We were discussing whom do we cover for our Pillars Of Nagpur column this December and we heard a name pronounced instantly by BK, Bawa Bhai. He then shared the whole story with us:
“This Diwali while returning to home from office I shared with my cousin, Krunal Kothari, the concept of our Pillars Of Nagpur. I told him we are searching for people in and around the city, who are either inspiring or contributing in bringing some good change to Nagpur any which ways.” ‘I know someone who fits right for this column. Let me take you there’, Krunal replied and I had a broad smile on my face instantly.
After crossing the railway flyover, Krunal stopped his car at the second square and took me to a paan shop. We both were full stomach and the urge for a smoke was high. “I asked the man sitting at the other side of the counter for a cigarette and a masala pan. But he behaved as if he didn’t hear anything. I asked him twice then thrice.” BK continued.
I asked my cousin whether he is deaf. He replied no. Then on asking again, the Paanwala looked up to me with subtle grace in his eyes and a stone cold expression, “If you want a cigarette, go to that other shop.” I was taken aback with his downright rudeness. I had to ask him the reason behind his denial. To which Bawa bhai replied, “Because of your smoking the children around you suffer. The smoke is harmful for them.”
This reply was something I was not expecting. I suddenly realised the fact behind his concern and also his immense love for children.
For this very reason he does not sell anything toxic (tobacco, cigarettes) but only paan and Ittar (perfume bottles). For 50 long years Bawa bhai has been running this shop and wants to continue till the end. As he feels his Late parents’ presence beside him always and doesn’t want to let go of that feeling.
We were left reeling after listening to BK. This is exactly the essence of Pillars of Nagpur.