JOINING OF SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM, DELHI BRANCH - 21st. Nov. 1984 to Dec. 10, 1988
I reached Delhi from Hyderabad by A P Express train on 21st of Nov. 1984. At the Ashram office I met the in-charge Ms. Tara Jauhar. After some discussion she took me around the campus to show the departments and the schools running on the campus. I liked the place and she too felt that I would be useful for Ashram work. I was given charge of her official correspondence and Reception work. The daily routine was after breakfast at 8 in the morning I will be at the Reception and receive donation from Guests and allot room/s for their stay. In those days I had one 'Facit' Typerwrite to do all official letters.
My 4 years of work here was interrupted 3 to 4 times when I myself left it for different reasons. Once I went to 'Ma Mandir' at Rewa, Madhya Pradesh for 3 months. This Sri Aurobindo Center was in a village 'Mahasua' by name. I used to take english language classes for students and sing bhajans in their devotional sessions.
After tea break I used to play either Table Tennis,Volley Ball or Badminton on weekdays. On sundays, there would be film shown on TV but I seldom watched them. The community life at Delhi Ashram was enjoyable and I also used to join evening mediation session regularly. In my free time I also used to read book by Sri Aurobindo.
Later on I also had to look after the Accounts dept. as well when the Account's officer, a lady, went on leave, which she did quite frequently. My relation with the Accounts officer developed into a close friendship and we decided to marry and start a new life outside.In the meantime her brother also came to ashram looking for a job and she got him one at Guragon with the help of someone from the Ashram.
MY PROFESSIONAL LIFE IN DELHI (DECEMBER 1988 TO Oct. 31, 2015)
I took up a job Just a few days before my marriage with an engineering company by name 'Stanford Engineering' in Saket, Delhi. Here only I worked for 15 days. After my marriage when I came back our HRD Officer told me that my services have been terminated. It was a good news for me as I disliked doing a job between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. But that short lived freedom came to an end when my wife came back from her home and again I had to appear for interviews and find a job. I also moved with my wife and her brother to Mianwali Colony in Gurgaon, a suburbs of Delhi. Her brother was already in a job in Accounts Dept. with an air-compressor manufacturing company.
My second job with Paramrampuria Synthetics did not last more than 6 months and on one fine afternoon I went back home early after resigning. I was happy again that I got rid of the suffocating 9 to 5 hours job routine but my wife was tense. I tried not to take up such routine job but I had no alternative.
Finally after about 2 months I got another job with an NGO by name 'Development Alternatives' run by one Dr. Ashok Khosla. Here I worked for about 2 and half years before I moved out to one Architecture college in Sushant Lok, in Gurgaon. Between these change of jobs we also kept on moving from Gurgaon to Katwari Sarai and then to Adchini village in New Delhi and then again to Gurgaon. My work at the college too was short lived just about 6 months. I also wrote a short story on my Architect boss and here is the link: http://divinepersons.com/My%20Short%20stories.html
However my next job with a finance company continued for 8 long years. This company was doing very well for about 4 year but later on it lost steam and was sold out IL&FS. After the sell out of this company, my position improved. The main reason why this company lost out was due to a number of 'Yes men' inefficient and hardly working were on the roll. The new company recognized my potential and raised me to became a Senior Officer. The then CEO Mr. Hetal Gandhi is still a friend of mine. You may click the link for the whole story : http://www.divinepersons.com/Story%20No.%206.html I left the services of this company in the year 2000.
MY FAMILY EXPANDS
On Nov. 21, 1992 my daughter was born in Pondicherry. After about 3 months of her birth, my wife and mother-in-law came to our home in Gurgaon. At that time I was working with that Finance Company. I continued commuting daily to Delhi from Gurgaon and back home. In those days travelling standing in a crowded ramshackle bus would suck all my energy at the end of the day. For about 2 and half years I stayed with my family (between 1991 to 1993) in Saraswati Vihar, Gurgaon, 12 Kms. From Mehrauli in Delhi. This Saraswati Vihar is adjacent to Maruti Vihar. The Maruti Vihar is reserved for workers of Maruti Motor Co. employees. This colony was quite empty at the time we lived there. We were invited there by one Mr. Sainik & his Mrs, so called devotees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch. We too are being the devotees of Sri Aurobindo that became a meeting ground. He charged us more than usual rent prevailing at that time. The house was not complete yet. Mr. Sainik introduced me to the neighbors as his brother. While he was taking rent from us he gave us the responsibility of looking after the house when the Mason and other workers were working in, around and out of the house. This extra responsibility was given as an honor as we are supposedly his brother. Throughout the day, workers would be running around with cement, mortar, bricks, sand and asking for water and what not and by evening they will leave us in peace. I used to be in my office in Delhi and my wife had to bear the brunt of it. This much definitely a daughter-in-law should tolerate and pay for it!
After 13 days of our intolerable stay, a house fell vacant across the lane and that too at a cheaper price. It was a finished house with a staircase to the roof. We contacted the owner and shifted immediately. It was like a heaven for us. It was ready, nice and a cozy place. The Ex-house-owner's wife came to our house in my absence one day and claimed the rent abusing us for vacating their house so soon. She not only claimed full month's rent but also electricity charges (this includes electricity used by the workers). My wife calculated the 13 days rent and some amount towards electricity and paid her. The ex-house-owner abused again and left us in peace.
The positive side of my Gurgaon stay in the initial stage was that my office with a change in job was very close by. I could just walk to my office, come back for lunch and would be at home within 5 minutes of office closing hours. Although I could not work there for long as my boss was a whimsical tyrant. I tried to adjust with him but his eccentric behavior was too much to bear. In the meantime I got a job with a finance company in Delhi with the same salary but with better long term benefits. The house where we were staying had a terrace. In those days one could see a long stretch of green fields across and the horizon at a distance. The same place has now become so congested that one can only see a little patch of the vast sky.
In the meantime, to avoid erratic bus services with uncertainty, I bought a bicycle and one fine day went to office with relative comfort and ease. On way back it was already dark and there used to be no street lights along the Mehrauli-Gurgaon road. Singing a song I was pedaling happily till I hit something concrete on the road and I fell. My bicycle got damaged and I had to walk back home reaching at 10 p.m. That was the end of my bicycle experiment.
After a few months, my wife became pregnant and with consultation with her brother who lived in Saket, Delhi my wife was sent to Pondicherry to her sister's place for extra care and delivery. As it was thought her delivery would be smooth as the Jipmer Hospital Doctor was known to her sister and arrangements could be made for this purpose. While in Gurgaon heath facilities were abysmally poor in those days.
On her departure to Pondicherry, I became alone and my life became quite troublesome. I had to catch a bus by 8 in the morning everyday (Except Sunday) for Delhi and change it at IIT crossing for Vasant Vihar. I used to be late reaching office. By the time I went back home it would be about 9, 10 or 11 p.m. Summer as well as winter days were difficult for me. Before 7.30 a.m. I had to prepare some food to eat and pack some leaven bread and vegetable for lunch in office and rush to the bus stand. Some days I had to take the Govt. run buses heavily overloaded with passengers that too it would not stop at the designated stoppage but either behind or ahead of regular stop. I had to run to catch it and many a times and I missed it so many times. Some times I would take a lift upto Mehrauli and take a local bus up to IIT gate and then again another bus to Vasant Vihar and walk down the 1 k.m.distance to Basant Lok. By the time I would reach my office my condition would be like those dilapidated govt. buses. Now that there is metro train for commuting this distance up to hauz khas, I presume, what a relief it would have been if it was in place at that time. Tension would always be there awaiting at the office. Of course during lunch time some relief for some time.
However life went on hanging in balance and anytime it could have snapped. This routine I had to pass through for about 8 months. I thought my wife's arrival would make my life little comfortable but it was an illusion. My load of work increased with the arrival of our little daughter. My mother-in-law also came with her. Now I have added responsibility of going to vegetable market after office and wash clothes in winter nights (no hot water available). Mother-in-law also criticized my washing of clothes for not doing it properly. The problem compounded as we did not have any gas cylinder to cook food, we had to depend on a kerosene stove. Only Sunday was a holiday for me. But that day too, my brother-in-law, his wife and son would appear and spend the whole day in our small house. I did not have any space to quietly spend the day. At that time office work also created a lot of tension as my boss, a vice president of the company, was under severe strain to prove his worth. My brother-in-law would come every Sunday without fail and increase our load of work which already reached almost to its breaking point. One day my outburst created a relationship problem and I had to beg for his forgiveness to bring the relation to normal. Neither my wife, her mother or brother-in-law could understand my situation, I suffered silently.
Our new company used to throw party once in a month. I planned once to attend one such party in hotel Oberoi. I boarded a shared Tata Sumo and on the way it hit head-on with a bus coming from the other side. Our vehicle was broken and all the occupants got injured. My injury was a few scratches. I had to walk back to my house and our neighbor helped me with bandage etc. He is the same person who had given me his suit to attend the party.
Finally we decided to move to Delhi in a small accommodation notwithstanding. Life became a little tolerable with job and family. This place was in Ladoo Sarai DDA Colony. Here we lived for about 8 months. It was such a small room that only one person could somehow manage to stay and we were three! I was desperately looking for a house with little more space and an exclusive bedroom. Such an apt. was found in Saket by my brother-in-law but this too was not convenient. The kitchen was so small that only one person could enter at a time. The apt. was also infested with cockroaches not a few but in hundreds. After about a year we moved to E block in Saket. This too was inconvenient as the entry was through the back lane. This back lane used to be very unclean in spite of our best efforts to keep it clean. While we were in this backyard accommodation, our daughter got admission in the Mira Nursery School, a part of the famous The Mother's International School. So now we were looking for an accommodation closer to her school to avoid daily bus or auto ride.
With the help of Mohan Bhai of Sri Aurobindo Ashram we got an accommodation at Sarvodaya Enclave on the first floor, Rear having one bedroom apt. The location was very good for us and being the closest to my daughter's school. We stayed on in this locality till she finished her schooling in 2011 with a first Division marks. Only staying in this house, where we later on also rented the 2nd floor room for my office, for about 9 years at a stretch, we moved to another house in the same locality in front of a park with two bedroom apt.
After I left my service In the year 2000 with this Finance Company, I found some odd work with an NRI in consultation with a friend Ramakrushna (in short RK) at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi. This NRI had certain ideas about life and a solution to solve the problems of 7 billion people of the world. He had his own arguments to buttress his points of view. If I gave my counter arguments he would stop by saying, 'let us not argue' It was my part of job to listen to his talks. In addition to this I also looked after his commercial work. Thus I could manage my both ends meet for my family. I had some experience in computer work and that helped me start a commercial website for this NRI man. Thus my financial package also went up considerably. I am still continuing working with this NRI when this story of my life is being written.
While my daughter went up her classes year by year, I continued my Sunday volunteer work at Sri Aurobindo Ashram reception between 4.30 p.m to 8.30 p.m. This exposure gave me a lot of opportunity to talk to many of the young students who would be coming to the Ashram for a visit or to buy Ashram products. The year 2011 was very important for us also. That was the year we visit Andaman & Nicobar Islands in April and Leh and Ladakh in July. We had gone to Port Blair by Ship which took 3 nights and two days. But it was a great sea voyage. On way back we took a flight to Kolkata. In July that year for 6 days we flew to Leh and back, thus covering the longest distance from Andaman to Leh.
However, myself and my friend, Kameshwara Rao went to Kashmir in 2014 and covered the distance from Srinagar to Leh and Leh to Manali by road. That was the best tour I had in my life. In 2011 Nov. we had to move out of Sarvodaya Enclave as the apt. we were living in were sold to a contractor to build a five story house.
I had been toying with the idea of living in C R Park, a locality having a large number of Bengali population. We shifted to a house on the ground floor at C R Park paying an exorbitant rent. This house had a lot of cockroaches, very little natural light but located in a convenient location. Somehow we were not happy with this accommodation. Still we stayed there for about 10 months. The house owner was very annoyed knowing our plan to shift to another house and started behaving in a very rude way. When we first moved into this house, the house owner was very nice with us helping out in every problem. I presume no other forthcoming tenants were offering such high rent as we were paying. We felt that we were paying unreasonably high rent for an apt. which could be found at a much cheaper price, we decided to look for a better accommodation.
So we started looking for an apt. closer to our daughter's college. We found one at Greater Kailash 1, near a part and a temple. This apt. had 3 bedrooms, big drawing /dinning and big balcony in the front and a smaller one at the back. This was on the first floor. The House owner Retd. Brig. Hardev Singh was a nice person and he told us to continue for the next four years without any increase in rent. In the meantime, our daughter completed her graduation from Kamla Nehru College in 2014. After one more year of stay in Delhi, we left for Dehradun.