After much deliberation and an email from a manager at the Bhaktivedanta Hospital assuring my husband that there surely will not be any hot water in the Gada Building (3,000 Radhanatha Swami disciples + outdoor guiser = cold water for my kids), we decided to call the trip off. At least for me and the kids. My husband will still go to Bombay for November to train the nurses for India’s first hospice.
Life pre-children was open to spontenaity, adventure and depending on Krishna. Now I have two little ones depending on me. Before children, flood, pestilence, no place to stay–none of these things would have discouraged me from visiting the Holy Dhama. “Krishna is testing my determination,” I would have said. “These are all just obstacles to test my sincerity.”
But now with two children, both of whom have grown beyond the totable Baby Bjorn age, I see things differently. “These are signs. Warnings. Krishna is telling me not to go.”
This morning Mother Kaulini, without any padding or ginger said, “Well, why don’t you ask me what I think. I think you shouldn’t go.”
“Me neither,” I told her.
“Well, then stick to it.” Tough but solid advice.
Until an email came from Sastra Prabhu, a sweet devotee who I am disappointed I will not get a chance to meet. My husband, reading the email, called to me from upstairs. Sastra had a flat for us.
I climbed the stairs in disbelief. Nobody had a flat for us. The entire campus of ISKCON Mayapur was booked by the Radhanatha Swami Yatra. My husband read the email. I read the email. He was excited, hopeful. I was shocked.
Didn’t my husband see the part of the message which said the owner probably would be resistant to renting it because it was “in need of repairs?”.
At least we were both able to laugh about it.
I am really sad that I am not teaching the cooking course and feel horrible that I am leaving Nrsimha Kavaca Prabhu short notice to find a replacement. My disqualification for teaching the course is apparent: A brahmana always keeps his word and here I am backing out a few months before the course.
My primary obligation, however, is to the safety and wellbeing of my children. This is not 1972. Comparisons between my hair-do and the 70’s aside, I am not going to thrust my children into a situation with so many unknown variables that the odds are stacked against us to begin with. I won’t gamble my children’s welfare.
Previously when my husband visited India without me, my eyes would well up with tears. “Vrindavan, Vrindavan, when will I be with you again?”.
But now, after five exhausting months trying hopelessly to work out accomodations for my family in Mayapur, the village that everyone says is so great for families, I have expended all my tears. Relief is the sentiment uncreasing my forehead. For the first time in months I feel as though I may get at least a few good, worry free hours of sleep.
And Kartik is coming! Enthused that I will be at Gita Nagari with Mother Kaulini Gopi and Sri Sri Radha Damodara, I am eager to reclaim my life from the clutches of “preparing for the trip.” For Kartik I plan to resume going to the temple in the morning 3 days a week, deep clean my house, read read read and chant chant chant. Oh, and roll lots of ghee wick sticks.
My vrata: stay off realtor.com.
As Venumadhava approaches 4, my slow to talk toddler is now a real live kid. He’s well mannered, attentive and spontaneously devotional. He’s also bored out of his oversized skull. Although he keeps asking for a two wheel bike and a skateboard for his birthday, on a day to day basis he asks for his friends and school. But the thought of moving to Alachua saddens my husband and has me clinging to my 40″ custom soapstone kitchen sink.