I remember I first read an article “Shodh Aarogyacha” (शोध आरोग्याचा) by Anil Awachat in Saptahik Sakal Diwali 1994 – it was about Abhay Bang & Rani Bang. It was really awe-inspiring for me in those formative years. Also loved the way Anil Awachat wrote in simple, lucid language and I was quite impressed by his style of writing. It has been long 12 years (१ तप)… I have read so many articles (including latest one in Saptahik Sakal Diwali 2006 on Honeybees) and books by him eversince — in fact I think I have read all his books available in last 10 years – except one new poetry book (Mast Mast Utaar) that he has written. Some of the articles and books that remain etched in my memory are – ‘Sunandala Athavtana’ (सुनंदाला आठवतांना), ‘Karyarat’ (translated as Beyond Work in English), ‘Aapta’ and ‘America‘. He has written about several social issues and has been actively involved in many of them including their own project Muktangan (De-addiction center). His books on social issues are thought provoking & disturbing – in the good sense. However, I have loved him more as a person and for his leisure writings – his feature writing on people like Abhay Bang – Rani Bang and several others has been simple, admiring and inspirational. Only other person that I can think of who portrayed real people so well was Pu La Deshpande himself.
I have admired him a lot as a person for several reasons – because he did have courage & conviction to follow unconventional & thoughtful lifestyle. Admire him for his several interests, pursuits and hobbies and time & efforts he gave for them – ‘Chhandavishayi’ (छंदांविषयी) is one beautiful book talking about his interests. I really love him and adore him because he did have guts to follow his heart irrespective of monetary returns that his medical degree could have ensured him. And hats off to his wife Sunanda for supporting one such unconventional person and taking on so many responsibilities to allow him to experiment and write. Must be one content & amazing relationship that they shared together. Love his views on being together (सहजीवन), parenting – allowing his children to be on their own, allowing them to develop the way they wanted!! Recently when I read article by his daughter Yashoda about her epilepsy and how both of them (Anil & Sunanda Awachat) never compared her with her sister and how they always inculcated positive outlook in them; I realized how positive this person has been throughout his life without ever boasting it. He’s always been so humble & simple man!!! It’s amusing to see how he manages to see so much good in life & everyone!! And I guess that’s why he remains one of my role models….someone who has actively made difference to peopple’s lives; someone who had courage to follow his heart irrespective of monetary returns; someone who is keen on propagating more balanced, tolerant & comprehensive outlook in life and lastly someone who applauds good things that other people do (though they may be lesser known) and presents them to the world – really an inspiring person in search of inspirations! That’s what he is!!!
I haven’t had chance to meet this man till date, have only known him through his books, articles, views and through some of the people closely associated with him. But I have realized I am in love with this man… and it has been a long, gradual process….it’s impossible to know him and not to love him. Despite loving him so much, I don’t think I like all his books nor do I claim him to be the *best* Marathi author (for I strongly believe what Hugh Prather says – ‘There no such thing as “The Best” in the world of individuals‘) I don’t know what kind of literary value his books have or where does he stand in comparison with other prominent Marathi authors – but for me his books have always been inspiring & optimistic – they have always helped me to enrich my thinking, to enrich my life. He has been one of the strong influences in my formative years, and I really wish that I’d ultimately become someone like him in my own unique way. I hope I’d have enough courage to follow my heart and make a little difference in my own unique way. I guess if & when it actually happens, one of the strong reasons would be Anil Awachat’s influence- and that would probably the best way to thank him and let him know that how effective, influential his work & writings have been.