January 3 is my father’s death anniversary. Yesterday I went to the Sabarmati Ashram as my father was an ardent admirer of Gandhiji. My father did not believe in rituals and visiting temples. So, I went to the Sabarmati Ashram to honour his memory. He loved being there when he visited Ahmedabad in 2005. And since 2011, January 3, in moments of deep longing for my father, i have invariably turned to the ashram in search of peace and tranquility.
Like my father, I am a Gandhi lover. Every time I visit the ashram, I discover something new. I come back with a sense of peace. Yesterday, while being there, I came across a board which displayed Gandhi’s daily activities.:-love for animals, cleaning toilets, using microscope, planting trees, reading, writing, giving speeches, praying, spinning, walking, serving patients and resting.
The ashram was full of people who just stood there with a sense of awe and amazement that the Father of the Nation lived in such utter simplicity. Gandhiji believed that life needed to be lived frugally and he mentioned if you don’t need a chair, you need not have it in your house. Contrast this with the mindless consumption of urban India in today’s times. Standing there alone in front of Gandhiji’s beautiful home (Hriday Kunj), I prayed for my father’s soul to rest in peace. I prayed for my own spiritual strength which will enable me to look, live and grow beyond small things and small people in life.
PS: Last night when I was reading a book in the comforts of my house, my mind just wandered back to India’s greatest ascetic soul’s home. And then as a contrast, I couldn’t help thinking of India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani’s huge, opulent, unimaginably tall house in Mumbai. I thought of a hypothetical situation (decades later)—if the house will ever be open for public. But will some person go there to seek solace for her/his father’s absence in life? Will somebody go there in search of peace, tranquility and shed some tears while remembering beautiful memories?
Gandhi with his soul-stirring statement’ My life is my message’ can only assuage somebody’s pain even though he is not there physically. That’s Gandhiji’s legacy, his strength, his gift to the mankind.