Just as I was about enter through the main gate, someone waved at me and extended a warm invitation.
“Come, eat,” he said. “It’s a very cold day today. You should eat something. It’s free.”
The white man, with a bald head and a huge tuppi, was wearing a yellowish dhoti. I was in central London at the campus of a well-known British school. I had gone there to see a Nepali-speaking professor. I had reached at the gate a good 30 minutes earlier after tiring myself of walking around and inside Hyde Park for a couple of hours. I needed to kill time.
I was hungry too.
Pasta, very thick daal and an interesting conversation were waiting for me.
The person who invited me for this surprise late afternoon lunch was accompanied by a man who looked like a Southasian and a white lady.
I could instantly recognize who these people were. A small board with words from Bhagawat Gita was stood on the food stall that stood on wheels. But I didn’t need to see that to conclude who they were. I happily accepted the invite. I was instantly given a plate full of food that I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish.
I ate along with other students who were offered the food in the same manner I was offered.
Some Indian students, while eating the same food as they stood not far from the food stall, were cracking some dirty jokes in Hindi.
I quietly listened to them while strolling around to suppress my laughter.
I couldn’t eat that all.
“Can I take a photo of you distributing food, please?” I asked.
“Yes,” said the Russian man. I was just guessing his nationality based on his ascent. Turned out i
I was correct.
“Oh, Nepal,” he reacted after I answered his question. “Ratna Park! I know. I have been there. Budhanilakantha. There is temple.” He was correct. Long time ago, I had gone to interview a Russian at the ISCON temple in Budhanilakantha. As far as I could remember, this man with thick tuppi looked like the Russian that I had met in Budhanilakantha in 2004.
The Southasian guy turned out to be a Sri Lankan. “I have a friend who worked in Nepal,” he said in a very excited tone. “He coached the national Cricket team of Nepal. Do you know Roy Dias? He is my classmate.”
“I know Roy Dias,” I told him, “But only through media. Not personally.”
“I believe he was quite a star in Nepal,” he added. “Many girls wanted to marry him. I understand that the boys (Cricket players, he obviously meant, I assumed) liked him as well.”