I have always been curious about the man behind the controversial maruti temple on JVLR. With prior information that he is 92, and his vision and hearing is bad, I went to his house thinking about the prospects of such a meeting.
The door was ajar. I rang the bell. Mr Paranjpe himself appeared. I told him I am from Powai info. I repeated “Powai media”, he still didn’t get me. We agreed on “Powai newspaper”. He directed me to come inside and sit on the sofa, and he came and sat next to me with his “better hearing” ear facing me. As soon as I sat, one of his helps came and switched on the floor fan to cool us. He said I should come on a Saturday for a formal interview.
I told him I wanted to talk on his life than talk on the temple. On hearing this, his eyes lit up, and he got energised. He told me he is 90 years old and that he aspires to live up to 100. Though he is 90, Paranjpe is mentally agile and communicates in Hindi and English, he reads you from gestures rather than hearing. Mr Paranjpe has been a librarian for most of his life. He used to take care of the maruti temple along with one of his close friend. After his friend’s passing, he took over the responsibility. Paranjpe has two sons, one of them works in MMRDA.
He owns two flats in the same building. The flat has steel bars on the wall which aids him steer without falling, ropes are also tied to navigate to the center of the room. One flat looks lived in while the other house is a storage room with furniture from the eighties.
I got up to go but the old man took me to the other flat. The other flat had 2 rooms with shelves full of his book collection. His love of books is due to his long career as a librarian. Most of the books are in English, and few in Marathi and Hindi. He said, children from the neighbourhood come to read or study at this flat. He then took me to his balcony where he likes to see the evening traffic. I found that amusing.
It was time to bid goodbye, and I hoped to be back on Saturday for a longer talk. I got too busy to make a return trip to meet Paranjpe. This profile is incomplete since I couldn’t meet him again, so if long time residents want to share any anecdotes, please share in the comments section.