On one fine day in December 2008 I got call from my old friend Chamuk. I was talking to him after 9 years; I was astounded and at the same delighted to hear his voice.
How do you have my number? – I asked.
Chamuk – I read your blogs regularly…I got your number from there.
Ok..ok..that’s great, you read my blogs?…Good! Where are you now days?
I am in United States and I am coming to India soon…with my wife.
I said – Ohooo! Shadi karli aur bataya bhi nahi?
See Ani I called you because…., we will be reaching India on 22nd and we want to visit Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh and we want you to accompany us.
Why not? But just give me some time freind…I will cheek my schedule and call you back by evening…..no no no, I will mail you; give me your mail id.
email@example.com – he said
What is this macpuff? – I asked.
‘Leave it. I will tell you when we reach there’ – Chamuk said.
Chamuk Mogh studied with me till class Eight in Amravati. Amravati is a small city in Maharashtra and boasts of historical temples of Goddess Amba, Lord Shri Krishna and Shri Venkateshwara. His father was a Sanskrit teacher at our school. After my eight grade examination my family left the place and we mostly remain in touch either through letters or phone. Chamuk belongs to Brahmin family; you can say pure (poor) Brahmins (as my father used to say at that time).
Chamuk’s grandfather was priest at Amba Devi temple, an ace body builder and freedom fighter. His grandfather had little contribution in Indian Freedom Struggle for which his whole family never fail to take pride. In 1929, famous freedom fighter Bhagat Singh stayed in Amaravati during his under ground tenure and stayed at local Hanuman Akhada. During those three days Chamuk’s grandfather made all arrangements for his staying and food.
Chamuk’s mother never allows him to eat any thing from my house as we were non-vegetarians. He don’t even attend my Birthday parties in which my mother used to prepare delicious Chicken Biryani for non-vegetarians and idly & Pulao for my vegetarian friends. For any reasons if I had to go to Chamuk’s house, his parents would ask me to sit outside in varandha as I used to wear leather shoe & leather belt which were forbidden in his house. My father used to say - these things are forbidden in their house because they can’t afford it- you understand! I did not have a religious upbringing like Chamuk, in fact, my family encouraged me and my sister to have a questioning mind and opt for the scientific, secular and progressive path, which I think contained the spiritual impulse to address issues that plunge humanity at large.
I cheeked my Microsoft office outlook calendar:
22nd Jan 08, Sunday
9:00 AM – Residence welfare association meeting
10:30 AM – Dentist @ sushant lok
12:00 AM – Ambiance mall with Mondal & Srila
6:00 PM – Painting exhibition @ Gallaria
9:00PM – Dinner @ Omax with Modi Ji
23rd Jan 08, Monday
10:00 AM – Meeting with RS for PMS @ RNY
6:00 PM – Complete presentation
I mailed Chamuk that I can manage only after 24th and we can meet directly in
on 25th. He soon agreed & replied – Okay. Nagpur