Sunday, 23 April 2017

Namaste Italy!!!

This is a true story based on a simple man named Mahendra who fought against all the odds and despite being knocked out by life ruthlessly, raised back to his feet stronger than before. A man who has set the best example that an Indian can achieve anything when stuck to his roots. Presently, Mahendra Mahi Sirsat is a successful entrepreneur in Italy who is spreading the Indian culture in a #MoreIndianThanYouThink way. 

So here it goes...

Nagpur, a small town in the Maharastra state is stuffed with rich Indian culture. The religious festivals are celebrated with a great zeal in this city and the various mythological temples and places have made Nagpur one among the auspicious city in India. It wouldn't be wrong to say that the Indian culture is in the air in Nagpur and hence every person who is born here has it running in his veins. 

Mahendra was born and brought up in this city, Nagpur. As a child, his mornings were spent doing yoga with his dad. His dad would proudly tell at home how Mahendra was a fast learner and did every poses perfectly even at such a young age. His evenings went playing the games like Gilli Danda and Goti in the streets of Nagpur. When the sun would set and the aroma of tempering from the curries and vegetables would linger the entire town, which was being prepared for dinner by the women of the house, his Aai (mother) would call out his name loudly but sweetly, asking him to get back home. Mahendra would run back to his small house to enjoy the hot and crispy bhaji made by his Aai, served along with spicy chutney and lots of love. The house that Mahendra lived was too small for his traditional joint family to fit in comfortably. He could sense his mother's adjustments and compromises even at such a young age. He used to say, 'When I will grow up, I will build a palace for you Aai'. His mother would ignore him with a smile thinking that he was just a child weaving dreams which will fade with the time. Being in a small town with such a sparse earnings as then, building even an average house was a distant dream.

Mahendra grew up but his dream of building a palace for his Aai did not vanish with time. In fact, it became even stronger with the every passing day. He spent many sleepless nights thinking different ways of making his dream come true but everything he did in Nagpur seemed like tiny droplets of dew in front of his vast ocean like dream.

One fine day in the late evening, Aai heard someone knock their house door. On opening the door, she found a thin young man with fair complexion and trimmed beard standing behind the door. He enquired for Mahendra and so she asked him to come inside and have a seat. His tall stature made him bend a little lower while entering their house. He took his seat on one of the plastic chair sitting in their modest but neat and tidy, dimly lit room. Mahendra came out of another room surprised to see some stranger asking for him. He strained his eyes to look at him and it took him a few seconds to realize that this man is none other than his old friend named Raghav, who had suddenly disappeared 10 years ago. When Mahendra had learned that even his parents had no idea where he has gone, he along with his other friends had searched him through every street and every corner of Nagpur for days and nights together. But all their efforts were in vain. Mahendra was excited to see him and even before he could say a word he hugged him tightly. The excitement in Raghav too was no less than Mahendra. Just as the old friends finished welcoming each other, Mahendra informed his Aai that he will be back in sometime and both left the house for a walk to their old usual place. Reaching there both the friends became nostalgic and laughed their hearts out recalling the naughty memories of their childhood until their eyes flooded with the uncontrollable happy tears. And then, for a moment, the sudden silence crept in between both of them. It was then when Raghav slowly began narrating his story.

He told him how one of his uncles spoke to his parents about taking Raghav to some European country but his parents being orthodox strictly denied it. But, it was too late as his uncle had already instilled the thought in Raghav and even he was dreaming of making it big. He then revealed how he and his uncle both hiding from the eyes of everyone made all the arrangements for getting a passport, visa and collecting the enough cash and fled to their dream destination one fine day. Within the first few days of reaching there, with few of his uncle's reference, he got a job as a cook in one of the restaurants and today after 10 years he has made enough earnings by which he can spend his entire life more than comfortably in Nagpur. Raghav was back to his roots now. Back to his home Nagpur never to go back again.

Mahendra's eyes sparkled listening to Raghav's story and he instantly knew what he has to do next. And above all, it all sounded so easy. He jumped excitingly and told Raghav that even he wants to go there and work. Raghav was more than happy to help him as much as he could. Mahendra went back to home and told his Aai about his conversation with his friend. With initial denials, Raghav convinced everyone at his home and within few months he arranged all that was required and finally set on his journey to Italy.

On reaching Italy, Mahendra checked into a modest hotel room with Raghav's guidance. He was exhilarated thinking about how easily everything was falling in its places. After all, until now everything was happening exactly the way it was planned. He spent that day exploring the city around. Italy did not fail to mesmerize him in the every step that he took. After getting back to his room that night, lying on his back and gazing at the ceiling he imagined himself sitting in his palace like a house with his Aai, eating hot and crispy bhaji made by her, served along with spicy chutney and lots of love. He recalled his childhood words 'When I will grow up, I will build a palace for you Aai' and fell asleep.

Mahendra woke up early morning next day and after finishing with his daily Yoga, he left his hotel in search of a job. He went to the employment registrar office as per the Italian rules to register his resume and other documents. He had a tough time communicating as none of them understood what he was trying to say. He somehow managed to complete all the formalities and his resume registered successfully. That was the day when his mind slowly began to register that it was not going to be as easy as he had thought. Tired he returned back to his hotel in the night. Lying on his back and gazing at the ceiling he consoled himself that it was just the first day and next morning would be better. He fell asleep with the words swirling in his mind again 'When I will grow up, I will build a palace for you Aai'.

Slowly the days turned into weeks and weeks into the month. One month had passed but yet, Mahendra was not getting any response for his job. His quick learning skills have helped him learn some of the basic Italian by now, by which he was able to communicate with the people around. His savings were all depleted rapidly and now he was left with no much cash. In just a few days later there came a time when he had to even leave his hotel and just wander the streets only to be disappointed by the end of the day. During nights he slept on the benches in the park, but the unbearable freezing cold of Italy knew no mercy. To avoid the cold, he used to cover himself under the debris of old newspapers. After doing his morning Yoga in the park, he would go to registrar office to inquire only to be disappointed by the end of the day. He was slowly losing hopes. But even the mere thought of returning back to Nagpur petrified him. The words 'When I will grow up, I will build a palace for you Aai' kept on resonating in his mind whenever he thought of giving up.

A few days later he was left with only a mere amount of cash which would be enough just for a weeks food supply. With a heavy heart, he was finally making his mind prepared to accept the reality and return back to India. That morning just like any other day, he finished with his daily yoga and was shocked to see a lady staring right into his face, as he opened his eyes. He hesitated a little and then questioned her, "Che cosa sta cercando?"(What are you looking for?). When she heard him speak Italian, her eyes glittered and she was visibly relaxed. At first, she apologized him, for her sudden appearance but then revealed how eager she was to know more about Yoga. She told him that she had read the benefits and seen videos on yoga on the internet and had always wanted to learn it and practice herself. After their conversation for a while, she came to know about Mahendra's struggle for a job. She thought for a while and offered him if he could teach her a yoga, she could pay him for it. Mahendra fumbled for words. To him, yoga was just a casual thing which he was doing since his childhood just as a daily routine. He had not even imagined in his distant dream that he could use it for his earning someday. He instantly agreed and started to teach her yoga immediately from the next morning, in the same park where they had met the previous day. Just as his first session was about to end, seeing them doing the yoga poses, there came an another man expressing his interest in yoga.

15 years later...



Mahendra now runs a yoga institute named Krishnalila in Turin, Italy and is quite popular among Italians. He has a huge number of Italians as his yoga students today. 


video  video

Apart from his regular yoga classes, Mahendra also plans trips for his yoga students to India during the festivals and let them experience Indian festivals in more Indian than you think way. 


And regarding his dream of building a Palace for his Aai in Nagpur. Here it is...


Photo credits: All the photos and videos used in this post are with Mr. Mahendra Sirsat's permission.
You can reach him at www.mahikrishnalila.it.
Or he can be also reached on www.krishnalila.weebly.com.

This post is written for a contest #MoreIndianThanYouThink by Lufthansa hosted by Indiblogger
Also, do not forget to check the cool add by Lufthansa Airlines. 



Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Some Lyrics Says It All...

If silence is beautiful, words are powerful. It is the power of words, by which listening to an old song sometimes evokes so many untouched emotions in you. The emotions which were buried deep under the piles of all the debris in your heart. The poor emotions which could not surface above, no matter how much they tried to. But, just one old song is capable of bringing back all the old memories associated with it like a hurricane and churn you inside out, leaving you shattered for a long after its gone. All we can do is collect the broken pieces once again and try to bind them together and make sense of it, even though it made no sense then, nor today.

One of my most unforgettable memories related to a song is from the last days in my Engineering hostel. The memory which is deeply carved in my heart. One evening I and my best friend Surabhi were lying on her bed together and listening to the random songs on her cell phone. One earphone was in my ear and she was using the other. Then the song began playing which we loved the most. It was the song Kahi Toh Hogi Woh from the movie Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. Initially, we were enjoying the song and its soulful lyrics but as the song proceeded we both slowly became quite. Completely quite. So quite that in a few moments, the tears began welling up in our eyes and soon after we begun weeping like babies, hugging each other. No words were required in that moment to convey each other the reason for us to weep. The pain of separation which we were avoiding to accept was approaching soon. It was the magic of the song, that made a way to our pain to surface out, which we were avoiding.

The song whose every word was meant for us and our state of mind at that moment. From then, even after so many years have passed, this song has remained close to my heart. And I am sure it is equally important to my friend Surabhi as well.

And here it goes...