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71. Aaftab
Parikshitbhai never used to be free from work. Whether it was a festival or a Sunday didn’t make any difference to him. He would often joke, “Don’t we take food on Sundays or on festivals?” He would be continuously busy since 5 o’clock in the morning till 10 or sometimes 11 o’ clock in the night. The labourers from the village would always flock around him. Whether he was in the office or in a car or traveling, he would always have an infinite number of visitors. He would heartily meet every visitor saying, “welcome brother, how are you?”
Whenever he was at the Ashram, he would be at the office of the Harijan Seva Sangh from 7 in the morning till 5 O’ clock in the evening. Once during a conversation one thing led to another. He asked me, “Do you have a holiday on Holi?” I went through the list of holidays and told him, “We have a holiday on Holi and its next day too.” “Oh! Two days leave?” He was surprised to hear it. Then in a voice loud enough for all in the office to hear, he said, “Bapuji never takes a leave on any festival or on Sundays. In Yerawada jail too, he would get up early as usual and then engage himself in prayer, spinning, reading or writing etc. One of his guards was a Somali from Eden. He knew neither English nor Hindi. He would come to Bapu whenever he was free and join him for prayer. He would watch Bapu spinning the yarn.
Although Bapu was suffering from severe cold in those days, he would follow his routine since dawn. The Somali observed this and started saying something in his language. Bapu couldn’t understand what he said. At last with the help of signs he asked Bapu to rest. Bapu got it then. He pointed to the blazing Sun and said, “Aaftab! Aaftab!” The Somali was clever enough and got the cue that people should always keep working just like the Sun who never tires.” The story was over and the smiling Parikshitbhai got busy in his work.