1 March to 15 March 2008
1 March to 15 March 2008
Jai Meher Baba to you all!
This will be the last Meherabad Diary until I return to India in early June. Until I leave Meherabad on the 1st of April, I will be working round the clock on the quilt for grandchild who is turning seven years old. As I have mentioned in past Diaries, each of my eight grandchildren will receive a specially designed quilt for their seventh birthday 'from grandma in India'. I hope one day the photos of them available will be available for all to see.
Saturday 1st March 2008. I was up the hill by 5:20 AM. So, I was present at 5:30 AM when the Samadhi doors are opened. We then go inside and remove the garlands and other cloths. A temporary cloth is put on the marble top until the cleaning at 6:00 AM.
I then went to clean Baba's Cabin Room. When I finished, I put flowers on the stretcher, Gadhi, and Samadhi threshold. When I was gathering my things from the Cabin to go down the hill, a pilgrim asked if she could help clean Baba's Cabin Room. I explained I had just finished. However, I said if she would like, she could go down the hill with me and help clean the Jhopdi and Table House. She said yes, and went with me down the hill to clean. She really enjoyed helping with the cleaning.
I went to the Meher Pilgrim Center at 9:30 AM to meet the group of Russian pilgrims staying at the MPR. Since the Historical Tour of Meherabad would be translated from English to Russian, we decided to start a half-hour earlier.
As it turned out, we were unable to go to all the sites because the translating took so long. To save time, I even skipped a number of stories I like to tell at the different places. When we finished in the museum it was 1:15 PM. I reminded the group that it was lunch time at the MPR, and the food is removed at 1:45 PM. One in the group said we did not go to the 'Cage Room'. I told them they would miss lunch if we went. So, I told them we could continue the Tour the next morning, to see the Cage Room and Mansari's kitchen. We agreed to meet near the Samadhi at 9:00 AM.
I walked to the B.T. Café for lunch, and then went home for a nice nap.
Sunday 2nd March. I was up the hill by 9:00 AM to meet the Russians. We then went into the Cage Room. Before we left the compound, I was asked if they could say hello to Jaloo. Now, I usually do not bother Jaloo when I am giving the Tour. But, then I thought, "Why not ask?" When I asked Jaloo, she softly said, "What will I say to them?" I told Jaloo I would have one pilgrim at a time stand at her door, and she could just say "Jai Baba."
It was really so sweet to watch. Each Russian pilgrim, one at a time, with folded hands, would say their name and say 'Jai Baba'. Jaloo would respond 'Jai Baba' back to them in the sweetest voice. It was so very touching and my heart felt so much love for Jaloo. I just told Jaloo I loved her a few times. Then the Tour continued to Mansari's kitchen.
After seeing the Kitchen, we went under the Tin Shed, and I told them some stories about the early days of the Women Mandali.
In the afternoon at 4:00 PM, we had a "Welcome baby Mednick to the Meherabad Community" gathering. Jessica and Flint had a baby boy a few weeks ago, and the Tea was for the Residents to welcome the baby. The Tea was held in our Spiritual Training Academy. Baba Mednick does not have a name yetwe are waiting for the parents to decide on one.
Monday 3 March. I was on duty at the MPR. We still have about 55 pilgrims. As of now, we are scheduled to have 22 pilgrims on the last night of the 14 th March. We close on the 15th for the summer.
In the MPC Hall at 10:15 AM, there was a 'Happy Trails Concert'. As many of you know, that song is often sung at the Samadhi when someone is leaving. This was the first time a concert was given with that title. Beverly Smith and Brian Darnell gave the performance.
Bhauji gave his talk in the MPC Hall at 4:30 PM. Tea and snacks were served at 4:00 PM. With so many Russians here, a second mic was set-up so everything could be translated into Russian. How deeply their hearts have been touched by Baba!
Tuesday 4 March. After working on the quilt, I asked one of our workers (his day off is Tuesday) if he could take my scooter to Bajaj for a complete service. I took our bus to the Trust and went to the bank to take out cash at the ATM. But, I was only able to take out a small amount. So, I went into the bank and asked the woman in the Foreign Exchange what was wrong. Last week I made a large deposit and wondered what the problem was. I was told that their computer, which is linked with Mumbai, is having trouble accepting any foreign transactions. This has been going on for days.
So, basically, I will just have to wait until the transactions go through. I had wanted to buy an air-cooler to put in my window. Now, I will just have to wait a few more days. It is getting hot again, and it is hard to work in a hot room.
On the way back to Meherabad, as I was crossing the bridge, a large construction tractor was clearing the area on one side of the bridge to widen it. It is all part of the new wide road that will go from Pune to Aurangabad. With this new wide road, and the new by-pass road around Ahmednagar, it is going to be easy sailing!
On my way up the hill for my 6:00 PM Samadhi duty, I saw some of the Russian pilgrims near Mandali Hall. One of them tried to tell me they were leaving that evening. She pointed to her eyes, indicating she would be crying when they leave. There love for Baba is so sweet.
When I was at the Samadhi, I just felt how pleasant it is to be there. The energy is so soothing and embracing, you just want to melt into it.
Wednesday 5 March. I was on duty at the Retreat. I had a lot of pilgrims leaving. But, I also had eight arrivals. It is still quite busy. Our bus took pilgrims to the Music and Arts Center at 3:30 PM. Tea and snacks were served at 4:00 PM. Then a Baba film was shown at 4:30 PM.
Thursday 6 March. I could not sleep for some reason. Well, I know the reason. I had too much tea and coffee in the late afternoon Wednesday. The caffeine kept me awake. So, I got up and worked on the quilt. I have decided to have one of the local tailors help me with it. I leave in less than four weeks and I just don't think I can finish the quilt by myself. So, I cut out and pin what I want sewn, then give it to the tailor to do the actual sewing. Last night I had cut all the colors of Baba's flag, and this morning I gave them to the tailor to sew together. It will save me a lot of time.
I then took our bus to Bajaj to pick up my motorbike. It sure runs smoothly when it has a complete service.
Friday 7 March. Bhauji gave a talk in the MPC Hall at 4:30 PM. Tea and snack were served first at 4:00 PM. At 9:00 PM that evening a Baba movie was shown in the MPR Dining Hall.
Saturday 8 March. I was up the hill by 5:20 AM. So, when the Samadhi doors were opened at 5:30 AM I was able to help remove the garlands from the day before. Plus there are a number of cloths covering the marble that are also removed. Helping in the morning always has a special feeling, an opportunity to participate in serving Baba.
After cleaning Baba's Cabin Room, I went down the hill to clean the Jhopdi and Table House with Mariko and Joseph. I spent most of the rest of the day working in my room.
Sunday 9 March. There was a meeting at the MPR with all department supervisors and the Meherabad Trustees. We usually meet once a month.
Monday 10 March. This was my last full day at the Retreat. It was not that busy, only four expected arrivals. I had time to spend with pilgrims. Then I got a call that there would be seven family members coming before six. Well, they arrived just before 7:00 PM. Some of the family members were here for the first time, so they needed to be given a full orientation. I was able to go home by 7:45 PM.
Bhauji gave a talk in the MPC Hall at 4:30 PM. Tea and popcorn were served at 4:00 PM.
Tuesday 11 March. I spent most of the day working on the quilt. I was up the hill by 5:40 PM so I would have some time to visit Jaloo before my Samadhi duty at 6:00 PM. It is still very busy. Tomorrow is Dhuni Day and many come for it.
Wednesday 12 March. It is Dhuni Day. I worked on the quilt most of the day. I also called the bank to find out if the International Exchange Department had fixed the computer problem. The bank had not been able to give any foreign exchange in two weeks. Yes, was the answer! I was very happy, as I had cashed a check and I would finally be able to have access to my money.
Evening Arti was at 5:15 PM, and the Dhuni was lit at 6:15 PM. Hostel-D had sixty arrivals for the Dhuni. The two pilgrims who did the 'Fire Dance with live fire!' at Jal & Dolly's party are still here. Jal asked them if they would like to perform next to the Dhuni when it was over. So, to everyone's pleasure, Archana and Samarpan Hattendorf did a short fire dance. They are really amazing to watch.
Thursday 13 March. I was up by 5:00 am working on the quilt. After going for a morning walk, I got ready and went to the MPC to catch our bus at 10:00 am. While at the MPC, the new 'Information Center' door was opened. I had not seen it yet, even though Debbie Nordeen had opened it a few months ago.
The Information Center is in the room where Gary used to have his accounting desk. She has all kinds of free brochures. She came across some old ones that were from the 1940's. Those she will of course not give out. But, copies will be made of them.
This Information Center is really needed. We are getting more and more people who 'drop-in' and want to know about Baba.
I took our bus to the Trust. From there I went into the bazaar and bought an air-cooler. They were to deliver it at 3:00 pm. So, I had time to stop and have lunch with Virginia and her helper, Neela. After I got home, the men came and delivered the air-coolerI immediately put water in it and have begun using it.
Kishore, one of our Meherabad workers, will come by in the next few days and build a stand for it on the outside of my verandah window. Right now I have it inside. And, oh, it is so lovely to feel cool air, instead of the energy draining heat!
Friday 14 March. The pilgrims were invited to see how the 'Media Center' at the MPC was set up. The bus took the pilgrims to the MPC and then anyone who wanted to go, the bus took them to the Trust Compound.
Bhauji gave a talk in the MPC Hall at 4:30 PM. Tea and donuts were served first at 4:00 PM. I was not able to attend, as I had to work on the quilt for my grandson.
Saturday 15 March. I was up the hill by 5:30 AM to clean Baba's Cabin Room. After putting flowers on the Stretcher, Gadhi, and Samadhi threshold, I went down the hill to my room.
This was closing day at the Meher Pilgrim Retreat. Hostel-D also closed for the summer. I said 'Happy Trails' to the pilgrims while beginning to do my share of the Receptionists summer jobs.
I had to take all the signs about 'conserving water' from the bathrooms. All the 'MPR rules' that we keep in every room also had to be brought to our office to store for the summer. All eight 'Reading Room' books and cushions from the chairs and sofas had to be locked up in the closets.
The 'games cabinet' in the Dining Room had to be reorganized and the cabinet locked. When I tried to lock it, I found the top and bottom locks were both broken. Since I didn't have time to have them repaired before leaving for the States, I had one of the porter's turn it toward the wall. Later, we will lock the cabinet up in the little room next to where it is kept in the Dining Hall.
The books pilgrims read while traveling and then leave for anyone here to read are kept on a small 'book case' in the Lobby. These too had to be sorted and locked up. All the notices on our three information boards needed to be stored as well. I made a special file for them called 'summer end' in our metal file cabinet. I also got rid of anything left in the mailbox cubby-holds. There wasn't any mail so I did not have to 'forward' anything. I also put away a number of things in our office.
By 3:00 PM I was finished and left the Retreat until I return in June. I do not want to give you the impression I did all that work by myself. I had two of our porters who did a great percentage of this work. I did a lot of directing while putting away things in our office.
In the evening there was an 'end of season' potluck dinner at the Muir compound. Every year at the end of the pilgrim season there is a closing season party at someone's home. All the residents are invited. It is a very relaxing get-together that we all enjoy. We are always pretty wiped-out at this time of year. So, it is a way to begin to just relax.
Now, I just want to share a few things with you before I close this Diary. First, I had told you about the Cricket Clubs of Ahmednagar having their tournament each year in the open field between our staff quarters and the Meher English School. This year the Arangaon Meher Cricket Club came in second place. First place was the Ahmednagar Collage Cricket team. Often, Meher Cricket Club is number one.
Every year, after the pilgrim season closes, we have a 'workers' lunch here at Meherabad. This is when we residents serve a special lunch to all the workers of the Trust. This includes our Meherabad workers and the workers from the Trust Compound in Ahmednagar. This year, it will take place at the MPR on Monday the 17th.
Then, on Friday the 21st, Sam & Roshan Kerawala have invited everyone to a lunch at their home to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. I will take Virginia for this.
I will spend most of the remaining days of March finishing the quilt. I am looking forward to my visit with my family in the States. And, I will be spending a week at the Meher Baba Center in Myrtle Beach. I have not been there in over thirty years! My heart is looking forward to being alone with Baba in 'His home in the West'.
Oh, I just learned 'baby Mednick' now has a name. It is 'Indiana'.
In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy