"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be." - Patanjali

Thursday, March 16, 2006


So for a long time now I had wanted to tell you guys about the CHYK from London who had planned to work at CORD for a few weeks. Unfortunately I never introduced him to you all while he was here, as he had to head back to London urgently.

However, even though he left after only three weeks, his impact on CORD, and me personally was massive. Initially when you meet a person, one is on guard. You’re not aware of their personality, what they like, dislike, what their views on certain issues are, and automatically, when you hear they are from this place or that, you cast that person into a mould, to help you understand them better, and to help you interact with them. That’s the usual thought process. The setting in which you meet them obviously helps with initial impressions, but that’s a small part of the whole equation which makes a person.

SO, I heard, Jay was from London, a lawyer, and to top it off Gujarati. He looked like he was 27/28ish, though with the balding (Jay calls it his personal satellite dish to Him) he could have easily been older, but we gave him the benefit of the doubt. No offence to Londoners, lawyers or Gujarati’s, but I was skeptical. But naturally, the more time we spent and hung out and went to Dharamshala, and McLeod Ganj, the more we got to know him.

His soft, almost high brow British accent revealed him to be anything but the typical barrister. Tough he was once a trial lawyer, he that gave up focus on Human Rights. He’s argued for many refugees in their fight to be allowed into Britain, and one of the first conversations we had, on a bus back from Dharamshala, was about the HR policies of the Howard government.

I also discovered in due course he was on the committee of the Hindu Youth Council (I think that’s what its called) in the UK, and one of their aims was to educate the youth about what Hinduism really is, and how to live it. He also was in “discussions” with the food labeling authorities about how to correctly classify vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. He himself is vegan (no eggs) but as a protest to the battery-type treatment of cows, does not consume any milk products.

So that’s great. He’s an active part of society, has strong principles which he defends with the sharp acumen of a lawyer on the basis of compassion. But what’s he like?

He’s fun, and spontaneous, incredibly witty, and is a real people person. Within an hour of their meeting, he dubbed the girls from the Yuvati Mandal (approximately translated to Girls Youth Group) his little sisters (they inturn called him their Gujju Bhai). At the Ashram, he came to know and became known to, many of the Brahmacharis. At CORD, the ladies in the Legal Cell, took to his personality, and soon it was as though they had known each other for years. He even had the audacity to invite himself over to one of their houses to cook for their family a nice Italian meal.

His work with the Legal Cell was reformist. He established proper systems in filing, in cataloguing, in case profiles. Using his training as a trial lawyer, he also taught the girls how question people more effectively, to get the most out of interviews. Infact, he was also scheduled to give a seminar to the CORD workers on how to gain trust when coming in contact with people.
Personnally, he was a great friend, and excellent company. When I moved rooms (yes, I moved rooms) he was also made to move, right next door to me. In the evenings, we would hang out and talk and discuss. And all this in a mere three weeks.

Everyone at CORD really misses him, and often, many occasions would go by with at one “If only Jay and Radha were here”.

Now, don’t go thinking I’m all goo-ga over this guy. He was great company, and there are others, but one of the truly remarkable things about working at CORD is the breadth of people one comes into contact with.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

keep writing - brings back great memories...