Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


16 to 31 July 2009

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Thursday 16 July 2009. Janaki & I went to Pune for the day. We met Karina, who was on her way to Meherabad, at the German Bakery for breakfast. I had a hair appointment and errands. Janaki and I met back at Dorobji's and then went to lunch. We finished early and returned to Meherabad by 6:00 pm. On the way going and returning from Pune we stopped at this tea-stall that is about the halfway point. It was the first tea stall in that location for many years. Now, it is surrounded by larger places, but this tea stall still has a photo of Meher Baba on its wall. And, that makes it totally special!

Friday 17 July. I went up the hill early for Darshan at the Samadhi. Then I returned to my room and did a workout of about half an hour. I then drove to the MPR to pick up Karina Page and take her to her house. I was very excited to show Karina all the work that has been going on! We had a 10:15 AM appointment with Phiroze, who built the front stonewall and gates. Phiroze is now painting the protection railing; this will go on top of the stonewall. Then, Karina and I walked through the whole house before the appointment with Joshi, the contractor, at 11:15 AM. Joshi is the new contractor who will complete all the work on the house. This was the first time Joshi and Karina met. Joshi is such a gentleman, very distinguished. Together, they walked around the house talking about what would need to be done. Karina was very happy with all the work that had already been done by Joshi.

I then went to Anand Traders, to buy four small faucets that would be installed next to the toilets, even though there will be 'health sprays' to also use. In India there is always a water tap for bucket water if one wished to wash, since toilet paper is often not available. However, at the modern places the bathrooms often have toilet paper.

Bhauji gave his first talk at the MPC in Lower Meherabad since he returned to India. He started at 4:00 PM instead of his normal time of 4:30 PM. There were still quite a lot of pilgrims here, and Bhauji was eager to share Baba stories with them. So, the tea and donuts were eaten during his talk.

Saturday 18 July. I was up the hill early to take Darshan and then clean Baba's Cabin Room. After putting the flowers on the Gadi and Samadhi threshold, I went back to my room to get ready to do the Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites. Fereshteh was going to clean the Jhopdi sometime before I did the Tour, so I did not stop to do it.

There was no one waiting at the MPC for the Tour, so I had the day off. However, there were three young men from Iran who just wanted to ask something about Baba's life until the bus left to the Trust. They were so eager and interested to know anything about Baba. We are seeing this strong, almost magnetic pull of the Iranians to Baba, mostly young adults. They are coming in ever increasing numbers, and they fall in love with Baba!

I next went up to the Page house to see which tile was needed in the office bath, the wall or floor. The 'tile man' had told me he ran out of tile. Found out it was the wall tile. So, I drove to Anand Trader to order another box.

Well, I was in for a surprise! Anand Trader no longer deals with Johnston Tiles. This meant I had to go to Pune to order the tiles! When I got home I called the Pune office. Unfortunately, the office closed at 1:00 PM, and would also be closed until Monday. I would have to wait until at least Monday to call and order the tile.

A Baba film was shown in the Music & Art Center at 4:30 PM. Tea and snack were served first at 4:00 PM.

Sunday 19 July. I went up the hill early for Darshan at the Samadhi, and then did my workout in my room. I had the morning shift at the MPR, so I was there by 9:00 AM. Becky Kent had the afternoon shift.

I got a call from Bhauji's office. They asked if Ray Lee would be able to do the videoing in the evening for Bhau's Internet Chat Room. Ray had gone to Meherazad. When the bus returned at lunch I gave him the message. He was happy to do it and called Bhau's office to tell them. The Chat Room would go from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

Bhau's office also said to invite all pilgrims to come to Bhau's office and sit in during the Chat Room. But, everyone would have to provide his own transportation and dinner.

As it turned out, Bhauji was asked to finally end the Chat Room at 9:30 PM. He wanted to continue, but his helpers reminded Bhau that the pilgrims had to be back at Meherabad by 10:00 PM curfew.

In the early afternoon, while in my room, I heard sheep bleating for quite some time. I figured it was the herders taking their sheep past Meherabad on their way to be sheered, because so many herds are passing at this time of year.

In the evening, I remembered I had to buy some bags of candy to give out the following day. It would be my birthday, and the workers would ask me where the candy was — with their palms out! So, I went to Ashok's little store near Meher Darbar to buy some.

Monday 20 July. I went up the hill to take early Darshan at the Samadhi. This was my 65th birthday! Last year when I turned 64, everyone sang the Beatle song to me 'When I'm 64'. Now, I will get all the benefits of a senior citizen — all those discounts!

I picked up Fereshteh, Zahra, and her husband, Madhi, and we drove to the MPR. I gave them some candy from one of the bags. When we got to the MPR, I went around giving candy to the workers — many smiles that day! At lunchtime, one of the residents brought a birthday cake for me, which I shared with everyone at the table. The day was cold and rainy, with a strong wind. I am very much enjoying the cooler weather.

Bhauji gave a talk at the MPC at 4:30 PM. I had called earlier to make sure the talk would be at the usual time and not the Friday 4:00 PM start. At 4:00 PM tea and snack were served.

I had a double shift, and was able to close the office at 6:00 PM. I went home to change, and then went up to the Samadhi for Arti. It is so nice to have everyone sing Happy Birthday at the Samadhi — best place in the world! I brought the bags of candy to give out as Prasad. The whole day had been very sweet; Baba sure makes it special!

Both of my daughters called to wish me a Happy Birthday. It is always a joy to hear their voices — makes for a happy mama!

Tuesday 21 July. I slept later that usual, then did a half-hour workout. I am taking my time building my stamina up. Then, I went for a fifteen-minute jog.

I had to go to the bank in Ahmednagar, but I drove to the Trust compound first. My daughter, Mehera, always saves her National Geographic magazines for me. I think they are one of the best magazines that exist, and perfect for a school library. So I bring them back with me from the States for the Meher English School. Mehernath Kalchuri oversees the functioning of the school, and lives in the Trust compound. I left the magazines and other stuff with him for the school.

I saw my neighbor, Marge, at the Trust compound. I offered her a ride back to Meherabad, but first she suggested we stop for lunch. I told her okay, but I needed to go to the bank first. Now, I have been with State Bank of India since I moved here. We have always been able to take a check to the International Department, have the manager sign the check, and be able to get our money later that day or the next day. This has gone on for years! Well, today, I take a check to them and I am told the bank now has changed their policy. I have to wait 21 days for the check to go to the States and have the US bank okay the check before the State Bank of India will release the money in our account.

Well, I sure am glad I had a good amount of money already in my account, because if I had needed that money right away, I would have been in big trouble. Of course, no one here every thinks it is necessary to inform the customer before hand.

Marge and I had a good lunch before we went home to a nice nap. It has been sprinkling for several days, sometimes it will rain more, but not the heavy monsoon that is a downpour. In the evening I had Samadhi duty at 6:00 PM.

Wednesday 22 July. When I first got up to have tea, I heard chanting start from the Arangaon village at 5:00 AM. It was not the normal singing when they have special occasions. It was a repeat chant. When I went up to the Samadhi for an early morning Darshan at the Samadhi, I saw one of the Indian residents there. She told me because of the Solar Eclipse, all over India there would be chanting from 5:00 AM to 9:00 AM. The last time this type of Eclipse happened was just before WWII, and so the Hindu priests wanted to counter any possible negativity by the positive energy of the chant.

When I got home, I called my daughter in NY to wish her Happy Birthday. Her birthday was on the 21st — and it was still the 21st in NY. She said she was about to call me to tell me the trip to Israel next month was called off because her father-in-law was dying.

While I was getting ready for my day at the MPR, I watched the news about the Solar Eclipse. Then I picked up Fereshteh, Zahra and Madhi and we went to the MPR. It had been raining lightly all night, with strong winds and cold weather. I like it when I get to wear a sweater.

I only had the morning shift, so I was free by 1:30 PM. Karina and I had a car pick us up by 2:30 PM. We were going to Pune for a couple of days, to give us enough time to find things that were needed for her house.

We first stopped at Ishanya, where Johnston Tiles had a display outlet. Well, it seems they closed a few months back. So, we went straight to the main office near MG Road. We were so happy to see they were still opened. However, if we wanted to order the tiles for that bathroom, it would take four days. We explained we were from Ahmednagar and we were in Pune for only a couple of days. To our amazement, they said they had a dealer in Ahmednagar. I told them Anand Trader was not working with Johnston Tiles anymore. 'No, no,' they told us. This dealer is a different one. They gave us the phone number — but, just to play it safe, we had them call. Yes, the man named Sunil said, he is opened six days a week until 8:00 PM.

By this time, Karina and I were pretty tired. We went and checked in at The Lotus. We had picked up some Greek Salad and other stuff at the German Bakery and ate in our room.

Thursday 23 July. We slept late and just had toast and tea from room service. We ran most of our errands, including picking up my repaired suitcase, and a watch I had cleaned. Karina did some shopping while I got a rickshaw and went to a section of the city about 10 minutes away. I had to buy the brass hooks for all the windows of her house. The rickshaw man was so nice and took me to a shop where the owner and I talked a little about Baba. And, the owner said Ted Judson had been to his shop twice. Because I bought 70 brass hooks, he called the company to okay a 10% discount. He then gave me an additional Rs 50 discount on a box of brass screws I needed. I left the store with a very pleasant feeling.

I met Karina and we went to a restaurant near our hotel called Malaka Spice for lunch. We saw another Meherabad resident who was also eating there. She said the Malaysian food was excellent, so I ventured out from my usual steak and ordered some duck dish and a shrimp soup. Yummy!!!!!!! It was so delicious. I must try new foods, even though I love what I usually eat. My taste buds were awakened to the savoring Malaysian cooking!

We checked out of our room to return to Meherabad. We had done all we could in Pune; we were tired and wanted to be back in Meherabad.

Friday 24 July. I went up the hill early for Darshan at the Samadhi, and then back in my room I did a 30-minute workout. I still have not completed the usual 50-minute workout — but I'm getting there.

Karina hired a car, and we went into Ahmednagar to find the Johnston Tiles dealer. We dropped Marge off at the Trust office, and got directions for a ceiling fan shop the Trust uses. We finally found Johnston Tiles, after walking in an almost complete circle. We ordered the extra bathroom tile, and also bought a faucet for the sink of the Guest/Office bathroom.

We then went to International Electric. I needed to have two electric extension cords with fuse boxes made that would work for refrigerators. There was an electrician who happened to be in the shop and offered to put it together for us. So, we bought everything from International Electric, and right there on the counter the electrician put it all together. However, when I got home I noticed in the electricians rush to have the job, he didn't put the cord all the way into the box. Part of the wire was showing at the connection area. I would need to have our Trust electrician fix it. That other electrician did a good job, he was only rushing because we didn't want to wait too long.

After a nap, I realized I had not been to the Page house since Tuesday. When I got there, the workers had a lot of questions that needed answers. I called Karina and she set an appointment with Joshi for the next afternoon.

Bhauji gave a talk at the MPC at 4:30 PM. Tea and snack were first served at 4:00 PM.

Saturday 25 July. I was up the hill by 5:30 AM to take Darshan at the Samadhi and then clean Baba's Cabin Room. After putting flowers on the Gadi and Samadhi threshold, I went down the hill to my room to get ready to give the 10:00 AM Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites.

No one was waiting for the Tour, so once again I had the day free. I returned to my room and started working on my computer. The electrician came to fix the extension cords and box. Kishore also came by to raise a cabinet in our kitchen because one of the refrigerators would be under it.

In the afternoon, there was a Concert in the MPC hall at 4:30 pm. Walker Horne, Mani Dreyfuss, and friends gave the concert. Tea and snack were served first at 4:00 PM.

At 4:30 PM I picked up Karina and we went to her house to meet the contractor, Joshi. We walked throughout the house, discussing the necessary work and any changes needed. Karina will soon return to the States, and I wanted to get as much information from her as possible. We will hopefully meet Joshi one more time before she leaves.

It has been lightly raining throughout most of the days. So, it is best to walk around with an umbrella.

Sunday 26 July. I went up the hill early for Darshan at Beloved Baba's Samadhi. Then I went home to get ready for my morning shift at the MPR. On the way to the MPR I stopped at the Page house. When I went into the bathroom were the bathtub was, I realized it was too low; the bathtubs are more shallow here than in the States. So, the tub would have to be raised anywhere from six to twelve inches.

We only had a few arrivals at the MPR, so it was slow and easy. I went home at 1:30 PM. It had been raining on and off during most of the day.

Monday 27 July. Fereshteh, Zahra, and I drove to the MPR. Zahra helps with the pilgrim laundry on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Fereshteh and I opened the Reception Office. This would be a double-shift day.

We were not very busy, so there was time to enjoy just visiting with pilgrims. Fereshteh took the 3:30 PM bus to the MPC. She and her son, Hooyar, set up the sound system for Bhauji's talk. Tea and snack were first served at 4:00, and than a 4:30 PM Bhauji talked.

Tuesday 28 July. I picked up Fereshteh, and we drove to the MPR for a receptionists meeting at 8:15 AM in the Staff Room. We wanted to discuss issues that would need to be brought up at the volunteer group meeting the following day. Also, we wanted to go over areas of running the office that needed to be covered.

Wednesday 29 July. I picked up Fereshteh and Zahra on the way to the MPR. It was cloudy, windy, and overcast, with light sprinkles throughout the day. We had the morning shift with only a few arrivals.

At 11:00 AM there was a meeting of the MPR volunteer supervisors. We met on the upper floor of the Gate House. Alan and Jeff were not able to attend, so there were just Dr. Anne, Roxanne, Laurel, and me. One of the issues we talked about was where to put the 100 new plastic chairs with armrests. We decided to put them on the sleeping wing verandahs and the front verandah of the MPR. These chairs would be more comfortable than the plastic chairs with no armrests.

I saw Haidee Cooke in the Lobby. She is an artist who is doing some beautiful painting of stone benches for Meherabad. She is staying in Staff Quarters in Lower Meherabad. She asked if I was going the next day to see the 'Garden Arch' taken to the Ahmednagar Train Station. I told her I knew nothing about it — which is so typical of how things are here sometimes. She said she had painted a metal arch that was for Baba's Garden at the Train Station, and the truck would come the next morning to take it. I told her I would love to video the whole thing and thanked her for telling me! Later, she said she almost never goes to the MPR in the morning, but for some reason she when this morning.

Suresh, our office clerk, was sick and went home. Since Becky, our substitute, didn't know the computer program, Fereshteh and I decided we would print out the day's activities before going home. If anything new happened, she could call Pat at PRO and ask her to print an update, because we were having trouble with the computer server. When we finally got connected, we printed out the day's activities.

At 1:30 PM Fereshteh and I went home for lunch. At 4:30 PM I picked Karina Page up and we went to her house to meet with the contactor, Joshi, for the final time before she leaves back to the States. It was a good meeting and we went over as much as we could.

Then Karina and I went to visit one of the residents in the Garden Condo's next to her house. The condo was so creatively decorated and very Asian looking.

Thursday 30 July. Karina left for the States. I went to the MPC at 9:30 AM to video the Garden Arch being loaded and taken to the Ahmednagar Railway Station. Becky, Haidee, and I drove directly behind the 10 mph traveling tractor. It had to go slow so nothing would happen to the Arch.

It was a lot of fun for us. We met Ted, Steve, and some of the crew there. On the railway platform we saw a sign that announced Avatar Meher Baba, and that rickshaws and taxis would take pilgrims to Meherabad. It was so cool to see that sign!

Becky, Haidee, and I walked across the overpass of the train tracks. We then gathered excitingly as the tractor found a back road close to the garden, making it easier to unload and carry the Arch. Everyone had expected to carry the Arch across all the train tracks — in fact, we were kind of disappointed we wouldn't be able to do it. We thought it would be fun!

Mehernath Kalchuri arrived ahead of the Train officials. I videoed him telling the story of how a couple of years ago the Train officials offered the garden to the Trust if it would be willing to take care of it. Now, the Arch was made for the entrance. Mehernath said in about two weeks an official ceremony would take place at the site, dedicating the Avatar Meher Baba Garden at the train station!

Friday 31 July. I was up early to take Darshan at the Samadhi. I went down the hill to my room and did a good forty-minute workout with a video on the TV, and then went for a fifteen minute 'walk and jog'. I have noticed the past couple of days my body seems to be getting strong again. I noticed the 'tired feeling' I had been experiencing for the past two and a half years was absence. The resting and cutting back on activity as much as possible, plus taking the homeopathy and ayavedic treatments seemed to be paying off! I really appreciate the ability of my body to move without feeling it is only doing so by sheer will power.

On the way back from the 'jog' I walked to the back barrier of our compound. We had this barrier of plants and ditches made to keep the goats and cows out. Sometimes the herders make a passage of some type and I like to have it repaired if that happens. Well, inside the plant barrier, there was what looked like a 'metal gate' lying on the ground. Now, I'm not sure how this could have been used? But, since it didn't belong there, I dragged it home. I showed it to Marge, my neighbor. She said maybe it had been stolen and put back there until the person could come back and get it. Whatever the reason, it didn't belong where I found it and we were keeping it. So, Marge and I decided we would put bricks under it to raise it, and then place our bamboo poles we use in the garden on it. That way the bamboo would be kept from the white ants (termites).

I got a call from the Johnston Tile dealer in Ahmednagar saying the tiles had been delivered. Karina Page had told me to avoid getting so tired and hire a car when I needed to run errands for their house. I usually drove into Nagar' myself. The car picked me up and we went to International Electric to pay a bill for the wall sockets at the Page house. The electrician had forgotten to give me the bill to pay last month, and so I was eager to get it paid. We then picked up the tiles and drove to BSNL so I could pay my cell phone bill. I can pay the landline phone bills at the Meherabad Post Office, but for some reason, not the cell phone bill.

After stopping at the fruit stand near Kinetic Chowk, we took the back road to the Page house to drop off the tiles. I was very happy to see the front stonewall of the house being worked on. The top was being rounded before the workers put the security metal grill in place on the very top.

Before the driver dropped me off, we went to Ashok's shop across from Meher Darbar. His wife makes the best yogurt, and I like to have some with muesli in the mornings. As Ashok and I were talking, two racing tongas went by, followed by several motorcycles. I asked if there was a race? No, Ashok said they are practicing for the big race on Independence Day, the 15th of August.

Fereshteh and her son, Hooyar, were going to start videoing Bhauji's talks on Monday and Friday for me. I had given them one camera and tripod. But, I forgot to include the part that supports the camera to the tripod. Since I would be napping when they came by, I called Fereshteh and told her I would leave it outside my front door. They would pick it up on the way to the MPC to video. They are always at Bhauji's talks because Hooyar sets up the sound system. I was very happy they were willing to do the videoing.

After I went around picking flowers for tomorrow, Kishore and another worker of the Trust, came by to remove the 'honey bee' nest in the bushes behind my back door. They told me to be sure to close the back door and not to go out there for at least an hour. They only used a small 6" saw to cut the branch. I asked if they were worried about being stung — no, they said. Later they came around front and showed me the small honey-cone. They said the nest was too new to have much honey.

Bhauji gave a talk at the MPC at 4:30 PM. Tea and snack were first served at 4:00 PM.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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