I had been praying for my husband since I was thirteen. I had no idea he was a drugged out hippy roaming around Asia, getting more and more lost while trying to find himself.
Tony arrived in India expecting to see lots of camels, women in saris carrying pots on their heads and deserts. He saw those things but there was so much more. The crowds overwhelmed him. There were people everywhere. So much poverty was a shock to the Kiwi boy’s system. The last straw was seeing children starving on the street outside an old age home for cows.
There were no queues; there were huddles which reminded him of rugby scrums. He travelled on every mode of transport available; trains, buses, horse and cart, boats, rickshaws, elephants, bicycles and camels. At the end of each day, all he wanted was a bed, a place to wash, simple food and clean water to drink. He stayed in some very low budget places and no matter how clean he tried to be, he picked up lice, scabies and bad stomach bugs. His drug diet didn’t help matters either.
Things went from bad to worse. He mixed with some hard core drug peddlers and was planning to do a drug run to Europe. There was a lot of money to be made. He heard stories of drug-filled condoms bursting in runner’s stomachs and he knew of some who had died that way. He just kept his focus on the ones who made it; REALLY made it.
In Delhi, things got really ugly between him and the girl he had been living and travelling with. They split up and went their separate ways. Tony roamed around in a drugged out state and found a tiny room to spend the night. He hadn’t seen himself in a full length mirror for a while and it was not a pretty sight. His strong surfer, skier, rugby player physique had been reduced to skin and bone in a matter of months. He stood in front of the mirror, looked at his ribs sticking out and mumbled, “Tony, what have you done to yourself?”
India intrigued him, fascinated him and made him more frustrated and angry than he had ever been. He was an emotional, physical, mental and spiritual mess. Suddenly there was something driving him to find answers. For the first time in his life he had questions.
He lay in his small, dark room. He had been walking the streets of Delhi crying for his sad life. He didn’t know who to pray to. Only the God of the heart could have heard a prayer so quiet and so simple,
“God help me!”