As I have written earlier, I had got an opportunity to spend one night and one complete day with one of the greatest poets, Mangesh Padgaonkar. His stay was arranged in our college guest house and it was decided that I will spend one night along with this jewel of the literature world.
Mangesh Padgaonkar arrived in evening at 6 o clock. He is 83 years old. He can barely listen to what person in front of him says. He would not be able to see and recognize a person standing a foot away if his spects are removed. But still, he is lively. Mangesh Padgaonkar even in this old age is much more alive and vital than all of us.
Generally we get troubled if we come across such a person who can barely listen and we have to shout in his ears. Surprisingly, none of us was irritated by this lovely old man. We had arranged a dinner for him in the guest house itself. He ate it with great pleasure and was also insisting all of us to accompany him.
In the night, before going to sleep, he called me to sit besides him. He was just speaking very honestly- “I used to read poems for 2 rs a performance”. In that very month he was announced an award of 2 Lac. Very touchingly he said- “At that time I did not have money. Today, money comes and there is no way to enjoy it, such an old person I am.”
Though he said this, there was no regret or sadness in what he said. He was just pointing out some of the facts of his life. He in flow inquired if he can get some juice to drink before he sleeps. A boy ran out to get juice. He was talking about his sons, his college life and many more topics. Then , out of nowhere he remembered that the boy went to get juice had not returned. He inquired about it. I told Mangesh Padgaonkar that he might be caught up in the traffic. He really felt sorry. “I troubled you a lot by demanding juice” he said as innocently as a baby”
Mangesh Padgaonkar drank his juice. Suddenly he said,”Now i need nothing. I will sleep. Look after me well.” The spects were removed, hearing aid was removed. In bed, was sleeping Mangesh Padgaonkar, unable to listen to and watch anything. Silence and darkness should be his companions in night but he stands beyond them, happy and joyous.