16 to 30 September 2011
16 to 30 September 2011
Jai Meher Baba to you all!
Friday, 16 September 2011. I had gone to bed last night feeling unwell. My stomach felt queasy and my body ached. So I slept late and woke knowing my body was fighting some kind of virus.
One of our residents asked me to open the museum on the hill by the Samadhi at 5:00 PM. I usually show the museum when I give the Tour of Upper Meherabad, but it is shown daily from 5:00 to 6:30 PM if there are enough people who express interest. Unfortunately, I had to call my friend and tell her I was unable to open the museum, as I was sick.
I spent the day in bed sleeping. Before going to sleep I called another resident and asked if she would clean Mani's shrine and Baba's Room in the morning for me. I knew I would still not be well enough to go up early in the morning.
Saturday 17 September. I didn't have to get up early so I slept late; when I got up I felt my body was stronger. My stomach stills feels queasy, though not as bad as before. I had more energy though and decided I would give the Tour of Historic Meherabad at 10:00 AM.
First I did a lot of washing, my dirty clothes pile was building. Then at 10:00 AM I rode my scooter to the MPC to see if anyone was waiting. Yes, one person. His name was Mike and he had been on the Tour with me the year before. So, we covered stories he may not have heard. Then I took him to the Memorial Tower.
I was amazed at how much had been done in the past two weeks. Last Wednesday Joshi told me they were binding the white steel to form the foundation base for the Tower. I was going to go video it but within hours of Joshi telling me about the work I became very sick. So, now I was seeing that part of the work was finished! Darn! I really wanted to video the work in progress. Well, at least I have it before anything else was done on top of it.
Mike and I went back near the Jhopdi and shared stories. He had been with Baba since the 60s, like me. When he mentioned he had attended the 1969 Darshan in Pune I was very happy to hear it. I have been doing a series of videos of those who attended. We set a time near the end of this month.
I took some photos before going home to rest. But, around 5:30 PM I grabbed my video camera and went and videoed the workers there and the white steel crossing supports. Then I went home and stayed home to rest.
Sunday 18 September. I went up the hill in the morning and took darshan at the Samadhi. I walked to the MPR and back to my room. I decided not to go to Meherazad or visit Bhauji in the afternoon as my stomach was still feeling queasy and I didn't know if I had any kind of virus I could pass on.
Monday 19 September. I walked up the hill to the Samadhi and said my prayers before doing my walk up and down the hill. I can feel in my body more energy, even though my stomach still feels queasy. I walked back to the Samadhi when it was time to open the doors.
After taking darshan I walked home and decided it was time to balance the books. I have been overseeing the construction of the Page house for 3½ years. Part of that time I had to be in the States taking care of my sister, who had terminal cancer. So, other than direct deposits and checks written all payments were cash. That means I have all those receipts in several places, and they go back those 3½ years. Even the bankbooks are a mess, not like in the States. I have bank statements I have to check against the bankbooks. And one bank statement may show a check number while another may not. So, those I have to research with other sources.
I decided to go to the bank and have one of my bankbooks brought up to date with the printing. There was a very long line of men for the printing window. But, here in India there is a 'women's line'. That means I stood in a line behind two other women at the same window as the men. The window clerk will take a man, than a woman; this is how it is done here. Needless to say I like this system when it is to my benefit.
Well, the window clerk handed me back a bankbook, and he than just stared at me. I didn't have my glasses on and so I didn't check it. Halfway home I stopped and put my glasses on, that is when I saw I had the other woman's bankbook. The clerk had taken my book, than at the same time he took another woman's from behind me. It turned out he printed her book first and handed it to me. There was dread at the thought of driving all the way back to the bank, but what choice did I have.
When I got back to the bank I went directly to the manager's office and told him what happened. I also said the clerk should have printed my bankbook first and this would not have happened. The nice manager sent someone to retrieve my passbook from the clerk. He also sent for the clerk.
I turned and told the clerk I was first and he should have printed my bankbook first! I then told him this would not have happened if he printed mine first. The clerk than went back to work. As I turned back around I saw the bank manager and his assistant had taken great delight in my scolding the clerk, they were both chuckling. I looked at them both and got a big grin on my face and told them I felt much better now that I scolded that clerk.
Later in the day, Carolina came by to show me how to use the new portable Internet stick for my computer. She also has a Mac and uses it all the time. Yea! She said she would be happy to help me learn. The rest of the day I worked on the Page account.
Tuesday 20 September. I went up the hill early and cleaned Mani's shrine after saying my prayers at the window of the Samadhi. When the doors were opened I took darshan and than went to clean Baba's Room. It was almost 7:00 AM when I finished so I went back to my room. I am still not pushing the 'workout' thing. I have a lot of my energy back yet still dealing with a healing and queasy stomach. I think I will go to see Anne in the clinic later. She has Chinese medicine that helps settle the stomach.
Right after lunch Carolina came by to see if she could help install the portable Internet Stick in my IPad. Then we noticed there isn't anywhere to put the Internet stick. I will have to buy an external device that will allow me to use it. I will go to Apple in the States and see if there is something. She also suggested I get an external hard drive to use for backup, etc. She will teach me how to do all this stuff lucky me!
I had Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.
Wednesday 21 September. I went up the hill early and said my prayers at the Samadhi window. I then went to Mansari's Kitchen and got the bucket and bag with cleaning supplies that are kept on a shelf for Mehera's shrine. I had not cleaned Mehera's shrine in years and I was very happy to be doing it again.
While I was cleaning, Coocoo (Indian resident) asked if Archana was not coming. Since Archana cleans Mehera's shrine twice a week I wondered why she was asking, since this was not her day. By the time I finished cleaning the shrine I realized why Coocoo had asked. I was to clean on Thursday mornings this was Wednesday morning! It was Archana's day! When Archana came up the hill I explained the mistake (which she found amusing) and we agreed she would clean the next morning in place of this one.
When the Samadhi doors were opened I took Darshan and than went to the flower rack and picked out some for my neighbor, Marge, and myself. I then went for a walk.
In the afternoon from 5:00 to 6:30 PM I kept the museum opened in the compound by the Samadhi. The person who usually does it had some emergency and I said I would cover for her. I have been asked in the past to help keep it open. I really love being in that room full of Beloved Baba's things. The problem is until the Page house is finished I just can't commit to anything more. I am up at the house almost daily checking on whatever work may be going on. Often there isn't anyone working for days at a time because someone is waiting for a supply to come in, or some other reason. But, the house is getting finished little by little.
Thursday 22 September. I went up the hill early to say my prayers at the Samadhi and then I did a 'power walk' up and down the circle; foot path, road in front of hill, to Samadhi driveway and around again. I think it is either a half mile route or less. I am going to try to find out which.
I checked my watch and it was near time for the doors of the Samadhi to be opened. I walked over and sat on the stone floor and waited. I was sitting on the side where I could see the Christian cross symbol on top of the Samadhi. Just then I saw a shooting star shoot just behind the cross. It was the first time I ever saw one at the Samadhi it was pretty cool!
When the Samadhi supervisor opened the doors and was removing the flowers and other cloths I went to the metal cupboard and got out the two rugs we put on the floor in front of the Samadhi. This is where pilgrims sit during Arti. After taking darshan, I picked my flowers and walked to the MPR and back home.
At 9:00 AM I had a meeting with one of the electricians. We discussed him coming to the Page house on his lunch hour and seeing what needed to be done. I was hoping I could hire him to complete the electrical work and be our electrician for future work.
I had also seen at our 'store' Ted, Steve, and another worker. They told me the 'Old Mill Wheel' that was used to grind lime had been restored and the monument made. I will have to go take some photos.
At 1:00 PM I went to the Page house and met the electrician and Kishore (our supervisor). We agreed to meet the next morning with Anand, the Electrical engineer of the Trust. The electrician didn't feel he could speak English well enough and wanted to make sure we both agreed what needed to be done.
Friday 23 September. I went up the hill to say my prayers at the Samadhi and then did my walk up and down the hill, until it was near time to open the doors of the Samadhi. Just then I saw Meherwani, the supervisor, and she said we had time to make the Gadi first. Some of the supervisors let me help make the Gadi, which is under the Tin Shed. After we finished I went to wait at the Samadhi while Meherwani got the keys to open the Samadhi doors. I took darshan and then walked to the MPR and home.
I took a quick bath, had breakfast and then grabbed by video camera. I had two different appointments to video. I met Bobby Street, one of our residents, who had moved here in 1971. He lived at the Trust compound for years helping Adi Sr. before moving to Meherabad and working with Padri up until Padri died. Bobby was going to tell about Padri's room. Bobby had actually lived in Padri's room for eight years after Padri died.
What fascinating information Bobby shared! We videoed inside Padri's room; from 9:00 to 10:30 AM. I could not believe how fast time passed. I had to stop at 10:30 AM as I had the other video appointment.
Here is a little of what we covered: In one corner of Padri's room are three poles. One of them has a metal brace around the top that shapes into a point. Padri used it to kill rabid dogs. It is a major problem here in India where a few thousand people die each year from rabies. Villagers don't get their dogs fixed so there are unwanted puppies. These same people also don't vaccinate their dogs. I had been bitten by a rabid dog some years back and had to have the injections.
Two other poles were for killing snakes. One had a steel cap at the bottom. Bobby said one item was missing from the corner Padri's bullwhip. Yes, you read it right, a bullwhip. It may be with the archive storage. Bobby said sometimes both Padri and Pendu would use it on a villager who had badly beaten his wife, or something like that. Padri and Pendu were both feared and deeply respected by the villagers.
Padri was a homeopathy doctor and treated both people and animals. He had only a few shelves in his room but they held prized and costly books on homeopathy from the US and England. He took great care of his things.
On his desk he had a tin can that was labeled 'Tiger fat'. I asked Bobby about it. It seems Padri's uncle (Meheru's father, Rustom) liked to hunt, and had actually killed the tiger. This was some of the fat from that tiger. The fat is supposed to help heal injuries.
When we were about finished, Bobby had us go outside to some very small wild flowers at the base of a tree. He showed me this tiny flower with five petals and a round center. Baba had told Mehera that the five petals represent the five Perfect Masters and the center represents the Avatar. It was Mehera's favorite wild flower.
photos of the flower with five peddles, Mehera's favorite.
I had the 10:30 AM appointment just across the road with Joshi at the Memorial Tower. We were doing an update of the work. I feel so privileged to be here witnessing the building of this structure.
Joshi and I then met up at the Page house. We went over some of the work being done, or needing to be done.
Saturday 24 September. I went up the hill early to say my prayers and then clean Mani's shrine. When the doors were opened I took darshan and then went to Baba's Room to clean. I had Archana helping, as she will cover for me on Saturdays when I go to the States in a couple of weeks. I'll return on 2 December.
Archana wanted to stay for Arti, so I went for a walk and then met back at the Samadhi. Together we walked down the hill to the Jhopdi. I wanted to show her how to do a 'quick clean' that is done on Saturday mornings. It isn't the regular archive cleaning, which is detailed. This is so any dirt blown in from the window, or a spider making a web, or anything like that is removed before the 10:00 AM Tour of Historic Meherabad.
At 10:00 AM I went to the MPC to see if anyone was waiting for the Tour. No, it looked like I got the day off. Kishore, the Trust carpenter, was fitting a plywood cover to the upper windows of the Hall. He said Shridhar, a Trustee, wanted these covers on the upper windows and dark curtains for the French Doors. I will have to ask if this is for special occasions, or a permanent fixture.
I went home and checked my email. We now have notices from the Trust to our community sent as 'Trust bulletin' email. There was one from yesterday saying we were going on 'water restrictions' since we have had only 15 inches of rain this season. No one is allowed to use the water for private gardens unless we pay for the water.
I went to the Savages Kitchen for an early lunch. One of our Iranian residents had offered to teach Farsi to any resident who wished to learn. She was there teaching Farsi to another resident. I wish we could get someone who would teach Hindi.
In the afternoon at 4:15 PM another animated film was being shown. There have been a series of animated films on the different Avatar's. Today was on Muhammad, The Last Prophet. It was in English with Farsi subtitles.
In the evening there was a dancing party at a resident's home. The theme was Salsa dancing and she made a special dish for the occasion! It was fun! We residents seldom just get to be together socially. We are like a family that often has time to only wave at each other.
Sunday 25 September. I was up the hill early to say my prayers at the Samadhi before going for a 'power walk'. When it was near time to open the Samadhi doors I went and waited in line. Sweet, Darling, Baba. That is what my heart feels being at the Samadhi with Baba.
After taking darshan and getting my flowers from those taken out of the Samadhi, I walked to the MPR and home. I got ready for Meherazad, and then picked up Hooyar and Fereshteh. They show the film in Mandali Hall on Sundays when Peter Booth is away. So, first thing they do when we get to Meherazad is go into Mandali Hall and set up the projector.
As for myself, I take darshan at Beloved Baba's chair before going into the Blue Bus to also take darshan. The hospital bed Baba was on when He dropped His body is inside the Blue Bus. For some reason it felt so powerful inside it today. Usually there is such a precious energy. Today it felt powerful.
I went on Mehera's porch and said hello to Meheru. She sat on the porch until the bell rang for the program in Mandali Hall. There are not many pilgrims here right now; I enjoy the quieter atmosphere.
In the Mandali Hall, Eruch Villifane, from Mexico, sang two songs. He now lives in Los Angeles and is part of a rock band. One song he sang I especially liked. Than two Iranian residents sang a song in Farsi before a film of Baba was shown.
Monday 26 September. I went up the hill early to say my prayers at the Samadhi and then do my power walk up and down the hill. When it was time to open the Samadhi doors I got in line. After taking darshan and picking my flowers, I walked to the MPR and home.
At 9:00 AM I picked up Fereshteh and her son, Hooyar. All these years they had not seen the Page house I have been helping build. So, I drove them to the house and gave them a tour.
On the way back to their house we stopped at two other sites. One was to see the just completed Mill Grinding Wheel site. This is where the lime at Meherabad had been ground. The monument was made last week.
Next we went to the Memorial Tower, they had not seen it since right after the work started. To me it is fun to show all the work that is going into building the Tower.
After I dropped them off I had to go to an ATM machine and get money as I noticed I was almost out of petrol. Normally I don't let my car tank get below half full. I just had not been paying attention.
Tuesday 27 September. I went up the hill early to say my prayers. Then I cleaned Mani's shrine. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the mornings we also polish the marble. I finished in time to get in line for the Samadhi doors to be opened at 5:45 AM. Next I cleaned Baba's Room and put flowers at all the places I put them. Since it was near 7:00 AM when I finished I skipped my walk to the MPR and just walked back to my room.
Sheela Fenster (Bhauji's daughter) lives near me. At 9:15 AM she picked me up and we drove to the Trust Compound, known as Meher Nazar. We had scheduled to continue the videoing of the Trust Office History; which I had began in 2004. At that time Mehernath (Sheela's brother) and Rama (their mother) talked about what it was like when Baba was in the body. The family moved to the Trust Compound under Baba's orders. Their daily lives were completely under Baba's orders. Mehernath and Sheela were known as the 'Mandali's children' because Bhauji is their father.
--photo of Mehernath and Sheela
We spent over half an hour just talking about the history of the Meher Nazar front gate. The front gate used to be made of wood. The wall was much lower. Adi Sr. had two dogs, Boxie and Rita. Boxie was a boxer and would jump on top of the wall and then onto the roof. Rita was the instigator to bark at strangers who came to the gate. When she started barking immediately Boxie would come to join. Then Rita would go back and lay down, she would leave Boxie to do all the barking work.
Now what happened to the wooden gate? The story goes that Dr. Donkin was living at the Trust for a while. He was doing some writing but the movie theater, right next to the Trust Compound and owned by Sorosh, was so loud at times that Donkin would get very annoyed. So what did he do? He would get in his car and drive to the petrol station right next to the entrance of the theater. He would honk his horn over and over. Than he would drive back into the Trust Compound and honk his horn. He would do this over and over making sure the honking was long and loud.
Well, one time on his way back into Meher Nazar he was paying so much attention to the theater he did not notice the gate had been closed. He knocked it down with his car! Of course Adi Sr got in his car and drove to Meherazad to tell Baba. Baba said to bring Donkin. When Donkin reached Meherazad Baba asked him if what he heard was true. "Yes, Baba" was Donkin's answer. Baba was concerned because there was no money to pay for the gate to be fixed. Donkin said he would make a new gate and pay for it.
When Donkin finished the design for the gate he told Sheela there should be a name for the Trust Compound on the gate. She said, what about Meher Nazar. Donkin said no, he would ask Baba. What name did Baba tell Donkin? Yes, Meher Nazar. When Donkin went back to the Trust he told everyone what the name of the Compound would now be. Sheela was so delighted! So, the gate that we all see at the Trust, was designed and made by Dr. Donkin. And, that is where the name Meher Nazar came from.
In the afternoon I had Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. While on duty I noticed a most inventive sight. Remember in a past Diary I told about the new extension next to the Samadhi portico had been built. I had also mentioned that when it rained, the cover had collapsed because it was cloth and it sagged where the rain couldn't run off. Well, our Ted Judson is most clever! Here is a photo of his solution!
Yes, it is a hose attached from the top, then, the rain won't gather but instead drain away to the ground.
Wednesday 28 September. I was up the hill early to say my prayers at the window of the Samadhi before doing my power walk. I then went to wait in line for the Samadhi doors to open. After darshan I picked some flowers and walked home.
I had an appointment at 11:30 AM to meet Joshi at the Page house. I got a call from him a little after 11:00 telling me Ted was on his way to the Memorial Tower and he would call me after. On the way to the Page house I drove by the Memorial Tower. I saw some men on a scaffold working on the top of the crane that lifts the large stones to be cut. So, I took some photos.
When I met Joshi at the Page house I asked what the problem was with the Memorial Tower crane? He said the large stones from the quarry are of different weights. Some are much heaver and this is causing the crane to lean to one side. What the men were doing was attaching a contraption that would hold a counter-weight to balance the large stones.
I then went to a friend's house for lunch. I brought my salad and she had gone to pick up some tandoori chicken. Last time I had gotten the chicken. There is a new restaurant not far from Meherabad.
Thursday 29 September. I went up the hill early and said my prayers at the Samadhi window before going on a power walk. I then cleaned Mehera's shrine in time to wait in line for the Samadhi doors to open. After taking darshan I picked my flowers and walked to the MPR and home.
When I got home, Anne was in the kitchen having tea. She said last night around 3:00 AM Cookie started barking and barking. Anne got the 'snake-pole' and went out on the verandah to kill it. Just then our two watchmen from the hospital came and they all killed the snake.
I drove to the Trust and got a rickshaw to take me into the bazaar. I was so happy to hear there was an LG dealer in Ahmednagar. I bought a washing machine for the Page house and also a two-drawer metal filing cabinet. Both items will be delivered sometime next week. I'm leaving for the States in a week and the electrician needed to know what type of electric socket to put in the laundry room for the washing machine. Now that part is finished.
When I got home, Sulu, our housekeeper told me Cookie (our dog) was barking like crazy. She went out back to see and there was a huge snake, maybe nine-feet long. Sulu went next door to show Marge, but by then the snake was gone. A short time later, again Cookie started barking like craze. Sulu saw the same huge snake going around to the front of the house. She ran to get Marge. This time Marge also saw the snake. Sulu yelled 'snake' for others to be careful. It went into some bushes and was gone.
Friday 30 September. I went up the hill early to say my prayers before going on a power walk. When it was time to open the Samadhi doors I got in line. After taking darshan I walked to the MPR and back home.
I spent the rest of the day doing chores around the house.
In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy