Gaura-kirtana Dasa of ISKCON Mumbai’s traveling sankirtana bus party narrates his experience:
Recently we went to distribute books in an industrial area. Our first company was big, but we faced a very uncooperative HR manager. “Visitors’ time is between 10-5 pm only,” he said, and thus did not allow us to cover the evening or the night shift. We left disappointed. The next company was mediocre. All our hopes were pinned on the final company which had around 900 employees.
When we reached the office the next day, the HR manager came to meet us. He was a quirky guy with quick phrases and even quicker actions. Before we could speak, he would mumble something, gesture nervously and try to escape us.
“Come,” he said, “See the spot.” We followed him as he led us out of the gate, across the main road, walking around 100 meters left to the front of a shop.
“Put your table here,” he said. “Okay, I am going.”
“What?!” my head spun 360 degrees and did not rest. “Who is going to come here?” I managed to exclaim while being hit by waves of anger, dejection, and frustration that rocked my entire body. It was an automobile company with a fleet of ten buses that carried the employees from the company to the town. Who would walk out of the company building, cross the road, and come to the shop where we were stationed? I knew the answer . . . no one!
I tried to talk to the man, but before I could open my mouth he was gone. I gave up. “Try for some time,” advised Haladhara. “You do so,” I shot back at him, “I am finished. I will make sets of books in the bus, and you distribute them. I am not coming down.”
It was a hot and sunny afternoon when we opened our stall under our big umbrella and set up the books for the iminent customers, who showed no sign of turning up.
We waited for an hour or more in vain. Suddenly, our driver, Sunil, who was chanting before the bus looking at the photo of Srila Prabhupada hung above the driver’s seat, shouted, “Help us Srila Prabhupada! Please help us!” I nearly dropped from my seat and so did Haladhara, startled by the intensity of the scream.
Half an hour later, the HR manager returned, accompanied by his deputy, a Maharashtrian man. The second man looked for some time at Haladhara and Sunil who were sweating in blistering heat next to the table. Then he whispered something to the manager, who nodded.
“I think it is very hot here,” he said to Haladhara. “We will arrange a shed for you.” We packed everything and were in the bus in two minutes flat. The bus jerked and followed him right into the company campus, under a nice shed next to the time-office where the workers punched their cards. It was a prime spot and many people came during lunch break. We distributed more than 160 sets that day.
Later, the deputy told us that his manager belonged to some organization that is against sadhus, and the chief manager was a Christian. It did not matter as I felt that a simple prayer to Srila Prabhupada could help us in all odds.