The magic of Dilip-Da's name

This is how Dilip-da's name saved me. It is such a significant story. When I first arrived in New York, I obtained a position as a junior clerk at the Indian Consulate. I worked there from June 1964 until June 1967.

One day I was summoned to go upstairs and see the Consul General, S.K. Roy, immediately. "What have I done wrong?" I asked myself.

The Consul General's very name used to frighten us. He was so strict, so powerful. On another occasion, I was waiting for the elevator. It arrived and the doors opened up a little. When I saw that the Consul General was inside, I ran away. He screamed at me, "Ghose! Ghose! Come in!" I went inside. Then he said to me, "Am I a tiger? Am I a snake? What are you doing? Why did you go away?" I did not know then that he had developed some special concern for me.

Anyway, I went upstairs trembling. All the butterflies inside my heart were flying! The Consul General said, "Ghose, sit down." He was looking at me very sympathetically. Then he went on, "Here is a letter all against you from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. It is saying not to keep you at the Indian Consulate. You will cast a slur on it. All kinds of things they have said against you. They want me to dismiss you."

Here I was, poverty-stricken, helpless — and I was on the verge of losing my job. I was earning only $210 per month and, out of that, sixty or seventy dollars used to go for rent. I had a tiny room in an apartment with two other workers. The length of the room was only one foot longer than my height. Sometimes I would get hurt if my feet came down the wrong way. When I remember my poverty, I shed tears.

Suddenly, out of the blue, the Consul General asked me a question: "By the way, Ghose, do you know Dilip?"

I was surprised. I said, "Sir, do you mean Dilip Kumar Roy?"

The Consul General said, "Yes."

I replied, "I know Dilip-da so well. At the Ashram, I basked in the sunshine of his affection. He was always very kind to me. I can tell you so many stories about him."

"Then say something," said the Consul General.

I started telling him all about my connection with Dilip-da, beginning with my notebook of Bengali poems and the suggestions that Dilip-da made. So many incidents I related. I also told the Consul General that I had recently sent Dilip-da my article about his father, D.L. Roy, and that Dilip-da had sent me a letter highly appreciating the article. I added that Dilip-da had given me unsolicited advice: no matter how much I suffer in America, never to go back to the Ashram.

Then, in front of me, the Consul General tore the letter up into minute pieces and threw them away. He did not show me the letter. He said, "I am a personal friend of Dilip. Now I know what he went through."

About fifteen years earlier, Dilip-da went through the same thing when he left the Ashram and opened up a centre in Pune. The Consul General continued, "Since Dilip likes you so much, the matter is finished." The Consul General smiled at me and it was all over.

Can you imagine! The magic touch of Dilip-da's name saved me. Otherwise, God knows, my fate would have taken a wrong turn. My best credential was Dilip-da's affection for me. These things bring tears to my eyes.