Manilal was restored to health, but I saw that the Girgaum house was not habitable. It was damp and ill-lighted. So in consultation with Shri Revashankar Jagjivan I decided to hire some well-ventilated bungalow in a suburb of Bombay. I wandered about in Bandra and Santa Cruz. The slaughter house in Bandra prevented our choice falling there. Ghatkopar and places near it were too far from the sea. At last we hit upon a fine bungalow in Santa Cruz, which we hired as being the best from the point of view of sanitation.
I took a first class
season ticket from Santa Cruz to Churchgate, and remember having
frequently felt a certain pride in being the only first class
passenger in my compartment. Often I walked to Bandra in order to
take the fast train from there direct to Churchgate.
I prospered in my profession better than I had expected. My South
African clients often entrusted me with some work, and it was enough
to enable me to pay my way.
I had not yet succeeded in securing any work in the High Court, but
I attended the 'moot' that used to be held in those days, though I
never ventured to take part in it. I recall Jamiatram Nanabhai
taking a prominent part. Like other fresh barristers I made a point
of attending the hearing of cases in the High Court, more, I am
afraid, for enjoying the soporific breeze coming straight from the
sea than for adding to my knowledge. I observed that I was not the
only one to enjoy this pleasure. It seemed to be the fashion and
therefore nothing to be ashamed of.
However I began to make use of the High Court library and make fresh
acquaintances and felt that before long I should secure work in the
Thus whilst on the one hand I began to feel somewhat at ease about
my profession, on the other hand Gokhale, whose eyes were always on
me, had been busy making his own plans on my behalf. He peeped in at
my chambers twice or thrice every week, often in company with
friends whom he wanted me to know, and he kept me acquainted with
his mode of work.
But it may be said that God has never allowed any of my own plans to
stand. He has disposed them in His own way.
Just when I seemed to be settling down as I had intended, I received
an unexpected cable from South Africa: 'Chamberlain expected here.
Please return immediately.' I remembered my promise and cabled to
say that I should be ready to start the moment they put me in funds.
They promptly responded, I gave up the chambers and started for
I had an idea that the work there would keep me engaged for at least
a year, so I kept the bungalow and left my wife and children there.
I believed then that enterprising youths who could not find an
opening in the country should emigrate to other lands. I therefore
took with me four or five such youths, one of whom was Maganlal
The Gandhis were and are a big family. I wanted to find out all
those who wished to leave the trodden path and venture abroad. My
father used to accommodate a number of them in some state service. I
wanted them to be free from this spell. I neither could nor would
secure other service for them; I wanted them to be self-reliant.
But as my ideals advanced, I tried to persuade these youths also to
conform their ideals to mine, and I had the greatest success in
guiding Maganlal Gandhi. But about this later.
The separation from wife and children, the breaking up of a settled
establishment, and the going from the certain to the uncertain - all
this was for a moment painful, but I had inured myself to an
uncertain life. I think it is wrong to expect certainties in this
world, where all else but God that is Truth is an uncertainty. All
that appears and happens about and around us is uncertain, transient.
But there is a Supreme Being hidden therein as a Certainty, and one
would be blessed if one could catch a glimpse of that Certainty and
hitch one's wagon to it. The quest for that Truth is the summum bonum
I reached Durban not a day too soon. There was work waiting
for me. The date for the deputation to wait on Mr. Chamberlain had
been fixed. I had to draft the memorial to be submitted to him and
accompany the deputation.