Saturday, October 13, 2007

If I were in Mumbai,

If I were in Mumbai today, a second Saturday, I would go meet my longstanding sweetheart, Ramesh Balsekar.

I would get up early and catch a local train to Bombay Central. Hopefully the train wouldn't be crowded, but even if it was, it wouldn't really matter.

I would scan the big clocks on the passing railway platforms, to make sure I am not too late. Ramesh usually starts his talk by nine, and I am usually late by an hour. But thats ok because I have heard him talk since 1996. What appeals to me, and what I still need, is his presence, which is imbibed in the remaining one hour of the talk.

Besides, Ramesh has a clock in his house, with all the numbers having fallen down and the words, 'Who cares ?' inscribed on it. Look for it, you will notice it in the video below.

So my train would reach Mumbai Central by nine forty, max. I would get out of the station, at the west side, and take a cab. At this hour I would probably be his first customer and if I am lucky, there will be flowers and smell of inscence burning...

In twelve minutes, we would climb up Navroji gamadia lane and stop outside the Mountain. Sorry, I mean the Sindhula apartments. As the lift would ascend, so would my anticipation, my heartbeat.

Since Ramesh is ninety plus, it would be a relief to see the shoe rack overflowing. I would quickly remove my sandals and gently push open the door to his voice.

Weekends are for the Indians, so it would be crowded. But I have a special place, on the floor just in front of the chair near the door. If I sit with a straight back, I can see his face. If I feel like chilling out, I slouch and listen. Sometimes, I can see his face in the window of a video camera and thats good enough.

I love the feel of the bare floor in this house. It gently cools down my fatigue, my pain, my thoughts. My Guru's house is inside the ganga.

After half an hour of advaita, Ramesh would signal the end of the talk by asking Murthi to come and sing bhajans. A small re-shuffle would happen, with people in front going back and making space for us to sit in front of Ramesh.

Ramesh would give me a hello smile, and I would smile back, but not completely because the tears may start. I would sit very near to his feet, so that I can touch the wooden patla on which his feet rest.

He has the most beautiful pair of feet in the world.

I would make sure I don't sing too loud, wouldn't wanna make the old man deaf. We sing the same bunch of bhajans since a decade, so its more like humming along in a school prayer. However, like the talk, one word, half a sentence would unknowingly enter the heart and fertilize, and become bigger and bigger.

After the Panduranga's are done, the best bit would follow. Touching those feet in silence.

If I were to translate into words what my tears say again and again,

It's not thank you guru for giving me god,
but, thank you god for giving me the guru.*

If only, I were in Mumbai....

* Quoted without permission from 'A Homage to the Unique teaching of Ramesh S. Balsekar'.

1 comment:

Irene said...

you really care a lot about him, don't you? i have never felt that way about any one... guess i keep my mind closed.