“We simply can’t afford this.I think it’s very expensive.Why are you calling the Urban Company for little things?The plumber fixed the tap in five minutes and you paid a lot for it.I must say you call them for their stylish work thats all.”
“Okay,calm down.Next time for any problem don’t bother me.Ask your competant friend to arrange a cheap repairer who can fix,mend and whatever with less money”,
Disgusted I threw the newspaper I was reading on the table and leff the room.
Shivani regretted,”why did I say him like that.He is unhappy.”
At that moment her friend called.
“I saw the UC man going out of your house?”
“Yes yes we had asked for a plumber”,replied Shivani.
“Why call these costly workers?
You should have told me.
There is a good mechanic.His name is Charan.He repaires everything in my house,fan,fridge,tv and geyser.”
It is all over the globe,wives have the notion that they deal with money more wisely than their husbands. They think themselves more smart.
After a week a plug point at the iron board in our house gave some trouble.Clothes couldn’t be pressed.
Shivani was afraid to approach me.So she called her friend to send the mechanic.
Within an hour a tall handsome man in his mid thirties arrived at our door.He was Charan,the all purpose mechanic sent by Shivani’s friend.
He was shown the place of operation by my wife.He inspected the electric board,took out a tester from his backpack.Tested the plug.Then with a screw driver he opened the switch board.
I was watching him work from a distance.
He took hardly fifteen minutes to repaire thr plug point,and lo,the iron got live to do it’s job.
I was pleased with Charan’s work.When I asked Charan about the wage,he quoted a small amount.The well mannered Charan ,known popularly as mechanic ,won the heart of me and Shivani.
A week after the repaire at our home I met the mechanic again in the garment show room. I had gone there to purchase a cotton shirt for me.While I was choosing my shirt,the mechanic entered the shop with his kit.
It was a pleasant surprise for me.The day I saw Charan ,I had started liking him.I was curious to know about his education and his job.
Today I have got the opportunity to get this guy’s details.The store owner is a good friend of mine. So I asked what for the man had come.
“He has come to repaire the AC of the store room of our shop sir.”
“Is he a trained man?”
.”Yes sir,He has done ITI from a good institute.He belongs to a good family too.He works in a big electrical shop as a mechanic and gets a good salary.He also has tie up with many places just as that of us.
In his spare times he attends homes also.All the neibouring ladies call him to repaire things at home.They all are satisfied by his service and most importantly for his good conduct. His work is always perfect sir.”
I nodded yes and said, “he is a good fellow.Once he had attended our home for some electrical repaire.”
The shop owner continued the conversation.”one interesting thing about him is ,he loves to travel places.Each year he goes for a vacation.He has seen many places in India.I have heard,this year he plans to go to Gujarat and wishes to stay near the Sabarmati Ashram for few days.His late grand father was a freedom fighter and had worked with Gandhiji.”
I was awestruck.Amazing,this man is not an ordinary mechanic!Seems he is knowledgeable
person.Let me go home and tell Shivani about him.She would be delighted to listen all this about him.
I came back home.
When Shivani heard all about Charan she praised him like anything.Then in an accusing tone said,
“learn something from that guy.You, a retired engineer in chief,why not you think of visiting new places?I am damn bored bound inside the home twenty four hours a day.You are happy and enjoying life getting the company of your friends mornings and evenings.You all walk,talk and play cards together.Jolly fellows.”
“Don’t get angry dear.I am planning for a trip to Badrinath Dham this year.Now that our children are settled,we are free to leave home for outings.Some of my friends have agreed.We will go in a group the coming summer.Its high time for us for tirth yatra.”
We came to know of Charan’s bhraman when my wife’s friend called and told that the mechanic had left for Ahmedabad the day before.He may return after two weeks.He had told her he would see many places in Gujrat including Dwarka Dham.He had also told her that he would bring prasad from the temple for her.
After two days,Shivani told me that her friend is upset as her mixer grinder was out of order.As Charan is absent it couldn’t be set right.Her cook is cooking without ground masala and her husband is complaing about the bland cooking.
I suggested “why not give your’s to her?”
My wife’s face shined.”Good idea.Her husband is a foody.We can manage with onion and masala powder.”
I muttered hmm,your husband is uncomlaining.Go gala girl.Help your friend.
“what did you say?”
“No nothing,I am humming a song.”
Charan’s cousin recieved him at the railway station and took him to his house at Gandhi nagar.He was the manager in a three star hotel there.It was easy for him to arrange a taxi,which was attached to the hotel.So he had already booked one for three days for his brother’s comfort.The driver of the cab was well versed about Dwarka and Somnath.So he would work as a guide for him.
The traveller in Charan was impatient to waste time. He told his brother to start his travel as soon as possible.He had to return after two weeks to his work place.So he started for Dwarka, the very day of his arrival there.
Dwarka was a small and beautiful town and what he liked most in that place was the Dwarkadheesh temple,
Everywhere there, the food was vegetarian.The curd,lassi and buttermilk were delicious and helped in digestion.
The darsan was quite comfortable inside the temple. Without any hassle, because there was no hustle and bustle, he could look at the beautiful idol of Lord Krishna to his heart’sfill.He stayed there for a day and proceeded to Somnath.
Charan was very excited to see the new temple of Somnath.He had read in school that it was raided and destroyed 17 times by Muhammad Ghory.He looted it for the gold and silver it had and with the loot he could build his capital at Ghazni.
The newly bult temple near the old one stood majestcally. The interior near the new Shiv ling was all of gold.It glowed with the rays of lights fixed in the centrally air conditioned temple.The darsan for devotees was veryv comfortable there.Charan felt proud,as the country is far ahead in technological developments and it had been applied in religious places for the advantage of the visitors.He felt ecstatic seeing the waves of the sea at Saurastra touching the temple boundary off and on.
A day after the visit of Somnath temple he came back to Gandhinagar.His main pilgrimage was yet to be visited,the Sabarmati Ashram.
Again it was his cousin who arranged an inn near the ashram for his week long stay.
**************At the ashram.******
The ashram was spread over a vast area and the sabarmati river was flowing by its side.Well maintained trees of various fruits and flowers adorned the ground.The ashram inmates were feeding the sparrows,squirrels and monkies whose habitats were the trees there.Charan found many visitors coming to visit the ashram.
He first went to the statue of Ganhiji in the sprawling green lawn and bowed in respect.As in temples no one enters with shoes,there too shoes were put on stand.People including the foreingn visitors walked bare footed inside the lawn.
What he liked most was the store inside the ashram.The Gandhian philosophy was displayed in every corner of it,Khadi and threads and the charkhas, and various books and photos. He then realized, “I should take something back for my dear ones back home. It would be nice to take back a part of Bapu with me “.
What caught charan’s eyes most keenly was the charkha, the spinning wheel. There were a number of them, all displayed in a variety of colours, and in a variety of sizes. The entire store was filled with replicas of charkhas, for home display, as well as actual sized charkhas, for those keen tourists, who wished to imbibe the art of weaving.
For seven days he explored every bit of the ashram.He sat for long hours listening to Ram dhoon in the prayer hall.
The big posters on walls displaying all freedom fighters of yore gave him a feeling of pleasure and excitement.And the day he found a glimpse of his grand father on the dandi march poster,his blissfulness found no bound.
His stay near the ashram was approaching the end.Only one day was in his hand.So he decided to purchase souvenirs.He purchased Gita explained by Gandhiji for his cousin and a key ring for the cousin’s Wife.He got a dozen of khadi hand towels for his co workers back home.For himself he got a mini charkha to be kept on his bed side table and a big one as he had decided to spin thread out of cotton for an hour at his home everyday.He thought it would be his best homage for the father of the Nation.
*********Charan’s home coming.*********
To the delight of his employer and all his customers, he joined his job after a satisfying vacation.
His return from Gujarat, and Charan’s demeanour had changed to a grave person.He seemed quiet and serious,which made him look dignified.
Everyday he spun for an hour at home and deposited the thread in the khadi
bhavan inside the city.He started wearing khadi dresses.He also persuaded his friends to wear Khadi .His regular visit to the khadi board made him well known by the staff.The hig rank officers also came to know about him.Watching his interest and the sincerity,they thought of engaging him for arranging meetings and seminars for the promotion of khadi.
His aquaintance with a lot of people helped him to approach them and request them to attend the seminars, was an easy task for him.The gatherings became huge and Charan’s popularity rose day by day.MP and MLA of the area recognised his talent as a good organizer.
Apart from khadi promotion,he contacted the cotton growers all over the state.Through him the farmers got the government help to get good seeds and fertilisers.
Inspite of all these I saw him as humble as before.He attended the calls from ladies with their trouble shooting gadgets and any electrical or other problems.
Once I told my wife that Charan had become so popular I am afraid he may join politics.
But the good thing was that,Charan never ran after the big shots.He remained happy with his work and spinning the charkha.I often wondered,what stuff the man is made of.
Shivani assured me that Charan was different.”He would never enter into the murky world of politics.
Sometimes I feel his stay at the ashram has changed his mindset.He thinks of making everyone self sufficient.He is a selfless man. That’s why he took interest in the charkha and khadi.This man has truely understood the Gandhian phylosophy.”
“Arrey bah,Shivani,wise talk from you!,” I teased her.
It was a Sunday.I was coming back home from the morning walk,when a bike stopped near me.
“Arey Charan you ?So early in the morning?
“I am searching for a room on rent sir.Two unemployed men need money for living.I will give them Charkhas so that they spin threads.I am in a one roomed house.There is no space to work.”
I volunteered,” There is a room in my house. I can spare that room for them.No rent.Its a small help for your noble mission.