We actually set foot from the Krishna Balaram temple at Bon Accueil quite early. 3:15a.m. was not a discouraging time for Guru Carana Padma, a mom and her two sons, Govinda, 18 and Govardhan, 11. Thierry was the fifth person and we grew from there. Within the hour our number reached thirty-five as volunteers, many of whom had blistered feet from yesterday, latched on along the way. I tell you frankly though, I had never heard so many dogs raise such a fuss. Not one of them joined our battalion as on the previous day when one mutt took to our pilgrim group for kilometre after kilometre.
The public was aware of our walking as it was broadcasted last night on MBC TV. I’m sure it was no plot other than Mother Nature’s but a tree had fallen and blockaded the road to part ours. We managed around it in a shaded area of arjoon trees lined along the way. They protected us from rain more than from the sun.
It was as much ecstasy. We conducted a march to the beat of our drum and the sound of Guru-astakam (Prayers to the Guru) singing in unison like the British troop whistling in The Bridge Over the River Kurai. They generously insisted to be its captain or general.
Gradually nature and some fields went behind us as city madness engulfed me. Hustle bustle diesel realities changed the atmosphere. Pedestrians started peeking out and moving to their destination. Tell them “comment sa va?” (How are you? In French) said one helpful devotee as a greeting. In Mauritius it’s Creole that they understand. The island had been occupied by various forms of militant take-over. First there were the Portuguese, then the Dutch (we passed by an old Dutch fort yesterday), then came the French and then a sweeping attack of the British.
Our finish point was at the touristy ocean harbour of Port-Louis. After a non-stop 24KM trek we stopped to a spontaneous indulgence in a circle leg massage, one for men and one for women.
We were done but we had fun with a final kirtan until the evening spun in and over two hundred chanters walked a 3KM kirtan procession in the dark once again, this time in Camp de Masque Pave. The planned program culminated at a kali temple where the goddess saw an additional three hundred people clap and sing to “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”