It was time to say goodbye to the awesome couple.
Qamar was heading that morning to Nainital by road and Neeta was leaving the same day to Delhi. We went to their home a little early to say goodbye and thank them.
Qamar refused to take any money for the Institute accommodation even with Pankaj’s persistence and keeping money on their table. This is India where we fight to pay for each other unlike other Western Countries 🙂
We took the bus back to Rishikesh and ate at this lovely Vaishnav restaurant(they very clearly mentioned it) called Vishal Bhojanalay at Triveni Chowk.
Pankaj remembered this place he visited many years ago and it was still there. Delicious food and yes a must visit if you happen to be there.
I told them both about my plans, about making a detour to Hawalbagh, yup. I won’t be going to Dharamsala anymore.
That morning itself, I called my friends, told them I would be visiting them, took the info on how to get there and booked my train tickets . So all three of us would leave in different directions the next day. It was meant to be.
I felt a great relief as my tickets got confirmed. Things always turn out better when one takes detours like that.
We would be staying for a night at Sri Sri Ashram in Rishikesh .
Meanwhile, Kishore and I was in touch and he was inviting me to his home. He wanted me to meet a dear friend of his, Raj Supe. He was an old friend and college mate who had renounced the world, took Sanyas and he lived with Kishore and his family.
Kishore mentioned him and Rudra would talk about him on and off. Pankaj and Jogen were keen on meeting him. After the trek, Kishore told me I must meet Raj if I can take some time off alone.
I remember telling Jogen I might go to Kishore’s place the next day and Jogen saying I want to meet his friend. So I told him to message Kishore on this, it was not my call. Pankaj messaged him too.
In the end, Kishore messaged me saying to get my friends along and he would send an auto to pick us up the next morning as his house was 12 kms away from Rishikesh.
It was a beautiful ride as we set out. Away from the crowds, the hustle and bustle of the town as the route became very scenic and quiet. No traffic.
We reached Kishore’s home and it was beautiful. Open, vast, very peaceful.
There was a temple beautifully constructed. Kishore welcomed us warmly. Pankaj immediately asked him, Where is Rudra? Kishore mentioned he had gone with his mother for Ganga Puja and to get some stuff before he leaves for Delhi. He had no idea when he would come back.
Raj Supe walked in. A tall person with a calm grounded energy. I felt comfortable just meeting him. There was a serenity to him. Very approachable. We spoke for a bit and he took us outside to the garden, to show us the temple, the premises, their Guru, their history, the trees they have planted, everything.
It was really commendable of Kishore to move to Rishikesh and choose a space like this and make a haven. The energy was beautiful there as we sat under the sun, surrounded by trees as Raj spoke. On Gurus, On Mantras, on Life, asking us what we do, his philosophy, sometimes there would be a beautiful silence among us.
I felt very connected to the place. It was something special. He spoke of emptiness, of nothingness, it was not abstract but clear and concise. We spent a good 2-3 hours there.
Raj gave us all a book of his Guru and me a pen drive with the chanting of the Mantra by his Guru. This is the part that surprised me. The Mantra they followed was the same mantra that was initiated to me by my Guru in Sivananda Ashram years ago and what my father chanted throughout his life till his last breath. It was kind of destined I felt.
Pankaj’s eyes searched for Rudra as he asked Kishore again if he will come back, but there was no hope there.
We stopped for lunch on our way back at Vishal Bhojanalay again and soon it was time for Jogen to leave. We bid him goodbye as his was a late afternoon train to Pathankot while mine and Pankaj’s would be night trains.
I rested for a bit in the dormitory and Pankaj and I caught up with each other at Swami Dayanand Saraswati Ashram, we came there that evening to watch the Ganga Aarti.
It was so beautiful sitting with Pankaj that evening. We were at peace.
I couldn’t go to Haridwar, to Har ki Pauri this time to see the famous Ganga Aarti but no regrets, Haridwar wasn’t going anywhere, I would be back again.
Pankaj would leave earlier. He would take a bus to Haridwar and then a train. My train was at 12.15 am and I had time to rest for a bit, be in silence and start my solo journey.
It felt good..