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28

 

Him, and the point continued to occupy his mind—Is Bombay small, or are we small?

 

The ship was too large to land at the island, and the passengers were rowed ashore in small boats. By coincidence, Baba and Ramjoo were in one boatload together. But even with this close contact, Baba seemed unaware of and unconcerned with Ramjoo.

 

Mohammedans pray five times daily. Although this custom is observed by the older generation, the younger ones in that part of India seldom do, although Ramjoo, who was then 22, did faithfully say his five prayers a day. So about 1:30 p.m. he left the group, found a secluded alcove on the beach, and said his prayers. When he rejoined the party, Baba was scolding them. He said, "Here I come on a picnic with you and what do you do? Some go off fishing, some to say their prayers, some …”

 

"Well;" thought Ramjoo, "He's guessing. Possibly others say their prayers regularly also. I'll just find out." So Ramjoo contacted each mem­ber of the group individually, and said, "Well, (so and so), I see you left Merwan's company to say your prayers." The invariable answer was, "I don't know about the others, but I wasn't saying prayer.” So Ramjoo was the only one who had said prayers. Still Ramjoo thought Baba was guessing. After all, equipment is required for fishing—nets, hooks, line, bait—and no one had fishing equipment along. So Ramjoo approached one of the group and said, "What does Merwan mean, we left Him to go fishing? Everyone knows you need equipment to fish." "Well," said the other, "I don't know about you, but I was fishing. I dug a trench in the beach with my hands, waited for the fish to swim into it, and then blocked off the opening." This, then, had not been mere guessing.

 

Now Ramjoo had a collection of shells and pretty colored stones. While walking along the beach he had found many for his collection. His pockets were filled. He had made a haul. On the ship on the way back Baba again discoursed to the group. He said that it was the nature of men to collect things. Some collect possessions, some money, some objects of art. Men collect all kinds of things. "It would not surprise Me," He said, “if someone even collected those little shells and pebbles off beaches." Everyone guffawed loudly at this last statement. Secretly and unostentatiously, Ramjoo emptied his pockets over the side, handful by handful.

 

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