Meet The Gurus Of Peace From India

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It’s a lovely Sunday morning. It’s raining heavily and my area is submerged. I am too. The only difference is that area is submerged in water and I am submerged in love, kindness, compassion, gratitude and blessings of great mentors.

As I talk about mentors, two names immediately come up in my mind—Jayesh Patel and Yogesh Mathuria. Both of them have deep impact on my life. These two men are living legends. Both are examples of a great human that one can witness in this life.

Jayeshbhai has dedicated all his life to the issue of sanitation and runs his sanitation school next to Gandhi ashram. His father dedicated all his life to sanitation too. He’s such a humble man and an ocean of compassion.

Yogeshbhai is a corporate tycoon turned peace agent and healer. He’s a messenger of peace and does his regular walking pilgrimages to connect with rural India and spread love. I also got an opportunity to walk with him—that walk has changed the way I look at world and myself.

I am submerged in blessings of these mentors and lovers who are designing my life. I am thankful to life for giving me this opportunity in this life and I hope, I’ll also touch a billion hearts in this lifetime.

Meet Roy, My First Bengali Teacher

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I met Atanu Roy while working in the animation studio I worked for 10 years.  He was quite senior to me but always-ready-to help type of a person. His humble character got us connected.

I am always learning some or the other language and Bengali was on the list; but  I wasn’t sure where to start. Atanu, came as an angel and handed me some Bengali songs. It was a beautiful team work—I would listen to the song, again and again, and he would translate and transliterate each word for me.

I heard many songs and got to know the language quickly; all with divine support of this magic friend. He made the experience of learning such simple and till date I follow the same process to learn any new language.

This Dude Is The Wormhole To The Lost Universe, Of My Old Days

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There was a time when I was complete disconnected, and even lost. I was out of touch, rather chose to be, with my school friends. School, the wonder years, was just a lost memory until I created a WhatsApp group to connect, after 22 years.

It all started with this school friend whom I owned a long pending apology. She came to Mumbai and we met. I asked for forgiveness and was granted one. She expressed her interest to meet more friends form school. By this time, I had already created this group with a couple of friends. After her permission, I added her but she had been continuously talking about this particular name which seemed familiar—Vinay Jain.

I found him out trough Facebook and connected with him. I messaged him and ti my surprise, Vinay recognized me immediately—even after a gap of 22 years. We spoke for a while; about good old times and wonderful present. He reminded of something I did to him in last year of school that he couldn’t forget.

Nope! We’re not homosexual.

In fact, there was some visual communication exchanged that became a sweet-bitter memory. After the conversation, I added him in the group and to my surprise, within no time he added almost half the school in the group.

This man, my old friend, has a phenomenal Hippocampus. He bloody, knows the whole class of 1995. This man not only has an exceptional memory but also has a magical connection with all of them till date.

Vinay, is a not only a exceptional human being but also quite kind, compassionate and loving. He’s like an Oracle of the group—he almost knows it all. Everyone is so comfortable with him and we all love him very much. He’s the one who has connected me—like Einstein’s field theory—to my lost universe, lost time and wonder years.

I am glad to be connected to such angels in this life time. He has worked as a one of the top employees of huge corporations but yet he’s so humble and simple, accompanied by this magic friend—his son Arjun.

My Friend, Kabuliwala!

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As I walked through the streets of Dongri—what I call The Den of Dons—I met a man selling weird power medicines. I was very keen and wanted to inquire about the stuff and so, out of sheer habit of poking my nose in other people’s business, I started to question the seller about the medicines.

वल्लाह! ये अफ़ग़ानिस्तान का मौज़ूं है.

I immediately understood that this man was a Pathan from Afghanistan and he was talking about this medicine made out of rare herbs and dry-fruits. I was amazed and very curios to talk to a Pathan in my life.

This man a 6-foot fair and handsome Pathan named Hakim Ahmed Gul Khan from Afghanistan and was almost staying in Mumbai since 40 years. He collects rare herbs form the Bamyan mountains on horses and makes a special medicine and sells it in various cities of India and sometimes in nearby countries, except Pakistan.

After a brief chat, I started calling him Gul Khan and inquired that if he ever saw Pran sahib’s role in Hindi film Zanjeer.

वल्लाह! हमको मालूम. बोहोत अच्छा काम किआ था.

The chat crossed likes between a million topics from life in his land, to culture, to politics, to war, to religion, to medicines, to this and to that and finally to romance, especially about his two wives which is supposedly a culture in his village.

ओ, पठान लोग बोहोत गरम होता है, एक बीवी से काम नहीं चलता.

Well, it was a brief chat but such an inspiring one for both of us. It opened my mind to talk to a complete stranger and I was really amazed to see that the stranger reciprocated in such a beautiful way. He very well represented his nation and I very well represented mine and although, the local people treat him very badly, hope he’ll carry a beautiful picture of our country back to his motherland!

And, not forget to mention that he invited me to his home in Afghanistan whenever I like and also offered me a stay with his family.

Iranian Al Pacino

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Welcome to my smoke parlor!

I was just peeping inside a shop to see the colorful waterpipe-smoke-giving-ancient machine, commonly called Hookah.

It was an ancient shop full of these hookahs and pipes and the owner was an amazing jolly good Iranian uncle named Ali Yezdi. I was very attracted towards his charming persona and then started a wonderful journey of conversation.

First, he told us about why his surname is like that. Actually, his ancestors came from a place called Yazd in Iran and they settled in India; long time ago.

Smoking a Hookah is nothing like smoking a cigarette. Cigarettes are for people on the run, Hookah is for Shaukeen people. It gives you time and a class.

Hookah, also called a water-pipe was first made in Iran out of a coconut, later the Arabs spread it. It’s a single or multi-stemmed—often glass-based—water pipe device for smoking. It operates by water filtration and indirect heat. It can be used for smoking herbal fruits, there are a lot of different flavors. This was a completely new information to me and I was thrilled. Th best part was that his shop doesn’t have a name-board on top.

I don’t need a name-board.

This man surely took my breath away with his enticing way of talking with some Persian phrases and a very unique style of something like a Al Pacino type talking. He seemed quite from a wealthy family but nevertheless, for me he was an impressive man.

A Memorable Friend, Philosopher and Guide From The USA

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Shana Koenig was the first person, in my life, I met from the USA. I met her while working in the animation studio I worked for 10 years. She joined us as our supervisor in 2004 and stayed us for few years in Mumbai.

She was the first human, from a foreign country, I worked with. In fact, not only we worked together but we had become good friends too. I remember taking her around the city and offering us our street food; especially the famous Wada Pav.

Shana had always been compassionate and ready to help and this was in contrast to all what I had heard since childhood. In my childhood, many Indians, settled in the USA, would come back for their vacation and share stories about the fast, harsh, and boring life they lived in the USA. I guess, those stories were false, and this false perception were deep-rooted in my mind and I thought that Americans are really snobbish and inhuman people but she’s the one who tuned the tables and smashed my false perception.

I am really thankful to her for coming into my life as a friend, philosopher and guide. She has touched my heart like no American has ever had. And,  I remember whole team crying when she was about to leave back for the USA. I gave her a small idol of the Hindu Lord of Beginning.

Iranian Chatterbox

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With less than around 50 Iranian restaurants left in Bombay stamped Mumbai, it’s very rare to find an old Iranian uncle.

I was quite lucky to find this place and have a quick chat with the owner. He was not talkative but at least we came to know his name—Golom Irani. I wanted to know more about him but I guess, it was not a good day.

Golom means flower in Iranian.

This was the first and last thing as far as I remember. So, don’t worry, I’ll come back to get his story.

But no.

Please don’t think that he never said us anything; definitely not from his speaking tool on the face but the wrinkles on his face, his white hairs and the little glint in his eyes said many things, many.

His whole existence spoke so much that I feel, no words would have done justice. Never mind the sounds and language, the silence told it all. To some, he might be an introvert or a silent man but to me he was the loudest of all, the perfect chatterbox among all humans!