Vajubhai: Friend, Philosopher and a Guide
'There is a big Papaya tree in our compound. Under it is a small chikoo(Sapodila) plant. At a short distance, under the open sky, is planted another chikoo plant. The second sapling has shown considerable growth and this made the first chikoo plant tell the second one,' buddy, we both are brothers, but you have had such a robust growth whereas mine is restricted. The growing plant responded, 'the reason is that while you are under someone's protection, I am growing on my own, under the open sky.'
This passage, written by a student, was published in a college magazine of Bhavnagar Samaldas College in 1931-32. The boy is barely 15-16 years old. But for his age his writing shows extraordinary depth and maturity. He is Vaju Kotak, whose had set out to be film director but ended up being a writer. He had started writing since early days and his writing reflects his rebellion and satire. Even a short story written at this tender age betrays the same quality. The story was a satire on a greedy and selfish rich housewife. When a female beggar was humiliated by the wealthy housewife, a crow demonstrates how to grab things from greedy people.
This short story perfectly mirrors the author's personality. On one hand, we see the child Vaju's pranks surface in this allegorical tale and on the other hand, without being didactic, the author offers a simple but effective lesson. Moreover, there is a subtle undercurrent of protest against excessive greed and menace of hoarding.
When young, Vajubhai wrote Vanarveda that carries his childhood antics. It is however ironical that the book that was written during his adolescence was published only after his death, in 1960. Perhaps one of the reasons was that this book was not written with a view to getting it published. It seems he wanted to secure his childhood forever through this book of reminiscences of his childhood.
There is another creation of his, titled Mari Pranaykatha (My Love story) that shows how he enjoyed his flight of fantasy. This was also published after his death in Vaju Kotak Smruti Ank. Written as a thriller, each page unfolds and deepens the mystery, yet it is difficult to figure out who the protagonist's beloved is. It is revealed only in the last line.
His writing was akin to his love for music. From an ordinary whistling instrument, he graduated to playing flute and those who listened to his melody confirm having been mesmerized by his command over the wind instrument. The same harmony, the same musical notes extend to his writings as well.
How stickler he was for perfection is illustrated in a small note found at the end of a short story he had scribbled way back in 1930: 'this story is not proper. It needs to be rewritten.'
What amazes one is his prolificacy and ability to write on a variety of subjects with equal ease and authority. Screenplays, novels, short stories, plays, radio plays, satire, motivational writing, science articles co-relating mythology with science, astrological articles, political analysis and countless informative articles.
He was so clear in his mind that even while writing his own text, he could rescue any writer friend whenever he needed help in his writing. He could give opportunities to other writer friends and try to be helpful to them.