I have not yet been fortunate enough to write the reminiscences of my long association with Bapu Mahatma Gandhi. However, I am glad to have had opportunities to read the reminiscences by many others who had intimately known and worked with Bapu. I found each of them had a flavour of its own. There is a reason for it. To each one, Gandhi seems to have presented himself in a unique way.
Shri Krishna, in the capacity of a Universal Teacher, says : "I respond to each one as per his or her individual approach". That is how Gandhi was, and even now is, different to different people.
This particular book of very vivid yet incisive memories by Narayan is of a class by itself. It covers a most crucial period in India's modern history during which slave India was catapulted into Freedom.
The two central figures in the narration are : one who was hailed as the architect of India's Freedom by Lord Mountbatten who himself played a mid-wife's role in the process ; and the other who grew from childhood to maturity not in the shadow, but in the effulgent, ennobling aura of the Mahatma.
The third important aspect of this story is that Narayan has been able to recapture the atmosphere of his boyhood and youth in the company of one whose spirit was able to transform "men of dust into heroes" in the battle of Right over Might.
The author, Narayan Desai, has not been an idle acolyte admiring his early days with the Mahatma of many hues. He had the privilege of being actively associated with Gandhi-oriented socio-economic work in India and to be in close touch with great personalities like Acharya Vinoba Bhave and Lokanayak Jayaprakash Narayan.