The weather occupied centre stage today with a mild drizzle falling right from early morning. Yatris got into deep discussion on whether it was just a precipitation or rain itself! One thing that needed no discussion was the need for raincoats and umbrellas which were in hibernation for the last three to four months.
After several days, today was a walk with hardly any receptions enroute as it was mostly along National Highway 2.
The padayatris struggled through muddy puddles in rain soaked shoes, clothes and misty glasses. All had got used so far to equable weather with few hardships. Probably, today was a day just to keep them on their toes and not take anything, especially the weather, for granted! Endless cups of tea and hot water thoughtfully provided by the caterer helped. Outstanding were the hot pakodas served at a wayside restaurant just before the end of the day’s walk.
The only function of the day was at Janata Inter College, Sarai Ajitmal. Due to the inclement weather, the students were missing. That didn't stop Sri M from addressing all those present. He said, "This yatra's objective is Manav Ekta. People already know about Manav Ekta in this country. There's such diversity here unlike any other country in the world and yet, despite the diversity, we live together. But, sometimes, this unity gets broken and a big fire breaks loose, one that can't be doused even with water. We want to sow the seeds of Manav Ekta in the youth. That's why I visit schools and colleges."
"I'm sure that when we reach Srinagar, something good will come from this walk. I'm confident of it. Giving medicines after one falls sick is one thing. What we are trying to do is prevent it before the sickness occurs. When we live together in peace and harmony, this message will spread across the world. It's only if we live together will our mission be successful. I'm not the only one walking, we have 60-70 people who have been walking with me from Kanyakumari. They have left everything to walk with me. We completed one year in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh (UP). Be it a city or a village, in UP people have accepted and understood our message", Sri M added.
Speaking of his Guru, Sri M said, "I spent 3 and a half years with my Guru. Everything I've learnt is from the time I spent with him. Even after that I kept meeting him every now and then. My guru asked me to share my experience with others and that's why I'm doing this. He took samadhi in 1983."
Closing his speech, he said, "We all must remember that we're human beings and that we're Indians. This is such a beautiful land, we're lucky to be born here. Whatever happens don't forget that we're human beings and that no matter what happens, don't fight."