Thursday, March 22, 2018

139. DAYS TO REMEMBER




Thousand Full Moon: Shri. Suresh Parshuram Ranade (81+)
Contributed by: Dr. Raghunath Boradkar (81+)

Shri Suresh Parshuram Ranade is an electrical engineer by profession and also a thorough bred Punekar. Ranades come from Kiwale, a small village  near Pune. They still own an almost 200-year-old Ranade Wada and a temple there. Shri Suresh Ranade knows the history of the wada and the temple and also the past residents by heart and when one hears him telling the tales and the anecdotes along with the names and dates one gets the feeling of being in the presence of an Encyclopedia. Here he tells us about his student days during1949 to 1951 at the Ferguson College . He is a proud Fergusonian and ends his narration with a slogan Jai Ferguson!!
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It was generally assumed that boys from 'Contractor' Ranade family would for their education join Nu. Ma. Vi or S.P but not any other college. Of course there were exceptions.  As per this unwritten rule I had my primary education in Nu Ma Vi. We were staying in Ravivar peth then and the school was very near. After primary I joined the same school for secondary from 1rst English standard. In 1943 vacation we shifted to Apte Road [Our present residence]. But there was no change of school. I appeared for S.S.C from Nu Ma Vi in 1949 and passed.
In June 1949 I decided to join Ferguson for science. For science Ferguson was the best. A new batch of about 120 students staying in the hostel and the vicinity of the college was formed and was named FY science 'F'. The routine was morning P.T. and then classes from 8 to 12 of Physics Chemistry Mathematics English and additional English and Biology and in the afternoon practicals lasting for one and a half to two and a half hours in different laboratories. Walking in the Ferguson college campus was an enchanting experience.
There was a sort of a bell, a hanging three feet square piece of iron on which a uniformed employee of Ferguson used to strike with a huge hammer. The number of strokes indicated the time. The students in the hostel could know the time by the strokes at night. It was so loud that I could hear the bell at my Apte road home. This bell was also used for the starting of the classes and the time to enter. Since I heard the bell at home I used to start when the first bell rang on my bicycle and reach before the second bell rang keep the bicycle on the stand and get in the class by the back entrance and sit on a back bench. But this happened occasionally.
While in NuMaVi I participated in the Laxmibai Ranade elocution competition and other inter school debating competitions and got prizes. The renowned professor Pu Ga Sahastrabuddhe used to guide and train me. He was a professor in SP College. Now that I was in Ferguson I was doubtful if he would guide me. Ferguson had a Gymkhana committee and also had a Debating Department. An elected student representative and two professors who used to act as a Guide. Shri V.D. Mhaiskar and Shri G.P. Pradhan were the guiding professors[ Shri Mhaiskar is now settled in London in law practice] . Both these professors agreed that I should get guidance from Professor Pu Ga Sahastrabuddhe. I was keen on participating in inter collegiate debating competitions. I knew Professor Pradhan had some association with Sevadal.
An inter collegiate Debating competition was organized in September 1949 at Belgaon. Ferguson decided to send two students for the competition and I was selected and the other one was H.R. Patankar [IAS Retired as chief secretary of Gujrat.] The subject was' The medium of instruction English or Mother tongue'. We were to speak for and against.  I was a science student and Patankar was doing Arts [ B.A.]  I was positively in favor of English medium. English I felt was the world language. And there was no parallel scientific terminology in local languages. Late Vishnushastri Chiplunkar had described English as 'Milk of a Tigress'. After 1947 many British soldiers and citizens while going back to Britain had sold their books to old book shops. My father was fond of collecting such books so he used to visit the old book shops and purchase them. He also insisted on our reading them. So I had read  Shakespeare and also Sherlock Holmes. In FY Science Professor Kamat used to teach us English. He taught us Master of Ballantrae by R.L. Stevenson and I liked it very much. Actually I wanted to be a professor of English then. In short I was terribly influenced by English and thought this competition as a good chance of emphatically expressing myself. Shri Dange from Dhule, Professor Haribhau Tulpule from SP and Shri Khare from K K and Co guided us. We won the Gogate Shield at the competition for Ferguson College but hardly anyone showed any appreciation in the college. But my two cousins both girls doing their FY and my brother’s wife all in Ferguson appreciated my efforts. Because of them used to behave in a very gentlemanly way.  Ranades valued education. My mother who had to stop her education due to marriage in 1930. Went to school and passed matriculation examination in 1947 when she was 31 years old. We were together she for FY Arts and I was for FY Science.
But the real genuine appreciation and some popularity came my way in 1950-51 when I was elected as a Debating secretary of the Ferguson College Gymkhana committee.
Principal D.D. Karve used to come to the college on his motorcycle with a sidecar exactly at the stroke of 10:30. He valued discipline greatly and that was right.
Eight colleges in Pune came together and formed a Joint Inter Collegiate Debating Society. [ These colleges were Ferguson, Law , BMCC, SP College, Wadia, Tilak College of Education, and College of Agriculture and SNDT. I was made the secretary of the society. Late Suresh Hattangadi was the chief. The vice chancellor of Pune university Hon. Dr. Jaykar was the President. The program was to organize a lecture of some renowned person every month which was to be open to all university students. Principal Dr. Karve reluctantly gave his permission. The inauguration was done by Sadhu Vasvani.  Comrade Shri S. A. Dange delivered the second lecture. He was an excellent orator. The third lecture was to be delivered by Late Kakasaheb Gadgil [August 50]. He was a central minister then. Unfortunately, on the previous day students at Gwalher were fired upon. The students of ILS Law did not allow him to talk. He had to leave halfway. That was the end of Intercollegiate debating Union. But it taught us some lessons.
For Ferguson we, myself and Rajendra Baviskar, won the Gokhale Cup. This time also we were guided by Professor Pu. Ga. Sahastrabuddhe. The subject was 'In the power struggle between Russia and America, India should join America' Professor G.P. Pradhan was a socialist and did not seem to be keen on guiding me as I was to speak for the resolution. Professor Pu. Ga. Sahastrabudde had also guided SP's Sarojini Kulkarni. She later became Professor of Marathi [ Sarojini Vaidya].
Later in my life I learnt how important it was to have represented Ferguson College. Being a Fergusonian  is being excellent! Rightful love and pride for the institution is essential as the college has shaped not only the past generations but is still shaping the personalities of the coming generations and will continue to do so for the times to come.
My grandson studying English and mathematics in 11th standard in the Ferguson College.  
JAI FERGUSON!!

Suresh Parshuram Ranade B.E.[electrical] D I M Profession Electrical Engineer, Energy Auditor, Management consultant, Education center organizer

Sunday, November 19, 2017

138. My father affectionately used to call me ‘bacchaa’




Thousand Full Moon: Mrs. Sudha Shrikrishna Joshi née Indu Krishnaji Godbole (81+)
Contributed by: Rohini 

In her write up in Marathi, Sau. Sudha Joshi talks about her memories from her childhood and youth, particularly about her father and her family. In her lucid narration, she details the accident her father suffered, the miraculous homeopathic remedy that cured his headaches, and the responsibilities shouldered by her (Indu) and her elder sister Durga at a tender age of 18; when their father was jailed by the British government during the freedom struggle. She also reflects upon the changing nature of the society, and fondly remembers the togetherness and harmony experienced, not only by close and extended family, but also by the neighbors and community in general.

One of her cherished memories, that she shared with me on the phone, goes as follows: Once when she and her sister were in grade school and her father had gone to check on their final exam results, he returned home and told her (Indu) and her sister Durga that they both had failed the finals and would have to repeat the grade. On hearing this, Durga started to cry but Indu, on the other hand, bravely challenged her father asserting very forcefully that it was simply impossible since she and her sister were both excellent students. On seeing Indu’s brave stance, her father burst out laughing and patted her on the back and told the girls that they had passed with flying colors. Sau. Sudha Joshi, towards the end of the phone call also mentioned that because of her bold nature her father affectionately called her his ‘baccha’...





Friday, August 11, 2017

137. TENACITY THY NAME IS WOMAN




Thousand Full Moon: Shrimati Gokhale 81+
Contributed by: Dr. Raghunath Boradkar


July 24th was the first day of Shravan. It was also the birthday of my music guru late Mahadevbhai Shastri founder of Sangit Upasana Mandir Annie Besant Road Surat.
We shifted from Baroda [Now Vadodara ] to Surat in 1965. My husband was promoted as Head of the Department of Pharmacology, in the newly started Government Medical College Surat.
He was already known in his field for his research and administrative abilities. We were new to Surat and the college staff quarters were under construction and hence we had to find an accommodation elsewhere. Luckily we got an accommodation in one of the bungalows, belonging to the contractor Shri Shirishbhai Desai. A part of it was rented to us but the rest of the bungalow was under the control of his sister Shrimati Urmilabe Bhat, who was a minister in the Gujrat Government. It was a little difficult to put up with the pomp and show that goes with the minister's post and yet we stayed there as there was no other alternative available.

It so happened that my daughter Vidya, suddenly fell ill. We consulted Dr Rajendra desai a friend of ours. Unfortunately, it was found out that she had Rheumatic heart and had to undergo complete bed rest. She had to be lifted up and carried. To add to this my sister in law in Mumbai fe[[ ill and I had to shift to Bandra. Everything was well for some days. But then one day Vidya vomited in the morning and we had to admit her to a Hospital. It was said that there was an infection but she became critical and also started getting fits. She used to get up from sleep and suddenly catch me and tightly hold me. Nothing helped and on the third day she breathed her last. It took a lot of time for me and Partha, my son to get over the shock. As my husband had to go back to work we again shifted to Surat. It was impossible to stay in that house now, it looked so empty without Vidya. I pestered him to look for another house and found one in Adarsha Society on Ghoddod road, not a very populated area, and far from the maddening crowds. One day one of his colleague, Dr P B Roy professor of pathology staying in the same colony paid us a visit. We knew each other very well and our children used to play together. Vidya was his favourite and he considered her as his daughter. He suggested that I should learn music and said it could be a good diversion to console my mind. He offered to introduce me to my Guru. So I asked my husband if I could go and then went to see Guruji.
The house was quite old. The family consisted of three sons a daughter in law and a grandsons.
The sons were employed. One of them was a vocalist and the other one played Sitar. The youngest was a tabla player and was Guruji's favorite. Mahadevbhai was a disciple of Pandit Omkarnath Thakur belonging to Gwaliar Gharana. He was a pleasant God fearing personality and had a deep understanding of music. Music was his world. Since his wife's death he had confined himself to his room and taught music to those who came to learn. If someone did not practice he used to be sad. He immediately agreed to teach me. He had some words of consolation for me. Music makes you forget everything he said, adding that life and death was God's will so let’s surrender to his will and get lost in the eternal joy of music. I was asked to come at 2 pm sharp. I adjusted accordingly making arrangements for Partha to be looked after and did not want to miss a day. When I used to reach there, I used to see Guruji tuning the Tanpura.  “Be calm”, he used to say and after I would settle down, would ask me to start with the first note SA and when I could do that he would ask me 'What are you going to sing today?' I had told him that I had started learning music from the time when I was ten years old. It's not that I knew many ragas but I had acquired a sound knowledge of musical notes. I always tried to sing exactly like chitale Kaku, my childhood teacher, and though not a complicated TAAN, I could easily sing the AALAAP. She used to say,   Manik when you sing with me I feel like singing and I get an encouragement’ and both of us used to sing and get lost and would forget the existence of time. When her little Raju started crying we stopped and wound up and kept the instruments aside. Was the losing the sense of time and one's own identity was a state of SAMADHI? I did not know the word samadhi then, but I did not want to come out of that state.
I was busy with college studies, Social gatherings, Drama, and playing. At home my father and mother discussed Tatwadnyanmanjiri and I found it boring. In a way the atmosphere was conducive to my learning music. It was fun going to Gol Bag with friends and singing film songs or Bhavgeet under the starry skies. I appeared for Madhyama of Gandharva  Mahavidyalaya of Ahmedabad  and passed with good grades.

It was 1968 when we shifted to newly built staff quarters in the Medical College campus, New civil Hospital Majura gate Surat. In September, Surat and Bharuch both cities were flooded.  Rivers crossed the danger mark and water entered the cities. We experienced very difficult days then. In October Chhaya was born and Partha got a sister. It was as if Vidya had returned. This made everyone happy. These were breaks in my sadhana as I could not go for my music lessons and yet I used to get up early in the morning and practice with dedication amounting to religiosity.  Gradually everything was normalized. We found a girl who could look after Chhaya and I started going to Guruji again. I was happy and overjoyed and found that my music acquired a different dimension and became more enjoyable. I used to feel the difference. Ragas have their natural attributes and not all ragas can give you a continuous feeling of joy. Puriya and Marwa have similar notes but Mawa expresses the poignancy of the late evening and Puriya reminds you of a woman separated from her lover and expresses her longing and pain. Guruji used to say, “Our music is the mirror of our life”.  A great loss in life makes the music more meaningful. Tears used to come to our yes while singing such soulful ragas. Rushikumar and Jayubhai and his wife Madakini said that
Guruji had loved his wife very dearly. His choked voice sometimes used to give vent to his feelings. 

In 2017 now all these memories are tending to fade from my consciousness and I hardly recollect any complete ' CHEEJ ' taught to me by him. But when we sing I remember only one raga, one Bhairavi 'Jogi mat ja  mat ja  mat ja' and for me it never ends. It may sound a little egoistic but when Guruji was told that we had to go to Jamnagar he wept. “A disciple like you is found only once in a life time”, he said. He also said his life would be barren again. He did have another disciple but she got married and went away. Her main interest was basically commercial. She wanted to become a Radio Star and sing on Ahmedabad Radio. Guruji had said 'She knows the notes well but she has not found the soul of music'.  She knew the ‘SWARA’ but had not found the 'SOOR' and I was interested only in the SOOR and getting lost and forgetting myself. “This forgetting is God realization” Guruji had said. Guruji knew the reason why we were transferred to Jamnagar. That pain, the DARD would express itself while teaching and singing a CHEEJ like 'Soutan ke sang rat bitai Piya ghar aja' and we used to get lost with tearful eyes.
Thirty years passed in between and then I met Mrs. Yoginitai Garud when I came to Pune. When I met Dr. Boradkar in Pune he casually asked me if I still sing. I said no.  He told me about Yoginitai and her class and we once attended a Guru Pournima function of the class where I heard her and was impressed. I then met her and asked her if she could teach. She said age is no problem if you have the desire. So once again my life was full with music. Yoginitai encouraged me and I continued. I learnt a lot and experienced some moments of ecstasy and I should say had a short but memorable time. But past never stops to haunt, and leaves its marks. Yet I have some beautiful memories of my musical journey to cherish and I live by that. 

Music was my world, a different sort of world that I was bent on having. Life doesn't always give you what you want and there is a limit to everything. I have no strength to fight now and I am tired, too tired. So be it.  Oh. God!