Gargi: Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani

Gargi Tripathi

By Neena Badhwar

She is the talk of the town though I have only been   away from Sydney for four weeks. Every one in Sydney was talking about Gargi when I came back. About her vigil along with a group of ladies and men lighting candles and observing a fast with the determined look in her eyes. I was not a witness to the event but sure it had the Facbook pages littered with pictures and people talking about it that a ”˜lady had decided to take part in Anna’s fight against corruption and thus support his movement in Sydney’.

And then before one realised there was the news of Mahanavratri Festival on September 30. Singlehandedly with her heart and soul behind this successful relgio-cultural festival, had a long queue of cars creeping towards Rosehill Racecourse as the evening of working day Friday set in. As one entered there were huge banners of Goddesses displayed in the arena with a company of priests chantig mantras in an atmosphere of incence, yagna fire in a havan kund near a stage where the Goddess Durga’s statue sat majestically and one could see that Gargi Tripathi, yes in all her jewels and necklaces, dressed from top to toe, walking all around the place, overseeing everything from stage to the individual artists who were assigned various roles as the evening unrolled in front of you boasting of a gathering that slowly swelled upto about 4000 people all enjoying the festival like as if one was in India. It was a complete feast for the eyes – a full on religious, spiritual, cultural and entertaining experience. All the way to midnight as the drums echoed not just in the precinct but were heard outside as well while inside people were on a different high as they partook in the great big dance and dandia that happened under one roof.

So who is this Gargi we ask?

Gargi is the wife of Neni Tiwari of Value World Travel who is quite religious and believes in issues that affect us today and does something about them. About Mahanavratri TIDU talked to her and she says ”˜Oh! its not a big thing for me as I have been doing Navratri at home. In the Meritone apartments I live I had   4 or 5 apartments that were lying empty that I had access to. I have been celebrating the event at home inviting friends and family. Since now we have   two apartments this year I thought why not do it at a bigger venue. So I walked into Rosehill Racecourse. And rest as you know is history.”

Gargi, the name she says that her grandfather gave her and that it is after the name of a learned woman in the ancient India who was known to be so non-biased that she was appointed a judge in those days and had the reputation that she could even go against her husband if she were to sit on his case.

Gargi came to Australia seven years ago and says that for her there was no change and that it was quite an easy transition. How? Says she proudly, “Didi! because I have ”˜Hindustani Dil’. I didn’t find any difference. Every one says…videsh this..videsh that…saat samundar paar…but for me I am so patriotic that even now when I hear patriotic songs …I get goose bumps.”

“Anna Hazare in India is fighting for a cause and I said why not us in Sydney. Not just India, political system is corrupt everywhere in the world. So it is rather a global cause. I felt I had to help spread the fire that Annaji had lit in India.”

“In my childhood I saw my dad getting affected by the corrupt practices at work for which the repercussions were felt at home by my mother and us. We all got affected and it left a deep impression on me from a young age when I asked why..why things are the way they are. What can we do to improve that’s what my dad instilled in me. He was a great friend and a mentor. He used to give me topics to discuss and used to make me come up with counter arguments on the spot.”

He was a three time winner of gold medals at Benaras Hindu University and under his guidance when I won my first gold medal everyone congratulated me for doing dad proud,” says Gargi reminiscing her college days. She became a lecturer and then before she realised she was married and on the way to Australia.

When TIDU asks her about her flamboyant style and dress sense like of the likes of Princess Grace Kelly, that Sydney community talks about her going around to functions in limousines of various denominations – long, black, sometimes white and even pink, says Gargi, “Well! ”˜Khali haath aaye hain aur khaali haath jaayenge’ – we have come empty handed into this world and we leave empty handed. God has given me all this and my mother who was a great lady always brought me up to dress well. She was always dressed gracefully and she taught me the same that when we go out we should present ourselves well.”

“These limousines are just a business interest of my husband’s. Neniji moves with his business associates like a one big family. He looks after them and they look after him. Without their help and without the help from the community I could not have organised the functions. All the local media helped and so did the community. The Mahanavratri function had three elements running through it: Shraddha – faith, conviction, Sankalp – promise and Sankalan – composition. Shraddha is an element which runs in all of us. We all believe in our religious and cultural traditions. And I said we must take out a literary souvenir for the occasion which was ably supported and edited by Rekha Rajvanshi and Pradeep Upadhyaye. ”˜Sankalp’ magazine will become a regular quarterly or six-monthly literary magazine and last I wanted to show that we had talented people like Neelesh Kale in our community. Neelesh is the youngest Lalit Kala Academy winner. And I felt that this artist deserves more credit than what Sydney has given him. So I assigned him to do a photo shoot for the Navratri festival. He went to India and chose a factory where they make statues of Ganesha and Durga – of all Gods and Goddesses. He produced these amazing photos that when I looked at them I just cried,” said Gargi.

“We ought to cherish such artists and give them the honour and recognition they deserve.”

Says Gargi, “I have so much more to do and hope that this festival will only grow with blessings   and divine strength of Ma Durga. I have great faith that it will turn out to be the highlight of Indian festivity in Parramatta region.”

“My father Sh. Keshri Krishan Tripathi was a big influence and he was the founder editor of two magazines ”˜Gandeev’ and ”˜Shastriye’ and my grandfather Pandit Gopal Shastri Darshan Kesari wrote many spiritual books. I want to learn Sanskrit more and help establish a good literary magazine of the likes of ”˜Dharamyug’. They both instilled in me a taste for good literature, cultural traditions and my mum used to write shlokas on a ”˜peepal’ leaf every day which me and my dad used to go to the Ganges and float it on the water there. It used to be our daily ritual. Having been brought up in such a pious city and with so much respect for the elders – really for me my mother is my goddess. She studied B.A. in Sanskrit in those days while bringing us all up. I am what I am because of my mum, my dad and my grandfather and that is what I want to leave behind. Otherwise all this what I have is an illusion..the reality is something else,” sums up Gargi.

Surely one can see the inner beautiful being of this lady with all her trappings of luxury sitting at her feet. And we wish her well in her pursuits to find her real self.

Short URL: