I WOULD BE WELCOME TO THE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS
Dr. Abdel Ghani, Munsif
In one such visit to Poona by me, once I called upon my friend Munshi Abdur Rahim (store-keeper, P.W.D., Poona). [An early Muslim devotee of Meher Baba who died at Nasik on 19th December 1933.]....
The usual coterie of familiar faces was there right enough, but amongst them I was pleasantly surprised to find Meher Baba whom I could not resist the temptation of greeting in the most informal manner the way I was used to in school and college days. Ignoring the presence of all others for the moment, I attacked Merwan straight off with a volley of questions too personal and unconventional as to his life and career to which he seemed to react very good humouredly to the surprise of those around.
Although everyone present there knew me too well and long enough, my fresh introduction to them by Merwan as his college and also childhood's friend, made me somehow feel on the occasion, that there was something criminal in my behaviour that evening. My outburst of flippant familiarity with Merwan was evidently not relished by Munshiji (as Munshi Abdur Rahm was styled by his friends) in particular, who gave vent to his pent up resentment by recalling an Indian proverb that 'a friend of the past is always an awkward customer, alas'.
This remark set me thinking furiously and it didn't take me long to discover that the attitude of all those present towards Merwan was of great reverence and respect, the why and wherefore of it I could not then fathom. In between me and Merwan we recounted that evening many of our boyhood pranks and adventures and the punitive expeditions against each other in the absence of our elders from our neighbouring homes, much to the entertainment of the listeners.
The party broke up that evening with a mute encouragement from Merwan for me to see more of him and I left with an indelible impression within me that because of my early association with Merwan I would be welcome to the circle of friends there always and more than ever.
Hereafter it was not very difficult for me to elicit all possible information from my Muslim friends of Poona about Merwan and his life in which naturally my interest was keenly aroused.
TWENTY YEARS WITH MEHER BABA, p. 39-41
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