Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


16 to 30 September 2008

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Tuesday 16 August 2008. I went up the hill for an early morning Darshan at the Samadhi. I love the mornings here at Meherabad. Later, I took a rickshaw to Ahmednagar. I stopped by Meher Tailor to remind Anil we would be needing the 'Baba flags' we had ordered for the New Life walk on 16 October. He still has 50 to make.

In the evening, I walked up the hill for my Samadhi duty at 6:00 pm. First, I stop to visit Jaloo, who lives in the building behind the Samadhi. Her father was one of the Mandali, Kaikobad. Under Baba's instructions he use to say Baba's name 100,000 times a day.

Wednesday seventeen August. My #seven key is not working on my computer. When I go to the States next month to visit my family, I will have it fixed there. So, please excuse my computer problem.

I went up the hill in the early morning to take Darshan at the Samadhi. I absolutely love going up the hill at that time. The early mornings are my favorite time of the day. And, to spend part of it with Baba at the Samadhi—oh how sweet it is!!!!!!!

I always try to check my email shortly after coming down the hill. I have to find out if there are any messages from the owners of the house under construction here. There seems to be, or more correctly, feels like there are infinite questions to ask, and information to get. I really will, if someone wants to help in the future, put a brochure together of where to get what when building here. I have learned so much.

I picked Fereshteh up and we drove to the MPR. It was again a slow day. The weather has been beautiful. Some clouds, but the wind has picked up. When there is nothing to do after lunch, I take a nap in the afternoon in one of the upstairs rooms. It is so beautiful to look out over the fields and see all the hundreds of little trees the Trust just planted last month. All this rain is doing wonders for them.

In the afternoon, there was a Baba film in the Music and Arts Center at 4:30 pm. First tea and a snack were served at 4:00 pm. Then at 4:30 pm the film was shown.

In the evening, there was a birthday party for a 15-year-old Australian girl. She and her family are living here for some length of time. The theme was 'dress as your favorite incarnation'. There were some pretty clever costumes. Two pilgrims came as 'joined at the hips'. They had a cloth ties around them so they had to do everything together. It was a fun party and we all enjoyed ourselves.

I walked home with my neighbor, Marge, who is back from visiting her family in Canada. It was a beautiful night for a walk. A full moon lit the dirt road along the gullies full of water. The zillion frogs were croaking away, and the weather was just the right coolness.

Thursday 18 September. I went up the hill for an early Darshan at Baba's Samadhi. Later, I drove my car into Ahmednagar to the phone company. The traffic was unbelievable! Now, when I say traffic, I don't mean the type of bumper to bumper we have in the West. No, no, no! We are talking about cars, a couple of trucks, with six or ten motorcycles, plus the bicycles and animals, all in the two lanes—at the same time!!!!!! But, don't forget the rickshaws! And, some of those rickshaws, bicycles, and scooters don't believe in going the correct way the traffic goes. They come towards you, on your side, scooting around everything in their path, all because they are turning in a short while. Oh, and you also have all the pedestrians cutting through all this—yet, amazing as it seems, it works-somehow!

I had to go to the phone company to pay the first bills of the two new phone lines of the house under construction. On one of the phone lines I had applied for DSL. The phone company delivers the 'caller ID' phones with each phone number. You pay for all this when you get the first bill. A lot of the charges are 'one time only'.

Friday 19 September. In the morning, I had to open all my metal cabinets to air out my clothes. With this muggy air and rain, some of the clothes are getting that mildew smell. My neighbor Marge had told me last year that if you put your mildew smelling clothes in the sun, it kills the smell. This I have been doing when it looks like there will be sun.

In the afternoon, Bhauji gave a talk in the MPC Hall at 4:30 pm. First, tea and donuts were served at 4:00 pm. In the evening in the MPR dining hall, a Baba film was shown.

Saturday 20 September. When I got up in the morning I found there was no running water. I went up the hill by 5:30 am to clean Baba's Cabin Room. Since there was no running water up there either, I used the drinking water containers to get water for my little bucket. I use this water to wash the glass on Baba's photos and the glass cover over the stretcher. When I am threw cleaning, I put flowers on the stretcher, Ghadi, and the Samadhi threshold.

The water didn't come on until almost 10:00 a.m. Later, I found out the problem was someone had been stealing those expensive 'shut off' valves. In the past month we have lost a number of them.

I went to the MPC to take anyone waiting, on the Tour of Meherabad Historical Sites. When we went into Mandali Hall, there was Baba's photo back up on the wall. I was told they put it up on Friday. Mandali Hall has been in the process of being restored since the end of last pilgrim season. So, everything had been removed. There had been no photo of Baba on the wall all these months. There was such a warm feeling in my heart to see Baba's photo back up in its original place.

They have also put lights up on the wall above the photo. The original place the lights had been was on the ceiling wooden beams. They said it was safer to put the lights extending out from the wall.

When we left the 'cage room' in the hospital compound behind the Samadhi, I asked Jaloo if it would be okay for the pilgrims to say hello to her. It is so sweet to see the pilgrims stand at the doorway with folded hands, giving their name and saying 'Jai Baba'. Jaloo answers in the sweetest voice. When the pilgrims are Indian, she asked where they are from, etc.

Just when we came out of the museum, the sky opened up and it pour rain so hard we could hardly talk over the sound of the rain hitting the roof of the Tin Shed. It was one of those amazing monsoon rains when buckets of water seem to be pouring down on the earth!

In the afternoon, there was a musical concert in the MPC Hall. Tea and snack were served at 4:00 pm. At 4:30 pm Jeff DeLoe and friends gave the concert.

Later in the afternoon, I went to the house construction site to check on things. I saw the place on the wall where the 'on/off' light switch wiring was coming out of the wall. I asked why it was there? That was the place for the refrigerator! The electrician showed me the original drawing for the electrical outlets. I said, yes, I could see that was where it was originally designed to be—but, since that design, that same place had been selected for the refrigerator. In fact, we had already measured that same wall to space a cabinet between the refrigerator and the stove. I asked if they thought we should move the refrigerator every time we wanted to turn on and off the light switch? Finally, it was understood we had to move the light switch site above the cabinet that would be next to the refrigerator.

Sunday 21 September. I hired a car to drive Virginia and me to Meherazad. On Mehera's porch, Katie and Meheru greeted all the pilgrims. They are so very sweet to Virginia. While on the verandah I had a photo taken of Virginia and me with Meheru and Katie. In all these years I have lived here, I have almost never had photos taken of me with the Mandali. But, I really wanted to have one with them, Virginia and me. It will be a sweet keepsake. I sent copies on the Internet to Jack Small, Virginia's son.

We then went into Baba and Mehera's rooms. Next, we went to Mandali Hall for the program. In Mandali hall, Hooyar sang the 'Seven Names of God' and another song. Abbas, another Iranian resident, sang a devotional song in Persian. After that a pilgrim sang a song in Hindi. While the program was going on in Mandali Hall, Bhauji came and sat outside on the verandah.

On the way home we stopped for ice cream to have for dessert with our lunch waiting at Virginia's.

Monday 22 September. I was on duty at the MPR. Fereshteh was not able to help. I missed her assistance, as she is quite helpful. Also, she is good company. The day was slow.

Tuesday 23 September. I went to Pune to buy a stove for the house under construction. I also bought a 'fan' for above the stove. It had to be ordered from Mumbai. I will go back next week and pick it up in a large Sumo; they are like SUV's.

Since I knew I would probably not make it back to Meherabad on time for my Samadhi duty at 6:00 pm, I had someone else cover for me.

Wednesday 24 September. I picked up Fereshteh on the way to the MPR. In the afternoon, if we are not busy, Fereshteh takes our bus to the Music and Arts Center, for the program there. Tea and snack were served on the verandah at 4:00 PM, and the Baba film was shown at 4:30 pm.

Thursday 25 September. I was on duty at the MPR to cover for one of the Receptionist; she is out of the country visiting her family. I had a couple arrive from Mexico. They had not been to Meherabad for six years. They were very pleased at the beauty of the new MPR.

On the way home, I stopped at the house under construction. I took several photos of the verandah grill sample. We put a few different designs on the grill. I will send these photos to the owners so they can choose what they want.

Friday 26 September. I went up the hill to take an early Darshan. The morning dawn was just beginning to give light to the sky when I was walking back down the hill. On both sides of Hostels B, C, and D are tall eucalyptus trees. They have become the home for dozens and dozens of crows. As I was passing by, they were making so much racket as they began to take their morning flight. They fly over the Samadhi to somewhere unknown. Often, they will stop in the trees around the Samadhi before going on. It is like they too want their morning Darshan from Baba! Smart crows!

I went home and had breakfast. Then I gathered my Samadhi cleaning stuff and headed back up the hill. This was my last day of my rotation turn for archive cleaning of the Samadhi. There are five of us, and we rotate by the month. The Samadhi gets an archive cleaning once a week.

After, I returned to my room, I grabbed my car keys and drove up to the house under construction. I had checked my email first, and now knew what design was chosen for the verandah grills.

Now, I have a new dilemma. I just realized the stove's 'fan' that is to go above the stove, will not fit where it was to go. There is a small window that partly takes away the wall space needed for the 'fan'.

I sent an email with this problem to the owners. There are some choices. One is not to use the 'fan'. Another is to switch the place where the stove was to go, with the place where a small cabinet would be; the cabinet is between the place for the stove and the space for the refrigerator. I tell you, helping build a house is not easy when it is a whole new experience!

In the afternoon, Bhauji gave a talk in the MPC Hall at 4:30 pm. Tea and donuts were served first served at 4:00 pm. In the evening, a Baba film was shown in the MPR Dining Hall.

Saturday twenty-seventh September. My number seven key isn't working, so please excuse the written seven instead of the number seven.

I was up the hill by 5:30 am to clean Baba's Cabin Room. Inside the room, they're lots of little nats gathering on one post by the stretcher. Also, some are on other areas of the room. I will have to report this to Ted and Shaheen—two of our residents that take archive care of Meherabad buildings.

After putting flowers on the stretcher, Ghadi, and Samadhi threshold, I went back down the hill to clean the Jhopdi. Fereshteh meets me there and together we clean it.

At 10:00 am I went to the MPC to give the Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites. Only one person was there for the Tour. She is from Israel and this was her first trip here. We only went on the Lower Meherabad part of the Tour.

In the afternoon, there was a concert by 'The Sai Baba Ringtones' held in the MPC Hall. Shelley Merrick's nephew, Zak, and two of his friends, Phil and Jeremy, decided to call themselves that for this concert because their 'SIMI' cards that they got here for there cell phone always had ads for 'Sai Baba'. They sang songs from different regions of the world. They are Jewish and also sang some songs from their traditional upbringing. Then they had a group of Arangaon village boys sing a song with them—it had the beat of an Africa song.

There was so much life and enjoyment in their entertainment. At the end, they sang a last song along with a few Iranians—everyone enjoyed the whole concert.

When the concert was over, I drove to the house under construction to see how things were going. I asked when the toilets were coming? The supervisor said he thought this week. I told him there was only seventeen days left on their contract. When I leave on the 20th for the States to visit my family, the house could be finished if they tried. The contractor has had nine years—and the owners are fed up and will not give the contractor one extra day.

I realized I was just going to have to 'push' the contractor. So, I called him and told him to cancel the toilet order from Pune. I told him I would buy cheap toilets this week here in Ahmednagar so they can be installed in time. There is a lot of plumbing work to be done, and the toilets need to be in for the work. I told him I would, at a later date, order better quality toilets and have them installed.

I also asked where the granite was for the cabinets! Again the same answer 'they are coming this week'. I told the contractor there was no more time to wait, and no reason the granite was not here already. The shop in Pune had on site every single one of the color and style that was wanted. I told him to hire a truck and pick up the granite this week! I feel like I am pulling a donkey that only wants to sit!

Sunday 28 September. When I was up the hill to take Darshan at the Samadhi, I also went into Baba's Cabin Room. I noticed the 'nat' problem had been greatly reduced by some leaves of a plant that was hung from one of the rafters. The 'nats' cling to the plant instead of all over Baba's Cabin. I will find out the name of the plant.

After coming down the hill, I got ready for Meherazad. When the car came, I first had us drive to the house construction site. Since it was the workers day off, I had picked up the Supervisor and took him to the house to show him a change I wanted for the kitchen. I realized if I had the small cabinet cut in half, and moved the stove over those inches, than it would be far enough away from the little window so the 'fan' could fit above the stove. The other half of the cabinet could go on the other side of the stove: to become part of the long counter.

Then I went to pick up Virginia and we went to Meherazad. Virginia seemed to be in a good mood, but it seems it is harder for her to get around. I use a wheelchair to take her from one area of Meherazad to the other, but inside the buildings she has to walk.

At Meherazad, there was a group of very sweet children from an orphanage in the south part of India. The orphanage is called 'Meher Ashram' and is run by a Baba lover couple, named Gita and Shiva. The children are growing up in such a loving atmosphere of Baba's love. It touched my heart that Gita and Shiva brought the children such a long way, so they could know the wonderful atmosphere of Meherabad and Meherazad. They gave the children a chance to have Baba's Darshan at the Samadhi, and to meet the Mandali. The Mandali were so sweet to the children.

On the way home, we stopped at 'Sweet Home' restaurant. I picked up part of our lunch, and chocolate ice cream for our dessert. I also bought Virginia a small cup of ice cream to eat on the way home. She just loves ice cream. And at almost 94 years old, she should get what she still really enjoys!

Monday 29 September. I picked up Fereshteh on the way to the MPR. We had another easy day. In the morning at the MPC, Bill Le Page gave a talk during the 'Meherabad Mornings' program. In the afternoon, Fereshteh took our bus to the MPC at 3:30 pm for Bhauji's talk. At 4:00 pm tea and popcorn were served. At 4:30 pm Bhauji gave his talk.

I went by the house construction site when I was finished at the MPR at 6:00 pm. I find it so frustrating that there are only sixteen days left of the contractor's deadline to finish the house—and not one bathroom is finished, the front wall is not finished, the verandahs are not finished, etc. I asked where the masons were? He said they wanted a day off for something. Their scheduled day off is Sunday-so this was another day of not working.

This contractor started to build this house nine years ago!!!!!!!! That is right, nine years ago! That is why I got involved. The owners live in the States, and they thought this contractor would work without them being here. I'm helping now. Yes, I have got a lot done, but what can you do when the contractor refused to hire more people, or buy the items needed to finish the house—thought he keeps asking for more money! Which I will not give.

The contractor's deadline is 15 October. It is finish or walk away and another contractor will be brought in to finish the job. You can guess which it is going to be.

Tuesday 30 September. On my way up the hill to take early morning Darshan, as I was getting ready to cross the road by the Dhuni, a runner passed by holding a lit torch. Accompanying him on a motorcycle were three men. I will have to find out what the run was about.

I found out it is the first day of Gurda—the beginning of a nine-day fast for Hindus. Then comes Dessara, when Ram slayed some evil one. Fifteen days later is Duvali, the festival of lights. It is the largest holiday in India, when all religions celebrate the victory of light over dark.

I took a rickshaw into the bazaar to buy some cheap toilets that can be used at the house construction site. The imported toilets are not going to be here by 15 Oct., and I need to make sure the plumbing works, so I decided to buy something to use for now.

Well, when I got to the shop that sells bathroom supplies, I realized I didn't know the parts that are needed to install a toilet. So, it will have to wait until I get someone who knows.

I stopped by to see Jaloo before my 6:00 pm Samadhi duty.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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