By: Pravin Bhikale
Your voice! (write-up competition)
Kashinath Shejawal – Unknown face
Someone meet us for only one time but keep his footprints in hearts forever. I was in the Bhagur village for formation and promotion of self-help groups. I did not have any source to reach this village. Me and my associate Meeratai we went together. At 8.00 am we left the home, first one gentleman gave lift on his bike. We three people were sitting on bike. I had my laptop bag on my laps. I was struggling more because I was sitting middle of the bike and my laptop bag was too much heavy. Road condition was very bad. Road were not motorable. This road was like disco pub. Bike was not running. It was actually dancing. This village was still 10 km. This gentleman dropped us at Bhagur Phata. Now village was still 4 km away from Bhagur phata. We waited there for 1 hour then we got in to a truck. This village was new for me and meeratai as well. This truck dropped us at wrong place. Now we decided to walk. We started to walk towards Bhagur village. Around 11.00 am we were walking. Sun was throwing flames from sky, land was too much hot. We felt that we were walking across the desert. After 1 hour we reached village. I was too much tired. I did not have food or even water since 4 hours. We took water in one house and start taking information of the village. My associate was working with full energy. But I was tired. My stomach was paining with great hunger. But still I was working. In between I met one person. Mr. Kashinath shejawl alias Nana. He was old man of 70-80 years old. His wrinkles were telling his age. He wore a typical Maharashtrian Gandhi topi, big brown old fashioned spectacle. He was tall enough. His voice was loud and spirited. His voice, way of talking, energy was making me ashamed. He held one stick in his hand and walking through thrones. He seemed to be replica of Mahatma Gandhi. I asked him “baba, mukhya wastit kas jayayach?” (How to go main village?). He replied me “ Lai damalasa thod maze ghari thamba, unhat as firnyaparis thod un kami hou dya bhayya” (You are tired. Rest in my home don’t walk during noon. Wait for evening.
He promised to show us way to Bhagur. He took us to his home. He was having very small room and living with his lady. In front of his home, small angan was there. Goats were eating grass. Nana called his goat by name i.e. rani means queen. He told me that they were taking care of her like their own kid. His house was surrounded with cotton fields. Due to drought there was short heighted cotton crops. In front of his house one big tamarind tree was there. He gave me woolen rug to sit. His wife offered me tea. He was continuously talking without any interruption. He started with his village politics , then he moved to history, geography and so on. Meanwhile I felt that he must have completed Phd. In Social Science. He was continuously pulling leg of her wife. His wife’s hearing ability was less and he was commenting with his Marathawada style. This couple was very nice. Made for each other couple. I could imagine their earlier marriage life.
After finishing tea he offered me ground nuts. Not only ground nut but he gave me jaggery with it. When I denied he told me that “ don’t feel as outsider you are like my grandson. I offered you this groundnuts and jaggery because you need energy. You are doing good work for society but for this you need energy. This sweet combination will give you energy in your work.”
I was just staring towards him. When we were leaving his home he came with us to show the way. He dropped us at right place and went back. I don’t know who is he? Why did he help me? Why did he offer me food? I was not even trying to find these answers. But I felt that I met human being on that day. 75 years old man unknowingly gave me lesson of humanity. His energy was more than any ordinary young boy. His energy is enough for me to work in future.
Marathawada a drought prone area. Negativity was flowing around the village. Less rain, low yield. How one can expect any positive things? But man like Kashinath Shejawal alias Nana put his energy into such adverse conditions and make it optimistic.
I left this village with sweet memory of Nana and his young and positive energy.