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22

 

pleasing me. She tries to please all and can't, so why not start trying to please me and obey my orders literally?"

 

I was a little at sea, not knowing what Baba was referring to, when up popped the subject of bread or toast on the month's fast. I got annoyed and argued to prove my point as one is inclined to do if in the wrong, and I remember throwing the orange I still held across the compound.

 

Then followed more complaints against "the housekeeper" and Baba finished up by saying, "From tomorrow another of the group will take over as housekeeper and you will help her." And smilingly, Baba added, "But don't worry. From tomorrow you start with a clean slate."

 

He brushed his hand across his board and dismissed us all.

 

He made no further explanation, but Baba's laconic answers always satisfied us because they bear the weight of truth. All need for ordinary logical and rational explanations seem unnecessary.

 

There are many incidents to illustrate how, if one does not obey an order of Baba's immediately it is given, things sometimes do not go right.

 

The following happened in Marseilles:

 

Some of us had seen small, brightly colored birds in the market-place and suggested giving Baba some birds; to which Baba agreed, saying that each of us should select one. That made sixteen small birds, the same number as were present in the group.

 

Nonny brought in a beautiful, very large bird cage. Q. was making tea in the next room. Baba sent for him to put the birds from the other smaller cage into the large one, but Q. called out, "Just a minute, Baba. I'm making tea." Baba asked again and still the same answer. So, Baba told Adi Jr. to do it and he, not so adroit, let one bird fly away. Baba spelt out on his board, "Q. thinks more of his tea than of obeying my orders."

 

Baba, who as a rule was seldom ever angry, was so on this occasion because Maya had so definitely interfered, and Baba had told us at the time it was most important that none of the birds should escape.

 

A few days later, Baba told Q. and Delia to go to the shop with the birds left and the cages and change them for as many birds as they could get, even if the birds were not as valuable as the ones they were returning. They came back with thirty birds.

 

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