आता वारेगुरूजींची माहिती यू ट्यूब वर पाहिली आणि आठवले आमचे अशोक गुरूजी. माझी जेव्हा ,जेव्हा  सफाळ्याला ट्रिप होते,तेव्हा जी.प.च्या शाळेसमोरून जातांना आठवतात आमचे अशोक गुरूजी.साडेपाच, पावणेसहा फुट उंची ,गोल चेहरा ओठावर जाड पण सरळ मिशी लांबसडक नाक ,रूंद कपाळपट्टी डोक्यावर गांधी टोपी अशी प्रतीमा डोळ्यासमोर उभी राहते.

अशोक गुरूजी अशा एकेरी नावाने संबोधणे पन्नास वर्षापुर्वी कोणालाच मान्य नव्हते आणि तरिही आम्ही मुले त्यांना अशोक गुरूजी म्हणुन ओळखायचो याचे कारण गुरूजी आमच्या गावातच रहात.

संपूर्ण आठवड्यात गुरुजींचा शनीवार आम्हाला जड जाई याचे कारण इतर पाच दिवस विषयाच टाईम टेबल मुलांच्या मागणी प्रमाणे असल तरी शनिवारी त्यांच टाईम टेबल त्यांच्या मनाप्रमाणे सुरू होई. शनिवारी पहिला तास उजळणी किंवा पाडे. जन गन मन झाल की शाळे समोरच्या आवारात पाढ्याकरीता आडवी रांग लागे तीसरीचे सगळे विद्यार्थी आडव्या  रांगेत उभे रहात आणि गुरूजी कोणत्याही एका टोकाने सुरुवात करत बे आठा, नवा साते, बार सक, तेरा साते आणि ज्या विद्यार्थाजवळुन वेळीच उत्तर मिळत नसे त्यांच्या पोटरीवर चमचमीत छडी बसे , काय शामत विद्यार्थी पूढील वेळेस योग्य पाढे म्हणणार नाही! 

अशा या अशोक गुरूजींमुळे माझे  पाढे पाठ झाले. घरी आई देखील न चुकता पर्वचा झाली की पाढे म्हणून घेई.या अशोक गुरूजींच्या मुलाची भेट अचानक झाली. झाले असे मी माझ्या सफाळ्याच्या घरून दुपारचा परतत होतो.घरासमोरच्या रस्त्यावर मी रीक्षेकरता ऊभा होतो. पाच मिनीटे थांबुनही रीक्षा येईना  त्यामुळे लोकल चुकेल म्हणून माझी तगमग वाढत होती इतक्यात एक फोरव्हिलर माझ्या शेजारी उभी राहीली. “बसा,” मी दार उघडुन पाठिमागे बसलो.

त्याने गाडी सुरु करता करता समोरच्या आरशात पहात संवाद साधला.”मला नसेल ओळखल तुम्ही,  मी अनील घरतचाभाऊ, अशोक गुरूजींच्या मुलगा.” त्याच वाक्य पूर्ण होण्या अगोदरच माझ्या डोळ्यासमोर अशोक गुरूजींची मुर्ती तरळुन गेली.

मी अजाणतेपणे “कसे आहेत गुरूजी ?”त्याला विचारले, तसं तो म्हणाला “तीन चार महिन्यापूर्वी वारले, पॅरॅलेसीस झाला होता.डावा हात आणि पाय जास्त हलतही नव्हता तरी घरातल्या घरात फिरायचे.”शक्यतो स्वत:च स्वत:करायचे.  रीक्षेने  बॅंकेत जावून पेन्शन घ्यायचे. पॅरॅलेसीस झाल्याने उजवा हात खुप थरथरत होता, नीट सही करता येईना, आधीचा बॅंक मॅनेजर ओळखीचे होते ते हरकत  घेत नव्हते , पण नवीन मॅनेजर स्ट्रिक्ट होते ते म्हणाले “गुरूजी सही मॅच होत नाही तुम्ही आंगठा का लावत नाही?” माझी ऊत्सुक्तता वाढली “मग गुरूजी आंगठा लावायला तयार झाले?”  “नाही, त्यांनी आंगठा लाऊन पेन्शन घ्यायला नकार दिला.माझ्या मुलांची पाटी घेऊन सराव करत होते. त्यांना वाईट वाटू नये म्हणून आम्ही कोणिही काहीच बोलत नव्हतो, दीड महीना सराव करून त्यांनी सही घोटुन घेतली व आपल्या जुन्या सहीशी पडताळून पाहीली. आग्रह करून त्यांनी रीक्षा बोलावून घेतली आणि बॅंक गाठली.” सुनील सांगत होता. मला गुरूजींच्या चिकाटीच कौतुक वाटलं ,मग गुरूजी बॅंकेतून पैसै घेऊन आले की काय ?”

“हो ,तर ,बाबा बॅंकेतून चार महिन्यांची पेन्शन घेऊन आले ,त्यांना एवढा आनंद झाला की त्या आनंदाच्या भरात आणलेले पैसै आईकडे दिले आणि म्हणाले ” हे तुझ्या मुला, नातवांना वाटुन टाक” आई अविश्र्वासाने त्यांच्याकडे पहात होती तर म्हणाले आपली दोन्ही पोरं आपलं सगळं करतात , पैसै कशाला हवेत ? पण निरक्षित माणुस म्हणून आंगठा देऊन मी पैसै कधीच काढणार नाही. गेले चाळीस वर्ष मुलांना शिकवलं आता मीच आंगठा देऊन पैसे काढले तर लोक काय म्हणतील?” त्यांच्या तोंडुन अशोक गुरुजींची माहिती ऐकुन उर भरून आला.अशा चिवट आणि जीद्दी गुरूजींचे आम्ही विद्यार्थी असल्याचा आम्हाला सार्थ अभिमान आहे.माझे उतरण्याचे ठिकाण आल्याने मी त्याचा निरोप घेतला पण गुरूजींच्या आठवणिंचा निरोप घ्यायला मन धजावेना. आपले कर्तव्यकठोर गुरूजी सर्वांना एकदा माहित व्हावे आणि प्रत्येकाला त्यांच्या आठवणिंना उजाळा देण्याच सौभाग्य   मला मिळाव म्हणुनच हा लेखन प्रपंच. गुरूजी तुम्ही अनंतात कुठेही असा मनातल्या एका कोप-यात तुम्ही धृवतारा बनुन आढळ रहाल.

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