I don't know if you could call him eccentric, but with no intro at all, this guy started talking. Sri Kantha and I were on foot westbound on Marlborough Street as he came towards us going eastbound. He was just two metres from us when he began to speak about some famous pilot from the 2nd World War. Quoting the pilot he said something to this effect, "Life is a place where you learn and death is the place where you burn." Now I admit to possibly misquoting some scramble of words, but the point I'd like to raise is that here was a total stranger that came right up to us and began to philosophize. It was profound enough what he said, perhaps our devotional attire set him off to share the profundity. Personally, I thought it was rather sweet.
On my second trek of the day (it's solo this time), a young Caucasian male whom I never met before came to me at the street light to say, "How are you, Swamiji?" Some quick kindness was exchanged and the lights changed. This type of interactiveness happened once again. A young white bearded fellow approached me to say "Namaste". I asked him about his devotions and how he was doing on this longest day of the year. I gave him an invite to the upcoming Ratha Yatra, hosted by ISKCON. There were more pleasant exchanges like this and I trekked back to the ashram thinking of the warmth and openness I have received from various souls. Unfortunately this type of reception may not exist everywhere on the globe. Upon returning to the ashram I received an email from someone from France, about an attitude that comes from at least one sector of the society there. To repeat her words, "The anti-cult movement is still posting public notices, warning people to watch out for their friends and family members if they use too much incense, are vegetarian, travel too much and don't like everyone else. They could be in a sect where a sinister guru will take advantage of their weakness and innocence... that's France 2011."
God bless France. We were there once.