You Can’t Buy a Ticket to Vrindavan

Or Mayapur, for that matter.

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

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.



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8 responses to “You Can’t Buy a Ticket to Vrindavan

  1. nomoreanger

    Oh DD, I'm sorry things didn't pan out. My brother and his wife are taking their daughter this year and I'm wishing I could have sent Jahnu with them. He really wants to go. Maybe next year, for all of us 😉 Stick it out mama. You really are doing such valuable service there. Venumadhava doesn't need peers. He just needs engagement. You'll find as he grows that he is far more mature than his own peers that mostly have peer association. Something about being with adults, makes them that way. Jahnu is only ten, but most people think he's a lot older, because he's able to carry on mature conversations with just about anyone! Good Luck! You can do it. You guys should come visit us sometime. I mean if you ever get tired of the snow and all 😉

  2. Mandakini/Margaret

    I'm sorry that you're plans didn't work out. So glad that you are taking such nice care of your children and looking out for their best interests.

    I hope that Krishna sends some nice family/ies with kids to Gita Nagari to play with your Venumadhava. MAYBE he doesn't need peers, but they sure are nice to have. And they are quite "engaging" ;0)

    Also, to the previous comment, I don't believe it's fair to make an across the board statement that kids who don't have peer association are "far more mature" than their own peers. Does that somehow mean that they are better simply because they can't relate to kids their own age, er, I mean they can relate better with adults? I wonder if it all matters in the long run. But, eh, that's just my o-p-i-n-i-o-n.

    Anyhoo, sorry for the rant Devadeva. Keep up the good work! You are awesome.

    much love,

  3. Mandakini/Margaret

    ps I know it's you Nitya :0) I hope you are not offended by my comment to your comment.


  4. Devadeva Mirel

    whoa! fiery! easy ladies…no, i know it is hard bringing up kids.

    i am okay not going to india. today i went through a midlife crisis and feel like i came out of it years younger and hours more intelligent. anyway…we are contemplating crossing over to the other side..sending our kids to school…we'll see…it is a whole re-evaluation of our values…

  5. Mandakini/Margaret

    My apologies to you both (N and DD) for my little tantrum. Blame it on the hormones, yeah, the hormones. PMS makes me crazy!

    Please forgive me for being so offensive and rude. I'm sorry.

    Devadeva, here's a big cyber ((((HUG))) from me to you.

    Nitya, it really is good to "see" you.


  6. nomoreanger

    No sweat mk 😉 You just deal with the cards you're dealt. Jahnu never had a friend his age until we moved here. Everyone who has met him always remarks that he's like an adult stuck in a kid's body. I think he'd agree with that LOL. I didn't mean to imply that being exposed to adult association primarily is preferrable, but as I said before it's not the be all or end all to a child's psyche. Of course I have a lot of kids and people who don't have a different set of problems. I don't judge. I'm just saying if you have to do it, please don't feel guilty that you are depriving him of something he should have. Love you both too!

  7. Priya

    Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. I know you were looking forward to that trip. But, I'm also very proud of you for putting your kids first. It's the most important thing. 😉

  8. Campaka

    Awww! I was excited about you coming (even though I probably wouldn't see you anyway since you'd be in Mayapur and we'd be here). But I totally agree, the kids need to come first. Enjoy making ghee wicks in Gita Nagari for Kartika! I love your blogs. They are both inspiring and entertaining. Keep them coming!

    Your servant,

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