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Carol Hurst

“It was decided among Prem’s students that he should go to the proposed festival in Glastonbury which was being held at a time when all the planets were uniquely aligned. It was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius and because this was so auspicious, it was believed a new avatar would appear at the festival and change the world.

“Everyone left for Glastonbury, relying on Ron Geaves to persuade Prem to follow. Ron went upstairs and made the proposal to Prem who promptly refused. Ron tried again. Again, Prem refused. Ron spent hours upstairs. The responsibility weighed heavily on us. We had to get Prem there!

“Ron came downstairs to update me and said that Prem did not see the point of going to a muddy field with a lot of dirty hippies. Fair point, I thought. But Ron had persisted and told him that we would see some beautiful countryside along the way.

“So we set off. Prem and Bihari Singh were in the back and Ron was in the front, navigating. Soon we were on the open road. As we drove, Prem constantly told me to stop and turn around. I refused, telling him that we had promised everyone we would arrive in Glastonbury with him, and I was just doing my duty. He told me not to argue with him. I told him we were in my car, and I was in control of it and my promise had to be kept. It was quite light-hearted, but intimidating too, and still he kept telling me to turn around!

“About halfway there, the windscreen became suddenly covered with hot water. I pulled the car to a halt by a phone box, just across from a pub. Ron and I got out with Bihari Singh and opened the bonnet. There was a two-centimeter cut at the top hose which had leaked out all of the coolant. We weren’t sure where we were or where the nearest town was, but then a farmer crossed the road to see what the trouble was. We pointed to the hose. He said he thought he had one like it and went to fetch it. All the while Prem just chuckled in the back seat. The farmer soon returned with the hose. It was the exact length and diameter we needed. He replaced the faulty one, refilled the car with water and, thanking him profusely, off we went, good as new, towards Glastonbury.

“We arrived at the site. The field was a sloping, natural amphitheater. At the bottom, a large pyramid stage was still under construction, but a band was playing and there were quite few people gathered. We were directed to drive down to the field and go backstage. Once the band finished, we were ushered onto the stage, just as someone was arranging a white sheet over a big chair decorated with flowers.

“Prem spoke for about 20 minutes or so, and then we left.

“Prem had been right about the mud. The bottom of the field, by the stage, was where the water drained down to, and my Ford Cortina struggled to get a grip in the soggy mud. I needn’t have worried though. At least 20 people came to our aid and pushed us up the field despite getting liberally splattered with mud.

“Then we set off back to London.

“It was starting to get dark. I noticed we only had an emergency tank of petrol left. In those days, petrol stations closed at 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. Would we be able to find one? I mentioned this problem, but kept on driving. We drove for about 30 miles, and I was becoming anxious that we might get stranded. There were no mobile phones back then and we were miles from London. I’m sure we drove for miles on no petrol at all.

“Eventually we came to a petrol station. It was closed, but you could pay by putting a note in a machine. I have never seen this method of paying before or since. Bihari produced a £10 note and we filled up.

“By then, I was feeling exhausted. It had been a long day. Bihari suggested that he drive the rest of the way back to London. I was happy to change over and rest in the front seat. He drove steadily and well, and soon we settled into a calm in the darkness. Prem began to sing. He sang for about half an hour. Bihari told me he was singing the love songs Krishna sang to his gopis and I should feel very flattered. I still am. I felt surrounded by love and fell fast asleep.

“We got back to London safely and waited for everyone to return. They were also delighted we had managed to pull this off.”