Yesterday I spent the better half of the morning at the passport office, in line to get my daughter’s passport renewed.
Having been through my own passport renewal process late last year, I was familiar with the long wait and had taken along a book — my new copy of the ‘Mother’ Mirra Alfassa’s life, which I had bought only the day previously from the Aurobindo Ashram in Delhi.
I’ve always wanted to visit the Ashram but of course there was never enough time in everyday life for such frivolities. Being jobless woke me up to the craving for a guru, and gave me the luxury of being able to drive to wherever I wanted in the middle of the day. Since I couldn’t drive to Auroville in Pondicherry (my soul’s calling), I drove to the next best thing — Pondicherry in Delhi.
Besides jotting down the timings of the various discources and lectures, which I plan to regularly attend starting with today’s class on the Gita, I also bought a few books to acquaint myself with the Aurobindo philosophy.
So anyway, after we got past the first couple of stages of passport-processing, my daughter and I had a long wait for stage three. Uncomfortable in the crowded, stuffy waiting room, we walked back downstairs to the main hall and found good seats. I dug this book out from my bag, she busied herself on her iPhone.
After about two hours, we went back upstairs, and were surprised to see our number flashing next to the stage four counter. “That’s funny,” I said to my daughter, “don’t we need to go through the verification stage? They’ve sent us straight to ‘granting’.”
At the final counter, the lady officer initially mulled over my custody papers, but her colleague from two cubicles away called out insistently to her, “Let’s go! Come fast!” In her hurry, she shrugged and signed off our application without much more ado. As we proceeded to the exit, the reason for her rush became evident as the security guard announced: “All officials will now leave for lunch. Applicants are requested to wait 40 minutes.”
The poor applicant just after us was left holding her papers woefully in her hand.
I shot a look of surprise at my daughter: “My God! How lucky we were! Not only did we miss one stage entirely, we also just got out in the nick of time. We saved more than an hour of waiting.”
In the next breath, I added instinctively: “It’s the Mother’s protection! Just having her book in my bag and reading it halfway gave us this kind of beginner’s benefit!” My daughter rolled her eyes and smiled indulgently.
As we walked down the stairs and out the exit, I continued marvelling in an awed voice, and resolved to continue on my new path in faith. I confess I have dabbled in many, gone up a little or a long distance on various spiritual journeys. This may be just another one of my experiments, or this may be something more lasting. Whatever it is, it will leave me changed and for the better.
I believe in miracles. The big ones are usually evident only in retrospect, and the little ones are a guaranteed indication of being on the right track. All recent experiences — the good and bad — have led me to exactly this point. Who knows where this path will lead?