“You are the Light of India” the Rough Tough Big Man called after Raja as we moved down the isle of the supermarket.
The Bas supermarket in a suburb of the great port of Rotterdam is an unlikely location for a magical meeting. My father, Raja and me were doing the weekly shopping. We filled our trolley with groceries as we talked about what Raja needed for his cooking. Raja was a great chef and my father always looked forward for him to take over the kitchen. Right near the cooling shelves this Rough Tough Big Man addressed Raja. “Namaste, you are from India?” Raja was surprised. Although many were curious about him hardly ever anyone expressed their curiosity directly.
He answered affirmative, Yes he was from India. The Rough Tough Big Man smiled happily, and started talking to Raja about questions and ideas he had about the teachings of several great Indian Masters. Bhagavan Rajneesh, Krishnamurti, Ramana Maharishi. Next thing we knew Raja and the Rough Tough Big Man exchanged philosophy, metaphysics, politics. They covered all Raja’s favorite subjects, Spirituality and Shakespear, The Prophet and Siddharta, Kalil Gibran and Hermann Hesse. It was just magical. Two such unlikely persons. This man was really Rough, Tough and Big. Not only tall and broad, but muscular, big head, big hands, the tough structure of a labourer. Somebody spending his life moving the endless stream of goods that passed through the Rotterdam Port. Raja was slender and elegant in his white silk kurta, his long greying hair knotted in his own special way. Gesticulating as he always did when talking. The seeming contrast between their personalities was wiped out by their passion for spirituality, philosophy and literature.
The magic lasted just for a short while. Some questions asked, some answers exchanged. When both were satisfied with having met a kindred soul, if even for just a few minutes, we got ready to move on. As my father, Raja and me moved slowly between the shelves of groceries, oils and pastas, the Big Man waved to Raja and called out to him from where he stood near the milk and butter “You are the Light of India”.