Translation in english by gouri patwardhan
Ajay Ozkar’s story-
River godavari(Godamai) was flowing calmly as usual. As usual, Master was sitting on the shore observing Godamai flow…his gaze fixed in distance (shoonya). The bottom of river Godavari was clearly visible but it was impossible to see through Masters mind. Master lived in the AudumbarBan ( the fig treegrove, which is believed to be favorite of God Dattatreya) on this side( of the river?) The school assembled in his house. School and the children were his world. He worshipped Tilak.
Master looked like he had crossed the age of sixty five. His impressive side burns and mustaches, his well exercised body and the deep voice that touched a chord in heart embellished his personality even more. The soft, silk anga-vastra thrown on the right shoulder and his head-gear(pagri) looked good on his person. This Pagri had been conferred several honours and had also survived many blows. Master’s walk even at such an advanced age put a younger person to shame.
Today that energy and style that was so typical ( of him) were missing. Today, his school had submerged with the flowing godavari. I knew Master since last four-five years. After Bhalachandra’s ‘thread ceremony’ was performed master admitted him to the school. Due to the pressure of my work I was unable to attend to Bhalachandra,Mandakini and Mahadeo properly. It was my wife Saraswati’s responsibility and she was doing it very well. When I returned from my first foreign trip and started my experiments with cinema(film) Master made it a point to visit me from time to time. Even at his age he was interested in knowing about and trying his hand at new things. Today, he came to visit me after a long time. He appeared a little sad, a little disturbed. After hearing about the success of the show of ‘Raja Harishchandra’ at Bombay Chronicle, he had come to give me his blessings.
Monsoon had started off well. River Godavari had shown her might already. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi was to begin soon. Master enquired with his usual warmth after every member of the family and then he came straight to the point. Today, he asked me to give him a job. I looked into his eyes and noticed that they were moist, containing within, his tears. What sort of work could I offer him? And how to do it? These questions were playing in my head. Master had a considerable influence in the society. He was always ready to help the needy. Although he hardly stepped outside his school, his word carried weight among all sections of peoples. ‘Raja Harishchandra got good publicity in the newspapers in Bombay. I had started working on ‘Mohini Bhasmasur’ in Nashik. It was my wish to show ‘Raja Harishchandra to the people of my ‘Karmabhumi’. But I didn’t know how to handle the publicity in nashik. Here one would have to use some imaginative method of publicity. We started thinking about how to reach maximum number of people in a short time.
We found a solution. I made a placard and without flinching for a second Master hung it around his neck. I arranged for Sambha, the barber to accompany master. Sambha was an interesting character. He was a source of latest information combined with entertainment. To add to this quality he also played Daff ( a percussion instrument) very well. He was full of curiosity. He knew exactly, what was happening in e ach house in town. The placard around Master’s neck read, ‘Raja Harishchandra is arriving in nashik, on Tuesday at 6 pm., near mahakali temple.’ This would be the third day of Ganesh festival.
There was an open stage near Bhadrakali temple. Theatre shows were held at this palce. This is wehre we decided to screen the film. The placard along with the announcement in Master’s deep voice, accompanied by Sambha’s Daff ……this is how Master started off his publicity of my first film. Master would go around every morning at the time of ‘Prabhat Pheris’ ( morning rallies organized by Sevadal). On Wednesdays, people from distant villages visited the weekly market. Master did a round of that market too. He did this for about ten days. After returning from the publicity round, he would help me with my work. He was disillusioned with life but it never showed on his face. Nor did he allow it to affect his work. His enthusiasm and dedication to work was remarkable. But it hurt me to see the man who had not asked anyone for a favour in all his life, was on the road, going from door to door imploring people( to see the film). He began his round at 6 in the morning, then came to help me in my work. He would make another round when people gathered under the peepal tree in the evening. Raja Harishchandra had certainly become a subject of curiosity in the town. The day of the show of my first film in my Karmabhumi arrived. My efforts were highly appreciated by the peoples of Nashik that evening. The first show became a success because of the huge response of the peoples. The credit goes to masters effective campaigning. Master and Sambha were going to Bombay to handle the campaigning for the premier show of ‘Mohini Bhasmasuara’. This morning he was supposed to come to meet me. I was waiting for him. This was the third day after Ganesh Visarjan. Only two days ago the river Godavary had shown her might once again. This time Master had lost his wife and home in the floods. He was coming here, the ‘tank’ bungalow to live now (with me). Godavari river had become calm again. I had finished my work. For some reason, I was unable to concentrate. I came out and automatically started walking towards the river. I crossed ‘Nav Darvaza’ and came down and reached ‘Gadge Maharaj Dharmashala’. A big crowd of people had assembled there. Pushing the crowd aside I went in. Master was lying there peacefully, never to wake up again. <math>Insert formula here</math>