I WANT TO BE WITH YOU, ALWAYS
Mani S. Irani
The women's quarters always had a closed-in courtyard in the front. Made of tatta, it served to give privacy to the cloistered women mandali. Here in the courtyard the women could step out from their huts without seeing men or being seen by them. Here they would sit to clean the vegetables and grains, and here is where they would keep their rolled-up beddings during the day. Excitement was when it would start to rain and everyone ran out to gather up their things. I loved joining in the squeals and the scamper.
As soon as we could enter the huts, Mehera, Naja, and the other women began setting up things which would be needed for Baba's care and comfort when He came over from the men's side.
Being children, Myna and I ran out to play in the courtyard. In one corner of the courtyard was a large tamarind tree. Tamarind is a very sour and tart fruit that grown-ups forbid children to eat because it is "bad for the throat." So children are always stealing tamarind from other people's trees, just as my schoolfriends and I did many a time.
Of course, if Baba ever ordered me not to eat tamarind, I would be bound forever by His order. Therefore, Baba must not see me picking up or eating a tamarind. Which is why, as we stood in the courtyard looking at the tempting tamarinds lying under the tree, I looked around carefully to see if Baba was in sight. He was not there. Nobody was there. We were free to gather up the fruit.
But just as I bent down to pick up a tamarind, Myna and I were startled by a clap, loud and clear, coming from behind us!
We turned around sharply and couldn't believe our eyes! There was Baba, sitting on the bamboo ladder which the workmen had left standing against the hut. Baba was sitting on an upper rung of the ladder as naturally and gracefully as though He were in the most comfortable chair. Not an easy thing to do, I know, I have tried it.
We stared. Baba looked very beautiful with His flowing hair and long sadra. He held out both hands and gestured to us, "Come to Me." We ran over and stood on either side of him.
Baba looked at us lovingly, and turning to Myna His hands gestured, "Ask, ask for anything you want. Ask right now, and I will give it to you."
I stood transfixed. This was truly like a fairy tale where the good fairy waves her wand and says: "Make a wish, I will grant it."
"But here is no fairy," I said to myself. "Here is God Himself saying 'Ask Me for anything you want, and I will give it to you.!"
There was no time to think it over. Myna was taken totally by surprise and was unprepared for making a wish. She said what any Hindu girl of her age might say, especially a girl whose marriage was soon to be arranged by her family. She said, "Baba, I want a very handsome husband and a very grand wedding."
Baba smiled at her and gestured. "Granted." Then He turned to me and His fingers moved swiftly, saying, "Ask. What is it you want? Ask quick!" It was like Baba was saying, "Right now I'm in the mood to give. Ask, and I'll give you whatever you want."
I looked at Baba and said, "I want to be with You, always."
Baba looked very happy with my reply. "Granted!" He said and hugged me.
This "Make a Wish" game was forgotten after a while. Some years later Myna got married to the most handsome man you can imagine. Wedding guests would ask in wonder, "Where did Patel find such a handsome son-in-law?"....
And my wish was granted too. I shall be for ever and ever thankful that I added the word "always" at the end of my wish, "I want to be with you ALWAYS."
As you can see, you have to be a bit of a lawyer when asking God for a boon. You have to make sure that you don't leave out any clause in your favour.
GOD-BROTHER, pp. 97-102
1993 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust