Swami Abhay (aka Dilip): Our Coconut Wallah

Profiles > People

Pankaja’s latest video is a portrait of a young man from Pune.

It shows the story of modern India with the huge changes that are taking place so rapidly, and the impact they have on ordinary people’s lives.

Watch on Vimeo

Dilip’s family, 5 people, have lived for 30 years in a one room hut behind the large, 2-storey house where they are caretakers who also do the gardening, cooking, cleaning and any other odd jobs. This is not unusual in the leafy suburb of Pune, where more and more extravagant houses in the shape of Swiss chalets or Greek temples are built by the rich.

Dilip started his job as a coconut wallah when he was about 10 years old, helping his older brother, and when his brother died a couple of years later Dilip took over the business. His spot was just outside the back gate of the famous Osho ashram, and sannyasins were his main customers – and eventually he became a sannyasin, a follower of the Indian mystic Osho, himself.

I have known Abhay for at least 20 years, and wanted to make a short film about his life and his experience of India today. He takes me to the flower market where he used to bicycle for an hour to buy flowers and coconuts to sell when he was a child, and also to visit a village 2 hours drive from Pune where life continues much as it has for the past hundred years. Then we return to the noise and chaos of Pune where new buildings shoot up daily – but poor people can never afford to buy a house…


Pankaja-Brooke2Pankaja (Panky) spent a year studying at the very first London Film School and wrote 4 published novels before taking sannyas in the early seventies. She has been part of Osho’s communes, mainly in Pune, until Osho left his body. After several years travelling around various parts of the world she settled back in London. Now that it is possible to shoot and edit an entire film by oneself she has resumed that longed for career. Her films have been shown at film festivals round the world, a couple receiving a Special Mention. pankajabrooke.com

Comments are closed.