Thursday, October 11, 2012

Guruji provides

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This happened during the Navratri celebrations two years back, in 2010.

I had set off for my first ever Navratra Advance course in the ashram with three other AOL friends, which also included my fiancé. My office work led to a brief delay in me leaving for the airport. Neither my fiancé nor I could have a proper meal before leaving. Catching the flight was a close call and we were not able to grab anything to eat from the airport either. The only food we had was the quick snack that was served on the flight but we could not have it as much as we wanted as the snack was cold and tasteless.

We reached Bangalore airport at around 10 PM. Although all of us were famished, however we wanted to get a cab to the ashram as soon as possible as it was already late. So we did not have anything at the airport either. Having stayed in North India for quite some time now, I presumed that we will definitely find 24X7 ‘dhabas’(roadside eateries) on the way to the ashram as is the case in Delhi and adjoining regions.

As we reached the pre-paid taxi counter and requested for a cab, the guy on the counter informed us that there is a lady also waiting to go the ashram. Since she was alone, she was waiting if she could carpool with some group for safety purposes. We were more than happy to have her come along with us to the ashram in the cab (I would later know why Guruji clubbed her with us).

So we started our journey to the ashram – tired and dead starving. A little way through and after a brief conversation with the driver, I realized (to my agony) that there are no eateries on the way, at least none that will be open this late in the night. Since I had not been to the ashram earlier, I was not even aware of the dinner facilities there. So I resigned to my fate of spending the first night in the ashram starving while I kept imagining plates full of my favorite dish – paratha with bhindi ki subzi(leavened Indian bread with spiced okra curry).

Out of nowhere, I remembered someone once mentioning a random phrase to me – “Guruji provides” – that’s it. And I just tried to doze off in the front seat thinking about Guruji. The conversation amongst the ladies kept drifting from one topic to another in the rear seat.

The lady who had carpooled with us had listened to my conversation with the driver about locating an eatery. She seemed hesitant at first but later asked me if I would like to have some food that her mother had packed for her. She said that she is hesitant because the food will not even suffice one person out of the five of us, since she had asked her mother to pack very little food as she was travelling alone and not very hungry either.

With an apologetic and helpless expression, the lady dug into her hand-bag and pulled out something wrapped in white polythene. As she unwrapped the package, the mild drift of spices was unmistakable and as she handed me the food straight on my palms, lo and behold - paratha with bhindi ki subzi! (leavened Indian bread with spiced okra curry)I stared at the food, then at her face and no knowing how to thank her (and of course Guruji) started eating the food. However the miracle did not stop here. I already had two parathas when the lady asked me if I want to have one more. I politely declined knowing that she had food packed for only one person, however she thrust the paratha lovingly in my hands while muttering on how she was unable to understand her Mom packing so much food for no reason. But I knew.

I had four parathas, everyone else had a whole some dinner and I also had enough curry to gobble once everyone else was done. My heart full of gratitude for Guruji, we entered the ashram after being fed like kings. True enough – “Guruji provides”.

Sushant Patnaik & Supreet Kaur

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