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Sergey and Milita got down from the hotel roof and walked towards the Lord Nrisimha temple. The temple was small but very cozy.
"A wonderful vaishnav serves as a pujari here. He's not a brahmana, by the way. Just to emphasize the point that any sincere vaishnav may perform worship. When you see this pujari, you'll understand."
Milita entered the temple grounds through the gates. Sergey followed. A clean rectangular front yard with the temple on the front end, followed by an elongated house. Numerous flower pots along the brick wall. Two boys in pinkish brahmachari dhotis sitting on the house steps; bright white smiles on their faces.
"They are the pujari's students. Let's go inside the temple. Sundarachandra will be there in five minutes. It's worship time."
Sergey and Milita paid obeisances to Lord Nrisimhadev.
"Hari bol mata!" sounded from behind.
Sergey turned around and saw an effulgent grey haired vaishnav in a white dhoti and a bright tilak on the forehead. The effulgence from the vaishnav made Sergey close his eyes for a moment.
"This is my brother Sergey."
"Very nice to meet you. Let me give you some maha prasad." Sundarachandra took the coconuts and sweets laying by the altar and handed them to Sergey and Milita. "Will you stay for the worship?"
"No. We have many temples to visit today," Milita answered.
Sundarachandra gave blessings to both of them and said, "Please come the day after tomorrow. For the Deity installation anniversary."
"We will definitely come."
The sun was shining full force.
Sergey and Milita looked back. Two young fellows were joyously smiling.
"Namaskar Muna. Namaskar Ramu," Milita responded with an open smile. "How are you? Why haven't you been coming over? Nrisimha is not happy about that."
"We're working, earning money," answered Muna, an average hight young lad wearing dark blue pants and a white t-shirt. "Difficult times."
"Are you still selling fish?"
"Yes, mama. It is our business. Very risky. Make fifty thousand in one day and lose it the nex day."
"And you Ramu? How is your father? Did your sister move to Paradip?"
"Thank you mama. I am still with my bicycles."
"What about tae-kwon-do?"
"Tae-kwon-do also. My sister went back to Paradip. My parents are fine. Mama, we are planning to go to Bhubaneswar, to the Nanda Kanana park. May Nrisimha go with us?"
Muna and Ramu, Nrisimha's friends, were talking to Milita while glancing at Sergey. He really stood out amongst the locals with his looks and his gigantic height. Having noticed Muna and Ramu's interest in Sergey, Milita said, "This is Sergey, my brother. He will be staying in Puri for several months."
Muna and Ramu placed their hands in namaste and smiled, "Very nice to meet you. We can show you the jungle. Where it's more or less sa..."
They were interrupted by shouting and whistling. "Go away, go away! Maybe you'll manage to buy someone elsewhere!"
Everyone looked to the left. Here, a long side road was joining with Charka Tirtha, where a vacation house belonging to TATA corporation was located on one side and hotels on another. An SUV was parked in front of one of the hotels. Porters were bringing luggage outside. Several Europeans were loading the bags into the car. Then, a man, wrapped in bandage was carried out of the hotel and carefully placed on the back seat of the car. Locals gathered around and were jubilantly observing the departure of the foreigners.
"Don't fall into the ditch and deprive so many people of your mercy!"
"Get out of here!"
"What is happening?" Milita looked questioningly at her son's friends.
The boys smiled. And Ramu mockingly said, "Mama, these are the Christian missionaries from Austria leaving."
"Muna, Ramu, it's inappropriate to speak about preachers in this manner. They are not ordinary people. Krishna's mercy is always with them."
"Mama, we know that a missionary, no matter what religion, is saintly. But these are not real missionaries. They are vendors. They came a month ago. And started bribing us. They said, 'If you become Christians, Jesus will help you. We will give you money for food and clothing. We will help you buy a house.' Is religion subjected to selling? They said, 'Your religion doesn't take care of you. But we are.' Will I reject Jagannatha so that I can buy a house if I become a Christian? We are through with them. So, they got beat up. They would have left sooner, but got delayed because of one of them. He spent two weeks in a hospital. Now they're running away."
Ramu smirked with disgust, "What kind of a religion has its followers purchased?"
Milita sighed, "You never can tell. We're in a hurry. Please stop by some time. Will you come for Janmashtami?"
"Yes, we will mama."
Muna and Ramu reverentially bowed to Milita, then looked with disgust at the departing false missionaries and went away. Sergey and Milita remained looking in the direction of the hotel for several minutes and then walked on.
"Because of such liars, so many people turn away from God. Unfortunately, the puribasis see representatives of Jesus in them," Milita said sadly.
"Now, all religions have the same problems: politics, money, women. Bhima would say 'Kali yuga!'”