car is the first to come. Slowly, slowly to start, and
then a sudden rush. People run, falling over each other,
trampled on and picked up again. Some of our party also
fall over but no harm is done. During this stampede
I see that the rope pulling Baladev's car is extremely
close, like two feet from my outstretched arms trying
to grasp at is as I am dragged away, in the flow of
the human sea.
we come to rest in a side street, I realise why it all
happened. We were right in the middle of a mob desperately
hoping for some mercy from pulling that rope. I almost
cry from the intense emotion, stifling back tears, when
I realise that I'd been so close but just missed it.
Two devotees had led me to the side street, out of the
way of the crowd, but I call above the din that I am
not deterred by the crowd, I will NOT go home, and I
want to stay right here and see Baladev, whose car is
only a couple of metres away from where we stand!
sukhe nrtya-ranga dekhe ratha rakhi'
se kautuka ye dekhila, sei tara saksi
Jagannatha and Lord Balarama sometimes stopped
the car and happily observed Lord Chaitanya's dancing.
Anyone who was able to see Them stop and watch the dancing
bore witness to Their Pastimes.
(Cc Madhya 13.179)
I cannot explain the emotion that is running through
me. They are trying to protect me because I am unwell,
however in these moments I completely forget myself
and all I can think is "Baladev!" His car
stops beside us for a few long minutes, and I have a
lump in my throat and tears in my eyes from this strange
feeling of being in the midst of all that chaos, right
near the car, so much mercy. Thank you, thank YOU! But
I don't allow myself to cry in case the devotees think
I am too unwell and send me home!
hear someone say, "That's as 'bad' as it gets,"
and it turns out to be true. We re-locate our party,
which has diminished considerably in size due to the
stampede, despite our very visible banner, as everyone
fled in all directions.
chant to welcome Subhadra's car coming along, which
is better managed by the crowd this time. She too halts
right beside us for a while. Mmmm....