PROPER ARRANGEMENTS HAD BEEN MADE
En route our aircraft was due to stop at Rome airport for about four hours, and Baba asked Dr. Donkin who spoke Italian, to make arrangements through the cockpit crew for Him to rest in a separate room at the airport. This was done and Dr. Donkin informed Baba accordingly.
Soon after the plane landed, Baba was made to sit in a wheel-chair which was waiting for Him, but Dr. Donkin was nowhere to be found. Suddenly we heard the siren of an ambulance but thinking it was some airport emergency, paid no attention until it drew up near us and reversed exactly to the spot where Baba was seated. Two men carrying a stretcher rushed out and laid it before Baba's chair and it was plainly evident what service they had in mind for Him.
I was the only one with Baba at the time and of course I spoke no Italian. While I knew that "Si" meant "Yes", I had no idea how to say "No". So frantically I began to shout "Ni, Si. Ni, Si" but the men countered with "Si, Si" and lifted Baba from the chair to the stretcher on which they made Him lie down.
Baba looked at me quite puzzled but I was equally mystified about what was happening, and in spite of my best efforts to let it be known that all Baba wanted was a little rest and to dissuade the pair from transporting us, we were taken to a hospital.
A doctor received us at the military institution to which the ambulance had been driven and very soon a battery of nurses appeared to start conducting a series of tests on Baba.
Fortunately however, the doctor spoke English and I was able to explain the error which had occurred. Apparently in his eagerness to make the most suitable arrangements for Baba, Dr. Donkin had exaggerated and the hospital staff got the impression that Baba was in a serious condition. Anyway the doctor understood that we had to continue our journey, and Baba rested in the hospital ward until the ambulance took us back to the airport.
There we found a worried Dr. Donkin and Meherjee who were wondering what had become of Baba. Dr. Donkin explained to Baba how he had rushed off to see that the proper arrangements had been made for Him, and he was quite apologetic that Baba had been whisked away in the ambulance while he was absent.
THE ANCIENT ONE, pp. 110-111
1985 © Naosherwan Anzar