He believed in the unity of all religions, and his reading of various sacred texts suggested to him that if he took the plunge into pursuing spirituality full-time, unseen forces would come to his aid, which would include the safety and security of his family. Did not Jesus say, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and the rest shall be added unto you?’

So, like the Buddha, he left his family, leaving a letter explaining why he had taken this step.

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He left behind a considerable amount of money for his wife. Four years passed. His search led him to monasteries and to temples, to ashrams and to hermitages. He stayed in one place for a month, in another for two weeks, in a third place for half-a-year. He was earnest and there was something to learn everywhere, but he did not quite find what he was after.

He felt let down. He wondered what it was that differentiated his pursuit from that of the saints whose footsteps he had tried to follow. In his mind and heart, his family beckoned him. He decided to return home…

He walked up the steps that led to their front door. A man answered the doorbell. From somewhere behind, a girl shouted, ‘Daddy, Daddy, who’s come?’ and a woman said, ‘Don’t shout after your daddy like that, it isn’t good manners!’

Sam froze. He recognised the voices. He couldn’t speak, he just gaped. He realised he had no one but himself to blame. How had he expected Time to stand still for him? Swirls of emptiness engulfed him. He held on to the door to keep himself from falling.