Tracking down Paul McCartney

Subarata had a dauntlessness in her, evident not only in her running but in being unfazed by lofty challenges. She had a fondness for some of the Beatles’s songs, and liked Paul and Linda McCartney’s fondness for animals and their strong vegetarian principles. When she learned that the legendary Paul McCartney was in Auckland—the Beatles’s singer and composer himself!—she spent several days single-handedly battling the layers of secrecy, security, and conspiratorial silence surrounding the great man’s visit, a bloodhound relentless in quest of its quarry, finally tracking him down to an exclusive coastal suburb.

At that time Subarata was organising a nationwide torch relay, the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, an epic 1,000-km run whose simple purpose was to encourage world peace. Keen to invite Paul and Linda’s support and armed with a Peace Run brochure, a letter of introduction, and a personal appeal for our superstar to meet with us, she marched up to the imposing gates of the McCartney’s lodgings. Their private residence lay behind high walls, most unwelcoming to any impertinent stray caller. At the gates, security staff confronted her and she persuaded one of them to personally give her package to the great Beatle.

Two days went by. Then one afternoon the phone rang and a voice said, “Hello, Paul McCartney here. Can I speak to Subarata Cunningham, please?”

And so it all came together. Sir Paul and wife Linda, hugely friendly and very relaxed, met us at Western Springs Stadium prior to their sound check for a packed Auckland concert. We discussed the Peace Run—lots of photos were taken with the relay’s ceremonial torch—vegetarianism, politics, music, and Sri Chinmoy’s work for world peace. We wandered about backstage for ages with our accommodating new friends.

Then handshakes, an exchange of gifts and hopes for the future, hugs, and that was the end of it. Paul and Linda were very charming and affable—with Subarata again manifesting her soul’s quality as the messenger of inspiration and showing us the dauntlessness that came from her faith in her spiritual teacher and her God-love.