Arriving Back in Toronto

Kama Nagari, Vrindavan and I arrived back in Toronto during early May of 1978. We had been away for almost two years. They were not easy years, but they were instructive ones. From Los Angeles I had sent Kama Nagari first to Miami and then to Toronto. She flew with Vrindavan and I drove to Toronto via Dallas. I wanted to check on our house in Dallas and wanted Kama Nagari to spend a few weeks her family in Florida. She was four months pregnant with Shesha at the time.

Since Kama Nagari and I had purchased our little VW Beetle I had now driven from Dallas to Miami and back, Dallas to Toronto and back, Dallas to Los Angeles and back and now Dallas to Toronto again. This was over 16,000 kms. I had now seen this country from ocean to ocean and right up the middle three times. Recall that I bought this car with 150,000 kms, which was a lot in those days for a tiny four cylinder engine, and now, as I was all loaded up ready to leave for Toronto, I did not like the sound of the engine so I stopped at an engine place down the street to have it checked. I ended up having the engine rebuilt, which delayed my trip for three days and cost $1100. It also meant that I had to have the valves reset in Tucson Arizona as part of the new break in period. Whether or not rebuilding the engine was necessary I felt better and in the end I kept this car for many more years before I traded it. This was my first car and I had many fond memories with it. It served me well.

Eventually Kama Nagari, Vrindavan and I ended up together at my parent’s home in Toronto after a month of separation. Becoming established again in Canada was no easy task. It was not simple like the first time. Having children complicates everything! It was May and my school did not begin until September so I had time. It was decided that Kama Nagari and I would live at my parent’s cottage. I have written about this cottage in past installments, so for me this was a home coming full of wonderful childhood memories. But we still needed a way to make money and so we went job hunting. We needed something that would allow us to work at the cottage which was about 160 kms east of Toronto. In the end Kama Nagari found a job as a knitter, making ski hats. We found a company that manufactured ski hats. This company would provide us with a knitting machine, training, yarns and the design, and Kama Nagari would knit these hats at home and be paid so much per hat. This was piece work. The more hats she knitted the more money she made. Ah!, what a grueling way to make a living, but it did allow us to live at the cottage and work at home. It was a humble beginning.

In September I was to enter a Master’s program at the University of Toronto in the department of South Asian Studies. What I had learned during my two years as a “surrendered” devotee in the Dallas and Los Angeles temples was that the monastic life was not for me. I was just too worldly and independent to live in the community of devotees. I was also starting to see “the box” that I had put myself within. I was learning that I could have a spiritual life outside of the institution. Though I liked Krishna Consciousness I was unable to accept, what to me, was the limited world of an institutionalized spiritual life. I could not find camaraderie with most devotees. Anna, I was like a chick beginning to peck its way out of its shell. Even though I had great fears about leaving the nest I was determined to create my own life.

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