A STARTLING WELCOME TO ASHRAM LIFE
They were scheduled to arrive in the early evening, and beds for the girls were prepared in a long upper room where most of the women and the servants had their sleeping quarters.
Since one of the girls was coming straight from a good boarding school, and the other two were in no way prepared for the more or less primitive life of an ashram, it was arranged to let them down lightly. We put on some reasonably presentable clothes and generally tried to raise the tone of living around the place.
The newcomers failed, however, to arrive when expected, and we were told not to wait for them but to go to bed. About ten o'clock that evening they arrived, and because of the lateness of the hour they received no special welcome, but were shown straight-away to their beds.
At that time I had charge of Geisha, a handsome Siamese cat. And since she was in heat at this time, and almost every night the "bokas" (large male cats) came hopefully up from the village to prowl around outside the house, I had to keep Geisha at the foot of my bed, carefully using the mosquito net to tuck her into safety.
The newcomers were no sooner tucked up in bed than the largest boka I have ever seen arrived on the windowsill nearest to Geisha's refuge. Meowing like a steam engine, he jumped in through the window and then through the netting, causing Geisha also to scream loudly and jump off the bed through the torn net. The servants, who slept on bedrolls on the floor, not knowing what had happened, joined in the screaming and everyone else in the two long adjoining rooms started to react noisily.
The two cats tore down the long room, followed by practically everyone else, and a noisy confusion reigned supreme. And, in the midst of all the hubbub, out of their mosquito nets peered the pale, startled faces of the newcomers.
The boka was finally driven out of the building and Geisha was safely shut into an old cage. After everything had subsided, Rano and I in our neighboring beds suddenly saw the humor of the careful let-down-lightly preparations for the girls and what actually happened, and we laughed until the tears rolled down our faces.
It was certainly a startling welcome to ashram life. These
girls came to be affectionately known as the Three Fatties.
No explanation needed.
THE DANCE OF LOVE, pp. 120-121
1980 © Sheriar Press, Inc.