Exploits of a young book distributor
No, we are not talking about someone's falling from the path of devotion.
We are speaking about the modus operandi of one of the youngest book distributors in last December's marathon: Vanamali, the son of Rajesh Dodeja and Gita Mataji. He is seven years old, but the devotional mood he displays clearly points to wisdom beyond his years. His technique?
Just grab a book, go to anyone nearby, fall down prostrated at the person's feet and beg that person to take the book And if the person does take the book, do full dandavats again.
His mother Gita recalls, Vanamah went with me and other ladies to Dadar Railway station and police station in and around Byculla. In the first two days he distributed 16 Bhagavad. gitas, but nobody kept the exact count after that.
In the police station, he would go to the policeman and innocently ask, "Uncle, why do you carry a gun? What do you do with it?"
Hearing these cute quest ions from a chubby little kid with Vaisnava tilaka, kantha mala, and sikha was enough to disarm these tough Mumbai cops. They would smile and joke with him.
After the plesantries Vanmali would come to main business: "Uncle, please take this book."
Even if you already have a Gita at home, it is not enough reason to put him off. He will touch your feet, touch your hands to his head, beg, cajole, make heartfelt pleas and not leave till you agree.
One policeman said to me, "I already have a Gita, but you have trained your son so nicely that I am forced to buy."
Some appreciated but some complained to me, "It's his time to play and enjoy. Why do you force him to do these thing?"
Who can stop him? I think to myself. So much is his dedication to distribute books that what to speak of the oops even the elders feel carried away by his enthusiasm.Many times we would be dejected because people were just not interested in taking these books. But nothing could stop Vanamali. If one man refused, he would go to the next, without taking the rejection to heart.
On the day of Moksada Ekadasi, we were at the Dadar station distributing books. We took some Hindi and Marathi books and went to nearby hotels and stalls. Then we reached Pritam Hotel, a famous restaurant with a bar inside.
The security stowed u; ladies, but could not check li ttk Vanamall. He walked inside and shov,oed books to the bewildered customers, who never expected in their wildest dreams to receive Bhagavad gita in a liquor shop.
Then a man came. "Do you have an English gita?" he asked.
"I don't have it now," Vanamali replied, "But I can get it for you. Please wait."
Then, without saying a word to anyone, he ran all the way to the bookstall on the Dadar statian and returned with two English Bhagavadd-gitas, only to find there was no one waiting for him.
Dejected he came to me. "Look ma… that man left."
"Why don't you check with the watchman?" I encouraged him.
Vanamali went to the watchman. "I got this English Bhagavad gita for a person who was standing here. Do you know where he has gone?"
Bhagavad Gita? Here?" the watchman frowned . "Oh yes," he suddenly remembered . "That man went inside to drink, but he gave money for you Give me the book."
Hearing about Vanamali's preaching spirit, many congregatian ladies have told me that they would also encourage their little kids to distribute boob Many ask what Vanamali's modus operandi is. What can I say?