Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


1 to 15 January 2009

Jai Meher Baba to you all! And Happy New Year!!!

Thursday 1 January 2009. I rested most of this first day of the New Year. Anand, my neighbor as well as the Trust electrical engineer, came by with wonderful news he wished to share for first day of the New Year. There is now electricity hooked up to the electrical panel room of the house under construction. However, the electrical wiring of the house is not yet connected to the panel. Anand said he would be able to get one of his electricians to do the house wiring to the panel, if I can't get the original electrician who wired the house, to do the connection.

Anand and I drove to the house. Just as we pulled up on the road, next to the driveway entrance, there was a hoopoe bird that just landed on a tree by the driveway. Anand said that it was a very good sign. The hoopoe is a large, pretty bird that has such a distinct singing — to me it has always had a totally India sound.

Friday 2 January. The day went fast and in the afternoon, Bhau gave a talk in the MPC Hall at 4:30 PM. Tea and snack were served first at 4:00 pm. In the evening, Peter Booth showed a Baba film in the MPR Dining Hall.

Saturday 3 January. I was up the hill by the time the Samadhi doors were opened at 5:30 am. After taking Darshan I went to Baba's Cabin Room and cleaned. After putting flowers there, I went to put flowers on the Gadi, and the Samadhi threshold. I then went down the hill to meet Fereshteh to clean the Jhopdi.

Anand, my electrical engineer neighbor, came by to tell me he had picked up the main electric meter and it would be installed later in the day.

At 10:00 am I went to the MPC to take any pilgrims waiting for the Tour of the Historic Sites of Meherabad. The Tour last until 1:00 pm; the final place we go to is the museum up on the Hill.

In the afternoon, I met Chandu at the house construction site. He was the original carpenter when the house first was under construction over ten years ago! Since I am now having a different carpenter, he and I went around the house to count how many windows had missing frames. The frames had all been made, but were now in storage until ready to be put up.

There was a concert in the Music & Arts Center at 4:30 pm. Simon Reece, Lorraine Brown, and others gave the performances. First tea and snack were served on the verandah at 4:00 pm.

Sunday 4 January. Sirish, our car driver, drove my neighbor Marge, Virginia, and me to Meherazad. We realized we were too early to reach Meherazad, so we stopped for tea at a restaurant we always passed by. Virginia was so happy to have tea. Because of her health, she has not had any on a regular basis for quite a while.

Monday 5 January. I picked up Fereshteh and we drove to the MPR. As we were walking up the walk, I noticed the tire swing had been fixed. Balu, our maintenance man had it welded, so the children were once again using it.

We are so busy once again. In the morning, there is the weekly program 'Meherabad Mornings'. This is often a forum for Baba stories to be told by those who met Beloved Baba. In the afternoon, Bhauji gave a talk at the MPC Hall at 4:30 pm. Tea and snack were served first at 4:00 pm. I was not able to leave the MPR until after 7:10 pm.

Tuesday 6 January. I was up the hill by 5:30 am to take Darshan. Then I did my morning workout before getting ready to go to Ahmednagar. The voice mail on my cell phone was not working. I went to BSNL (my cell phone provider) in Ahmednagar. The manager who would be able to help me had returned from a one-week training. He fixed my voice mail so it was working once again — though it took almost a half-hour to fix the problem.

I then stopped to verify the bank had received a wire transfer of money. The wire transfer was supposed to go to a separate account in a separate bank than my own, as this is the money I am using to have the house under construction built. It is much easier to keep the money totally separate from my own. But, I found out the money was sent to my personal account instead. I wrote a check for the wire amount money and took it to the correct bank to deposit.

I got a phone call asking if I could help take care of Jaloo during the night — I immediately said yes! I got to spend the night up on the hill again! Jaloo was not well, and they wanted more than one person staying with her. She lives in the building directly behind the Samadhi. I took my overnight stuff to Jaloo's when I went up the hill for my Samadhi duty at 6:00 pm.

Wednesday 7 January. Fereshteh and I drove to the MPR for our receptionist duty. The day was long and once again I had to put in almost eleven hours! I am starting to get really fed up with these extremely long hours. It is too much. There are four times as many pilgrims as when we were at the MPC. And, we can't just go home and have someone call us when a late pilgrim arrives. We have to stay at the MPR and wait, because we live to far away. I want to bring up at our next receptionist meeting that we need to make some changes. The constant long hours and increase in pilgrim numbers is starting to really wear me.

Thursday 8 January. I made a day trip to Pune. I had a number of errands to run. I also bought a number of different notebooks for the Lobby and Reception Offices. Also, I bought several three ring binders, so we could break up the large; hard to get out, foreign languages one we have now. On the way home we stopped at the Samadhi so I could take Darshan before going home.

Friday 9 January. Fereshteh and I went to MPR to cover for another receptionist who was out of town. Fereshteh goes on bus to Bhauji's talk at 3:30 pm. Tea and snack were served at 4:00 pm and Bhau talk at 4:30 pm. Before she left we looked at the Amartithi list. There will be almost 100 Iranians coming. We have so many pilgrims coming that there is a long waiting list for accommodations at the MPR.

Saturday 10 January. I was up the hill by 5:30 am to clean Baba's Cabin Room. I put flowers on Gadi and Samadhi threshold before going down the hill to clean the Jhopdi. Fereshteh wasn't able to help this morning as she had another commitment.

I got ready and went to the MPC to give the Tour of Historical Sites of Meherabad. The Tour finishes at 1:00 pm in museum. I took Darshan in the Samadhi and went to see how Jaloo was doing. She had not been well, with an infection on her foot. I was very happy to see the infection was almost gone.

I had agreed to help the Saturday receptionist this day by coming in at 3:00 pm so she could go to the special Australian concert given in the Music & Arts Center. Since Suzie is Australian, I said yes. When I got home and had lunch and a short rest, and got a call from Suzie at 2:00 pm. She said all her arrivals had come and I there was really no need for me to go all the way to the MPR to cover for her. She said the Lobbyman could just call me if an emergency came up.

Now here is an example of Baba's humor. Suzie left the MPR on the 3:30 pm bus to the Music & Arts Center for the concert. I got a call from the Lobbyman at 3:35 pm — that is right, only five minutes after Suzie left. He said there were four unexpected Indian arrivals that were interested in staying in the MPR, and they had never been there before. Now, 'new arrivals' means would need a full orientation — twenty minutes it takes to give. I had no choice; I had to go to the MPR.

Well, I find they had just gone to the Samadhi and someone there had suggested they stay at the MPR. It was teatime, so I invited the family to be my guest for tea. The grandmother said she had seen a DVD of Baba at friends and wanted to come to the Samadhi. Her family brought her. She would be the only one staying; the rest would go back to Pune. But, at a later date the whole family would come. By the time tea was over, the grandmother decided she would also go back to Pune, but they would come together and stay next time. I gave them the information to make a reservation in the future.

I saw Baba's great humor in the whole incident! Who else could time everything so perfectly and yet nothing happened! Suzie calling me not to come, then getting a call from the Lobbyman the minute Suzie leaves that I need to go to the MPR. Getting to the MPR to check the pilgrims in, then finding they were not really staying. It was Baba's great humor! You see, Baba was showing that He makes the decisions if we have to do something-not us!

Sunday 11 January. I slept late, than did a workout with weights. I had so little time for exercise for almost a year, so I had gained weight and had less energy. Now, I am trying to correct that and make time for something so important as my health.

I then went to the MPR to get our copy of a drawing of the MPR. We want to make smaller ones and give them out to pilgrims who are new — so we can cut down on the orientation time — which now takes around 20 minutes. While at the MPR, I saw Heather, who informed me the PRO (Pilgrim Reservation Office) will be having all the current pilgrims at the MPR moving out for Amartithi to other accommodations. There are so many pilgrims wanting reservations that PRO has to make room for those who have not yet been at the MRP. I also heard we will have 100 new pilgrims from Iran for Amartithi. The community is being asked to please take in pilgrims if possible.

I then went to the bank's ATM in Ahmednagar and took out some money for buying two ladders for the house under construction. One ladder is a metal 10' A-frame, the other a 12' bamboo ladder. Kishore, who is the hired supervisor will purchase them for me — it is so nice to have people who can do these things and not have to do everything myself.

I stopped by Virginia's for lunch. I was to exhausted to take her to Meherazad today. On the way home, I stopped and had 100 copies of the MPR drawing made.

Monday 12 January. Dhuni Day. I slept late, as I have been very tired lately. In fact, I woke at 7:40 am — and I had to leave for the MPR in 50 minutes! I was only five minutes late to pick up Fereshteh. We no sooner opened the MPR Reception Office doors and a flood of pilgrims entered.

One group was from Mumbai. One of the men had been at the MPR before, but the other five were new. I was told it was the birthday of one of the men-of course I wished him a Happy Birthday. I also gave him a small Baba photo I had just bought the day before. Later, I found out these pilgrims were some of the survivors of the Mumbai terrorist attack. The Leopold Restaurant has been a family owned restaurant since the 1800's. The Baba lover man, whose family owns the restaurant, brought his brother and sister-in-law. His brother had been upstairs, above the restaurant when the attack happened. The other new couple had been in the Taj Hotel when the attack happened. They all felt Baba saved them.

The list of pilgrims going out during Amartithi was put up on Dining Hall door. There was also a list telling the pilgrims which accommodations were available. An email had also gone out to the Baba community here to please take in some pilgrims if at all possible.

In the morning in the MPC Meeting Hall there are talk by Naosherwan Anzar about his growing up with Baba. Naosherwan is the editor of the Glow magazine.

In the Dining Hall, there were some young pilgrims sitting at a table near the entrance. On a table they had a very large card for pilgrims to sign for Bhauji's birthday. In the afternoon, Bhauji gave a talk at 4:30 pm MPC Hall. I was told Bhau had the Mumbai terrorist survivor pilgrims tell their stories.

Because it was Dhuni, the evening Arti was at 5:00 pm. The Dhuni was lit at 6:00 pm. It was very sweet to see one of the Chinese pilgrims had been selected to help light the Dhuni, as was a young boy from Serbia, and several others pilgrims. It is an honor and the pilgrims show they appreciate being picked.

Bhauji was helped to walk from the MPC to the Dhuni. He was the first one to put the stick into the Dhuni. Bhauji didn't stay though. He was then helped to a car to go back to the Trust.

After the Dhuni, there was a 'fire dance' by the two German pilgrims, Samarpan and Archana Hattendorf. They are really amazing, such skill.

Tuesday 13 January. Ever since I bought my car, I have been waiting to get the title transferred to my name. It has been four months and still I have not received them. I can't get my insurance papers until the title is fully transferred at the RTO (Transportation Registration Office). It seems my insurance man had given my papers to someone to take to the RTO to have this work done. Unknown to me, the Indians do not go directly to the main office. Rather, they go to the 'agents' in the parking lot and the 'agents' do the paperwork.

Well, all these years I have gone directly to the main office. I have never paid attention to the 'agents'. And, I always got the work done right away. Well, before I left for the States in October, I was told the papers had still not been done because the 'agent' needed proof of my resident visa. Since I was leaving the next day for the States, I told the insurance man's friend to get the copy of my visa from the Trust office. I also gave a current photo, as that too was required under the new laws; because of terrorist.

Since returning from the States, I have been told the 'agent' was always telling the insurance man's friend to come back 'tomorrow' or next week. Well, I got fed up with this 'tomorrow' stuff. I told that friend we were going to get the papers from this 'agent' and I will take them into the main office and get the transfer done.

We both went to the RTO and got my papers. I think the 'agent' just did not like foreigners. We went into the manager's office and I explained what happened. The man was so nice. He said the 'agent' should never have done such a thing. He obviously liked Baba people because he said they needed people like us.

He told the insurance man's friend to come the following day and he will have the papers ready. The manager wanted to talk to the 'agent' and find out why he did such a thing. The manager also asked me to forgive the 'agent'. Now, wasn't that sweet!

When I got back to Meherabad, I drove to the house construction site to just look around. Then later that evening, I had Samadhi duty at 6:00 PM. First I stopped by to say hello to Jaloo.

Wednesday 14 January. I picked up Fereshteh and we went to the MPR. I called Pat about the list of pilgrims going out from 27th onward. Pat wanted the pilgrims scheduled to go to the MPC to let her know if they accepted the offer. I asked what the deadline was to inform her they want the accommodation. She said she would need to know by Monday 19th at 1:00 pm. So, I had Fereshteh put that important notice on the Dining Hall door so the pilgrims would see it.

There was a Baba film shown in our Music & Arts Center at 4:30 pm. Tea and snack were first served on the verandah at 4:00 pm. It was slow, so I was able to go home before 6:00 pm.

Thursday 15 January. I slept late, but once I got up I had a very busy morning. I did my workout, which I am happy to say I am able to last through most of the DVD video workout. The body can recover quickly.

Marge (my neighbor) and I were going to go at 9:30 am to this organic farm, owned by a Baba lover just about one mile from Meherabad. I was to pick up Marge at the old MPC on the way. Marge is the housekeeping supervisor for the MPC, and she needed to meet with the cleaning ladies first.

Meanwhile, I got a phone call from Phiroze, the contractor who is building the underground water tank at the house construction site. He had an emergency and could not meet me at our appointed time of 11:00 am. So, I asked if he could meet me now? He said he yes and he would be at the house at 9:40 am.

When I picked up Marge she was okay with the changed schedule. When we went to the house, Phiroze was there. He said the underground water storage tank should be finished by Amartithi. Phiroze is also going to finish the front stone wall, as well as make the two double width driveway gates. We walked around the house and I showed other masonry work that needed to be completed. He said we would talk more after Amartithi. It is really nice to know the house is really having progress.

I also met Kishore at the house. Since his whole family is carpenters, he is going to have one of them finish all the doors and windows at the house. But, we will need ladders. So, I gave him money to buy three ladders of different sizes for the house.

David & Gusi, who own the house behind my family house, came by. They wanted to also show Marge their house. So, we went to see what work they had been doing at their place. David just had another underground water storage tank made. Only this one he also had built a storage shed above it. They are such nice people and they will be wonderful neighbors.

Marge & I then drove to the organic farm. It is a ten-acre farm, directly off the by-pass road that has not been finished. We picked lettuce and tomatoes out of the ground — now you can't get more fresh produce than that! The farm grows a lot of wheat and millet for breads. I think I will start getting the wheat to make chapattis from them — all organic.

There was a practice at the Music & Arts Center for everyone who would be in the performances for Bhauji's birthday celebration on Saturday.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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