Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


16 to 31 July 2007

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Guess what?! Meherabad Diary is now back on the Internet. Eric Solibakke has created the web site. You can now find it at: So, I hope you all enjoy the regular bi-monthly Meherabad Diaries. Eric has also put an Archive that will allow anyone to read the past Meherabad Diaries that were written after the other Internet site stopped putting any more on it.

Monday 16 July 2007. I had a rickshaw pick me up at 8:30 am to take me to the Meher Pilgrim Retreat. I was on duty in the Reception Office. The morning was slow and easy.

Then I get a call from an Idea cell phone worker telling me he went to Arangaon to verify my address, and I do not live there. I told the man, "Of course I don't live there! I have never lived in Arangaon!" He again tells me I do not live in Arangaon. I repeat I have never lived in Arangaon village. I told him I live NEAR Arangaon village, in Meherabad. Then Idea blocked my outgoing calls. I could only receive incoming ones.

It seems this saga of trying to get a post-paid cell phone service with Idea has turned out to be a headache. That man I was talking to simply could not comprehend what I was saying. I do not think he spoke much English. This problem with Idea has been going on since I applied on 8th June. I only stayed with Idea when I decided to go from pre-paid to post-paid service because I wanted to keep my same phone number. But, now I had had enough. I no longer cared about keeping the same phone number. I wanted nothing more to do with them! I decided to go to the office where I applied for service and cancel on Tuesday.

In the Meher Pilgrim Center, there was the new weekly program 'Meherabad mornings'. At 9:30 am a video is shown, or pilgrims share Baba stories. At 10:30 am Sam Kerawala shared some of his many Baba stories. In the afternoon, Bhauji gives a talk. There is tea and popcorn served at 4:00 pm. Then Bhau talks at 4:30 pm.

Tuesday 17 July. I woke early and did my workout. Then I did some work on the computer. I had a rickshaw take me into Ahmednagar at 9:30 am. I went to BSNL and asked what was required to get a post-paid cell phone service. They told me: a copy of my passport and visa, a copy of my landline phone bill (which I have with BSNL), two color photos, a copy of my driver license, my application and Rs2000 deposit.

Now that is exactly what Idea asked for—but Idea asked only for one item at a time. They would keep calling me back saying I needed one more thing.

When I left BSNL, with my application, I went straight to the Idea service center. The owner was out of town until the 23rd. I informed the two women behind the counter that I wanted to cancel my service and have my money returned to me. One of the women told me I could not do that. I told her yes I could! I told her I was fed up with Idea and all the problems I had had with them. She told me I only had to meet that man who had gone into Arangaon at the Trust Office and sign some papers, and my service would be turned on again. I told her I did not want my service turned on again. I told her I was there to cancel.

Well, the woman calls someone at headquarters who wants to talk to me. He tells me to just wait five minutes and my service would be turned on. I told him I no longer want their service anymore. By the time I got home my cell phone was back on. I did not have any more time to deal with this problem until the weekend.

In the evening I walked up the hill for my 6:00 pm Samadhi duty. The weather is cloudy and cool. It has been simply lovely lately.

Wednesday 18 July. One of my friends was out of town and said I could use her car to go to the Retreat. It is so much smoother riding in a car than a rickshaw.

The day was once again slow and easy. I walked outside our Reception Office. I saw the two porters squatting down and looking at something. I walked over to see what they were doing—Yuk! They were playing with a scorpion! It seems a lot of the village boys catch scorpions, tie strings to their tails, and make the scorpion sting itself. I could not believe they actually found it fun! Disgusting!

There was a program at the Arts and Music Center (theater). Tea and cake was served at 4:00 pm. Then at 4:30 pm. the Baba movie was shown.

I had four unexpected arrivals from the Meher Baba Center in Shivpuri, Andra Pradesh. They had an album with lots of pictures of the last celebration of Baba's birthday. The population of Shivpuri is 75,000. Over 7,000 are Baba lovers! For the birthday celebration they have an annual procession down one of the main streets. All the religious leaders of the city are invited to attend. They have Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. that march in the parade. Lots of cars have Baba's photo on top and have them decorated with all kinds of colorful streamers and garlands. I thought to myself "I would like something like this for our New Life Walk". We have the New Life Walk every year on the 16th October. We walk from the Trust Office to Meherabad, to Beloved Baba's Samadhi.

When I got off at 6:00 pm, I went home and packed. I was going to Pune for a couple of days with two pilgrims and a part-time resident. In the morning, the Sumo would pick up the other three first and then me at 6:15 am.

Thursday 19 July. The Sumo picked me up on time. But, it seems the Sumo had some electrical problem with two of the windows. One would not go down, and the other would not go up. The driver would have it looked into in Pune. We decided we could live with the problem, especially as the morning was clear sky and soft breeze.

When we reached Pune, the first thing we did was stop at one of the movie theaters and buy tickets for the new Harry Potter film. We would go to the 5:30 pm showing. We then went to a buffet breakfast at one of the nicer hotels. There were so many choices of everything. It was a feast! That kind of eating is something you do not want to do very often.

I wanted to spend the night at the Meher Baba Pune Center. My birthday was the next day, and I wanted to be where Baba had been. Two of the others also wanted to stay there. The Pune Center has two dorms, one for men and one for women. The workers at the Pune Center are old-time Baba lovers. Most of them had been with Baba when he came to the Center. The energy there is very inviting, even though the dorms don't have much more amenities other than a bed, a ceiling fan, and some lockers for your things. You have to bring your own towel, soap, etc.

We went to a nursery to buy some plants. Since four of us were riding in the Sumo, there would not be room for more than two plants. We took those back to the Pune Center until we were ready to return to Meherabad.

I found out Idea blocked my cell phone again. But, this time I had no service. I could not make calls or receive calls. This was fine with me. I was through with them.

After a short rest, we left for the Harry Potter movie. It was so good! Everyone enjoyed it. The show was over around 8:00 pm and we decided to go to dinner. The others wanted to treat me to dinner for my birthday. We had Malaysian food. It was very tasty.

It had been a busy day and I was glad to be back at the Pune Center.

Friday 20 July. I woke up feeling happy because I knew Baba had been here in the Pune Baba Center. I had cappuccino, from the German Bakery, in my thermos. I like to wake up to tea or coffee. The Pune Baba Center doesn't have a kitchen for us to use, so I always bring a thermos and fill it the night before.

Richard and I were the only ones interested in breakfast. We decided to go back to the German Bakery. They have such a choice, bowls of fruit, bakery stuff, yogurt, etc. However, first we wanted to stop at the tree in Bund Garden that Babajan would sit under. The Garden gate was open, so we drove in. I could not remember where the tree was, so we walked all around. Finally, we asked and were shown the tree, directly in front of where we parked! The tree is at the end of the dirt parking lot, right above the edge of the river.

The river was very low, and had that fishy smell. The tree itself had all the main branches chopped except the trunk and the major branches off of it. The tree looked like the tree at Babajan's tomb. The tree looked like it had been eaten away by insects. There was a big hollow area in the center, and the bark was falling off. We picked a few pieces of bark from the ground—but I forgot mine in the car. Richard said he noticed green shoots around the tree. So, hopefully the tree roots are alive and the tree will recover.

After breakfast, we returned to the Baba Pune Center and checked out. We went to Dorabji's to buy supplies. It is an upscale market with International products. Often I will run across other Baba lovers, as I did this time.

We four met at Dorabji's, went for a delicious lunch and then headed back to Meherabad.

We got back in time for evening Arti. I stopped at the residents mail table to get my mail. I had a letter from Idea waiting for me. They welcomed me to their Idea family. They told me how much I am valued. They said how they would be happy to help me in any way they could, and, if I ever had a problem, to email or call them.

I zeroed in on that email address of Idea. When I got back to my room, I sent them an email, saying that it was an official notice of ending my using their service as of Tuesday the 17th. I listed some of the reasons why.

Saturday 21 July. I was up the hill by 5:30 am to clean Beloved Baba's Cabin Room. Then I put flowers on the Gadi and the Samadhi threshold. When I got down the hill, I met Mariko and Joseph at the Jhopdi. We cleaned the Table House and Jhopdi. Then I went home to get ready for the 10:00 am Historical Tour of Meherabad.

No one was waiting at the MPC to go on the Tour. I waited for a while, and then went home. I decided to go to the BSNL service center in Ahmednagar and apply for a post-paid cell phone service. I took a rickshaw to Ahmednagar.

At BSNL, the paper work was completed, the deposit given, and I was out of the office in about 30 minutes. They said my service would be turned on by Monday night or Tuesday. It was easy and I left happy.

When I got home I went up the hill to the Samadhi. It was my daughter Rabia's birthday. I had the flowerwala (man selling garlands) leave some garlands for me. I put those on the different shrines and went home for a nap.

While napping, the phone rang. It was a woman from Idea Service in Pune. She had received my email. She wanted to let me know they would turn my cell phone service back on, I only needed to sign some more papers. I repeated to her that I did not want their service any more! I wanted my deposit back. She really tried to get me to stay with Idea. I told her "why would I want to?" I had nothing but trouble with Idea. She finally said my deposit would be mailed in about 20 days.

In the afternoon, Ted Judson gave a rare concert. It was in the MPC Dining Hall. Tea and chocolate cake was served at 4:00 pm. Ted and Jeff both sang. I used the new Sony camcorder I brought back from the LA Baba Center. It was the first time I used it. I wasn't able to use the external microphone, because the attachment piece from the mic to the camera was missing in the packaging when I opened it.

Ted is one of my favorite singers. I was so happy to be able to be at the concert and be able to video it!

Sunday 22 July. In the morning, Dr. Santosh came to give Foundy his 'tick' shot. I spent most of the day just resting. I had been feeling tired, so I took some electrolytes (this weather can be deceptive). After a while I found I was not feeling so tired. After having a lovely nap, I rode my scooter to visit Virginia. She had gone to Meherazad with the woman who is taking care of her. The woman is very nice and takes good care of Virginia.

Monday 23 July. One of the Receptionists was covering for me in the morning at the Retreat. I wanted to go to the RTO and renew my divers license. The RTO is like the DMV in the States. First, however, I had to take a medical form to the doctor at our clinic in Arangaon. He had to fill it out for the RTO, and put his stamp on it.

By the time I was finished at the clinic, I had time to catch our bus to the Trust Office in Ahmednagar. From there I had a rickshaw take me to the RTO. It is more organized now. They have stations, window 1, window 2, etc. It made it much easier than in the past. The final window #14, they checked my documents and then had me put my thumb on this new 'thumb print reading' instrument. I then had to write my name on a special pad that showed on the computer screen. Last, they had me look into a camera for a picture to be taken. Amazing! The Ahmednagar RTO has, in one station at least, gone hi-tech! They told me to come back in a few days to pick up my license.

On the way home, I passed herds of sheep. It is that time of year where the sheepherders take their sheep past Meherabad to someplace miles away. They camp anywhere on the side of the road. Their sheep are gathered in a circle, and their horses are hobbled.

When I got home, I had lunch and then took a rickshaw to the Retreat. I told Laurel I would be there at 1:00 pm. It was an easy afternoon; I had only a few arrivals.

The International Young Adult Sahavas started. There are around 90 participants. Hostel-C is set up for them. They have a colorful pandal across the whole front of the Hostel to give shade.

Tuesday 24 July. I got up early and did my workout. After that I took a walk with my dog, Foundy. It was nice and cool out, so I took advantage of the weather and worked in the garden. Such fun I have doing it.

Wednesday 25 July. I had the day off because one of the Receptionists wanted to trade days with me this week. I just worked around the house in the morning. In the afternoon, I was able to attend the weekly talk Bhauji gives to the Residents and volunteers. There wasn't any tea, so I went to Hostel-D and asked if they would bring some for Bhau. When I got back to the MPC, tea and chocolate cake was also brought from Hostel-A. Now, there was plenty for everyone. There is always a Baba movie shown in Hostel-A on Wednesday, and tea and cake are served.

Oh, my BSNL cell post-paid service is up and running. No problems! What a difference from the experience with Idea.

Thursday 26 July. Thunder and rain in the morning. I went into Ahmednagar with two other residents. We stopped at a new ATM machine; it is at the Hotel Sunkit. It is the closest one other than the one at VRDE—and that one is out half the time. We are getting more and more advanced here. We then went to BSNL (the phone company and Internet provider). They both wanted to buy Internet hours. When we were in the office, we asked about Broadband. We were told they are now connecting Broadband in Ahmednagar and the military. After that they will come out to Meherabad. He said about 1˝ months. Of course that only means—coming soon. But, it is coming!

We then went to visit Bhauji in his office. Always there are a few people there. It is always so good to see him. We stayed for about twenty minutes. Bhauji was still upset that many of the residents did not attend his Wednesday scheduled resident meeting talk. He said we are here under 'Spiritual Training' and many did not come to the talk. He said that was not okay.

We heard about a coffee café that had opened at the mall of the Wadia Park complex. We only went in to check it out. They have a machine for charging different cell phones. Another time we will try their coffee. Just the idea of a coffee café in Ahmednagar is amazing!

Friday 27 July. I took a rickshaw to the Retreat. The days have been very muggy, humid! This has been going on for about five days. Sitting under a fan in the Reception Office is most comfortable.

The Young Adult Sahavas had their closing ceremony in the morning. Then, many of the participants came to the Retreat for lunch. The Dining Hall was humming with energy!

Bhauji gave a talk at the MPC at 4:30 pm. First tea and donuts were served at 4:00 pm.

I had an easy day with only a few arrivals. Then, I got a call from the PRO office telling me a group of seven Iranians were coming from Pune. They were a little late, but we waited for them. It was funny. After registering at the PRO, they had to hurry to make it to the Retreat on time. The two women took a rickshaw! Steve gave two of the men a ride on his motorcycle, and the other three men ran all the way! The three running made it before the others. We have more and more Iranians now coming. This season it looks like we will have a record number.

Three of the Iranians had been at the Retreat before. The other four were here for the first time. The Iranians are the sweetest people. There is something so loving about them. They are also very proud and happy that Baba's parents came from Iran!

Saturday 28 July. Before going up the hill by 5:30 am, I was out in the dark morning with my flashlight collecting flowers. I got home from the Retreat too late the night before. But, I had my basket full of flowers by the time I reached the top of the hill.

After cleaning Baba's Cabin Room, I put flowers on the Gadi. Next to the Gadi, on the dung floor, was a large Rangoli (like sand painting) from one of the participants of the Young Adult Sahavas. A man was standing near, and asked if he could help. I was already finished with the Gadi, so I gave him flowers to put on the Samadhi threshold. I then went down the hill and cleaned the Jhopdi and Table House with Mariko and Joseph.

After breakfast, I went to the MPC at 10:00 am to give the Historical Tour of Meherabad. There was a family from Iran. The father was the man who wanted to help me put flowers up the hill earlier. The son and mother understand and spoke some English. So, they interpreted. The father was so overwhelmed by the energy of Meherabad that he often wept. He would bow down to the places Baba did His work and weep. It was very humbling to witness. My heart was deeply touched.

The Meher Hospital had a Cataract Camp for Eye Surgery this weekend. The patient's families brought them for 'check in' in the afternoon. The surgery will be performed on Sunday, and then they go home Monday.

Sunday 29 July. I was up early to do my workout. Then, I took a nice walk before spending the rest of the morning working in the garden. Sulu, Manda (Marge and my domestic helpers) and I cut trees, trimmed bushes, etc.

At noon, I went to the Blue Tank (B.T. Café) and had a beef burger! Yes, Deena is getting beef from Pune and cutting and pounding the beef herself. Yummy! Of course the lunch was followed by a nice nap.

Monday 30 July. I had the rickshaw pick me up at 8:30 am. When I got to our Reception Office at the Retreat, I noticed the new ficus plant was not looking too good. Many of the leaves had fallen off. I saw our Retreat gardener, Jeff, and asked him to take a look.

He said the ficus was getting too much water. It only needed to be watered once a week, at the most. Oops! I was watering at least twice a week. Jeff said it might also need more light for a while. So, we had one of the porters take it out to the front verandah, against the wall. It cannot have direct sunlight, as it is not used to it, and the leaves could burn. I'm quite fond of these plants and want them to do well.

I got a text message from Dr. Anne. She said Jal would be discharged from the hospital, and should be home by afternoon. I saw Frank, our Superintendent, and he said he would bring Jal home. He was waiting for the call to pick him up. Frank said his car was just the right height for Jal to step into.

The only arrivals I had were two young people who were here just a few weeks ago. They had traveled to Northern India and were returning to the Retreat before leaving the country.

On my way home, I noticed a new sign in front of the Meher Hospital. It is right against the dirt road, easy to see. It says 'Meher Hospital'. There is a white arrow pointing to it, and in the arrow is the 'Red Cross' sign. The sign gives the Hospital a more professional appearance.

Tuesday 31 July. I was up early to do my workout. Afterward, I went out to the garden and did some trimming because the Tacoma and Century plants are growing into each other. Then I had a bath and got ready to take our bus to the Trust Office.

I got a rickshaw and went to the RTO (DMV) to pick up my driver license. I was amazed! It now looks like the ones in the States! It is on a plastic card with my photo and all the information needed on the front side. The backside has the different classes of vehicles. Ahmednagar is moving up into the world!

Then I went into the bazaar to exchange a bedcover for some material I would need for curtain lining. My kitchen curtains are in good shape, but the back lining is torn. I had thought to just replace them. But, my housemate and I preferred the original curtains to the new bedcover, which would have been made into new curtains.

I next returned to the Trust and went to see Bhauji. I showed him the new diver license. The others in the office were impressed with how nice it looked. I then went into the Accounting office and showed all the guys the new license. They too were impressed.

When I got home I continued to look for the sketches I had made for the next quilt I will make. I had my grandson, Ari, and his sisters, draw some ideas for Ari's quilt. Now, I cannot find where I put them! Thank goodness I know what the sketches look like. Ari turns seven years old in November. Each grandchild, when they turn seven, will get a quilt made by me, designed especially for them.

I took a nap, and then worked on the computer. At 5:30 pm I went up the hill for my 6:00 pm Samadhi duty. The weather continues to be overcast. It is not so hot today.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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