाइज्ड” लोग कहा जाता है ज़िन्दगी से भाग कर ही ज़िन्दगी को अपनाने की कोशिश मे सारी ज़िन्दगी बस अपने को और दूसरों को कोसते रहते हैं।

क्या पाया हमने और क्या पाया टिंगूभाई ने। क्या दे पाए हम, जो टिंगू भाई हर रोज दर्जनो इनसानों को दे पाते है और बेहिचक बिना किसी शिकन के दे रहे है ।


ज़िन्दगी का फन्डा हमारे अन्दर ही एक नैचुरल इनग्रिडियन्ट है ।किसी से मांगने या उधार लेने से नही मिलता। जब हम अपनी चीज को नही सम्हाल पाते है तो फिर क्या उपाय है। 


ज़रा टटोल कर देखिए। ज़िंदगी निहायत हसीन है। सब के लिए बराबर। 


टिंगू भाई के कुछ फोटो अपलोड कर रहा हूँ। देखिए शायद ज़िन्दगी का कुछ हिस्सा दिखाई दे जाए।


अनुभूति -7


मिथिलेश कुमार सिन्हा
मिथिलेश कुमार सिन्हा

ज़िन्दगी किसी की मोहताज़ नही होती। हमारी हर कोशिशों के वावज़ूद, हम जितनी कोशिश करते है, हम ही ज़िन्दगी के मोहताज होते चले जाते है।


ज़िन्दगी का विवेक, ज़िन्दगी जीने का शऊर, ज़िन्दगी को समझने का सलीका, ज़िन्दगी के समझने से आती है, समझाने से नही। उसके लिये नही चाहिये कोई डिग्री, कोई कॉलेज, कोई युनिवर्सिटी, कोई कागज़, कोई कलम, या कोई दावात
!


जिनका ज़िक्र मै इस पोस्ट मे कर रहा हू, उनका नाम शौकत है। मै उन्हें शौकत मियां या मौलाना कहता हूं और वे मुझे हुज़ूर कहते हैं। 

शौकत भाई कबाड़ी वाले हैं। पिछले पचास साल से कबाड़ का धन्धा करते हैं सुबह अपना रिक्शा लेकर निकलते है और शाम के चार पांच बजे तक जो भी मिलता है ले कर लौट जाते है। हमारे धर्मशाला का कबाड़ भी वही ले जाते हैं। दोपहर के समय इसी धर्मशाला के सामने अपना रिक्शा लगा कर कुछ समय के लिए आराम करते है। 


अक्सर हम मिलते है और कुछ तुकी, कुछ बेतुकी हर सब्जेक्ट पर खुल कर बातें होती है। ऐसे ही एक दो औकेजन पर ज़िन्दगी और ज़िन्दगी के करिश्मों पर बात हुई।

ज़िन्दगी की हकीकत और ज़िन्दगी के करिश्मों की बात इस तथाकथित “अनपढ़”, “कबाड़, भंगार खरीदने, बेचने वाले” आदमी के मुंह से सुन कर हतप्रभ रह गया।

कितनी बड़ी सच्चाई, निखालिस हकीकत बेहिचक, सहज और बेबाक लफ्ज़ो मे बयां कर गये शौक़त भाई !


बोले “हुज़ूर जानते है, मै हर सुबह बिस्तरे से उठ कर और रात को बिस्तरे पर जाने से पहले चार चीज़ें याद करता हूँ। और वे चार चीज़ें है, क़फन, क़व्र, क़यामत और ख़ुदा। कभी न पाँचवीं
चीज़ याद की, न सोचा।

और जब सुबह अपना खाली रिक्शा लेकर निकलता हू तो बस एक ही ख़याल रखता हू, परवरदिगार ने इस दुनिया में भी तो खाली हाथ भेजा था। जो मिलेगा, उसकी ही दुआ होगी। मेरी क्या हस्ती है। उसका हिसाब कभी गलत नही होता।

कभी जब उनका रिक्शा लबालब भरा होता है और मै मज़ाक करता हू, अरे शौकत भाई, आज तो अच्छी खरीदारी हो गई, तो हंस के कहते हैं, देने वाले के पास तो बहुत था  मेरा दामन ही छोटा पड़ गया। उसने भी सोचा होगा कि जितना आसानी से खींच सकता है, उतना ही देना चाहिए। बस बहुत है। अल्लाह का क़रम।

और जिस दिन उनका रिक्शा बिल्कुल खाली होता है और पूछता हूँ, तब भी उसी हंसी के साथ, “आज मेरी इबादत मे कोई कमी रह गयी होगी। आज मै इसी लायक़ था। उसके हिसाब मे कोई गलती होने का सवाल ही पैदा नही होता। कल फिर देगा। 


 हमेशा हंसते रहते हैं शौकत मियां। दिन में तीन बजे, बिना किसी नागा के शौकत भाई और मेरे सामने बैठे मास्टर जी, टेलर मास्टर और सामने के धर्मशाला के संरक्षक तीनो एक साथ बैठ कर चाय पीते है।

पैसा बारी बारी से देना होता है, आज एक तो कल दूसरा, फिर तीसरा और तब आप देखें, ज़िन्दगी और ज़िन्दगी का मज़ा क्या है। उनकी बेबाक हंसी के ठहाके आस पास के पांच सात मकानों तक सुनाई देते है।


कौन कहता है ज़िन्दगी किसी की मोहताज होती है?

ज़िन्दगी जीने का हुनर आना चाहिए।

ज़िन्दगी निहायत ही खूबसूरत और हसीन है, ऊपर वाले की नियामत है। प्रीस्टीन है। पुनीत है। पावन है। पवित्र है। अनमोल है। बेमिसाल है।


बस इसके क़रीब आने का इल्म और हिम्मत होनी चाहिए। हौसला होना चाहिए। 


शौकत भाई के कुछ फोटो अपलोड कर रहा हू।


What is Coincidence !

I started working at the age of 22 and got a regular full time job with the National Dairy Development Board ( NDDB), Anand in 1968. I decided to leave NDDB after 32 years of service in the year 2000. It was a one of the most difficult personal decisions of my life. Thereafter, I worked for 17 more years with Grow Talent Company Limited / School of Inspired Leadership at Gurgaon and finally after 49 years of service “retired” in the year 2017. I am still connected with a couple of organisations but I am not involved in operations. 

Life is not roller coaster ride. My life too has been full of ups and downs but the overall feeling is good and filled with a sense of deep gratitude for all those who helped and encouraged me over the years.

This blog is not my biography. However, it may not be out of place to share some background information to put in perspective a rather unusual experience I had on the day of my birth in 1993.

I was traveling from Delhi to Ahmedabad that day.

My first salary as a regular employee with NDDB , Anand was Rs 435.21 per month. I have been an income tax payee since financial year 1968-1969.
I paid Rs. 235 as income tax that year.

The salary I got was good as there was some surplus too.

I was able to send some small amount to my mother, indulge in luxury on a few occasions by traveling to Baroda paying Rs. 0.65 for a third class rail ticket one way and have lunch at Quality restaurant.

Milk from Amul dairy doled out of cans cost Rs 1.05 per litre. We would buy coupons in advance to pay for the same. A thali at Amul canteen cost Rs 1.35.


As the years went by expenses kept on increasing. Among friend we would borrow from each other. to be borrowing of money at month end among friends and colleagues.

In my 1968 diary I found that I had noted down money borrowed from others and to be returned but it was hardly more than 10-15 rupees in a month.

I was waiting for the flight and to while away time walked into the bookshop at the airport. Determined not to buy a book I was only looking at books flipping a few pages and of course the price before putting it back.



I picked up Autobiography of a Yogi and read a few pages. As I was about to keep the book back on the shelf I looked on a page that provided information on the life of Yoganand.

Mukund Lal Ghosh who later came to be known as renowned Swamy Yoganand Paramahans was born on 5 January 1893 and I had his book in my hand on 5 January 1993 exactly 100 years after his birth.

He was born in Gorakhpur and so am I. Muftipur where he was born is a mohalla in Gorakhpur city and my village is some 30 km from the city!

Price of the book was not very high.

That day I broke a promise made to myself and bought the book.

What is Coincidence ? Why and how does it happen? I found an interesting article in the Atlantic the author, Julie Beck gives a real life incident which he experienced and towards the end of the article has this to say “ In their 1989 paper, Methods for Studying Coincidences, the mathematicians Persi Diaconis and Frederick Mosteller considered defining a coincidence as

a rare event,” but decided “this includes too much to permit careful study.” Instead, they settled on, “A coincidence is a surprising concurrence of events, perceived as meaningfully related, with no apparent causal connection.”

What do you think ? Would be interesting if you also share such incidents of coincidence. Do please write back in the comments column given below or share an article by email at sk@vrikshamandir.com


About meals and place of milk in diet

Dr. Mukund Naware
Dr. Mukund Naware

Dr. Naware recounts the initial years of his professional life journey that began in 1970 at Uruli Kanchan. This was before he joined NDDB in . In this memoir he writes about his days at Bhartiya Agro Industries Foundation and the unforgettable experience of meeting Balkoba ji, brother of Acharya Vinoba Bhave.

The year 1970 had begun very well for me. On 1st of January I had landed in Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izzatnagar, as a Trainee Officer deputed by Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation (BAIF) to undergo three months’ Advance Course in Physio Pathology of Reproduction and Artificial Insemination. That course was usually meant for Captains and Lieutenants from Army’s Remount Veterinary Corps but for the first time a batch of twelve civilian officers from BAIF was entertained there.

Arrival in Uruli Kanchan

On completion of training at IVRI, we reported back at Uruli Kanchan in the month of April. We underwent an orientation program that provided us the genesis, programmes of BAIF and its mission. Yes, Shri Manibhai Desai called BAIF a Mission and said we were to work in the field like missionaries.

The idea of BAIF emerged from the activities taken up by Ashram Goshala which was  a part of Nature Cure Centre (NCC)  established with the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi. Therefore, it was but natural that in all our dealings we were to cherish the values preached by Mahatma Gandhi. 

During our orientation programme the lecture by Shri Manibhai Desai was most inspiring. Apart from his efforts to develop Gir cows he also told us how he studied the anatomy of cow by conducting post mortem as and when any animal died of a disease in Goshala and while dissecting he referred to the book of Veterinary Anatomy and studied the organs. We also gathered that he had read the book ‘Animal Breeding Plans’ authored by Jay Lush on Population Genetics which was supposed to be very difficult to understand for graduates like us. With these attributes no doubt Shri Manibhai Desai was our Philosopher and Guide. Dr. MR Marathe, Dr. DV Rangnekar and Dr. AP Phatak were also there as senior staff. After orientation one by one the officers were posted at BAIF Breeding Centers that were opened in Panjarpol Sansthas and Cooperative Sugar Factories..

Ashram; Nature Cure Centre

I was retained at HQ to coordinate the field activity and for organizing supply of liquid nitrogen to all Centers. In NCC there were houses in a row and I was offered one of them on sharing basis with a colleague. In the next month Dr. SB Gokhale who had completed MVSc in Animal Genetics at IVRI also joined BAIF and he started sharing accommodation with me.  We both had graduated from Nagpur Veterinary College and knew each other very well and had common hobbies like Indian classical music. Around same time Dr. AL Joshi who had Doctorate in Biochemistry joined us. We had no problem regarding residence but main problem was food. So we decided to try Thali meals available from NCC as our first alternative.

Thali Meal

The Nature Cure Centre ( NCC ) had a regular kitchen to cook meals for their patients. They had a number of cottages and rooms to house patients who came there from Mumbai / Gujarat to overcome chronic ailments and particularly lifestyle diseases. Many persons came there only for weight reduction program. Once at the Centre, they were prescribed a balanced diet plus daily exercise and physical activities like sweeping the ground with broom and rotating a stone mill in a sitting position with both the hands. The Wheat and Jowar Aata thus produced was used in making Rotis in their kitchen.

The NCC offered Thali meals with Rotis which were coarse, Chawal that was not white, Dal  which was plain, Vegetable curry that was bland, Chutney which was not spicy, Butter milk with little trace of butter, Tomato Cucumber salad and a dumpling of Yellow Butter from cow milk. Also each Thali was so designed that the total daily supply of salt would not exceed three grams. With that kind of description the Thali was unpalatable and not attractive. For us it was very costly also. We tried that Thali for couple of days and realized that we were not meant for it and could not continue with it. In fact we had noticed that many patients in NCC also didn’t like that Thali food and number of them were actually going towards bus stand in the evening to eat Farsaan and Chivda to compensate that less salt intake. 

Self Cooked Meals; some experiments

Dr. Gokhale and I decided to cook our own meals. We went to Pune and purchased kitchen utensils. I purchased Hawkins Pressure Cooker and Dr. Gokhale went for a Gas Stove with two burners. I remember it was on 27th June 70 that I purchased a two liter hindalium  Paweli for heating milk which is still with me. It was useful for all of us since milk was essential for tea and for drinking as such. Same way we purchased other items on sharing basis. 

For vegetables, grains and number of other items we had weekly village market held just outside the NCC. Visiting that weekly market for fresh vegetables was really worth and enjoyable. Myself and Gokhale would go and fetch our weekly requirement with good bargain and once home we could sort out grain and get it ground at a flour mill and all that was done on weekly holiday. For  grocery we fixed a shop and soon we started our kitchen. Initially we had enthusiasm even for making Chapatis but soon we realized that it was cumbersome and asked one watchman to help us. We could prepare rest of the items ourselves. Women from neighborhood families were curious about our trial and errors and soon news became public. 

Somehow this news reached to Shri Manibhai Desai also. One day he straightaway asked me about our kitchen activity. When I told him that we hardly had any alternative he categorically said that we should not be spending more time on this activity and our duty was much more important ! But it was difficult for us to follow his advice and we continued to cook our meals for number of months. 

How long one can go without meal is a question. However, at Uruli Kanchan I met one personality who lived on milk for number of days just like a meal. Could milk become a square meal ? I have no answer. But I had an occasion to meet him.


My colleague by name Uday (उदय) was keeping financial accounts in BAIF and we were friends. He had spent more time in Ashram and knew many people. One day he told me that Shri Balkoba (बाळकोबा) Bhave, the younger brother of Acharya Vinoba Bhave was back to Uruli Kanchan Ashram and we could go and pay our respects to him. With profound respect Balkoba was called as Balkoba only.

Acharya Vinoba Bhave had two brothers namely Balkoba and Shivaji. All three were bachelors, followed Gandhian principles and did social work.

Acharya Vinoba Bhave had two brothers namely Balkoba and Shivaji. All three were bachelors, followed Gandhian principles and did social work. It is on record that Mahatma Gandhi visited Uruli Kanchan for seven days in the end of March 1946 when he treated hundreds of patients with naturopathy with the help of Dr. Mehta, Balkoba Bhave, Manibhai Desai and Dr. Sushila Nair.

Milk as meal

My colleague and friend Uday (उदय) who was responsible for keeping accounts in BAIF had spent much more time than us in the Ashram and knew many people.

One day Uday told me that Shri Balkoba (बाळकोबा) Bhave, the younger brother of Acharya Vinoba Bhave was back to Uruli Kanchan Ashram and we could go and pay our respects to him. With profound respect Balkoba was called as Balkoba only.

I had heard about Balkoba. In fact he was there when the NCC at Uruli Kanchan was started way back in 1946. He himself had also undergone treatment for a chronic disease while at Uruli Kanchan. So every set up now seen at Uruli Kanchan had linkage to this past history starting with Balkoba. Every year he spent six months at Uruli kanchan and rest of his time in Pawnar Ashram of Acharya Vinoba Bhave and at Dhulia. I was curious and keen to meet him. Uday had met him number of times.

Meeting Balkoba

So one evening we went to the cottage where Balkoba was staying. It had a thatched roof and we had to bow our head while entering it. As we entered I saw Balkoba sitting right in front of us on a mattress covered by a stark white sheet. The first thing that struck me was his resemblance with Acharya Vinoba Bhave. As we went near him I touched his feet and folded my hands. He welcomed us and offered us Chatai lying in front of him. We sat on it.

” Balkoba, this is Dr. Naware. He has joined the Foundation. He is a Vet.” Uday told him.


Balkoba looked at me and expressed his pleasure on this introduction.


” It is good, Manibhai is making big effort to increase cow milk production and you are joining him. Where do you come from ? ” He asked me.


I told him that I was born in Satara and brought up in Nagpur.


” Do you take cow milk ? ” He asked me.


I told him that as a child I had taken cow milk but later on cow milk was not available in cities.


Therefore I had taken buffalo milk for a longer time.


“First YOU should take cow milk as a matter of principle.” He told me. ” When you take cow milk then only you have moral right to tell people to consume it. When Manibhai is committed to produce cow milk you will have to tell people to consume it. And before that you should consume it.” He said.

I appreciated his point because people had also liking for buffalo milk on account of higher fat content and its ability to whiten tea. Non availability was another matter.


” Do you know how important much cow milk is ?” Balkoba continued, ” How much I owe to this माऊली ..Mother cow…If she had not been there I would have died long back. I am alive because of her. Now whenever I see this माऊली … tears roll down from my eyes. She is my माऊली my true mother.” He said full of emotion.

I had heard that Balkoba was on cow milk diet for number of days perhaps weeks. Now he was confirming how he owed his existence to consuming cow milk.

After a little pause he again started praising cow milk for its nutritive values.

” I have lived on cow milk all these years. Do you know, it is complete food. It gives strength and stamina. It has power to cure so many diseases. All proteins, vitamins whatever body needs everything is there in cow milk. But they say it has less of iron and they have advised me that I should take extra iron.

That is why now with milk I chew some leaves of raw spinach ” He said pointing his finger towards a bundle of spinach leaves lying by his side. But for this he wanted me to understand importance of cow milk as a complete food and carry the message to the people.

Seeing those spinach leaves I admired Balkoba’s willingness to accept at least one deficiency in milk. I knew he had lot of experience on its therapeutic values. I had not known anybody with so much faith in cow milk. Also I had seen that his devotion to cow was honest and unparalleled. The purpose of our meeting was over.

With that impression I asked for his leave and folded my hands.


Acharya Vinoba Bhave had two brothers namely Balkoba and Shivaji. All three were bachelors, followed Gandhian principles and did social work. It is on record that Mahatma Gandhi visited Uruli Kanchan for seven days in the end of March 1946 when he treated hundreds of patients with naturopathy with the help of Dr. Mehta, Balkoba Bhave, Manibhai Desai and Dr. Sushila Nair.

The Nisargopchar Gramsudhar Trust was formed on 1st April, 1946 where nature cure was followed on the guidelines given by Mahatma Gandhi. Afterwards Balkoba, apart from practicing nature cure studied philosophy and authored couple of books on Gita and one titled सोपा ग्रामीण निसर्गोपचार i.e. Simple Rural Nature Cure.


कलम जो लिखे और बोले -2

मिथिलेश कुमार सिन्हा
मिथिलेश कुमार सिन्हा

हमारे अंदर की स्मार्ट 

सिटी और हाइवे

कभी आप को एक बीराने, बिल्कुल सुनसान इलाके से बिल्कुल अकेले गुज़रने का मौका मिला है?

 मिला होगा। सब के साथ होता है। 

कैसा अनुभव हुआ होगा। कोई आस पास नहीं। चारो ओर बस अंधेरा और खामोशी। 

एक हल्की सी आवाज भी डरा देती होगी। जिस किसी भगवान या देवता या मसीहा को आप मानते  होंगे और उनके जितने नाम आपको याद होंगे, सब अपने आप बाहर आने लगते हैं। 

आप पीछे भी नही जा सकते कारण वहां भी वही हालत है। अच्छे बुरे काम, अच्छे बुरे आदमी, सब बाइस्कोप की तरह आने जाने लगते हैं। लेकिन छुटकारा नही मिलता। छोटी सी छोटी सी चीज़ भी पीछा नही छोड़ती।

मै किसी पब्लिक रोड या स्मार्ट सीटी की बात नही कर रहा हूं। अपने द्वारा ही बनाए गए अन्दर की स्मार्ट सीटी और हाइवेज की बात है। कभी अन्दर की सैर कीजिये। 

भीड़ के चिल्ल पों मे खामोशी खोजना कितना कचोटता है।

 एक चुभन और टीस के साथ उन्माद और आनन्द का काकटेल। नशा,बेहोशी,थकान, हैंगओवर  और फिर नींद।

कितनी रंगीन और मज़ेदार होती है ज़िन्दगी ।

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