How I met my mother — 15
Coming back home Sri Hari ji
Please click here for part fourteen.
I couldn’t bear the thought of not being in the ashram. I went on the Ashram website, but there was no room open for even a day. I texted the ashram’s office and begged them to get me a space. But there was nothing available. Somehow I knew I needed to be in the ashram, and it would work out just fine. I texted the ashram office (Namita Ji and Basudev Ji); if they can’t give me a room, that’s fine. I was ready to sleep on the street but wanted permission to enter the ashram. I could buy a tent or even stay in the town nearby and visit the ashram daily. I started looking for tickets online. My USA credit card wouldn’t work with the airline reservation online. Luckily, I found one travel agency open late evening (around 8:30 pm); I rushed to the agency and got my ticket. I couldn’t tell why, but I booked the return ticket coming back to Pune on 2nd December, though I agreed to Shubs that I would come back in 3 days.
In the meantime, I received a text from Basudev Ji confirming a room to share; now, I am all set with my ticket in hand. “Sri Hari ji, I am coming back home”!
Back to airport
The next day, I was at the airport heading to Chandigarh. Shubs gave me a few yummy parathas for my travel. My flight was via Delhi, arriving in Chandigarh around late evening. I was hoping to get the direct flight which leaves around 3 pm, but it was way more expensive than a stopover flight. Nevertheless, I was just grateful for what I got.
This time I wasn’t carrying my passport as I had a photo ID and my COVID vaccine card. I thought, well, it is a domestic flight; I don’t require a passport, so I might as well keep it at home safe; my driver’s license should be acceptable. Boy! Was I wrong!! A security guard at the airport gate wouldn’t accept my ID card because it was a US driver’s license and not Indian. I ran to the outside airline office; they were ok with my ID and were ready to check me in. But they couldn’t, as I was outside the airport and not inside (super twist in the story!). The security guard was firm with his decision and said no passport, no travel! He also informed me of my negligence; the US driver’s license can never be a valid ID. My dear Shubs had to come and rescue me, and she drove to Pune airport with my passport, all frustrated. It was more than an hour’s drive for her; I felt terrible that she had to leave work and help me.
By the time I came out of the Chandigarh airport, it was getting darker. I found my taxi, which very graciously Sanju Bhaiya Ji arranged at the last minute for me. I had an excellent drive Bhaiya Ji name Rimku (Vinay). He had a very pleasant personality, and we had a great conversation throughout, as we both had the same favorite, our love for “Guruji.” His driving skills were exceptionally excellent (thank you, Guruji, for taking care of me). On our way, we stopped for a nice dinner. Mindfully, I noticed the nature around me, the mountains were standing with pride, and chilled air was breezing through them like a silk scarf. It was getting much darker every second, but there was no fear, no stress. Nothing was unknown; nothing was new. I knew I was safe, and Guruji was watching over me. I could feel his presence in my heart.
So close yet so far!
When we approached that last patch (if you have been to the ashram, you know what I am talking about), which takes you to the ashram, it was getting closer to midnight. I named that driving patch, “Oh! Not so fun drive patch”. After a sharp turn, our car suddenly decided to rest and told us to fix her tire; it was flat! It was hard to see your hand without a flashlight in that dark. Middle of the night, on the narrow road at the curve, in the mountains, with the jungle around you, where wildlife is roaming freely, and nature is not reflecting very friendly gestures, it is a bit uncomfortable to be alone in the car with a flat tire. Rinku Ji asked me to stay in the car, although I was happily ready to help him. He changed the tire and fixed the car in the middle of the night, with the phone flashlight only. Even late at night, Sanju Bhaiya Ji called him to ensure we were both safe.
Yes, of course, we reached the ashram soon after; he helped me get my bag in the room, ensured I was safe, and then left. I am always thankful to Rimku Bhaiya Ji for taking care of me that night.
I saw my roommate sleeping peacefully in the bed. I tried my best not to make loud noises (extremely unsuccessful), settled myself in the room, and quietly slipped in the blanket.
Please click here for part sixteen.