West Island, Montreal, Quebec
Before being dropped off at the serene residential neighborhood which extends westward from the Lachine Canal, I took an early spiritual trek as Daruka got ready. I turned a corner at St. Catherine's street near our temple, it was 3:10am and each of the first three blocks had a body standing there. Each one of them did not reflect the qualities of the good Saint Catherine. The third body I passed remarked about the color of my robes. (Incidentally she didn't have much of a robe on herself.)
"I like the color you are wearing." Referring to my japa beads she asked, "What have you got there?"
"Beads, I'm meditating."
"So you don't have sex?"
"I'm a monk and I do mantra meditation. It would help if you did some."
She blurted out something that I could not understand. I just moved very fast and in my heart wished her well.
Once I reached West Island, it was like walking through Cloud Nine. Coming out of the gym was Diane a person of my generation. She's a daily walker as well. She spoke about seeing Neil Diamond playing in concert tomorrow and how she'll be there. I mentioned how a dear friend of mine from Toronto had personal interaction with Neil in the 70's, how he had acquired some of our guru's books and showed some interest in spiritual life. His work "Jonathan Livingston Seagull." expresses some spiritual insight.
Diane loved what she called my orange clothes and said I picked the color that is currently "in."
I met John. Down this two lane street; half dedicated to autos, the other half designated for walkers and cyclists. John with partner, expressed how he liked the attire. "Where can I get a set of clothes like that? I used to live in the middle-east where I wore loose and light clothing. Can't buy it in Montreal." From there we got to slightly deeper topics, but the catalyst was my dhoti kurta and chaddar.
The most endearing of encounters came from meeting Jeff Larocque a cyclist from Cambridge, Ontario. While crossing the bridge to L'ile Perrot he passed by me, then turned around after noticing my garb.
"Excuse me! Your're a monk?"
"Yes I am."
"I had weight problems, also drugs and liquor but am healing from that." Said Jeff.
We connected quite well. After his journey to Cape Spear Newfoundland and back he wanted to get together in August when I reach Cambridge.
I'm sold on the invite, Jeff I'm coming.
Once again robes got the ball rolling for a number of new-made friends.