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Monday, January 17, 2022

Inspiring freedom

At first,it seemed that only students who had free classes or spare time,had assembled to hear Dr Anil Awachat speak at Muktachhanda,being held at Kimaya in Fergusson College.

Written by Shalini Rai Narayan |
February 3, 2009 3:30:16 am

Social activist and artist Dr Anil Awachat spoke inspiringly to a record crowd of collegians at Muktachhanda in Fergusson College

At first,it seemed that only students who had free classes or spare time,had assembled to hear Dr Anil Awachat speak at Muktachhanda,being held at Kimaya in Fergusson College. However,as the entertaining interaction conducted by the veteran writer,creative artist and social activist progressed,the number of listeners turned from a trickle into a steady stream. Holding forth on a range of topics,right from parental aspirations and the pressure to excel in engineering and medical science to memories of his late wife,Sunanda,Awachat regaled and inspired the mostly young audience.

“It’s sad that people think only engineering and medicine are good enough to be considered careers. Are there only two professions in the whole world? Not everyone has the inclination,let alone the capability,to make it to IITs and IIMs,then why so much stress on this line of action?” asks the eminent writer. He says that the early years of his life were quite tough,as despite having a degree in medicine,he had decided not to practise and instead do something for the society.

“During the initial years,Sunanda and I had to subsist on very little. But we made it a point to do it happily and make every day a celebration. We sent our daughters to municipal schools and allowed them to stay over with their friends who lived in slums of the area. For us,strengthening the moral fibre of our little girls was more important than keeping a tab on the financial background of their friends,” says the creative artist,who excels in origami. After the interaction,he created some wonderful examples of origami and left the gathering amused and agog with his dexterity with a simple piece of rope and a handkerchief.

Elaborating on his special relationship with his wife ,the man responsible for taking the Muktanagan De-addiction Centre to new heights,says her untimely death due to cancer was a huge blow to him and his family. “Yet,there was an upside to a terrible disease like cancer as well. As Sunanda used to say,our months and years together,which had sped by in the past,now became more special,because every single day we had with each other,reminded us of how little time we had together,” says the spirited social worker. Packing in quite a punch in his small,rotund frame,Awachat ended the two-hour-long interaction,which was by turns hilarious,engaging and thought-provoking,by a flute rendition and an interesting interplay of classical ragas and Bollywood hits.

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