Experience No. 1.
Miracle Food on a Thursday in Siberia (Russia) & a Russian master in Vedas, Puranas & Mahamritunjaya.
During my posting in Russia from 1998 to 2003, Poojya Guruji sent me on various official visits with the Ambassadors of India to promote India’s trade across the length and breadth of Russia / CIS &Baltic countries. Present Russia has 12 time zones and a flight from St. Petersburg (Leningrad) in West to Vladiovostok (in East) nearer to Japan takes 10.5 hours nonstop flying and one crosses various time zones. In one of such visits we had gone to Yekaterinburg. I led the business delegation from the Indian side and we had a number of meetings during the day. In the evening , Governor of the Region , as is customary , invited the Ambassador and the delegation to a gala sit-in dinner . Some Russian artists were playing music and singing Indian songs with Piano-accordion. It was a Thursday & I was hungry by the evening. But I did not find anything to eat on a heavily laid non-veg platter .I was only sipping fruit juice. Suddenly I found a young Russian (about 25-28 years old) entering the dining hall with a plate of “Laddoos”. He came to me and said “ I have brought Ganeshji’s Modaks for you. “I thanked Poojya Guruji for laddoos and asked him to sit. He told me that a day before he had heard that an Indian delegation will be visiting their Region and so he made the laddoos. He was a ‘Shiv Bhakt’ & had been running Shivji’s ‘Dhooni’ secretly since many years in Russia. He was an ordinary Security Guard by profession but he was master in ‘Vedas’ and ‘Puranas’ even though he had never visited India . I got him introduced to the Governor and Ambassador and put forward his request to sing ‘Bhajans’ in Hindi. They readily agreed and Mr. Aminov (as I recollect his name) sang beautiful Bhajans. Everyone clapped and enjoyed with him. Next day we had one to one B2B meetings but I invited him to attend. He came and met me and requested me to visit his Temple / Shivji’s Dhooni .But on account of a very tight schedule I could not go. Then I came back to Moscow. After about a month , he sent me some ‘Mantras’ written on tree barks (one mm height of letters written in straight line) like old ‘Bhojpatras’ through his friend. I still have the same with me . Then he was in touch with me on email from time to time. After another month or so , my mother in Delhi got a massive heart attack. I was worried sitting in Moscow and shared my worry with Mr. Aminov on email. He immediately asked my mother’s name and then he started ‘ Mahamritunjayajaap’ for her. With Guruji’s blessings my mother became alright . He was happy to know about her improved health later .
Experience No. 2.
Guruji saved me from Russian mafia.
When I used to travel in the vast Regions of Russia , CIS/ Baltic countries (sometime alone) in harsh climates (minus 30 degrees temp. and heavy snow-fall) Guruji was my only protector and savior in the mafia ridden country. The Russian mafia used to mug / kill people—foreigners and they were ruthless. Population is Russia is quite less with a negative growth rate . Sometimes one does not find even a single person/ vehicles during miles and miles of travel on highways in deep jungles (full of wild life). Once we had to visit GAZ (Gorky Automobile industry) in a far off region. We were trying for a joint production of Mahendra’s Scorpio Jeep. The Directors of Tea Board and STC Moscow , Balmer Lawrie, Air India, Moscow along with 4 / 5 leading Indian businessmen were with us in the delegation for seeking other respective businesses with India. We were housed in an ancient eerie Russian Hotel( very large rooms and small beds —an old Russian Communist style to keep occupants uncomfortable. They give small soaps—50 gms. and big towels, shoeshine, huge mirrors,) with no proper restaurant. There was a small bar with wooden stools / benches . During travels there was no vegetarian food available . For many such days my staple diet used to be black bread, tomatoes, cucumber , juice, yoghurt followed by honey- lemon tea for all meals ie. breakfast , lunch and dinner. All of us went to the bar to have dinner. My colleague from Tea Board had bought a new camera and he clicked photos of rest of us sitting on stools and having dinner in the bar. Suddenly very strong built hurly-burly Russians in black T-shirt and black jeans—a dress typically worn by Russian mafia, came to us from the adjoining table and demanded US$100 each from us. They said the photos clicked by my colleague had photographed them too in the background. It was a very strange plea—well just to extort money from us. One of the Indian businessmen was fluent in Russian and he contested but the mafia-dons would not listen and threatened us with dire consequences. It was very late in the night and the Ambassador was housed in the Governor’s guest house—very far in the woods. I suddenly remembered and prayed to Guruji and got up and asked my friends not to speak in Russian/ English and started speaking harsh in Hindi and Punjabi. I asked my friend to hand over his camera to me and then I took out the new film and exposed it . The reel was handed over to the mafia and they were speechless. Thus they left and did not demand any money from us. They were definitely after our money and for that moment, what made them retreat was a mystery to all my colleagues, (except me). But in the night time in our respective rooms we started getting threatening calls from the mafia on the phone as they were desperate to achieve their objective. I had told all the colleagues to leave keys in the keyhole locks of the doors (someone had taught me this method) so that no one could open by any duplicate key from outside. We had come to know that the hotel staff was also mixed up with the mafia in mugging guests/ visiting businessmen delegations from other countries. Next day morning we narrated the whole story to the Mayor of the Region who was escorting us in the huge automobile factory. We told him that with such experience , no Indian businessman / industry would like to visit and invest in his Region. His face became red in and he gave some stiff instructions to his security staff. By the evening when we were at the Airport for departure back to Moscow ,we were told that all mafia people of previous night’s encounter were hauled up , beaten and caught. Jai Gurudev.
Experience No. 3.
Only India Pavilion was ready in Sydney (Australia) in 1986 International show.
With Guruji’s grace I had led a delegation of Indian businessmen in 1986 to Sydney to participate in the world famous AIEE ( Australia International Engineering Exhibition) and promote India’s exports. We had sent heavy engineering goods from India in a couple of containers by sea and had to set up the India Pavilion. The show was to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Australia. It was in the RAShow grounds adjoining the famous Sydney cricket grounds. After landing in Sydney, I got very worried as three major strikes were going on—Port workers’ strike, Airline workers’ strike and the show grounds’ scavenging / cleaning staff was also on strike. Since India’s reputation was at stake at the International level, I was very worried and we had a very tough Chairman—Mohammad Yunus back home. I checked from various sources including our Cargo-Handling Agents . He told me that the leader of the Cargo-handling striking employees could be managed and he could release some of our goods in night time secretly. I told him to go ahead by hook or crook. Further one of our participants ….M/s Swaraj Tractors, Punjab informed us that their 3 new tractors were held up at the port in containers. Further we came to know that that they had earlier gifted one small tractor to a farmer in New South Wales six months ago. Although he agreed to get it for display in the show but it was an overnight journey from Sydney and involving additional expenditure in foreign currency. The representative of the company was a junior employee and scared to spend more foreign currency than allowed by the RBI (there were stringent regulations in those days) .I called up his Vice-president in Chandigarh and told him that additional foreign exchange will be recommended for releasing in their company’s favour (as we used to recommend to RBI )., when I went back to Delhi. He agreed for the same. In those days private businessmen used to get foreign exchange on our recommendation.. Well with Guruji’s grace he agreed. I requested our Cargo-Agent to get that small tractor from NSW overnight to Sydney for display in the India Pavilion. Our stand was made ready with some goods got released (through the union leader) and were displayed. Next day morning in a big trailor-truck the small Swaraj tractor reached Sydney Show grounds from NSW. But since it was running in the agricultural fields in New South Wales, it was very dirty and full of mud / slush. In Exhibitions worldwide, goods in excellent shining condition are displayed. But we had no time to get it cleaned up as the Exhibition was about to be inaugurated. I got an idea and told our stand contractor to display the tractor as it is and put a placard –“ Indian Tractor already working in Australia” When the Show was inaugurated, I found the Prime Minister of Australia walking in the alleyways in garbage (as scavenging staff’s strike had not finished) and he came and winked at me with a smile and said…” This is Australia”. I smiled and greeted him with a big Zari garland and said.” No problem Excellency. You are welcome to India”. He was quite impressed while going through our pavilion . M/s Swaraj Tractors got an agency right on the first day and their three tractors in packed condition were sold off. Their Vice President who came from Chandigarh was very happy and thankful. For the other engineering industry (motors , pumps, lathes, forged hand tools etc.) we got very brisk business and long term orders too. Thanks a ton Guruji for saving me and India’s prestige/name.
Experience No. 4.
Got International First Prize in Kualalumpur (Malaysia) in 1993.
Even after doing all work single handedly as my colleague got a massive heart attack in the Pavilion Hall & had to undergo an open heart surgery. In 1993 I led a delegation to Kualalumpur, Malaysia in the Heavy Pumps and Compressors’ Exhibition. The organisers of the event were a famous company from Singapore. While the Pavilion was being set up, there was no air-conditioning and we had to get the work done in very hot and humid conditions. We were working day and night. My colleague who had gone with me , suddenly had a massive heart attack and fell down in the Pavilion itself. I immediately informed our Ambassador in Kualalumpur and got him best medical help/ treatment ( although we were covered by International Medical Insurance of Oriental Insurance Co. yet it was my first experience to follow their stringent drill by tapping up their office in London/ back home in our head office and to the underwriters —a number of calls / faxes etc everywhere were sent as medical treatment abroad is very expensive ) .The doctor told us that all three arteries were blocked and my colleague would have to be operated upon. He asked to inform and get his near / dear ones besides him immediately. I became quite worried as next day was the inauguration of our show . During night I talked to our the then CMD back home who was leaving for Hanoi (Vietnam). My colleague’s wife who was a tribal from Maharashtra and was totally illiterate. But with vigorous persuasion through External Affairs, Malaysian Government etc. we got visa / passport for my colleague’s son in one day and in another day I received him at Kualalumpur Airport. He was besides his father in no time and then the major heart surgery was carried out. I also made arrangements for stay of my colleague’s son with me in the Hotel during my stay there and after my departure made arrangements for him in an apartment in the premises of Embassy of India. My colleague was kept in Malaysia for three months to recoup and then allowed to fly back to India. I had to work round the clock to set up our pavilion, invite importers , get business deals finalized and it was very hectic in addition to the visits to our Embassy , Cargo Agents, Construction agents and regular visits to the Hospital to see my colleague. In the penultimate analyses all our participating companies did very good business to boost India’s exports. With Guruji’s grace our stand was awarded the first Prize for Best Stand Award amongst all the countries. My photograph receiving the Award was displayed by our Chairman at the Reception of office for many years. Before coming back to India, ie. After ten days of deputation , I took my colleague’s son to the famous ancient temple of Lord Karthikeyan at the Bhatu Caves in Kualalumpur. We received the divine blessings together. I profusely thank Guruji for His protection , guidance and help whenever I think of that International Prize.