While in Calcutta, for four days I tried to get in touch with my family. But the line was always out of order. There is something called a ‘lightning call’, which costs eight times more than a regular call. I said, “I am ready to pay.” But even the lightning call was not successful.
So I flew to Madras without informing them. Every time I go home, my brothers and sisters arrange to have a car from the Ashram meet me. An Ashram driver comes to Madras and takes me to Pondicherry. I know the driver well. It is usually a three-hour drive. But this time, because I could not get in touch with them, I had to hire a car. It was the biggest mistake!
Somebody came and said, “I have a car.” When I went to the car, that person disappeared and I saw somebody else there — a driver with two helpers.
As soon as I entered into the car, I thought, “This car is older than the oldest. But I can’t get out now. My things are inside the trunk.”
The driver tried to reassure me. He said. “Oh, no, no, this is a very good car.”
We started out at 8:30. The car broke down three times over the next four hours. Around 12:30 we had gone only 70 miles and still had 40 miles to cover. Then they had to change the tire!
They were saying that we were delayed because there was a flood and there were no bridges.
I said, “Where is the flood? I don’t see water here.”
They said, “No, two weeks ago there was a flood.”
I said, “Two weeks ago there was a flood, and that’s why you can’t drive now?” What can you do with people like this!
— 1 March 1986