Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Ram rolls into Grantville
GRANTVILLE, Pa. -- In a shocking development in the on-going Buddha Boy story, the alleged spiritual hero of Nepal, 15-year-old Ram Bahadur Banjan, showed up in the small town of Grantville, Pennsylvania looking for Frank Cotolo, local resident and the man whose name adorns the title of the program, Cotolo Chronicles.
Ram disappeared last week from a forest where he had meditated for 10 months, during which his associates said he consumed no food or water and where he became a worldwide news item, believed by many to be the living reincarnation of the lord Buddha. Cotolo Chronicles made Ram's story a feature last year, when it was only a local Nepal news item.
Nepal officials said police, followers and family members were looking for the boy in the jungles of Bara, about 100 miles south of the capital, Kathmandu. How he wound up at the broadcast home of the popular program is as much a mystery as anything involving the youngster.
"I offered him a spiced ham sandwitch," said Cotolo, "but he refused. Said he liked olive loaf, but hadn't had any in almost a year. So it seems he is sticking to his story."
Cotolo noted a local law when Nepal officials contacted him about Ram's arrival. "Grantville has a sanctuary clause for would-be spiritual figures," he said. "Any so-called savior, messiah or would-be buddha can stay within the borders of the township safely."
The Banjan family said they were relieved to know Ram was alive and well. Ram's followers in Nepal, meanwhile, went on a desperate hunt for maps of Pennsylvania.