16 to 31 December 2010
16 to 31 December 2010
Jai Meher Baba to you all!
Friday 17 December, 2010. It is so cold here now, as soon as the sun goes down you need to bundle up. By morning it is hard to get out of bed. We don't have any heating in our staff rooms, so it is necessary to close the windows and put lots of clothes on! I also find the middle of the day is the best time to take a bath when it is this cold.
In the morning, I quickly walked up the hill for darshan. I love it when I am one of the first person's there. I bask in the solitude and quiet, it is just heaven! After darshan I went back to my room for a workout. Both my DVD and VHS are now not working, which means I use my computer instead. I am going to have to take the VCR to Pune for repair at a Sony Service Center.
I then went up to the MPR and had breakfast with a dear friend. She is the daughter of one of my close friends from the 60's. I had to leave by 9:00 am so I could be at our Meherabad store where the workers meet each morning for their day's assignment.
I met the electricians and, yes, they would be able to come to my room and replace the old electric switch boxes in my room for modern ones. I wanted the boxes raised higher so I could use the space where they had originally been; I thought they were too low. When you live in one room, any space you can make is worth making.
In the afternoon, the technician for my washing machine came to look at the 'drain, wash' switch. He ordered a new part that is suppose to come by next week. When he left I got on my scooter and drove to the MPC. Bhauji was talking again and I was sorry to have missed most of the talk.
Found out Bhauji didn't give a 'talk'. Instead he spent the time joking with everyone. We have so many Iranians now. One of Bhau's helper's name is Shaheen. Shaheen did the translation into Farsi for the non-English speaking Iranians. It is very sweet to watch Bhau so lovely teasing and joking with them.
When I got back to my room, Parag, the car repairman, called to tell me they had fixed my CD player for my car. It seems it only needed to be cleaned from all the dust. They would bring it over at 7:30 pm. Yeah! It is really wonderful to have this kind of service. No way could one afford it in the States.
Saturday 18 December. I put several layers of clothing on and went up the hill for darshan at the Samadhi and then to Baba's Cabin Room to clean.
At 10:00 am I went to the Meher Pilgrim Center to met Peter Nordeen. There were several pilgrims who wanted to continue the Lower Meherabad Tour. We walked to Meherabad Mandali Hall and Peter continued the very detailed, archival tour. These tapes are not meant for the public, only for archive. Later Peter will do a Historical Tour video for the public. I too will have a video of my giving the Historical Tour sometime in the near future. Pilgrims have for years asked me to do one, so it is on one of my 'soon' projects.
There was a musical concert given at 4:30 pm.
Sunday 19 December. After I went up the hill for morning darshan at the Samadhi, I did a short workout and then got ready for Meherazad. I picked up Marge, Fereshteh, and Hooyar. Each week, when we get to Meherazad, Hooyar sets up the projector in Mandali Hall for the program that begins at 11:30 am.
Monday 20 December. Margaret, another resident, and I went to Pune. I had a dental appointment that would take two days. When we got to Pune we went to Yazad Café for breakfast. It is directly down the road from Baba's house. The place is always busy; which tells you a lot about their delicious tea and toast.
I had found a Sony retail dealer on MG Road that would fix my VCR. I dropped off the VCR and will have to pick it up next time I come to Pune, as it would take several days or so to fix. I was just happy to find someone who could still fix it.
While I was in the Sony store, Margaret went across the street to another store. When I finished with Sony, I managed to navigate the busy street that has an endless stream of cars and motorcycles. The Indians seem to be able to cross with little concern. Anyway, I saw her talking to an elderly man. It turned out the man was originally from Ahmednagar and had Baba's darshan several times. He also knew about Baba's Pune house. I would have loved to listen to some of his stories, but I had to get to the dentist.
Tuesday 21 December. My dental appointment was finished by 12:30 pm. So, we were able to return to Meherabad on time. I had Samadhi duty at 5:00 pm and I didn't want to be late. On the way out of Pune, we stopped first at The Blue Nile, one of my favorite places to eat. It is a Muslim family restaurant, and they have some very tasty chicken dishes. We got some to go.
While we were sitting in The Blue Nile waiting for our order to be ready, the man who took our order came over and said 'Jai Baba'. To our delight he then began asking about Baba's birthday activities, Amartithi, etc. He was so respectful and it seemed Baba had already touched his heart though he had not yet been to Meherabad. His smile was so full of warmth as he told us how he wants to go soon to Meherabad. Our hearts were touched by his interest.
Wednesday 22 December. This was Mehera's birthday. I went up the hill early to take darshan, and then got ready for the special Arti at 10:30 am. Meheru came, and the Arti was so beautiful. You could feel the atmosphere of love, and the songs sung were of Mehera's incredible, unique love for Baba. I love these special Arti's; there is something so deeply moving, it simply fills ones whole being.
In the afternoon at 4:30 pm there was a special program for Mehera's birthday in our Music & Arts Center. Then, a beautiful short video was shown. This video was put together with photos and scenes from different films of Mehera and Baba. Evening Arti was extra beautiful with a full moon shinning above the Samadhi, almost as if in honor of Mehera's birthday
Thursday 23 December. After coming down the hill from my morning darshan at he Samadhi, I organized my room before I took all my clothes from a dresser I had made last year. I am selling the dresser to another resident. I had a new cabinet made with shelves and only four small drawers for jewelry. I found it was too hard to know what was at the bottom of my dresser drawers. Shelves would make it easy to see what one had. The new cabinet is being delivered in the evening.
Sulu, our housecleaner, was out in the backyard. She called me out and showed me a three-inch scorpion she just killed. Just the day before our dog Cookie was barking and barking, and when Sulu went to see why, she saw a large snake going into the far bushes. We have good 'snake-spotting dogs.' Meherabad is full of snakes and scorpions!
Instructors from The Boy Scouts of India had 10 days of training on Meherabad property. There were several tents pitched in a field with trees behind Hostel-C's. I took some photos of them. This is the second set of tents that have been in that location. A few weeks ago a group of Boy and Girl Scout instructors trained. This time it was only the Boy Scout instructors. It is a good location and served their purpose.
At the New Pilgrim Education Site there is some activity taking place. I'm not sure if it is for a better parking lot or for some building. I will have to find out. I took some photos of the activity. This new site is beyond the Meher Pilgrim Retreat, closer to the condos.
Friday 24 December. I went up the hill early for morning darshan. I also cleaned Mani's shrine and Baba's Cabin Room. Then most of the day I worked on my room. The washing machine company had a man come out to replace a part that broke. After an hour of trying to get the wrong piece to fit, they realized they needed a different part. Meanwhile, I can use the washing machine, as long as I am willing to stand next to the machine and hold the 'drain' switch when I want to let out the water. Oh well, at least I can do laundry. The men said it would take only a few days to get the right part. Frankly, I am grateful they got part of that broken piece working so I can use it.
In the morning, in the MPC Hall, Roshan and Sam Kerawala shared some of their stories of being with Baba. I happened to be at the MPC when they were coming out of the Hall. I found out they didn't have a ride to evening Arti, so of course I offered. Every year on Christmas Eve all the singing at the Samadhi is Christmas Carols. It is a very special treat and most like to attend.
After Arti was over we went to a party given by one of the residents who lives in one of the condos. Everyone had been invited. There was delicious food, even ham! To add to the wonderful party, by the gate on the way out, there was a large basket full of bags of cookies for the guests to take with them. It was a lovely evening, full of Baba's love and good food!
Saturday 25 December. I went up the hill early for darshan at the Samadhi. When I got back to my room I got ready for Meherazad. This was Christmas morning and every year there is singing, and there is also a 'gift' from Santa, who will give you a little bag of goodies after you take darshan at Baba's chair in Mandali Hall. One of the residents dresses like Santa.
I took a few photos to show Christmas at Meherazad. Meheru sat on the verandah by Mehera's chair to greet all the pilgrims.
When I got back home I took a short nap. Then I found I was in the mood to rearrange the desk in my room by moving it under the window facing my front verandah. I also wanted to remove a shelf with a cabinet on top of it that I had made for the desk quite a few years ago. I called one of our workers and during his lunchtime he helped me. I measured the cabinet and it fits perfectly on the wall above my sewing machine. So, Tuesday is Kishore's day off and he will put it up for me.
In the afternoon there was a movie at Hostel-A (Music & Arts Center), but I decided to just stayed home and worked in my room.
Sunday 26 December. I slept late and didn't go up the hill for morning darshan. I was feeling tired and it felt like my body was fighting off something. So, most of the day I just worked in my room.
Monday 27 December. I slept late, as I have been feeling tired. The washing machine technician came with the new part. Well, he and his helper spent forty minutes trying to get it to fit right. Finally, they said they actually needed an internal part, and will order it. It seems the two parts had to go together and they tried to fix it with only the one. Again the say it will be several days more before the part comes.
I drove to the Page house. I met Joshi, the contractor, there. He was with the welding supervisor. They showed me how the large steel frame that will hold the two large water tanks will be supported by the foundations they put in. These two water tanks will supply the water to the house. There is a smaller steel frame on the house itself. That is for the water tank that will keep the hot-water tank from overheating by the heat from the solar panels.
On the way home I stopped at the Samadhi to take darshan. I went to bed early as I feel my body is fighting some virus.
Tuesday 28 December. I went up the hill early for darshan; cleaned Mani's shrine then Baba's Cabin Room and I. After putting flowers everywhere, I went back down the hill.
I tried to rest in my room most of the day before going up the hill for Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. I stopped to see Jaloo before going on duty. I really love Jaloo, though I usually don't have much to say. She says she doesn't understand much English, yet we manage to communicate.
When evening Arti was over, I went down the hill to get ready for the engagement celebration of Bhauji's grandson, Zubin. Zubin is Mehernath and Raj's son. He had been studying in Australia, where he met Sheenal.
I picked up a couple of other residents and drove to the Trust. The whole parking area outside the Trust Compound had been blocked off and in its place was very beautiful celebratory backdrops, and gathered style floor curtains had been put around the border to enclose the spacious parking area. Food tables were set in place for the dinner buffet that would be served later.
Meanwhile, inside the compound, on the side where the Baba Center is located, there were rows of tables full of veg and non-veg appetizers. A table for the drinks was at the end. Chairs surrounded the raised stage where Zubin and Sheenal, along with both sets of parents, greeted well-wishers. It was such an elaborate setting, so much love and care had gone into making this a festive occasion.
Buses from Meherabad brought pilgrims and residents. There must have been hundreds who had attended. There was also music for those, like me, who loved to dance. It didn't matter that I was not feeling my best, when I hear music my body just needs to dance! It was a joyous and fun celebration!
Wednesday 29 December. I woke coughing. It seems the battle against a virus by my body was weakening. But I didn't have time to rest because of an appointment to video someone near the Samadhi at 10:00 am. When we met we both decided to cancel the video until after Baba's birthday. I was happy because I wasn't feeling well.
I saw Janaki up the hill and we started talking. I had brought my digital camera and suggested we see if Jaloo would let us take a picture of her with us. For years Jaloo has said no to having her picture taken. But, something felt right, so we went and asked her. You see, Janaki and I really love Jaloo. And one time we both spent the night taking care of her. Janaki had brought a small DVD and we watched a movie. It was like a slumber party.
At first Jaloo said no pictures. But, when we asked if we could just take one with us all together she said okay. We had the servant take it. Jaloo liked it! So we ended up taking several. Jaloo was like a little kid having fun. Unfortunately, I had on a baseball hat and refused to take it off because I didn't fix my hair. Still, the photos with Jaloo looked good.
I went to bed when I got home. At 5:30 pm when the medical clinic at the Meher Hospital opened I was the first there. Dr. Anne gave me an acupuncture treatment and then some homeopathy to take every couple of hours.
Thursday 30 December. I woke feeling better, but spent the day resting in my room. Around noon, one of the women residents from the Nurses Quarters, next to where I live, came to tell me she saw a small poisonous snake above the sink where she was washing some clothes.
She asked me to call someone to kill it. I called our Meherabad Trustees Office. They sent three men. I gave them my 'snake pole' and they also used a metal pipe. The snake was resting on the plumbing pipes in a corner directly above the sink. The men killed it and they said the snake was very dangerous. It turned out to be a krate.
The acupuncture treatment and homeopathy seemed to be working. I could feel my body getting stronger.
Friday 31 December. I slept late, as my body seemed to need the rest. When I got up, my roommate told me one of her limes had been chewed when it was in the bag, outside on a hook on the verandah. When we order food from the bazaarwala, he puts the food in the bags we each have hanging from a nail up high on a post. This usually protects the food until we can get to it. That meant it had to be a squirrel, or something like that.
Now, a few days before this happened I had taken my bag down from an order I had made. I had found one of the bananas had been eaten in the middlepeel and all. I had been so shocked. At first I showed this to my roommate and said I didn't understand why the bazaarwala would buy me bananas with one partly eaten. It was a mystery to me. Now, it seems the mystery of the eaten banana has been solved.
I drove to the bank where I had made a deposit on the 29th of November. The International department officer told me the banks had been told by our US banks to not release our money until after 30 days! Even though the money has been taken out of our account in our US bank, the India bank could not give us this money. Hummm! Who is getting the interest on the money during those 30 days? I am going to call my bank in the States and ask that question.
Before going home I drove to the Page house and saw the welders were working on the steel frame for the water tanks. I stopped by the MPR to see the decorations for the New Year Eve celebrationthere were none. I was told the decorations would be done in the afternoon.
On the way home I passed The New Pilgrim Site and saw there were rocks being laid on the side of the dirt road. It looks like the Trust is going to expand the current dirt road going to the Site.
For those in Lower Meherabad who wished a ride to the MPR for the party, a bus would take them at 8:45 pm from the MPC. Then the bus would leave the MPR at 11:30 pm to take pilgrims to the Samadhi so they could bring in the New Year with Beloved Baba.
I drove to the party at the MPR. It was the first time I had ever attended a New Year Eve party at Meherabad where I did not have to work. I was able to just dance and enjoy myselfwhich I loved!
There were hundreds at the Samadhi, singing and taking darshan until just before midnight. Ted Judson made the announcement for the final five-minutes, for everyone chanting Baba's name until midnight. We would then say seven times 'Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!' followed by the prayers. It is really a lovely and heart warming way to bring in the New Year.
In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy