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31

 

Later, having removed the saris, we went downstairs to the hall where many devotees were gathered. Baba's sister, Mani (aged 14—how shy she must have felt). was asked by Baba to do a short monologue. We followed it with various entertainments. I remember that Baba asked us then how we would like to live on the Hill. However, three years elapsed before we met again on our fortnightly visits from Nasik to Meherabad in 1937.

 

Visits from Nasik to Meherabad in 1937

 

Naja, Baba's cousin, who acted as housekeeper and cook on the Hill, told us many months later how each time they had been up from 3 a.m. preparing for our arrival. Baba wanted everything to be perfect, including special rice and curry and other dainty and attractive vegetarian dishes, all to be ready by Baba's order at 5 a.m.

 

Then there was shifting of furniture from the large western room to make place for the long low wooden benches which were arranged in two rows down the length of the room, with Baba's gadi at the far end where he would sit, facing us. The long benches served as tables and we sat on cushions on the floor. Two young Marathi girls from Arangaon village had been taught how to serve and to say a few English words. What fun they had seeing us eat with forks and spoons! They trotted soundlessly in and out on bare feet.

 

These visits lasted but a few hours. Baba remained with us all the time. Sometimes he took us for walks, or sat while we were shown the different interests and work of the ashram. The atmosphere we brought back with us to Nasik was something unique and harmonious—so out of this world.

 

Seven months later, in July, 1937, Baba closed the Nasik Ashram and took the Nasik group of men and women and his Indian groups to Cannes, in southern France, for a three-months' stay.

 

Visit to Cannes

 

The different groups were housed in three villas. Norina, Elizabeth, Rano and I found ourselves in a secluded house and garden with the Indian group of women from Meherabad Hill. Here we lived intimately together for these few months sharing every detail of the daily life together ... with Baba with us part of the time. We had ample opportunity for the exchange of

 

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