Story 13. The Refugee. Part 2.

“…. suffering at the beginning of a life is felt to be made good by subsequent achievement. It can be seen in retrospect as a trial or apprenticeship, as part of a larger story of success. By contrast, suffering at the end of a life remains unredeemed – unless of course we look beyond this world. This is the permanent truth in Solon’s dictum (“Call no man happy until he is dead.”). It is only with death that the overall shape or meaning of a life comes into view. Calling a life happy or unhappy before the end is like calling a play tragic or comic before it has run its course.”

~ Robert and Edward Skidelsky in ‘How Much Is Enough?’

I was transferred back to Bombay in 1983 and our friendship grew stronger with four marriages in Bhagwans family taking place more or less within short periods of each other with Bhagwans daughter and son getting married simultaneously in one ceremony. By this time Bhagwan had bought himself a fancy apartment in a posh locality close to where we were living and so the traffic between the two households resumed with increased frequency.

By 1984, trouble started for Bhagwan, with his son Rohit wanting to separate from the family and move out of Bombay. Rohit did not want to be either a restaurateur nor financier and instead wanted to join his in laws in the Construction business and move to Nashik where they were located. Bhagwan had looked forward to handing over his business interests to Rohit and tried to persuade Rohit to go into the construction business in Bombay itself without success. Much unpleasantness between the elders and the youngster took place. It was eventually decided to settle matters by buying out Rohit’s share in both businesses which was duly done. This unpleasantness went on for a couple of years before the separation took place. Bhagwan soon suffered a heart attack and was partially paralysed.

Manohar, suggested that Bhagwan retire from the restaurant business and offered to buy the latter’s share out. A helpless and enfeebled Bhagwan agreed to and his life as a restaurateur came to an end.

Without Rohit’s help, an enfeebled Bhagwan soon wound up his Finance business too and having sold his flat in Bombay, moved to Mathura on a permanent basis. I visited Bhagwan and Savithri in Mathura on two occasions in 1987 and 1989. They seemed to have settled down comfortably in a small accommodation in the ashram which they used to visit earlier.

I moved to Pune in 1990 and Bhagwan and Savithri came to visit us and go to Shirdi. I had made all arrangements for them to do that and they were very happy to have been able to do that much longed for pilgrimage. They returned to Mathura in January 1991 and Bhagwan died in his sleep in March of the same year. Savithri moved in with Rohit at Nashik for a few months but decided that she was more comfortable in Mathura where she took refuge in the ashram and her guru and she too died in 1992.

Manohar’s restaurant is still running successfully, now being managed by his son. I had occasion to go to Bombay on a day’s visit a few months ago and went there to have lunch. I was treated like visiting royalty, and the meal was on the house.

Rohit is a successful builder, land lord, race horse owner and a page three personality in Nashik.

Among the most cherished possessions that I have are a shawl and a Rudraksha Mala gifted to me by Bhagwan all those years ago. They act as reminders to me of a great friendship with a very warm hearted man who became a refugee on two occasions in one life.

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