I am very glad to share my story with you. This story is about a turning point that changed my life forever. How? Let me start at the beginning…
It was a time when I seemed to be mired in problems and was hoping for a friend who could support and guide me through them.
Around 2009, I was very different person. Much different from what I am today, I was very lazy, not enthusiastic about anything and often spent time without any set goal. There was however a deep wish that I to learn speak English but I was not sure how it would be possible and when I will be able to speak at English like others I saw or met. Where I stay is an area that is far away from the cosmopolitan cities of India where English is in common usage and my education was in our local language, Hindi. English to me presented an avenue to more opportunities in the current world scenario.
At that time that only thing that motivated me was this only wish but could not do much to fulfill it. I was then reading a book “The Alchemist” written by Paulo Coelho inside which I read a quote “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it “.
The same situation seemed to have occurred with me. I met a person, whose name was Gopobabandhu Sahu , on a visit to my part of the country.
When I met Gopu-da (as we ended up calling (Gopubabandhu Sahu) the first time, it was very funny moment. I used to see Gopu-da on his way to his work as a construction labourer, other than which I did not know anything about him. Since he was not of these parts, where we are a small community and most people know each other, there were questions in my mind such as “Who is this person?” and “where he has he come from before coming here?”. It seemed that Gopu-da already knew my feelings and he heeded carefully what exactly I wanted to express in front of him as if he had known about my wish. I asked lots of question about him and he replied to every one of my questions.
My biggest question was to him was when I learnt that he is a software engineer and had returned from the USA. I asked him what is the reason for him to be working as a construction labourer? He referred me to read through a website that he had set up. He published everything about him within the website. Reading his website seemed to fill me with motivation.
He also distributed and suggested and reading a spiritual book “Autobiography of a yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda. I read it through it completely.
I guess it now was also time for my wish to be fulfilled J, to learn English :). Gopu-da had decided to teach a bunch of us the language. It was very tough for us as we were not used to have to work so hard on learning something new. However he kept motivating us regularly. Gopu-da actually only taught us for 33 days while he was residing here and but the it felt like we had been learning English from him for a couple of years.
After working one and half years as a construction labourer, he returned to Hyderabad and re-started his IT career again. He had a dream to do something for nature and the environment , so he went back to a job again that would make him the money to fulfill his dream. When enough money was accumulated he purchased some land near his hometown and began to put his dream into reality.
When he was residing in Hyderabad that time we got golden opportunity to meet him again. Often time we were asking him for visit to him. In February 2012 he invited us to visit Hyderabad and sent two train tickets from Delhi to Hyderabad. We were happy because after a long time we were about to meet him again in Hyderabad. Also we were getting the opportunity to visit Hyderabad, a place we had never seen before.
I took permission for a leave from my shop owner which he happily. In a couple of days we left from Delhi to Hyderabad by train, it was a long overnight journey.
We reached morning at Secunderabad Junction in Hyderabad, took the local train transportation system and reached Gopu-da’s house. we embraced him and he introduced us to his friend, K Ashok. K Ashok , whom we quickly got to know as a very nice person, had an auto rickshaw and it had fallen on him to take us around Hyderabad.
Hyderabad is a charming place with a long history behind it. It is famous for its palaces, it hospitality and its food. We enjoyed the local foods like Hyderabadi Biryani, watching movies, seeing many historical places there. After spending about five days in Hyderabad we extended our plan to visit Chennai with Gopu-da who had decided to join us. These were the days of our unforgettable memories.
Around evening, we left for Chennai from Secunderabad station, again an overnight journey. We reached in Chennai central at early morning, but it was not our final destination as our plan was to visit Pondicherry. Gopu-da already had already arranged everything there through online booking and the taxi driver was waiting for us outside of station.
It was a pleasant journey, we were passing along the sea line and several coconut trees shaded the road from Chennai to Pondicherry along the motor highway. Finally after travelling three hours in the taxi we reached Auroville in Pondicherry.
We had booked two rooms at the Joy Guest House withing Auroville. Lot of foreigners were staying there so we were feeling as we were visiting not India but a place outside of the country :). During our stay, we learnt many things about Auroville and visited all across the place. Auroville (The City of Dawn) is in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, near Pondicherry, in South India. It was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa (also known as “The Mother”). The main attraction was our visit to the Matrimandir, a temple devoted to The Mother. Permissions are needed to visit the place and though we got them it was only after four days we could actually visit there. Only a few people are allowed visit inside the Matrimandir in a day to preserve the sanctity of the place.
Matrimandir is right in the center of town and has been acclaimed as “an outstanding and original architectural achievement”. It was conceived by “The Mother” as “a symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection”. Silence is maintained inside the Matrimandir to ensure the tranquility of the space and entire area surrounding the Matrimandir is called Peace area.Inside the Matrimandir, a spiraling ramp leads upwards to an air-conditioned chamber of polished white marble referred to as “a place to find one’s consciousness”. The surface of the dome has 56 kg of Gold.
Matrimandir is equipped with a solar power plant and is surrounded by manicured gardens. When there is no sun or after the sunset, the sunray on the globe is replaced by a beam from a solar powered light. Wow! After visiting Matrimandir we felt immediately refreshed.
Next morning was the continuance of our journey and the destination this time was Visakapattnam. It was time for me to say good bye to Pondicherry, I didn’t want to come back as I had developed a deep attachment to auroville 🙂 🙂 and I feared that I would never return if I did come back.
Vishkapattam and Umerkot (Odisha)
Early morning we left for Chennai airport and took a flight to Vishakhapatnam. We reached in the afternoon however we were not staying there as our journey was only to end at Umerkot in Odisha. Umerkot was Gopu-da’s home town and we were on our way to visit the farm hours that he had purchased and that had been going to see his farm house that was being developed over the last few months.
After 8 hours by taxi we reached Gopu-da’s home where his parents were waiting us. We met with Gopu-da’s mother, a very charming nice woman. She had cooked home meals for us that were served, very delicious. We stayed at his place for the night and next morning we rode on motor bikes to his farm house which was about 25 km away from his home. Our plan was to spend two days there.
One of my most unforgettable memories also because I had wanted to spend some quality time with Gopu-da and this turned out to be a golden opportunity.
A person called Adu was the caretaker of the farmhouse and they had planted various type of fruit plants that were thrivingJ J. Adu took us around many places there but the special exciting part were the trips to the Jungle to fetch the bamboos to help him build a bamboo chair.
After two nights there, we then went onward to Raipur. It was now time for the end of our trip and we were to carry on toward Delhi to return our home town. After another overnight journey, we went to Gopu-da’s sister house in the morning, spent some time there and then to Raipur junction for the Delhi trip.It was also out time to part with Gopu-da. We could barely conceal out emotions and everyone’s eyes were wet.We rushed to station and carried on our journey leaving Gopu-da behind.We had spent twenty two days with Gopu-da and had visited five states of south India in that time.
Gopu-da was a special person within our hearts as he came into our lives during a time when we were filled with frustration and found ourselves very bored. We were also of the opinion that our options were restricted in the city we were living in and soon our life would pass.
Gopu-da ended up being our benefactor, mentor and guide who regenerated the motivations within our hearts. He also was a teacher who taught us English but ended up imparting a bit of his wisdom of life.
We never knew, on our way to Raipur Junction in that trip, that it was to be our very last meeting with Gopu-da and we would never get the opportunity to meet him again 🙁 🙁
Gopu-da passed away a few months later after having touched us spiritually. Words cannot really express the void you left, you’ll stay our heart forever…We love you
I am dedicating this post to my beloved friend and guide Gopu-da ( Gopobandhu Sahu). Without him things would have been very different.
I would like to Thank my friend who edited this article for me