With Sri Guruji in Nagpur
This writer was in charge of the Nagpur Bureau of Hindustan Samachar, a news agency started by members of the Parivar, and in those days, he used to stay in Dr. Hedgewar Bhavan, the Headquarters of RSS at Nagpur. He had the opportunity to come in close proximity of Sri Guruji, and other stalwarts of the Sangh Parivar, like Balasaheb Deoras, Sri Baba Apte, Sri Deendayal Upadhyaya and Sri Eaknathji Ranade. There were no restrictions at all to meet any of them at any time and we would walk into their rooms as if we were in our own house with our family members. Sometimes in the early mornings and sometimes in the late evenings, but almost everyday when Sri Guruji was in karyalaya, this writer had the opportunity to go and sit by his side in the company of other inmates or visitors and apprise him about the day to day activities of the office of which this writer was in charge and about general news that one of the news agencies competing with us were introducing certain things into their office and we also wanted to do the same. Sri Guruji did not make any direct comment about that, but addressing the people who were seated around us, he jovially remarked: “In the house of rich people, they will have a TV or Refrigerator in every room. Though they may not need it, they want to have them because their neighbours have and it is a matter of prestige.” Then with a sarcastic smile he looked at this writer who got the hint and dropped the plan at once. That was the way in which Sri Guruji corrected his wards. He used to have a keen observation of people around him. This writer and another inmate used to go and sit in the room of Sri Baba Saheb Apte, who was the Pracharak Pramukh of the Sangh, in the early morning hours. Apteji will reel out to us episodes from Puranas and Itihasas and stories of great kings and emperors and events from the lives of great patriots and martyrs and it was a thrilling experience to listen to him. In the evening when we used to meet Sri Guruji, he would ask “What story did you get from Baba Saheb this morning?”
In the Karyalaya dining hall, all the inmates and sometimes guests will sit in lines for breakfast, lunch and supper at the appointed time every day. Sri Guruji would be seated in the center by the side of the wall and from there he would have a look of all those seated in the hall. He knew who sat where usually. One day, this writer was busy writing some news story and he did not reach the dining hall in time for the morning tea. Sri Guruji noticed his absence and sent someone to fetch him. He said “Your delay has made us all wait for the tea.” The writer learnt not only the need for punctuality, but also understood the benign heart of the great leader. On another occasion, when a VIP from the political field called on Sir Guruji at the Karyalaya and was engaged in some important discussions with him, this writer was summoned. This writer thought that they might want him to release some press statement or news item through the news agency and rushed into Sri Guruji’s room with pen and paper. Sri Guruji smiled and asked him to keep aside the pen and paper. Introducing this writer to the VIP belonging to Bharatiya Jan Sangh, which formed part of Parivar, he said, this writer was from Madras and he liked coffee very much, and as coffee was specially prepared for the VIP, he wanted this writer to share it. On another occasion, when inmates of the Karyalaya, along with Sri Guruji, were visiting the house of a Pundit in the neghbourhood for a religious function, Sri Guruji asked this writer, “Are you ready?” This writer replied in the affirmative, but then Sri Guruji went back into his room and joined us after a few minutes. When the function was over, everyone who attended it was making some offering to the Pundit. This writer stood there a little embarrassed, for he had not carried any money with him. Sri Guruji called him by his side and whispered, “I knew that you were not ready. I have brought the money for you” and trust a two rupee coin into this writer’s hand to make the offering.
Once an auspicious function was taking place in the Sangh. This writer found out that the time to start the function fell exactly in Rahu Kaal. He approached Sri Guruji and told him about that. Sri Guruji laughed and remarked: “Rahu and Ketu will keep aside and make way for us when the Sangh is holding the function.”
Once a Swayamsevak met Sri Guruji and presented an invitation to him for his marriage. Sir Guruji went through the invitation and found that the name of the person inviting was that of the bridegroom himself. He asked him why the names of his parents were not on the top as hosts inviting the guests for their son’s marriage. The Swayamsevak replied that the invitation was intended for his friends whom he himself wanted to invite. But, Sri Guruji pointed out that it was not the Bharatiya tradition for the bridegroom to invite the guests directly when his parents or other elders were there in the family. The Karyakarta promptly took back the invitation and made amendment.