By Mouparna Bandopadhyay
Kolkata, May 18, 2008
Nineteen-year old Eric Paul came to India to attain moksha by following the path of Lord Krishna. His belief has now put the American Consulate officials and regional passport office authorities in a tight spot.
He arrived in Kolkata from San Francisco two months back in search of “a guru, a mantra and meditation,” in his own words. “No one can teach you how to meditate. You can do it when it comes from your heart,” Eric told The Indian Express. “I got to know about Lord Krishna from some of my friends. And I got interested in the great man since then,” he said.
He has searched every nook and corner in New Market, Sudder Street and Baguihati in search of divine freedom. In these two months, he made the pavements his home, depending on alms and charity for sustenance. He was, however, in touch with his mother in San Francisco. When she learnt of her son’s sufferings thousands of miles away, the doting mother promptly sent him Rs 1.5 lakh and asked him to return home immediately.
But with Krishna and moksha in his mind, Eric kept searching for his freedom in Baguihati. In the process, he lost all his belongings, including his passport and all his money. A local resident spotted him and handed him over to the US Consulate here.
Two senior consulate officers brought him to the regional passport office. “I haven’t eaten for two days. I am very hungry,” he told the officers, who then arranged for food. “He was sporting a tiki, wearing tattered clothes and a rudraksh around his neck,” said a senior passport office official.
After his identity was verified, Eric was sent to the Salvation Army hostel in Sudder Street on May 15 till the consulate arranged for his tickets. Later that evening, he hoodwinked the hostel guards into believing that he would go out in search of food and then escaped.
Throughout Friday, the consulate and the regional passport office, assisted by the Kolkata police, searched for Eric in every nook and corner of the city . He was finally spotted in Baguihati.
He has now been kept under strict vigil at the Salvation Army hostel and will now be sent back home as soon as the US consulate arranges for his return. “I don’t want to go back home. I don’t believe that my mother wants me back. I don’t know why these people are hell-bent on sending me back to San Francisco,” Eric said.
Article Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/story/311506.html