Pradeep... Pradeep... Pyaar
This Wednesday I was fortunate to spend some time with Jayesh bhai at one of the most humble space in the world i.e.Safai Vidyalay. After the morning prayer and sharing, people from very diverse background started visiting, in few hours there were students, parents came for assistance in education, health related issues, high court lawyers, district collector, businessman, lokshilpis (grassroot leaders), in charge of a blind school, an old man and a child chirping joyfully and showing her marksheet to Jayeshbhai with gusto and zeal. Last year, she was struggling for admission and a year after she had one of the most joyous smile while showing her mark sheet to Jayesh bhai.
In the afternoon, I encountered one of the most inspiring person... He came and sat beside Jayesh bhai. Jayesh bhai called his name with love- Pradeep, he smiled, he laughed and he rhymed his name thrice following Jayesh bhai - Pradeep, Pradeep, Pradeep :) and started patting Jayesh bhai's back with immense Pyaar (love). Intrigued I was, asked Jayesh bhai, so much love just on calling someone's name !!! And as an incentive for the curiosity I had, Jayesh bhai shared the story of this amiable name Pradeep, Pradeep...Pyaar (love).
4 – 5 years back, as a practice Jayesh bhai used to traverse between two pilgrimages Manav Sadhna and Safai Vidyalay through Gandhi Ashram. On the way, he made it a practice to spend time at Hridaya Kunj (Gandhiji's abode), Vinoba hut, prayer place at Sabarmati Ashram. He would act as a guide to foreigners, to people coming across India, would share stories of Gandhi at Sabarmati, would pick garbage on the way, would exchange smiles with children and what not, in pursuit to serve through small acts of kindness and to express gratitude.
One day, he saw a person encircled by some mischievous boys who were teasing, pinching, scolding a blind teenager. Observing this Jayesh bhai halted and started interacting with children. He asked why are you teasing someone who can't see, children replied with notorious smile– we have fun while doing so. Jayesh bhai asked them- do you think this person would have fun !!! What if you can't seen and someone teases you, would you have fun ! Bowled with loving conversation, two of the children realized that they should change their behavior and promised Jayesh bhai to not to tease someone again.
Jayesh bhai interacted with this blind teenager and asked him what is his name ! PRADEEP, said the boy, Jayesh bhai repeated Pradeep and told him its a beautiful name. Before he could complete his sentence Pradeep asked him to say his name again – Pradeep, on hearing he requested again – Pradeep, Pradeep, Pradeep and started showering his love to Jayesh bhai while patting his back with beautiful smile. Pradeep said – no one calls him Pradeep, everyone either say Aandiya (blind man) or Paddiya (distorted form of Pradeep). Perhaps, to someone who can't see whom he is interacting with and who is showering love, just listening to one's name from safe lips with love, becomes most joyous experience.
Receiving the love in return of just speaking Pradeep, Jayesh bhai took Pradeep to Manav Sadhna. He helped him wash his hands and offered him lunch. Pradeep started coming to Manav Sadhna on a regular basis and started attending prayers. After few days, he asked Jayesh bhai- I want to work, can you give me some work ? On listening to a heartfelt request, Jayesh bhai was reminded of a story of Gandhiji when one blind man, who could sing well asked Gandhiji, please give me some work. Knowing his ability Gandhiji told him to sing Ramacharitmanas (a Hindu Holy epic describing lord Rama's character) for people at Ashram and in vicinity. Jayesh bhai, thinking Pradeep's fammiliarity with Gandhi Ashram asked him if he could take people around in Gandhi Ashram. Pradeep agreed gleefully, then onwards volunteers at Manav Sadhna would be blind folded and sent with Pradeep for an Ashram tour. Pradeep would guide them to Vinoba and Mira huts, Hridaya Kunj, Prayer place and to the museum. In return Pradeep was given some stipend.
Observing Pradeep's sincerity, Jayesh bhai sat with him for a day and taught him how to put chappals in a queue outside Manav Sadhna. Both practiced this seemingly simple but beautiful exercise for at least 25 times. Last year, Saikanth a friend from Chennai, who earlier worked with Mckinsey, observed Pradeep putting chappals in line using his stick, and was immensely inspired that how small act can make a huge difference.
Pradeep, a keen learner and practitioner of love, requested Jayesh bhai that he wants to study. Jayesh bhai put Pradeep in blind school in Gandhi Nagar and not only he has learned brail but also has honned his skills in weaving too. Pradeep is inspired, more motivated and indeed is inspiring thousands of souls through his love. Whenever he get time, he visits Safai Vidyalay and share his love while listening and rhyming Pradeep...Pradeep...Pradeep...leading to Pyaar (Love)