Symbols of the world's religions



Judith Garbett

There were always twelve women called for Mehera's Tea which was on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting around 4:45 to 5:00 pm.

One of the Western residents helping at Meherazad would write down in a special notebook the names of all women and young girls present on those days. One of the mandali, usually Goher, would tick the names of those who had just arrived or who were leaving, as well as others according to how long they had been staying, or how often they had already been to Tea.

When it was very crowded one would be asked only two or three times at most, but it was always so wonderful to be told quietly 'You are invited for Mehera's Tea today!' and go across about 4:30 or so to wait on the porch until Mehera came out after her rest which Baba had ordered her to have every afternoon. As always whenever she appeared, we would all get up from our chairs on the porch to greet her.

At teatime she used to stop just inside the doorway, and in a lilting voice and with a twinkle in her eye say to us all, 'Will you come and take tea with me?' then lead the way quickly into the dining room. Whether inside or out she always walked with quick lithe movements, so if one wanted to stay beside her one had to be on the qui vivre to keep pace with her!

After all were seated Mehera began spooning out the puffed rice or other delicacy from a round container onto small dishes, handling each one to the woman standing next to her who had earlier been asked to help in this way — she would add a couple of cookies, pass it to the one sitting at Mani's place and from there each dish would be passed on right round the table until all were served.

Teapots of regular tea or mint tea, milk and sugar were in the centre of the table and everyone helped themselves to these. Mehera would always like all this done quickly. When her own cup had been filled she sat down, and the stories would begin....

To sit at Baba's table in Mehera's company was always so special. Apart from her stories there were other little reminders of Baba. Now and then she would gently put her hand on the arm of His chair as though He was sitting there, and very softly say 'Baba darling.'

One day someone asked about a salt and pepper set shaped as Laurel and Hardy, and she told us 'Baba liked their films very much. They were very funny.'

At the end of the Tea she would stand, and we would also, and turning to the big picture of Baba on the end wall behind His chair she would say 'Beloved ... Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!' three times with all of us joining in. Then she would say 'Thank you for your most beautiful love, Baba darling. Help us to love you and serve you.' or 'May we all be worthy of your most beautiful love, Baba darling.' Such words were usually spoken very quietly and hard to catch fully, even by those standing nearest her. Sometimes it was as though we were not there and she was lovingly murmuring to Him herself.

After a moment or two standing there with hands folded to Him, Mehera would turn round and walk quickly to the door. We would follow, and although we didn't want to leave that lovely atmosphere, we had to move out to the porch, say goodbye to her, and walk across to the other side in answer to Aloba's frequent ringing of the bell and his calls of 'Board the bus! Board the bus!'


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