“The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.” (Charles Kuralt) That’s one of the reasons why I always look for moments when I can be in company of my old friends. Their company helps me to assess my one’s own growth in better light. It’s interesting that one always looks for substantial cause to enter into celebrations. That’s something which makes me uncomfortable since I love to celebrate even if there is no such weighty reason around! This time I managed to persuade all my old friends to be at historic coffee house, Allahabad, all in the name of celebrating grant of fellowship by Aavartan Research Institute, Gorakhpur. That was enough to tame the curious minds of some of my friends too anxious to know the exact reason! The real reason, however, was to spend some fun-filled moments with them. Life has become so hectic that it does not allow two individuals, however close they may be as friends, to sit together and get lost in old memories. That was the ultimate purport of organizing this get together with some chosen friends!
Why Coffee House? Allahabad has recently developed a lot having so many bright and glamorous food outlets but I selected Coffee House simply because being there means becoming part of its glorious history! This place is always occupied by legal hawks, writers and journalists during noon hours and by evening well-known oldies occupy the seats for long hours. This place in the past since early 50s witnessed development in lives of well-known geniuses belonging to Allahabad. Eminent literary figures like Firaq Gorakhpuri and Harivansh Rai Bachchan were frequent visitors to this place. Apart from them, the place has also witnessed rise of new creative wonders! The vibrations there ensure that there is no dearth of good souls in future!
I must thank to my friends from core of my heart that despite being trapped in busy schedules they managed to be part of this informal event at right time! It’s habit of the guests to worry the organizers with a deliberate delay! Mercifully, that’s not the case with events organized by me. I am spared this harassment for which I am really grateful to my friends. I must mention this fact that most of the friends who were part of this event have been my old friends and it makes me really happy when I state that they have all emerged as achievers! It was a moment of satisfaction for me to find them hale and hearty!
Obviously, the event was not solely attributed to dine together! We had some thought-provoking discussions. My friend Sheel, pursuing research in philosophy, rightly suggested that philosophy should also be taught at school level since that goes well with cultural legacy of this nation. Rajesh Kumar Pandey, legal correspondent associated with The Times Of India, lamented that Philosophy, of late, has become popular only because it helps students get good marks in competitive exams! It’s really hurting that a nation which is mired in philosophies of highest types has no mention about it at school level! My friend Ashish Nigam, on the other hand, asked me as to what was the method involved in my fellowship. I promptly informed him that besides books I was involved in interviewing concerned individuals. He also came to throw light on the glorious past of Coffee House, mentioning that visitors at this place love to sit here for long hours! It would not be out of tune to inform that most of the friends who gathered here were advocates associated with Allahabad High Court, who were also once upon a time had been my batch-mates!
There were some hilarious moments too when my childhood friend Pintu, lawyer at district court, got engaged in circulating images which showed us together as students in nursery days! Sangarsha Srivastava, who in past was a ferocious Communist leader and now an advocate, made everybody laugh by exhibiting that Coffee tastes less sweeter if you add more sugar in it! The only thing you should ensure is that stir it not well enough with a spoon and then drink it fast! Advocate Susheel Kumar Tiwary, Advocate Shashikant Kushwaha, Advocate Satyahdhar Dubey, Advocate Vinay Vishwakarma and Advocate Neeraj Shukla, who happens to be my brother-in-law, spent some qualitative time with me rising above constraints of time and without worrying about the fact that they have to return back home traveling long distance in night hours only to face ire of their anxious wives! It was heart-warming to hear Satyadhar ji asking me to make visit to this place till fag end of my life this way just like the oldies engaged in deep and interesting conversations sitting beside our gathering!
In the end I need to make special reference to contribution made on part of Arvind Kushwaha, advocate/computer programmer, and Arun Prakash Srivastava, District librarian. Arvind ensured that moments get captured in his camera while Arun ji ensured that all goes well in terms of management. Happily, the event ended on a high note with so many good feelings. That’s not possible without grace of Lord and, therefore, let’s thank the Almighty too for successful culmination of this event! “Take no pride in your possession, in the people (at your command), in the youthfulness (that you have). Time loots away all these in a moment. Leaving aside all these, after knowing their illusory nature, realise the state of Brahman, and enter into it. (Sri Adi Shankara in Bhaja Govindam; Verse 11)