1 to 15 August 2009
Jai Meher Baba to you all!
Saturday 1 August, 2009. I went up the hill to take Darshan at Beloved Baba's Samadhi. Then, I cleaned Baba's Cabin Room and put flowers on the Gadi and Samadhi threshold.
When I got back to my room I got ready to give the Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites. Before leaving my room I had a phone call from the MPR Receptionist. She said she just checked in ten new pilgrims who were here for the first time. They missed the 9:30 AM bus, but really wanted to go on the Tour. She asked if I would wait for them. She had ordered three rickshaws and they would only be about ten minutes late.
When I went to the MPC at 10:00 am, I told the one pilgrim waiting that we would start a few minutes late. Two rickshaws arrived shortly and seven pilgrims came out. One rickshaw then returned to the MPR to pick up the last of those ten pilgrims. We started the Tour, and not long afterward the last rickshaw brought the other pilgrims to join us.
We were at the tomb of Gilori Shah when some racehorses pulling tongas zoomed past; horn-blaring motorcycles followed them. I was later told the Tonga races we witnessed were only practice for the upcoming races on the 5 th and 15th.
In the afternoon, a Baba film was shown in the Music & Arts Center at 4:30 PM. First tea and snack were served on the verandah.
Sunday 2 August. I went up the hill for morning Darshan at the Samadhi. When I returned to my room I did a thirty-minute workout with a video before getting ready for my morning shift at the MPR Reception Office.
When I got to the MPR, Steve Myhro, a resident, came into the Reception Office. He told me four white posts, linked by chain, were being placed around the Panchvati Cave that morning. The Panchvati Cave is on the hillside near the parking lot of the Samadhi.
At 11:00 AM there was a meeting in the room above the MPR Gate House. Once a month we usually meet with the Meherabad Trustees, Pilgrim Reservation Office, and all volunteer MPR Supervisors. But, as the minutes showed, we had not met since last November.
One topic we covered was the need for a rickshaw rate increase. There had not been one in three years even though the cost of fuel had gone up. Another topic was to have a sign made for the MPR and MPC rickshaw parking areas. We want the rickshaws that are 'available' to park in a line behind the sign. Those who say they are 'engaged' would not be allowed to be in the 'available' line. We hope this will help limit the problem of the rickshaw drivers only wanting long fares, like into Ahmednagar; they would just tell pilgrims they were 'engaged' so they would not have to take them the short trips.
When I was off at 1:30 PM, I stopped at the Page house to see how the work was coming along. Then I stopped by the Panchvati Cave and took photos of the new posts and white painted stones along the path leading to it.
After my nap I saw two cows near where I park my car. There is an opening that the cow herders had made between the plant barriers. I had someone chase the cows away. Then I called Kishore and showed him the opening. He will get some workers to dig a trench so the cows can't come in that way anymore.
When I was having my tea, I walked around in our back area. I saw these hard white things attached to our sick banyan tree. They looked like a combination of a white rock and a mushroom. They were stuck hard to the tree. I showed my neighbor, Marge. We think this must be the fungus that made the tree ill. We had to use a hammer to break the stuff off the tree. We collected them in a bucket and plan to show the staff in charge for the care of Meherabad trees.
Monday 3 August. I pick up Fereshteh on the way to the MPR for our double shift day. Went I went into the Dining Hall to get some water, I saw a pilgrim I needed to talk to. While we were talking, I was disturbed to see so many flies. So, after the bus left at 9:30 AM, I sent our porter and office clerk in the Hall, each armed with a fly swatter. About half an hour later, Fereshteh and I joined the 'fly reduction brigade'.
I am happy to say when I sat for lunch there was not much of a fly problem. With so many doors for the pilgrims to go in and out of, this 'attack on the flies' will need to be a recurring theme.
I rearranged the notices on our 'information' board. I brought to eye level the 'Meherabad Schedule' and 'Meherabad Mornings' laminated sheets. A pilgrim told me she could not read them up so high. Now, it would be easy for everyone.
When I got home, Marge, my neighbor, came over to tell me the metal gate I had recently found out back belonged to Meher Hospital. Dr. Anne had it and said it was used as a 'moveable cover' for the trash. Since the hospital does not use it any more, we would need to return it to the Meherabad supply store. No 'finders-keepers' here.
At 3:30 PM our bus took the pilgrims to the MPC. Tea and snack were served at 4:00 PM, and then Bhauji gave a talk at 4:30 PM. In the evening, Kokila Gillett and her piano teacher, Pavel Timofeevskiy, gave a musical performance in the MPR Music Room.
Tuesday 4 August. In the morning when, Sulu, our housekeeper came to clean, I had her wash my car. It was quite dirty, and I wanted to give it a wax. But, it needed to be clean first. I planned to wax it after my nap; but, other things came up and I had to put it off.
Kishore came by to measure the length of a shelf that will go on the wall next to my desk. I want to put my printer on it. Right now, the printer is on a small cabinet built on a shelf over my desk. It sits directly above where I use my laptop computer. I am concerned some day something my cause it to falland it would land on my computer. It will also look less cluttered.
I had Samadhi duty at 6:00 PM. I went up early to spend some time with Jaloo. After first taking Darshan I went toward Jaloo's, who lives directly behind the Samadhi. I was surprised to hear an alarm clock ringing. As I got closer to Jaloo's I wondered why no one had turned it off. When I went inside her room, the ringing was so loud! Jaloo and her servant were beside themselves trying to find where the ringing was coming from. I went to the clock on the shelf; no, it was not ringing.
I stood still and listen to the ringing. I told Jaloo it sounded like it was coming from the next room. I went into that room, and sure enough, there on the dresser was the noisy alarm clock. I clicked it off and brought it to show Jaloo. She and the servant just laughed and were so amused that they were not able to know where to look. The alarm clock was used by one of the resident's who occasionally sleeps there to keep Jaloo company. The servant must have pressed the alarm when cleaning the room.
Wednesday 5 August. I picked up Fereshteh on the way to the MPR. I told her about the car being washed. The day was slow and there was time to visit with pilgrims.
One pilgrim came into the office and reported a woman in a sari was on the path between the Samadhi and the MPR for the second morning in a row. She had been there begging right after morning Arti. I called Ramesh Jangle, a Trustee who is in charge of security. Ramesh said he would have some security men on the scene.
There was an 11:00 AM meeting of the Volunteer Supervisor Group. Two department Supervisors were not able to attend. One issue we talked about was to have workers park their motorcycles in the assigned parking area and not just park anywhere.
I had a temporary gardener start work in the morning. I had shown him what I wanted him to do the day before. But, when I got home, I found he cut everything down in the area he was working! I told him from now on he would only be allowed to work when I was there.
There was a meeting on the H1N1 virus in the Spiritual Training Academy. Dr. Anne and Caren St. John talked about precautions to take and supplies we should keep in our personal medical kit. The first death from the virus in India was a 14-year-old girl in Pune. Anne said one of the most important preventatives was to wash our hands frequently, especially after touching money.
Thursday 6 August. I went up the hill early to take Darshan at Beloved Baba's Samadhi. When I started toward the path to go back down the hill, I saw the full moon directly above it. It was so pretty to seelike it was lighting the path! Usually before going down, I like to stop and turn toward the Samadhi and just stand still for a while. I try to absorb everything I see and feel; the Samadhi, the sky, the compound with the Baba flag fluttering in the wind, as well as the air and atmosphere. I try to take it all in.
After my morning workout with a video, I went out to work a little in the garden.
The young Tacoma trees had grown and were bending over. I tied them along the bamboo that covered the barbwire fence. While doing this, I found white ants (termites) in several areas. I pounded the Tata to knock loose the dirt packs the ants make. I showed Marge, my neighbor, and when our regular gardener arrived, we had him remove the all dirt along the bottom of the Tata so the white ants could not build a mudpack and eat the Tata.
I then went to my car and waxed it. I have had the car a year, and this was the first time I gave it proper attention. When the wax set, Sulu and I polished it. It looked so clean and shiny.
In the evening, I tried to get on the Internet, but the serve was not working. I found out the next day that YouTube and Twitter had been shutdown worldwide by some hacker.
Friday 7 August. I went up the hill early to take Darshan at the Samadhi. The path was lit by the bright, full moon, and the cool breeze made the walk both ways pleasant. When I returned to my room, I tried a new video workout that was a combination of dance and weights. Boy, after 30 minutes I was sweating and decided to skip the rest of the workout until next time.
I tried to get on the internet, but still it wasn't working. Yet, my neighbor's was working. So, I just had my airport connect to her server in our backyard.
I went up to the Page house to check on things. There was some misunderstanding about the space between the bathtub and the wall. Karina wanted tile between, with an open space under for storage. The tile man had filled the space with brick and cement. He was going to cover the whole thing with tilebut it is not what was wanted. It is a good thing I went by. The man undid the bricks and will make it according to instructions. I had called Joshi, and he said he must have misunderstood. It is better to daily check on construction because of mistakes.
Marge and I decided to order some lettuce and wheat from the Prithvi organic farm. They grow the wheat, and also will grind it for us. Lettuce was in season so we shared a half-kilo. Marge was so funny, after she washed her lettuce; she put it in her washing machine on 'spin' and got all the extra water off. She said I could also use itbut I had already dried my lettuce on a towel.
Kishore came by with the shelf for my printer. It is teak wood and he made supports that go in the wall also out of teak wood. He will install it in the next few days.
Saturday 8 August. I went up the hill early to take Darshan and clean Baba's Cabin Room. It must have been a morning to enjoy Baba's creatures. On the way up the hill, a big frog was hopping down the dirt road. When I came out of Baba's Cabin Room, a squirrel jumped down from the roof next to me and scampered off. Then, I was amused by the same squirrel, or another one, who hopped behind the flowerwala (man who sells flowers). The man was standing still, looking toward the pilgrims under the Samadhi portico. The squirrel hopped from the nearby tree and got closer to the back of the man. It was as if it were sniffing him. Because, then it would hop closer, sniff, and hop closer again. I was about to say something to the flowerwala, when someone came close and the squirrel ran away.
When I got home, I got ready to give the Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites. I went to the MPC at 10:00 AM; only one pilgrim was waiting for me. I give the same Tour if there is one or twenty. When we finished in the museum at 1:00 PM, a group of young Indian collage students came in. I explained to them I was finishing the Tour, but they could come back in the evening when the museum would be again shown.
After my nap, I went up to the Page house around 5:30 PM to check the latest work. Since it was the close of the day, I gave two of the workers a ride down the hill.
Sunday 9 August. I drove to the MPR for my morning shift. It was an easy morning, with only a group of six pilgrims, and they came before lunch. While I was writing information on the white board about tomorrow's activities, I started talking with a young man from Iran who, with his family, was here for the first. I asked how he heard of Baba. He said a friend in his city told him. He said Baba is so much love, and he touched his heart. He said his whole family very much love being here with Baba.
It is amazing; I don't think we have had a single week this pilgrim season where Iranians have not been here. Often, like today, it is their first time and they fall in love with Baba.
Joshi, the contractor for the Page house, called me. He was at the house and wanted me to meet him there. I asked Suresh, our office clerk, to cover for me and I drove to the house, about five minutes away. We talked about several areas that are being worked on. Then I went back to the MPR. I was off at 1:30 PM. I just love these new hours!
Monday 10 August. I was feeling tired, so I slept late before getting ready for my double shift at the MPR. I picked up Fereshteh and Zahra. The weather has turned hot and muggyyuck!
Bhauji gave a talk at the MPR at 4:30 PM. First tea and snack were served at 4:00 PM.
Tuesday 11 August. I went up the hill early to take Darshan at Beloved Baba's Samadhi. While I was waiting at the threshold, a frog came hopping from Mehera's side. It hopped to just before the threshold, when a pilgrim helped escort it back out. It was just like the frog wanted to take Baba's Darshan too.
On the way down the hill, as I walked past the bushes next to the Interview Cabin, a little puppy jumped out and wanted to play with my feet. It was so cute! It was all black, with a white ring around the neck, four white paws, and a white tip on the tail! People are always dropping puppies off at Meherabad, so I figured it was a 'drop-off'. I immediately wanted to take it home. But then I thought, "No, I can't take care of a dog by myself right now, I just don't have the time." It was so hard to walk away.
When I got to my room I did a 40-minute workout with my video. After a quick bath, I picked up Fereshteh for our 8:15 AM Receptionists meeting in the MPR Staff Room. At the meeting we had Caren St. John talk about some swine flu precautions we would need at the MPR. After the meeting, I dropped Fereshteh off at her home and bought some yogurt at Ashok's store on the way to my room. Ashok's wife makes delicious yogurtwhich I love to mix with museli for breakfast in the morning.
Just as I opened the door to my room I got a call from Jal. He asked if Fereshteh would show a Baba movie at the MPR on Saturday night. A Baba Lover from Mumbai was bringing a group of 50 first-time pilgrims, and he wanted them to be able to see a Baba movie. Though there would be a movie shown in our Music & Arts Center Saturday at 4:30 PM, this group would be seeing the museum at that time. They will be here for only one night, and Sunday, after Meherazad, they planned to return to Mumbai. They also wanted to know if I would be able to give a half-hour Tour of Lower Meherabad Sunday, before they leave for Meherazad.
I rode my scooter to the Trustee's office near the MPC and Jal showed me the letter. He and I agreed the schedule for this group was just too tight with such a large crowd. I would not be able to give any Tour as I had MPR Reception duty Sunday morning.
When I once again got back home and parked my scooter, the temporary gardener came by to do some work. As I was showing him what to do, Kishore came by with the BP Tata Solar Panel engineer. The engineer was to check all the batteries and solar panels at the Page house. So, off I went to the Page house. The batteries and solar panels had been stored in Sharad's storage shed for eight years, until they were returned to the Pages when his construction contract expired last year. We did not know if the batteries would still be any good.
Good news, all the batteries and solar panels were in good shape. But, it seems every one of the 24 batteries when purchased also came with a ten-liter can of battery acid. Sharad's man had only returned one can to us. So, I called Sharad and had the Tata engineer remind him the batteries each had a can of battery acid with it, and 23 cans had not been returned to the Pages. Sharad said he would check his storage.
I drove home once again, had lunch, and took a nice nap. I only had a little time left to work on the computer before it was time to go up to see Jaloo before my 6:00 PM Samadhi duty. Anna Khandale is in charge of the scheduling for Samadhi duty. Often, pilgrims are given an opportunity to give Prasad. So, we who have regular duty time will be asked to let a pilgrim cover our duty. There was a woman pilgrim who was going to do my shift, but at the last minute, Anna said Dolly Dastoor told him only the regulars were to give Prasad until this H1N1 swine flu pandemic passes. The flu has hit hard in Pune and Mumbai, and is rapidly spreading in India. So, as a precaution, it was better to limit who gave Prasad.
Wednesday 12 August. I slept late, and then got ready for my morning at the MPR. I picked up Fereshteh and Zhara on the way. I told Fereshteh about the cute puppy I saw. She said that Shaheen had been caring for it. Now I understood why it was in the bushes at the Interview Cabinthat is where Shaheen lives.
We had around ten arrivals, most of whom came in the afternoon. There was an 11:00 AM meeting of the MPR Volunteer Supervisors in the room above the Gate House. Fereshteh and I were off at 1:30 PM. We stopped at the Page house so I could take pictures of the latest work and send them to the Pages on the Internet. Joshi, the contractor, was there and we talked about some of the work. The kitchen is the next room to be worked on, so we talked about just where the granite would be, etc. Things are sure moving on the house!
Evening Arti was at 5:30 PM, and the Dhuni was lit at 6:30 PM. I got there a little late. Bhauji was standing in front of the Dhuni, and the seven names of God were being sung out. Then had the Beloved God prayer was said before Bhauji was helped to his chair. The pilgrims then began taking their turn at the Dhuni.
Thursday 13 August. I went up the hill early for Darshan at the Samadhi. Even though I was feeling tired the past couple of days, I did not want to miss my morning time up the hill for Darshan. But, when I got back to my room, I spent the rest of the day resting in bed. I have been very busy the past week, and I had started to feel the effect on my body. So, I made myself just relax in bed.
In the late afternoon I took my computer to Erico's to shown him a problem I had on it. He is so smart and quickly found how to fix the problem. Before going home, I drove to the Page house to take pictures of the latest work.
In the evening, Anne (my roommate), said Shaheen could not take care of the two puppies, and wanted someone to adopt them. That is when I found out there were two. She said she wanted to keep them; I said I wanted to have them as my puppies tooas I wanted to take one, but didn't think I would have any help with it. So, in a couple of days we will bring the puppies to their new home. I am so excited! I think everyone loves puppies!
Friday 14 August. On the way up the hill, the two puppies came out of the bushes to play. I had to run so they would not follow. I took Darshan, and went back down the hill. The puppies must have been asleep by the time I passed, because they didn't come out.
I did my video workout and then got ready for the day. When the gardener came, I asked him to please finish the sump he is making for the water drainage of my 'future' washing machine. There is a large hole, and I don't want the puppies to fall in it.
I got a call from Haidee Cooke. She has been painting the Arch for the Meher Baba Garden at the Ahmednagar Railroad Station. Mehernath Kalchuri is going to have a ceremony soon, and there is still more work to do. Haidee said the Station officials had changed their minds, and will now allow a photo of Baba on the Arch. So, Ted Judson put a beautiful one on it instead of having the Mastery in Servitude logo. I am looking forward to seeing it during the 'ceremony'.
I had to go the bank and into the bazaar. Everywhere I went, I saw people wearing surgical facemasks, or a hanky tied across their nose. I went to a restaurant, and the waiters also wore facemasks. With the H1N1 spreading, it is nice to see people taking precautions. In the afternoon, Bhauji gave a talk at the MPC at 4:30 PM. Tea and snack were first served at 4:00 PM.
Saturday 15 August. I went up the hill early to take Darshan at Beloved Baba's Samadhi before cleaning Baba's Cabin Room. I put flowers on the Gadi and Samadhi threshold before going back down the hill to my room.
When our gardener came, I had him finish the sump for the future washing machine. We had to have that hole filled because that would be the enclosed space we would need for the two puppies Anne and I would share responsibility for. With the extra fencing I bought, we were able to make a secure place for the puppies when we were both busy.
I got ready and went to the MPC to take anyone waiting on the Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites. Nobody was waiting, so, Haidee Cooke and I went to my room to download the photos from her camera of the latest preparations for the Baba's Garden at the Ahmednagar Train Station. The dedication ceremony should be sometime soon.
Today was India's Independence Day, and every year there is a horse-pulled Tonga race on the road in front of the Dhuni. The race started at 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM. It is so wild! Many motorcycles surround the horse-tongas with men yelling and honking their horns.
I was watching the races with friends near Meher Darbar. Shortly after the races started, the Trust bus came down the road from Ahmednagarwith two Western young Baba lover men sitting on the roof! Now, in India, all kinds of things are allowed, or toleratedincluding riding on the roof of the trucks, buses, trains, etc.
Anne brought home the two black and white puppies from Shaheen's. So, cute! We will have to think of good names. The vet came by to give them an injection for 'worms'. The puppies found a secure place to sleep under Anne's chair on our front verandah.
Before going to bed at night, I try to read a few pages from the book, Growing up with God. It is so good!
In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy