For the first time on a North Indian tour, Amma flew one leg of the trip in order to reach Delhi in time to inaugurate the celebration of Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary. Those of the tour group who wanted and were able, were given the option to fly with Amma. Many seized this once in a lifetime opportunity. This included many ashram mothers who had never flown before.
A mere 3 hours after the end of the Mumbai program the tour buses roared out of the ashram and down the highway in a marathon journey to make it to Delhi in time for the late afternoon program on January 11th. A few hours later the flyers received the print outs of their tickets, and loaded their luggage and themselves into the appropriate buses for the two hour ride to the airport. The group check-in was efficiently handled and soon we were negotiating the labyrinthine network of identity control and security scanning.
Normally at the ashram, we Westerners are asking the ashram mothers for help in understanding what to do and what is going on. We need translation from Malayalam and pointers as we negotiate our way in a different culture. Finally, we could return the favor a bit by explaining things to them about how the security screening, escalators and moving walkways worked.
Emerging from security we were faced with a sparkling world of shops of all kinds. But the ashram mothers had no interest in shopping and waited at the gate for a glimpse of Amma. They were rewarded as she glided past on her way to the plane, smiling at everyone. We boarded the plane, found our seats and kept looking forward, hoping for another glimpse of Amma! There were monitors showing the plane going down the runway and then taking off into the stars. For a time we could see ourselves flying through the stars, although the brightest star was on board with us.
There is always something special about flying with Amma, even if one doesn’t see her at all at the airport or on the flight. There’s a subtle difference in the energy in the atmosphere and an absence of fear even when the flight is rough, or has a rough landing as this flight had as it touched down. About 30 hours after we arrived, the buses arrived, having flown along the highway. However, we travel, whether we see Amma or not, she has promised she is always with us, and she is.
New Delhi, Bharat Yatra 2013