A short stint capturing people’s stories from a small place in Pune called the Nana Peth. These human beings are down to earth, have their own struggles but what binds them together is their positive attitude towards life. Here are a few wisdom diamonds for all of us:
Chandu Kharar lives with his wife and three children in Nana Peth, but his heart, strangely, of all the places is in Kerala. He is a driver by profession and is traveling in Kerala for 9 months in a year. His mother sold fruits and vegetables in the nearby market and father owned a groceries store. When asked how he got into this profession, his face lights up and he says, “I have wanted to drive all my life. I love driving and I love Kerala. So I learnt to cycle when I was 8 years old and even then I used to cycle long distances. I just loved the thrill of travelling, since childhood.”
He has been travelling to Kerala for the past 22 years, when I asked him whether he ever travelled there with his wife, he replied with a shy smile that it was only once, right after their marriage. His wife doesn’t like Kerala or Pune, she is from Bombay and she still loves her own city, even after so many years in Pune.
Kharar spent half an hour with me, invited me inside his house for a cup of coffee, insisting that I have something to eat as well. He told me about the different places in Kerala that he visited, the temples, the backwaters, their festivals. It was evident that he was in love with Kerala. He had even learnt Malayalam on his own, he showed me the books he used to learn and even spoke a few sentences for me. He kept calling me as ‘baby’, which was very endearing. Not once did he ask my name, what I did. It is amazing how little is needed for someone to open up to you completely, all you need is love!
Indubai Bhende has spent all her life of 71 years in Nana Peth. She runs a small groceries shop which turns out to be a perfect place for people living nearby to sit and chat with her throughout the day. Indu taai has been running the shop for 40 years now, inheriting it from her mother-in-law. She got married when she was just 12 years old. I asked her if she remembers anything from the time she got married, she said, “All I can remember is hard work right from the third day of my marriage. In those days we used to sell guavas. So my mother-in-law entrusted me with the task of going all the way up to Warje, which is a good 15 kms from here on foot and bring back a load of guavas to sell in the city.”
I asked her why she loves to stay in Nana Peth, she said “This is where I was born, and this is where I will die. Everything I want is right here. Why will I go anywhere else? People visit me throughout the day when I am sitting at my shop. I have a schedule of visits on any given day, and if ever someone misses their meeting with me, I call for them to see if they are fine.”
“माझं लग्न १२व्या वर्षीच झालं. तेव्हा काहीच कळत नव्हतं. लग्नानंतर एका वर्षानंतर मी शहाणी झाले.” Meaning, I got married at the age of 12. At that age I was very naive and did not understand many of the things. But within one year of my marriage I became wise.
Tukaram Limbaji Wade owns a shop selling percussion instruments like dholkis, tablas. It has only been a year since he came from Solapur to accompany his only son who wants to pursue a career in civil services. He has come here with his wife and son, while his brother from whom he learnt how to make these instruments is back in Solapur. He talks proudly about his son,
“My son is very intelligent and hardworking. We had three options, either to go to Nanded, Nasik or Pune for his education. We chose Pune, in spite of the fact that Pune is very costly, because this is where he could get access to the best of classes. Money is something you use to become a better person, acquiring more and more of it can never give satisfaction, it only makes one more greedy. I am satisfied where I am. Life is hard, but we are enjoying it none the less.”