There was an outburst after the lights went on. Balloons popped and coloured large cut confetti exploded in the air. Happy faces were in my face. My birthday? No! I asked one of the participants the reason for this.
"It's a send-off party for your walk," said she. Needless to say, it was a well concealed party - an utter surprise. A kirtan burst out. Drums beat to a thumping volume. Appreciations were expressed with the main message being, "Happy Trails for a Fourth Walk". The prasadam food was scrumptious. It was intense trying to eat the best meal of your life. And when the party was over, I put on my sneakers for a trek down the ravine. As has been habit as of late, I took to a trail at 10 pm, tire myself out and then go for a sound sleep.
But this night before 'hitting the sack' I met three rowdy young dudes. After a serene trek through a ravine, I heard howling and growling near Summerhill subway station. Out came the three at the station when one of the guys remarked upon seeing me.
"Hallowe'en? It's too early."
"Actually, I'm a monk. " This calmed them somewhat.
"What can you teach us... lesson number one?" said another, slightly slurred.
"Take care of yourself, especially your atma, your soul."
"How long have you been into this?"
One fellow only heard the word '73 and he asked, "Are you '73?" I joked along with them, "Are you saying I'm 73?"
"No! No! No!"
"Acutally, I'm just a monk. I'm a pilgrim. I'll be starting up a 4th walk across Canada in three days starting from Cape Spear, Newfoundland."
"I just came from there," said one of the dudes totally awestruck and taking this to be all too mystical. I would say the three dudes sobered up quite a bit except for one of them. He went back to howling. He didn't pay heed to lesson one.