Yes, I Studied at Parthi!

A little while ago during a conference call, my boss interrupted me with a sudden : “CR, didn’t you say that you studied in Parthi?”

“Yes”.

I know where this is going.

“So, you must be sad”

Before I could reply, there was a guffaw and a smart aleck said:”You a Parthi girl?! Didn’t have you down as one of those religious types…so you were taken in too eh? Funny! He materialises things and you go fall at his feet and turn your eyes away from all the money he makes!”

My boss who has been the recipient of some of my really polite retorts on anything to do with Baba stopped him right there or else I am afraid I might have broken one of Baba’s teachings – “Help Ever, Hurt Never”.

People who have had a tongue (and foot at times) lashing from me will agree that I do not stinch even if the powers that be are listening in on calls.

No, I am not a religious type, as the exceedingly smart lackey of my boss commented; I am not even your good Tambrahm girl that you would find in a temple on Friday evenings with jasmine flowers threaded through her braids.
Hell, I even forget to wear my Mangalsutra and Bindi at times.

However, I do resent people who go around with the assumption that you are supposedly a goody two-shoes because you were in Parthi. I also resent people who think they can pyschoanalyse me and say things like I am a rebel because I was shut away in a place of prayer for around eleven years.

But I resent those people the most who think they can sit in a corner and judge Sai Baba for supposed dastardly deeds none of which, surprise surprise, have actually been proved. Yes, I am sure you read in a magazine about so and so who has heard of so and so who in turn spoke to so and so who saw that with their own eyes; yes, the Trust is quite rich and surely someone who has access to so much money needs to be corrupt just because they do not publish their accounts to the general public (so what if the register book is open for all to see, we will believe the media rather than accept that people are actually trying to do good with that money); yes, there is a God, but no God would come down and live among humans (with the exception of Rama, Krishna et all who anyway were not among humans in our lifetimes) ad infinitum.

I studied there yes; and those were some of my most glorious days; I was a runt who never really looked up from her books; Darshan time for me was all about time to catch up with the novels I borrowed from my library on Saturdays; I loved to pluck flowers in the mornings just because it was so peaceful then.

I paid around 5000 Rs per year to the school for which I had world class education (a CBSE syllabus was followed), hostel accomodation, food (and let me tell you, we may have cribbed about it then, but it is million times better than any other hostel fare that I have tasted), access to a wonderful library and to boot, made wonderful friends for life! No student who has studied there has had cause to complain on the standard set by those educational institutions and that is saying something today where schools charge more than 1,00,000 Rs for a LKG student citing infrastructure spending costs. Infrastructure – We had access to a large sprawling playground, bats and balls (though fights did break out for their usage among the kids), a library that was well stocked, a planetarium, a Museum etc. And this is run by the Trust that so many people are wondering about (is this not a good use of money, I ask?)

But even someone as buried in books as me could not miss the masses who benefited directly or indirectly from Baba’s projects; the poor and needy would travel from far to the hospitals built for free health care, they would benefit from the food and clothes distributed and had lifelines restored through the water projects undertaken.
And those projects were completed well within the timeframes given (hmm hmm any government official listening?)

The Satya Sai Organisation branches have launched programs to feed and clothe millions, hold prayer meetings where charities are discussed and more importantly, charitable programs are launched, teach children moral values (and today, our children need to learn these more than anything else), have rehabilitated so many people and yet, people question the existence of these organisations.

Who cares if you believe if he is God or not? To someone whose life has been saved in the hospitals he constructed, villagers who benefited from drinking water schemes in an otherwise arid land, people like me who could never otherwise have afforded an education like that, if God is someone who takes care of you and loves you, is it wrong that they call him God?

Do not get me wrong, I have argued many times in this blog on the existence of God, I am not trying to preach or convert all the readers to believers, all I ask is this – “Here is a person who has done more for us than any government or organisation and yet, you focus on the unimportant issues such as miracles performed rather than laud him for his achievements. Any person who had accomplished even half as much would have been heralded a hero by the media and awarded the Bharat Ratna; of course, he was never interested in such awards”.

Yes, I drink.
Yes, I swear.
Yes, I do not pray.
Yes, I question the existence of a God.

And Yes, I believe that Satya Sai Baba was an enlightened soul who did more for the common man than any other human being today.
Yes, I am a direct beneficiary of his good deeds.
And Yes, I will toast him and his good deeds for the rest of my life.

Simply because, he was and still is one of the most genuinely honest men who believed in loving and serving all humankind.

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