March 30, 2017.
In Australia, I did not spend a single penny on transport. I took odd 17 lifts and crossed Australia from west coast to east coast (Perth to Sydney). Before I start my journey from Perth, there was news that a man was mysteriously disappeared from his car in the desert of Australia and another news was that a European family has come to Australia for cremation of their daughter who was killed by a psyche.
Despite of it, I was not afraid in Australia because, my plan B was in place. For example, in worst case, supposed robbed in Australia: in almost every city I had one or two contacts and there was direct flight from New Delhi so I would get new credit card in 24 hours. Unfortunately, none is in Latin America so I am bit afraid while travelling or even while walking on the road. If I miss my credit card, simply I have to simply beg and survive for a week till new credit card reaches.
Fear was disappeared after meeting these two beautiful minds – Shobhan Saxena and Vijay Bavaskar Sao Paulo in Brazil.
Let me tell introduce about them. Shobhan is one of the very few journalists who had worked with all three major national English dailies – The Hindu, The Times of India and Indian Express. His last assignment was Foreign Correspondent for Indian Express and was entrusted to cover foreign affairs in New York. Most interesting part is, he is confluence of two opposite streams – JNU which stand for intellectual cream of country and constructive and positive philosophy of Vipassana.
Like any other Marathi boys in Mumbai, Vijay was active in student politics in 90s. What is difference between him and other Mumbai boys is that he realised that there is no future in student politics. Vijay is one of the few Marathi manoos who ventured into business. He has set up a Samosa & Company, Indian Food in down town in Sao Paulo commercial capital of Brazil or say Latin America.
One of my friends in Mumbai shared contact of Shobhan. She told that Shobhan is gem and I should not miss opportunity to meet him. I sent him text when I was in Buenos Aires and he was generous to reply to my text. I was in touch with him.
When I reached Sao Paulo, I had informed him. As any other journalist he was busy, first two days. On the third day, he asked me to meet in evening at 7pm. I knew one thing, when journalist call you for a meeting in evening, for sure, meeting would be somewhere on the road side shop and end in ten minutes. I was wrong in my guess.
When I reached on given address, it was a restaurant owned by Indian or a Mumbaikar. Initially, I was awkward. After ten minutes, table was full with Pakode / kanda bhaje and green chatani. I felt at home. Then started our discussion. After sometime, table was engulfed with roties, koliapury spicy vegetable, fried rice and crunchy papad.
After Indian food, our minds switched into Indian mode and topic was discussion was meditation, meaning and objective of life. Since Shobhan and I did Vipassan so we were almost on equal footing. Vijay has bit different thought. He said, “Meditation is like going into trance. Some people go into trance with music or dance or watching some images” exactly what spiritual leader Goyanka has said. But his last line was very interesting, “For me, one glass of wine is enough to drag me into trance. And if there is no wine, I am equally happy with glass of thurraa (local cheap country made Indian wine).
When I saw in the mobile clock, it was 11pm and I had to catch a bus for Rio de Janeiro at 12 midnight. Shobhan has noted it and he made concluding talk and I took my bags. While leaving, Vijay said, “I have some contacts in Rio and want to help you but I will not.” I was wondering whether Vijay has gone into wrong trance.
He continued, “I want you to struggle on your own. When you will fail, miss call me. I will be there for you.” It made me to smile.
Now, I am little afraid it Brazil or Latin America.
I copied the title ‘Journey itself is Destination’ from Shobhan.