Sohini Dey takes RobinAge subscribers on a trip to Mani Bhavan
Many visitors had already gathered at Mani Bhavan by the time we reached. Most of us had read about Gandhiji in textbooks and also seen a number of movies on him, but a trip to Mani Bhavan is a different experience all together. This is the home in which Gandhiji once stayed and it brought all the stories we had read to life.
Gandhiji lived in Mumbai for a long time. In fact, it was in Mumbai at the August Kranti Maidan that he started the Quit India Movement. He was given the title of 'Mahatma' and was affectionately called 'Bapu'. His home at Mani Bhavan has now been turned into a museum.
The groundfloor of Mani bhavan houses books. People of all ages were sitting in various parts of the room reading. We were surprised to find so many books written on Gandhiji's thoughts, which are relevant even today. In fact, there are people who dedicate their entire careers to studying these ideals and their impact on society.
On the second level are displayed photographs of Gandhiji and a number of letters. We learnt that Gandhiji was a lawyer who left his career to serve his country. We saw pictures of Gandhiji in his younger days, as well as pictures of him with famous people such as Charlie Chaplin (who, we found, didn't sport a moustache in real life).
The third and highest level of the building has a doll collection. The dolls are enclosed in glass cases and depict various scenes from Gandhiji's life. We learnt many new stories about him. One such story is that as a child he had once stolen something but was so guilt-ridden that he finally confessed to his father. Many such fascinating facts were revealed as we moved from one glass case to another, reading the enclosed stories.
There was also an area where Gandhiji's belongings, including a spinning wheel, are kept. The room was locked, but we were told that on Gandhiji's birthday on October 2 we can come here and spin cotton ourselves. I am definitely going back to Mani Bhavan to spin cotton and learn more about him. You may want to go too. It's as close to Gandhiji as one can possibly get.