Excerpt from India with Backpack and a Prayer

By Jennifer Brookins

jennifer brookins

“Dear Jennifer,

I received your letter so full of love. You are so important and loving for me that I cannot mention it. What you are doing and have done for Guru is more than sufficient. I am very much pleased that you are coming here. I anxiously await the both of you. One line in your letter impressed me very much. I love to read it again and again,
Mye tuhanu bhot pyar tey yaad karde han.”
At the bottom of his letter, Baba Ji added,
“Main vi tuhanu bahut pyar te yaad karda han, main tuhanu udeek raha han.”
Translation: I also love you very much, remember you, and am waiting for you.

I have no idea what Baba Ji meant when he wrote, “what you are doing and have done for Guru.” His letter reflects a loving heart for one so undeserving. He is the Beautiful Father loving his daughter.

Baba Ji invited us to be his guests on December 26 for his Bhandara Birthday Celebration at Dera Tarn Taran. It is fifteen minutes from the Pakistan border and a short distance from the Himalayas. Finally, I’m going to India, and today we depart on British Airlines. In a few days Dera Tarn Taran will be teeming with people. We cannot miss it. Our friend Mike will drive us to the airport. My suitcase is packed with wool leggings for cold Punjabi winters. I am so looking forward to this trip I can hardly breathe. I’ll believe it when I’m strapped in my seat. Doug, on the other hand, is his usual calm, collected self. The weather forecast is awful. I’m more than a little concerned about this.

We arrive at the Philadelphia airport only to be told they are experiencing storms all over Europe. Great, just great. They say the runways in Germany, France, and England are iced over and our flight is grounded. Oh please, these people have got to be kidding. Doug calls Baba Ji in India to explain our dilemma. The airline suggests we take a flight out of Philadelphia tonight that lands in Paris. Typical French reasoning suggests that it’s not too dangerous to slide a plane onto the Paris Airport runway during a snowstorm, but c’est la vie, sliding out to India is a firm no. So why worry when we’ll have five days to shop and enjoy Paris until the storm passes. This gives them enough time to get out their blow dryers and clear the runways along with our missing Baba Ji’s birthday celebration. This can’t be happening. If we agree to this, we’ll arrive in India long after it’s over. I know the weather is treacherous, but there has got to be a way. This man can be really maddening at times. Doug explains his concern to Baba Ji over a bad telephone connection. He’s worried we won’t arrive in time for his birthday celebration. Silence prevails at the other end of the line. After an excruciatingly long pause, Doug says tomorrow afternoon there is only one flight available out of Philadelphia to Detroit that connects to Switzerland that connects to Delhi. Okay, what’s the catch? We have to fly coach from Philly to Detroit. This is a concern because of his cervical spine issue. The seats are so close together his legs will be pushed into his esophagus. Anyway, he tries to make a case to Baba Ji that he can’t fly coach since he’s paid for non-refundable business class tickets. By this time, I’m so nervous I bolt to the women’s restroom to find an empty stall. I sit here a few minutes in an effort to focus on simran, a mantra of five holy names given to me at the time of initiation. My mind is going ballistic. I finally calm down, close my eyes and begin to focus on Maharaj Ji’s beautiful face. I slowly repeat the five holy names, pull myself together, and pray that this night ends on the upside. When Doug sees me walking towards him, he puts his hand over the telephone and whispers, “Where were you? I can’t hear Baba Ji for the static.” Suddenly the line is okay. Like the parting of the Red Sea, Baba Ji’s answer is crystal clear,
“Ehh chhoti kurbani ha, ki tusi mere janamdin di party te nai rehna chahunde ho.”
Translation: It’s a small sacrifice. Don’t you want to be at my birthday party?
This makes Doug laugh. He quickly answers,

“Nothing will keep us away. We will be with you on your birthday.”
As luck would have it, someone is with Baba Ji to translate our conversation.

An Excerpt from India with a Backpack and Prayer available in paperback and Kindle 

Leave a Comment

Copyright © 2020 Jennifer Brookins. All Rights Reserved  | Privacy Policy | Site by E. Jones