At dusk I chanced to meet Radhanath Swami near the temple gate. As he hurried out, he inquired, “So, everything alright?”
“I am heading to Mayapur tomorrow.”
“To submerge the ashes of my deceased father in the Ganges.”
“When did that happen?….” He stopped. His expression grew grave.
“Ten days ago. I had informed your secretary when my father was on his death bed. Didn’t he convey you?” I looked around. Vraj, the secretary, wasn’t accompanying him.
“No,” he replied. I saw he felt sorry. “I shall get back to you,” he said, and hurried into his car. The vehicle disappeared into the exhaust fumes of Mumbai traffic.
Later, Vraj came searching for me, and related what transpired after Radhanath Swami boarded his vehicle an hour ago. Radhanath Swami had called back to the temple to inquire from Vraj of the lost information. Vraj replied that updates about my father were duly sms-ed well on time. Radhanath Swami then searched all the sms he had received in the past ten days, but this sms was nowhere in the inbox! The two concluded that it was lost in the outage that had hit mobile networks ten days ago.
Radhanath Swami, Vraj said, now wanted me to give him a call.
“I am sorry. The message somehow didn’t reach me,” I heard Radhanath Swami’s apologetic voice on the phone. “If I knew, I would have given a call to your father as he lay on his death bed, and chanted Hare Krishna to him,” he continued. “But don’t worry. Right now I am chanting for your father on my prayer beads. And in my mind I am submerging his ashes in the holy Ganges.”
Two decades ago, my father felt a little pained thinking he lost his only son to the monastic order. Little did he know he had gained a second son, a pure soul who would be the first to submerge his ashes in the Ganges for his assured salvation.