2 to 15 December 2011
2 to 15 December 2011
Jai Meher Baba to you all!
Friday 2 December, 2011. I returned to India late on the 1st of December and went straight to Pune to rest for a few hours. I slept later than I wanted and didn't wake until 10:30 AM. I called for tea and immediately dressed and was only a few minutes late for my 11:00 AM hair appointment I had arranged while in the States. Next, I went to Dorabji's to buy food before heading back to Meherabad.
I reached the Samadhi around 6:00 PM. I was so happy to take darshan and say my prayers. There just is no place like home especially when 'home' is Meherabad!
The Military Cadets were having their last night from a week of activity in Meherabad, using the Hostel's facilities. This is a good place for the military to train young Cadets and do some service project. They come once a year.
Saturday 3 December. I woke around 3:00 AM from jetlag. What to do? Nothing but get up and unpack. After making tea I went up the hill early to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened at 5:45 AM.
In the Samadhi I noticed a new type of light where the other one had always been. This one was a stainless steel rectangle panel with several small bulbs that gave a yellow glow and the lower part had several small bulbs that gave off white light. When I saw Ted Judson later I asked about the new light panel. He said the old bulbs would burn out every few days. These new ones on the panel are each no more than one watt with less that total of all the bulbs 14 watts. He said these new panel of lights should last a few years!
I also noticed the Amartithi preparations had already begun. The toilet stalls in the orchard behind the Samadhi were up. The steel-frames to support the colorful pandal covers near the Amphitheater were also getting ready to be assembled.
I went to the DSP (Department of Superintendent of Police) at 11:00 AM to check in. Every time I plan to leave India or when I return I must check in with the police. The men in the International Department are always nice and helpful.
I stopped at the Trust Office to have copies of the DSP stamp work put into my file. We have to keep an update on all our police paper work at the Trust.
Sunday 4 December. I woke up at 1:30 AM. So, I read for two hours and then went back to sleep until 5:00 AM. I went up the hill for darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. The rest of the day I spent unpacking and resting.
Monday 5 December. I woke at 2:30 AM. I took half a sleeping pill and then sleep until 6:30 AM. It is my rotation turn to do Archival cleaning of the inside floor of the Samadhi. We have one-month rotations. There are six of us, so we each get to do the cleaning twice a year. Being a 'scrubwoman' is one of the highlights of my life!
Tuesday 6 December. I woke up at 1:30 AM. I worked on my room until it was time to go up the hill. I had time to clean Mani's shrine before the Samadhi doors were opened. After taking darshan I went to Baba's Room and cleaned it. I took some of the flowers that had been removed from the Samadhi when the doors were opened. I give some to my neighbor, Marge, and then I put some in a bowl of water. They still look fresh for a day or two.
Later I drove to the Page house to check on the work. When I drove back to my room I took the back way, by the Hostels. As I turned on the dirt road I saw holes dug on both sides. I knew the Trust was planning to complete the fence and also put a gate so the whole back area would be more secure. I stopped my car and took some photos of where the gate will be.
In the evening I had Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. On the hill I took some photos of the Amartithi preparation work that is taking place.
While on duty at the Samadhi I saw a constant stream of pilgrims coming for darshan. It was a Muslim holiday and maybe that is why so many came.
Wednesday 7 December. I had a good nights sleep! But, I had help from a sleeping pill. I had taken half of a pill, and when I woke at 2:30 AM I took the other half of the pill; so I slept until 6:30 AM. It was so nice to wake and not feel I was functioning in a fog.
I stopped at the MPC to see Debjani. She and I had made a computer printout for Mehera's birthday. However, she said last year she lost everything on her computer. So, she made a new one that I will put on my pin-drive and take to a printer in Ahmednagar tomorrow to have printed. The printout is an announcement for the Meherabad residents. Every year we residents have a special garland made for Mehera and Baba on Mehera's birthday. The printout is to remind the residents who wish to participate that we are collecting donations.
I then went to the Page house to meet with the contractor. Since the Pages will be coming on a pilgrimage in a couple of weeks I wanted to see if we could have the house ready enough for them to stay there. We are going to do our best to have the kitchen and one bedroom ready.
I then drove to Anand Trader's to find out what day the steam-shower will be delivered. They said tomorrow. However, the man who would do the installation is from another city and won't be available until the 11th.
I went home for lunch and a nap. Most of the afternoon I spent trying to figure what to do with all the power cords I have. Somehow all the power cords for different types of cameras, cell phones, IPods, IPads, DVD players, etc got mixed together. I spread them on my floor and the hours passed as I tried one cord after another to things. Some I managed to put with the right object. Yet, so many are left that I am going to ask one of our residents to come and help me. I'm tired of having so much stuff and not knowing where it goes or if it is left over from something I don't have anymore.
Thursday 8 December. I was up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi. I cleaned Mehera's shrine, as Thursday was my turn. I really enjoy doing it. Then I walked up and down the hill a couple of times before walking home. It will take me a little time to get back into my normal workout routine.
My right knee had been hurting me since before I went to the States in October. I had thought it was a relapse from the Chickungunya I got several years ago. But it didn't get better. I am not able to sit with my knees bent under me. It is like they are full of fluid. In the afternoon I decided to see Anne in our hospital clinic at 4:30 PM.
Dr. Anne said she thought the injury might have been made when I broke my foot last May. She said I probably pulled something as my foot bent. She gave me an acupuncture treatment and wrapped my knee with an ace bandage. I will ask the Pages to bring a runners knee wrap when they come because the ace bandage will not stay on.
One of the residents came over for dinner. She said the past month there have been several groups from China. She also said the ones that are here now have beautiful singing voices and I can hear them at Arti time.
Friday 9 December. I walked up hill for morning darshan when the Samadhi doors were opened. I went back to my room to do a workout before turning around and walking back up to the Samadhi. I wanted to hear the Chinese singers.
Kokila is here from England. She is a master violin player and she was playing at the Samadhi. Then one of the Chinese men sang a song, followed by a Chinese woman. Her voice was so sweet and beautiful to listen to. After Arti I told her how much I enjoy her singing.
At 9:00 AM I went to out supply store, where the workers gather for Arti and then are given their days assignment. I saw Ted and asked him about the new light inside the Samadhi. He said the light inside the Samadhi has both yellow light bulbs and white light bulbs. Each one is no more that one-watt. These new ones will last several years whereas the old ones lasted only a few days before burning out.
I also asked about installing the back gates in the field behind the Hostels in Lower Meherabad. Ted said Phiroze is doing the work and the gates are already made and sitting at the farm where the Memorial Tower is being built. I will have to ask Phiroze when they will be put up.
After driving to the Page house to check on the updated work, I drove to the Memorial Tower site to video all the work that had been done since I left to visit my family in early October. What I saw was so awesome! The work on the spire had started! There are four steel poles that will be in the very center to hold up the spire. The first of the four poles is in place. The other three poles are welded together and ready to be assembled.
Driving by the MPC I saw Sam and Roshan Kerawala out front. They had just finished telling some of their Baba stories in the MPC Hall.
After lunch I rested and then went to look for flowers for tomorrow morning. I could only find a few little yellow ones on some bushes. The lack of rain this season is starting to have an affect on Meherabad.
The homeowners who have access to Meherabad water now have only three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon for water. We who live in staff quarters have water but we have to be very careful. No one is allowed to water gardens. We can use 'gray water' if we have any. This 'gray water' is water left from a bath or from soaking fruit and vegetables. Basically, it is recycled water.
Saturday 10 December. I went up the hill early to take darshan and then clean Mani's shrine. I got in line when the Samadhi doors were opened. The resident caretaker on duty brought a basket to help remove the pile of garlands on Beloved Baba's shrine. Because Dhuni is on Monday we have a lot of pilgrims here, and many express their love with the beautiful garlands, a bouquet of roses, or a lone rose or other type of flower. It is with such sweet love that it is given.
After taking darshan I went to Baba's Room to clean. I removed the flowers first. I took them to the place where the removed flowers from the Samadhi are taken. I also had my little plastic bag to select a few flowers to take back to my room and my neighbor's room. Then I went back to Baba's Room to clean.
With the draught and water restrictions most of Meherabad is without flowers. I had none to bring and give. However, the two flower-men who come to the Samadhi each morning bring a standing order of garlands for all the shrines plus extra for Mehera, Mani, and Baba's Room and Gadi. Then there are the pilgrims who order flowers to put on the Samadhi and shrines. So I am happy to say there have always been flowers for Baba and the women Mandali's graves.
After cleaning up the hill I went down to the Jhopdi and did a quick clean so it would look nice for the Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites. I was at the MPC at 10:00 AM, but there were no pilgrims waiting for the Tour. It seems I had the day off. I sat and chatted with those in the Welcome Center for a while.
I took advantage of the free time and went into the bazaar in Ahmednagar. I ran some errands and stopped at the Page house on the way home. Most of the driveway is completed and the front gates will now have to be raised a few inches higher to accommodate the height of the driveway stones.
In the afternoon there was a concert with Cindy Lowe and company. Kokila, the violinist from England, joined her exquisite music as backup to Cindy's singing and guitar playing. Most of the other performers were Meherabad residents. So many of our residents are musicians, singers, or very talented in other areas of the arts. It is a good life here, and the heart has so many opportunities to give this talent for Baba.
Before I went to the concert I had gone to the Memorial Tower and took a few updated photos.
Sunday 11 December. I went up the hill early for darshan at the Samadhi. After taking darshan I used to go walking for exercise; this I must temporarily discontinue as my knee needs to heal. When I walk I can feel the soreness in my right knee. Even though I still did a workout with a DVD and my loose weights. I was just very careful during the workout.
I got ready for Meherazad. Marge, my neighbor, was going to go to the Trust Office to cut Bhauji's hair, so I gave her a ride, dropping her off on the way. Marge used to have a hair salon in Canada and had offered her services when she moved to Meherabad. She cuts many of the resident's hair.
As I was nearing Meherazad I got a call from Ted Judson. He is the architect for the Memorial Tower. He knows how I have been doing video updates of the work there. He called to tell me at 11:00 AM they were going to start to pour the cement for the base of the Tower, and I may want to video it. He said this would be the final pouring before the marble work begins.
I told Ted I was almost at Meherazad but I would try to leave early. Ted said they would be pouring for at least three hours, as there were six trucks of cement to pour.
At the Meherazad approach road I saw Phiroze working with his crew putting up a fence of the surrounding land to the left of the approach road. I am happy the Trust got the land; it will help preserve the area around Meherazad.
When I got to Meherazad I enjoyed so much being there that I totally forgot about Ted.
It was crowded with the many pilgrims who had come to Meherabad for the Dhuni. Meheru sat on the verandah with a few residents and greeted the pilgrims. The screen door into the house was closed. When there are too many pilgrims it is kept closed.
As for myself, I spent most of the time in Baba's room until it was time to go into Mandali Hall for the program. Hughie McDonald, our resident magician, made the introductions. There were a few performances, along with three pilgrims from China who sang three songs. One of them had an especially lovely voice. We had just enough time left to see the film God Alone Exists before heading back to Meherabad.
As soon as I got back to Meherabad I grabbed my camera and went straight to the Memorial Tower. Ted, Joshi, and many workers were there working with a truck as it poured the cement to the different areas. There was a smoothing board made to smooth out the cement after the workers put the right amount in place. Ted said there would be a total of six cement trucks for this part of the job. Soon it will be time to start the marble work.
My video camera worked fine. But, my digital camera for some reason would not work. It kept saying "memory card error". I must have done something that caused it to have this problem. I felt frustrated because I wanted to take photos for this Diary to show the cement being poured. Well at least I was able to video the whole process.
At 3:15 PM I was at the Dhuni waiting for Zahra, a resident who was from Iran, to come by in her rickshaw. We were going to share a ride to the Trust so we could sit with Bhauji during his 'Bhau Chat' on the Internet. For a long time I have wanted to go to the 'Bhau Chats', but I don't feel safe driving home in the dark, not with these Indian drivers. Sharing a rickshaw is better.
When we got there we went into the office and took a seat. Shortly after 4:00 PM Bhauji was helped to his chair. Though Bhau looks healthy and fine, he needs support walking from the front and the back. It is sad to see how much his body suffers. However, once Bhau sits down all we see is his loving presence; so warm, loving, and adorable.
We all stood when he entered the room. I don't remember this being the case with any of the other Mandali. I think this standing thing started with Bhau when he was giving his talks at the MPC. Most of the Iranians would stand when Bhau arrived. Little by little everyone stood. But again, I don't remember this ever being the case with the other Mandali. I think with the Iranians it is a culture thing.
It was so sweet being in the room during Bhauji's Chat. Each person who called during the Web-cam, from Israel, El Salvador, the USA, Turkey, Iran, Mexico, England, and other countries, each person Bhauji would focus on and give so much attention and love. He truly loved being in contact with Baba's lovers from all over the world. I so much enjoyed being part of the "Love Club" as one of the residents in the room called our being in the office during the Chats.
At 6:30 PM we took a break and then went back into the office until 8:30 PM. Bhauji's team said it was time to call it a night and all the callers were finished. Bhauji truly looked disappointed, asking "There aren't anymore on the line?" He repeated this request several time until he resigned himself that the Chat for that day was over. Bhauji loves his "Chats" and I loved being there!
Later in the evening I tried to fix the problem with the digital camera. All I did was take out the memory card, blow on it, and put it back. Guess what? It worked!
Monday 12 December. I allowed myself to sleep late. I had to go up to the Samadhi at 8:00 AM to do the archive cleaning and I thought I would say my prayers then. While I was cleaning there was a group of pilgrims cleaning all the women's shrines. The three Chinese pilgrims were part of the work crew.
The men from Anand Traders were supposed to deliver the steam-shower by 10:00. The company man from Pune had arrived to do the installations. On my way to the Page house I stopped at the MPC to take a couple of photos of Pratap Ahir, who was the guest speaker of the Meherabad Mornings program.
Pratap was a teenager when he met Baba on 16 October 1950. Pratap has a wonderful singing voice that he accompanies with his harmonium playing. Because I had an appointment at the Page house I was unable to attend.
Before going up to the Page house I went to the Memorial Tower and took photos of the cement work. It was already finished but at least the photo will show how it looks. I forgot to mention, Joshi told me the marble work that will go on the spire would take about six more months to be finished. Than the marble for where we walk will take another six months. In all, the complete finished work of the Memorial Tower will take one more year. It is going to be awesome.
At 6:00 PM the Dhuni fire was lit. It was crowded and very lively. Pratap Amir and others from the Pune Baba Center were playing their harmonium and singing. They have such an expressive way of singing Bhajans; they are very good at it. The singing takes place the whole time the pilgrims in line take a sandalwood stick and throw it into the Dhuni fire. It was a lovely evening with a full moon and a light breeze.
Tuesday 13 December. I went up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine until the Samadhi doors opened. After taking darshan at the Samadhi I went to Baba's Room to clean. There were a lot of flowers from the many pilgrims, so one of the watchmen offered to help me remove them. After cleaning I asked someone to put Mani adn Baba's flowers in place when the flower man brings them.
I drove to BSNL (our phone company) and had Mr. Bore help me recharge a portable Internet pin-drive I had bought in October. Then I took a rickshaw into the bazaar to run some errands. In the evening, I had Samadhi Prasad duty. It was still crowded with a steady stream of pilgrims.
Wednesday 14 December. It was still bright walking up the hill because of the full moon. When I reached the top of the hill I stood in a place where it looked like the moon was directly above the Samadhi it was very enchanting, surreal. I took darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. I then collected some pretty roses and went home. During the day I went into Ahmednagar and ran some errands.
Thursday 15 December. I went up the hill early and cleaned Mehera's shrine. Then I got in line to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. After taking darshan I waited around until other residents came. It was Mani's birthday and a special beautiful cloth was to be put on her shrine. First a large garland was put on Baba's tomb, and then a large garland was put on Mehera's shrine before the special cloth cover was put on Mani. After putting the cloth on Mani's shrine, we quietly sang 'Happy Birthday' to Mani. But, you see, her cloth cover has all these beautiful birds and birdhouses on it, so instead of the regular 'Happy Birthday', we sang, 'Happy Bird day' to Mani. It was funny to us because we all knew Mani would have gotten a kick out of that.
I walked to my room to get a quick bite to eat, and then I drove to the railroad tracks and walked the rest of the way up the hill. I got there just as the Arti prayers were over and they were singing 'Happy Birthday' to Mani. I wanted to be at the singing part of the morning Arti because I knew it would be mostly songs written by Mani. Song sheets were passed around to the pilgrims so that could join in the singing; Mani wrote most of the songs.
It was such a wonderful morning, full of joy and love. The songs touched deeply within the heart, and a sharing of this among all gave a feeling of unity of love for Baba. More than one had tears from experiencing such beauty.
I got a call from Joshi telling me they were pouring cement for the 'cone shaped part' of the Memorial Tower spire. I grabbed my video camera and captured about 20 minutes of the work so people in the future will see how it was done. I also took some 'still' photos.
Joshi told me in the afternoon the final top part of the cone would be poured. I went in the afternoon but the men told me it would be done the next day.
In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy