Backpacking entails a lot of adventure. It’s a very cliché opening and I’m regretting the seconds that pass as I go to the next sentence, but there’s no other way to put it. Going to places, sampling food and immersing ourselves in different cultures have made us rich in terms of experience. Meeting people on the other hand has contributed greatly in our understanding of human diversity and the growth of our souls.
It was 4:00 am in Jalan Imbi and the hostel we placed our reservation in was still closed. Ron and I had to find another place to stay in as we haven’t gotten any sleep from the trip we made from Singapore to Malaysia. Luckily, Classic Inn was open 24 hours. There we met Thana, an Indian based in Kuala Lumpur who was in charge of the inn’s evening reception. After we settled the terms of our stay, we fixed our belongings and decided to not sleep lest we fail to cover our itinerary for the day.
We took a bath and went to the patio to wait for our breakfast. Thana sat by us and the most interesting conversation happened. We talked about philosophy, Hinduism and his way of life. It was so moving to finally hear the things I read in books from someone who lives by the code of the oldest religion in the world. My mouth gaped with awe. Karma and Dharma finally had a face and Nirvana slowly appeared before my eyes.
He’s an orphan who self-made himself by working with NGO’s and different companies that took him to different countries in Asia. But it wasn’t those that drew us to him. He is a nomad.
Thana doesn’t have a house. His life is between his work as a receptionist and his worship in the temples. He described his routine to us. After his off at the hostel, he would go to one temple to say his prayers then move to another temple to do the same. He goes to Batu Caves everyday as a sign of devotion.
And he does his entire journey barefoot. He doesn’t even own a pair of slippers. We asked him if he feels pain and he said he doesn’t feel anything at all. He has achieved full control of his body that even the scorching heat of the sun cannot stop him from paying respect to the heavens that guided him all throughout. He had stripped himself off of all worldly possessions and only owns the bare necessities. He said he wouldn’t need material things in the afterlife.
He guided us around Kuala Lumpur and it seems that everyone in town knows him, a nomad who lives by the salt of the earth. We feel blessed to have known his beautiful soul.