Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


16 to 31 July 2008

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Wednesday 16 July, 2008. At 8:30 am I picked up Fereshteh on the way to the Meher Pilgrim Retreat. It was a very busy day and I didn't get home until after 7:00 pm.

Thursday 17 July. I had a car pick me up at 6:00 am to go to Pune. The car first went to the MPR to pick up two pilgrims who would go with me; one of the pilgrims we were just dropping off at the Pune train station.

Friday 18 July. After having breakfast at the German Bakery, we went to M.G. Road to do some shopping. It was early and many of the shops were still closed. Walking toward us on one side of the road was a Saddhu!!!!!!! I had heard at the Kumba Mela, there are thousands of Saddhus. They are wild looking holy men — well, some of them are truly holy. They have long, matted hair, and are completely naked. This is how they live. I had never attended the Kumba Mela. Every four years it rotates between three places. One of the three is Nasik. I do want to go one day. Not because of the naked Saddhus! There are also supposed to be many holy people in clothes. Anyway, here we are in downtown Pune, on a regular day, and a naked Saddhu is walking down the road. When we passed him, I turned around to make sure I was seeing what I just thought I saw. Yes, there was his naked behind. The only thing he had, was a string of beads he was praying with. I had heard about them ever since I moved here, but never saw one. "Wow!" I thought to myself; "My very first view of a naked Saddhu!!!"

Saturday 19 July. I was up the hill by 5:30 am to clean Baba's Cabin Room. I then went down the hill to clean the Jhopdi with Fereshteh. At 10:00 am I went to the MPC to give the Historical Tour of Meherabad. No one was there for the Tour. I had errands to run, so I went into the bazaar.

Sunday 20 July. This was my birthday. I turned 64 years old. Throughout the day, parts of the Beatles song 'When I turn 64' were sung to me. I took Virginia to Meherazad. As I passed out candy, I was wished Happy Birthday. It was a lovely day at Meherazad.

In the evening, I took three bags of candy to the Samadhi to be given out as Prasad after evening Arti. Dolly had everyone there sing Happy Birthday to me. It was very nice! Then Pedro quietly sang some of the words from the Beatles song 'When I turn 64'.

Monday 21 July. This was the birthday of my youngest daughter, Rabia. I called her when I got up. I was also doing IChat with my other daughter. John, the girl's father, was trying to teach Rabia how to do IChat so she could join us. Unfortunately, I had to get off the Internet before she was connected to us. Next time she will know how. It will be so much fun seeing my daughters.

I got ready to go to the MPR. I picked up Fereshteh on the way. It was a busy day.

Tuesday 22 July. I had to take the new computerized sewing machine I bought in the USA into the bazaar. The men at the International Electric store needed to see it to make sure I bought a strong enough transformer. They are very helpful people.

I then dropped the sewing machine off in my room and had the rickshaw take me to the MPR for the weekly MPR Group meeting. One of the issues was about the trash that is thrown on the pathway from the MPR to the Samadhi. It was decided to put one of the new 'green trash cans' at the MPR Samadhi side gate. We would have to have one brought up from Lower Meherabad.

Wednesday 23 July. I picked up Fereshteh on the way to the MPR. There had been talk of emergency changes to our water usage. We have had so little rain, that not only are we not allowed to water our gardens, we may have to restrict the bathing at the MPR. I was told that in our local Arangaon village the women were in a near riot mood because they had not had running water in over ten days.

Since I only had one arrival, there was time to rearrange the furniture in the Lobby. We set the lobby up two years ago, and now we have had enough time to see it was not really that functional. So, in the afternoon, at 4:00 PM, the multi-line phone jack was switched to the far corner of the Lobby. This is the main phone system. With the Lobbymen in their new place, they could see when we were in the Reception Office, and we could see if they were at their desk. The new location for the lobby desk also allows the lobbymen to see who is arriving in the parking lot.

The next two hours were spent moving furniture and rearranging the Lobby, so it would look better, and be more functional. The Lobbymen, porters, Sunil (labor office), Fereshteh, and I took all the books out of the bookcases in order to move them. When we finally found the places against the wall where we wanted them, we put all the books back. Plus, we also used the new bookcase that was designed to hold magazines. We also put the chairs and sofa in an attractive arrangement. When we finally finished at 6:00 pm, we were very satisfied with how the Lobby looked.

Oh, while on duty, I got a call from one of our Meherabad Trustees telling me on Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm the railroad gate crossing would be closed. The Railroad Department wants to raise the road up higher so that bicycles and motorcycles can no longer go under the cross guard gate when it is down. The reason why everyone who could, tried to go under the gate, was because it is sometimes put down 25 minutes before the train comes!

I went home exhausted, but happy with how everything looked at the MPR. Yet, I could not sleep that night. It was very humid and my water-cooler was not yet hooked up. I had made a special metal stand for outside my window to hold the air-cooler, and I stilled needed the clear plastic sheet to be taped to the window frame and around the front of the cooler, so bugs could not get in. This meant the screen on the window had to be removed; so I would need the carpenter to do the work.

Thursday 24 July. Some of our Meherabad Trustees heard of an announcement made in the village that the railroad gate would be closed that morning. It caused quite a bit of confusion, since the closure was due on Friday. Later, another announcement said the closure would, in fact, happen on Friday as scheduled.

I went into the bazaar to have International Electric fix a stainless steel lamp I brought from the States. I had not realized if I plugged a lamp of 110w into a 220w socket, it would blow the bulb. The people at International Electric would either change the wiring, or just use a 220w bulb. I left it with them and will call in a few days to see if it is fixed.

Kishore, one of our workers, came over after work to attach my water-cooler. When we residents hire Trust people to do non-Trust work for us, the work is done on the workers' free time, and we pay them. I was so appreciative of his helping.

When Kishore finished, I went to bed at 8:30 pm because I was so tired from lack of sleep for a couple of days. The water-cooler was on all night, and I had a good night's sleep. Just before falling asleep I heard what sounded like rain, though I was too tired to check and see.

Friday 25 July. I woke to a wet earth. It did rain overnight. It wasn't a heavy rain. But, oh our plants needed it. In the morning, before our workers clocked in, I had one of them stop by my room and help move a small wall cabinet.

I had a rickshaw follow me to Bajaj. It is where I bought my scooter, and where I take it for servicing. I left it there. They said it would be ready later that afternoon. It began raining lightly in the afternoon, so I decided to go pick up my scooter on Saturday afternoon instead.

Bhau was scheduled to give a talk in the MPC Hall at 4:30 pm. At the last minute the talk was cancelled because Bhau was not well. In the evening at the MPR, a Baba movie was shown.

Saturday 26 July. I had set my alarm clock for 4:35 am, but, I still did not get to the Samadhi in time for the doors to open at 5:30 am. My flashlight didn't work, and I had to walk extra carefully, since there are areas on the way up the hill where it is totally dark.

After cleaning Baba's Cabin Room, I went down the hill to clean the Jhopdi. Fereshteh always meets me there and we clean it together. At 10:00 am I went to the MPC to meet people who wanted to go on the Historical Tour of Meherabad. There were four pilgrims ready to go.

It began to rain lightly, but not enough to stop the Tour. However, after about one hour the rain started to come down more heavily. We decided just to go up the hill and continue the Tour there.

We went first to the Cage Room in the compound where Jaloo lives. When the doors were opened to the Cage Room, we found 'white ants' all along the threshold and parts of the doors. White ants are termites! They can destroy wood in no time.

We all started knocking the mud off everything we saw it on. Meanwhile, I called one of the Trustees and told him the problem. We would need immediate spray in the places the white ants ate away. I also called the MPR and asked the Receptionist on duty to call the maintenance supervisor about the problem. I wanted to make sure someone would be able to reach him.

We then continued the Tour. It was still raining when we finished. The pilgrims had two umbrellas to walk back to the MPR with.

After my nap I called Bajaj to see if my scooter way ready. "Yes, madam, it is ready." I hire a rickshaw to take me to pick up my scooter. I asked him to wait for me, just in case there was a problem. Sure enough, they could not get my scooter to start — one of the problems I wanted fixed in the first place. The manager told me it would only take five minutes. Well, any one who has been to India knows what the 'only five minutes' means! It could mean sometime in ones lifetime!

I informed the manager I was not able to wait, and he said they would deliver the scooter to my place when they got it fixed. Good thing I had the rickshaw wait for me.

At 4:30 pm, Trudy Gardner and Pedro Miranda gave a concert in the MPC Hall. First tea and snack were served at 4:00 pm.

Sunday 27 July. After my morning walk, I had my weekly IChat with the friends I am helping to build their house. Since they live in the States, I am helping oversee what construction needs to be done here.

A car picked me up at 9:00 am. We first went to the house that is being built. I go to the house several times a week to check up on the work, take pictures of the progress, and send them through the Internet.

We then went to pick up Virginia to go to Meherazad. Sometimes Virginia remembers things at Meherazad, and that makes my heart happy.

Monday 28 July. I picked up Fereshteh on the way to the MPR. We had a 'water crisis' at the MPR the other day. We almost ran out of water. We have had quite a drought, our wells are low, and we get almost no water from Ahmednagar. So, now we are requesting all pilgrims to take a bath once every other day. We have closed all the showerheads, so you can only take a bucket bath. We have also closed the bathrooms next to the reading rooms — they take water to clean.

We have put notices on the Dining Hall doors asking pilgrims to conserve water.

We residents have for some time been told not to water our gardens. We also are not allowed to wash our floors, or our scooters, cars, etc.

Tuesday 29 July. I am having my room painted, so it was good that I had a full day of activity out of my room. First, in the morning I had to go into Ahmednagar. But, I had to make sure I was back at the MPR by 11:00 am for our MPR Group meeting. It turned out we had to cancel the meeting because one of the members was not well. I went to the construction site to meet with the supervisor and discuss issues about the house.

At 4:00 PM I had an appointment with Sharad, the contractor for the house being built. We spent over an hour discussing what needed to be done next. I showed him brochures from Pune, of the items we will need to purchase. All decisions are made by the Baba lover friends in the States, I am only their on site agent.

At 6:00 pm I had Samadhi duty. When I got to my room, it smelled of paint. Two walls were finished with the white color. Now, the other two walls need to be painted. They are going to be a light green. I am ashamed to admit my room has not been repainted in 16 years!

Wednesday 30 July. I picked up Fereshteh on the way to the MPR. We are always happy when the railroad gate is open, and we don't have to sit and wait for the train. Though there were not that many arrivals, it was a very busy day.

Thursday 31 July. Another resident and I hired a car to go to Pune for an overnight. I had the car most of the time as I had to go to a lot of places for the house construction business. It sure can take a lot of mental energy when you look for a place that you have the address for, only to find the address was not quite right, and the company has moved. I was happy a neighbor had the new and correct phone number. I was then able to get together with the company.

By evening I was absolutely exhausted. So, I happily stayed in the room and just read. The next day, I met the other resident and returned to Meherabad.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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