The friendly tug of war with each nudging and pushing the other to hold the garland was seen by Aki who walked up to both of them and declared softly, “Do you know, India has got to chase 275 to win the match?”
Venky who had so far been oblivious to the finals felt a sudden gush of emotions. Yes, it was indeed the most awaited moment and a bigger shock awaited him when Kishor who was smiling and cordial up until now suddenly frowned. The cricket agnostic in him woke up as he remarked, “Yes Jayawardene has won it for the Lankans. They put up 91 runs in the last ten overs and India is 31 for two. We are losing. This will do good for the Indians; they deserve to lose”
Aki smiled and retreated and Venky now stared at Kishor who again resumed his peaceful self. Venky wasn’t sure whether he should feel shocked that of all people Kishor who discouraged people from following cricket, knew the details of this match. This meant he was updated and keenly following the finals. Another emotion that played in his heart was relief to see the human side of Kishor; he is as vulnerable as the others he criticizes. “Or maybe I am simply sad that India is losing the world cup finals” Unsure of his own mental state, Venky struggled to compose himself as Maharaj slowly walked towards the car.
He smiled at different devotees lined up on either side of the pavement while graciously accepting garlands from his students and admirers. As he neared his car, Venky again pressed the garland into Kishor’s hands, “Please offer this to him. please for my sake”
“If you insist”, Kishor took it and as Maharaj came closer, he garlanded swamiji and almost immediately swamiji hugged both Kishor and Venky and simultaneously. He then smelt the garland and moved forward. Venky and Kishor rushed to the car; hoping to get a last glimpse of their spiritual master as he sits on the car.
Meanwhile guruji stopped to acknowledge others. As he slowly resumed towards the waiting Quallis, Venky turned to Kishor, “So India is losing huh..sad?”
“Not really, you know something; it’s all fixed and preplanned. India is going to win it” Kishor smirked and dismissed with a wave of his hand.
“You guys jump into the back seat. There is space just for two” Gaur had grabbed Venky’s arm and pushed him inside the car before Maharaj came. Instinctively Venky too caught on Kishor, “Come in, we can be with Maharaj”
“No, I don’t think I want to come. I am not sure”
“There’s no time to think, just hop in before someone else takes the seat”
Even as Gaur opened the front door for Maharaj, Venky pulled Kishor and before they realized they were with seven other devotees in the vehicle.
The car began to move slowly at first with swamiji waving goodbye and folding his palms to his waiting friends and well-wishers outside.
Venky panicked, “Kishor, my bladder would burst; I need to pee”
Kishor smiled, “Sorry, you’ll need to hold it for the next hour because we are on our way to the airport”
To be continued……