The Name of the Road
“What is the name of the road we walked on?” I asked.
“It doesn’t have a name (officially). Most people just
call it the coastal road or the royal road,” answered
Thierry and Sukadev, our driver back to Bon Accueil.
We had just completed a trekking success story. At least
for me, I never expected seventy three people to show up
at 4 a.m. for what might be perceived as a whimsical trek.
After all we are not raising any money here. Awareness,
yes. Since last night’s talk and kirtan people wanted to
be part of the action. I found it rather astounding that
such a small island with few residents would have a decent
size turn out.
We rendezvoused at Bel Air roundabout and began walking in
the dark when scarce was there a vehicle passing by in
this narrow two lane road crunched by sugarcane plants on
either side except at village sites. When headlights would
shine to one side of us it revealed a mass of silhouetted
people in robes scanning across slightly wind-tossed
twelve foot plants. It appeared rather mystical.
That’s what we were a mystical army. No police escorted
us. In Mauritius, it is a to do-it-yourself safety
program. There were plenty of women and children among us
and a mere torch (flashlight) bobbed up and down warning
oncoming traffic that we are here.
Practically our walking group chanted japa (meditation on
beads) all the way. Only at 8 a.m. when the sun’s presence
shone did we sing aloud our songs to Guru and to Krsna.
Drums and karatals (cymbals) set the beat and tempo for a
urging march. All the while Sukadev so expertly tended to
walkers who needed picking up from fatigue. Everyone
proved to be troupers of a glorious kind. I heard not a
single complaint. They were all smiles.
And smiles popped up under the lights of the temple in
Phoenix in the evening as well. Temple leader, Haridev
introduced me to yet another community on the island.
There, with the day’s closing, I spoke about the merits of
a more simple track to take in life and a less dependency
“Use those legs. Give a car a break. Walk and chant. They
go so well together.” Such was my message. There was
pin-drop silence as the talk went on except for a baby who
seemed to make a vocal fuss every time I needed a sound on
What a great day in Mauritius!