There was only one reason I survived the three-plus months of Peace Run '89: Bansidhar.
For most of our time on the road that summer, I was teamed up with Bansidhar -- typically as a kind of advance crew. We'd wake up early and be the first runners on the road in the morning, taking up where the night crew had left off the previous evening. We'd put in our combined 20 to 24 miles, hand off the torch to the girls crew, and then the two of us would drive the hundred or so miles ahead to that evening's rest stop. Once there, we'd do any necessary chores -- like shopping for that night's dinner -- and check into the hotel or campsite.
With Bansidhar there was no drama -- ever. That was just one of his many fine qualities. We first met in the early 1980s, before I had moved to New York. He had been a member of the Puerto Rico Center and had just moved to San Francisco, where I met him for the first time at a Center meeting.
Bansidhar and I ran our first relay together in 1983 to celebrate United Nations Day. Here's a press clipping showing the two of us, along with a couple of the other team members. That run took us from the state Capitol building in Sacramento down the coast to San Diego. A year or so later, Bansidhar and I joined another small group of guys who crammed into a two-bedroom apartment in Anaheim, California. We spent a summer there in order to promote Guru's Peace Concert there which was held just before the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
We did as much running that summer as we did leafleting and postering for Guru's concert. One memorable day, a group of us -- including Bansidhar -- decided to run from our apartment in Anaheim to the ocean at Long Beach. While it appeared on our maps to be about 10 miles to the beach, it turned out to be closer to 15 (for a 30 mile run that day). Bansidhar never lost his cool, though. He's a pro.
A couple of years after our summer in Anaheim, Bansidhar ran solo across the entire United States, from California to New York.
By the time I had been paired up with Bansidhar on Peace Run '89, he was an imperturbable veteran of life on the road. Simply by his personal example, Bansidhar taught me how to relax. I don't mean relax in the sense of inertia, but instead how to relax while in action. He taught me how to go about my duties, but not be effected by them or any surrounding distractions. He's a living example of the Bhagavad Gita's core teaching: non-attachment -- doing one's duties without expecting good results nor being disturbed by bad results.
With a spiritual name that means "Krishna's flute," I suppose it should be no surprise that Bansidhar embodies the Gita's teaching. I'll always be grateful to him.
Photo credit here.