Here's what Narendra Modi told 'Humans of Bombay'

Politics

23 Jan 2019

Washing utensils, living in forest: Things 'young' PM Modi did

Interacting with Humans of Bombay, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared lesser-known aspects of his life.

The five-part series focuses on his life, struggles, and ambitions before he was elected to the most important post in the country.

On Tuesday, the community released the third part of their talk in which PM Modi spoke about his younger days.

Here's what he told them.

First post

Like million others, PM Modi also wanted to visit Mumbai

Like million others, PM Modi also wanted to visit Mumbai

Let's start with the beginning.

In the first post, which was released on January 5, PM Modi revealed he opened his father's tea shop at a railway station.

He spoke about how his family survived on bare necessities, how he rushed to the library to read books and how he always wondered if he would be able to visit Bambai (Mumbai) the city of dreams.

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Modi never thought he would become PM one day

(1/5) “My family of 8 lived in a 40x12 feet house–it was small, but enough for us. Our days began at 5 AM when my mother would provide traditional forms of curing & healing to newborns & small children. All night, my brother & I would keep the ‘chula’ going for her to use. She didn’t have the fortune of getting an education, but God was kind & she had a special way of curing ailments. Mothers would line up outside our home because she was known for her healing touch. Then, I would open my father’s tea stall at the railway station, clean up & go to school. As soon as school ended, I would rush back to help him, but what I really looked forward to was meeting people from all over India. I would serve them tea & listen to their stories–that’s how I learnt to speak Hindi. I would hear some traders speak about ‘Bambai’ & wonder, ‘Will I ever get to see the city of dreams?’ I was always curious–I’d go to the library & read everything I could get my hands on. I was 8 when I attended my first RSS meeting & 9 when I was a part of an effort to better the lives of others–I set up a food stall with my friends to help the victims of floods in parts of Gujarat. I wanted to do more, but knew we had little means. Still, even at that age, I believed that God has made us all alike. It didn’t matter what circumstances I was born into, I could be something more. So when you ask me what my struggles were, I’ll tell you that I had none. I came from nothing, knew no luxury & hadn’t seen a ‘better’ life, so in my small world...I was happy. If the way was ever difficult, I made my own way. I had a great need to look sharp & groomed. So even though we couldn’t afford an iron, I would heat coal, use an old ‘lota’, wrap a cloth around it & press my clothes–the effect was the same, then why complain? This was the beginning of everything that I am today & I didn’t even know it at the time. So if you ask the 8 year old Narendra Modi, running around serving chai & cleaning his father’s tea stall, whether he even dared to dream about becoming the Prime Minister of India, his answer would be no. Never. It was too far to even think about.” #TheModiStory

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Second post

At 17, he left his family to visit the Himalayas

The second post was about PM Modi's lack of clarity at a young age. The post, dated January 9, delved into his insecurities.

PM Modi said he went to the Himalayas at the age of 17, leaving his family behind. He always wanted to serve the nation but wasn't sure how.

The stay at the Himalayas helped him find himself, PM Modi claimed.

PM Modi reveals what he learned from life

(2/5)“While growing up, I had a lot of curiosity but very little clarity. I would see army men in their uniforms and think that this was the the only way to serve the country. But as my conversations with the saints and sadhus at the railway station grew deeper, I realised that this too was a world worth discovering. I was undecided, unguided and unclear -- I didn’t know where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it. But all I knew, was that I wanted to do something. So I surrendered myself to God and left for the Himalayas at the age of 17. I bid goodbye to my parents as my mother gave me a sweet dish before I left and put a tilak on my forehead to bless my journey. I went wherever God wanted to take me -- it was an undecided period of my life but still, gave me so many answers. I sought to understand the world, to understand myself. I travelled far and wide, spent time at the Ramkrishna Mission, met sadhus and saints, stayed with them and began a discovery, inwards. I moved from place to place -- I had no roof above my head, but still never felt more at home. I would wake up during Brahma Mahurat, between 3 and 3:45 am, and take a bath in the freezing waters of the Himalayas, but still feel the warmth. I learnt that peace, oneness and Dhyan can be found, even in the simple sound of a waterfall. The sadhus I lived with taught me to align myself with the rhythm of the Universe. So that’s what I did -- I aligned and experienced revelations that help me till today. I realised that we’re all tied down by our thoughts and limitations. When you surrender and stand in front of the vastness -- you know that you’re a small part of a large universe. When you understand that, any trace of arrogance you have in you melts and then life truly begins. That’s when it all changed. After two years, I returned home with clarity and a guiding force to lead the way.” #TheModiStory

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Latest post

After Himalayas, PM Modi went to 'big city' Ahmedabad

After Himalayas, PM Modi went to 'big city' Ahmedabad

On his return from the Himalayas, PM Modi was sure he wanted to spend his life in 'service of others', the latest post revealed.

He soon left for Ahmedabad and helped his uncle with his canteen. Meanwhile, he joined Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) as full-time pracharak.

Apart from interacting with people from various walks of life, PM Modi also washed utensils and prepared food.

Finding himself

For 5 days, PM Modi stayed in a forest

Despite the busy life, PM Modi was determined to not let go off things he learned while staying at Himalayas. He wanted to maintain a work-life balance.

For this purpose, PM Modi went to the forest for five days during Diwali. When people asked him who was he going to meet, PM Modi replied, "Myself."

The break proved to be immensely beneficial.

Advice

PM Modi wants young people to take a break

PM Modi wants young people to take a break

PM Modi revealed the time away from the city's hustle bustle, without TV or radio, helped him understand his inner self better.

He advised the same to all. "Take some time off...think and introspect. It will change your perception," he added.

The magic is inside you, PM Modi said. You just have to dig deep.

It's hard to disagree on this, Mr. Prime Minister.

You can read the full post here

(3/5) “After coming back from the Himalayas, I knew that I wanted my life to be one that is lived in the service of others. Within a short span of returning, I left for Ahmedabad. It was my first brush with living in a big city – the pace of life was very different. I began my time there by occasionally helping my uncle at his canteen. Eventually, I became a full time Pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. There, I got the opportunity to interact with people from different walks of life and do a wide range of work. We all took turns to clean the RSS office, prepare tea and food for colleagues and clean utensils. Life was rigorous and busy. But amidst all of my duties, I was determined to not let go of my learnings from the Himalayas. To ensure that this new phase of life didn’t take over the sense of peace that I achieved there, I decided to take out some time every year and introspect. It was my way of maintaining a balanced life. Not many people know this, but I would go away for the 5 days of Diwali. Somewhere in a jungle – a place with only clean water and no people. I would pack enough food to last for those 5 days. There would be no radio’s or newspapers, and during that time, there was no TV or internet anyway. I would reflect – and the strength that this alone time gave me still helps me to handle life and its various experiences. People often asked me, ‘Who are you going to meet?’ And I would say, ‘मैं मुझसे मिलने जा रहा हूं।’ Which is why, I always urge everyone, especially my young friends, in the midst of your fast paced life and busy schedules, take some time off…think and introspect. It will change your perception – you will understand your inner self better. You will start living in the true sense of the word. It will also make you more confident and undeterred by what others say about you. All of these things will help you in times to come. So I just want each and every one of you to remember that you are special and that you don’t have to look outside for the light...it’s already within you.” #TheModiStory

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