Mummy, who was well aware of this custom and determined to protect herself from mischief, had just taken a bath and dressed up decently. She was sitting in her room, and whenever any of the ladies asked her to open the door, she refused, because she suspected they were planning to bathe her in colors. Of all of them, Arnavaz was the only one she trusted not to do such a thing. So when Arnavaz finally asked her to open the door, she did so, and all the women rushed into her room and put a whole rainbow of colors on her face, body and clothes.
They even put colors in her long, silky hair, and then they knotted it on top of her head to give her the appearance of a sadhu. After they had finished decorating her, they made her sit on a chair right in the middle of the front hall.
When Baba arrived from His work with the men mandali and saw Mummy seated in all her strange splendor, He laughed and laughed. He called for some chana (a variety of chickpea), took a fistful, and put it into Mummy's mouth, so she had to chew an entire mouthful. In India chana represents future hardships, so ordinarily we do not give it to others, as it is considered a bad omen to accept it from anyone.
When Mummy finished chewing, she said to Baba, "Have You given this to me as an indication of future hardships in my life to come, Baba, dear?" Such was the intimacy of this moment that she could have fun and at the same time speak in this manner to Baba. And in truth, Mummy was to face many future hardships, both physical and emotional. As she said many years later, "Only Baba's love helped me to survive."
HE GIVES THE OCEAN, pp. 63-64
2006 © Meherwan Kotwal