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1

 

Continuing

 

MISSION WITH MEHER BABA:

 

Part II—Darshan at Poona

By LT. COL. F. P. GOLDNEY (Retired)

 

In the evening, as usual, on Friday the 22nd March, I had the good company of Meherji for supper, and later, Ramjoo’s inexhaustible fund of absorbing anecdotes, but Baba had given instructions for my car to leave by 6 a.m. the following morning for Poona, and this meant a call at 4:30, so early bed-time had been directed. In addition, I had to examine Zephyr and try to ensure that she rose to the occasion on the morrow. Dr. Donkin, who is the son of the senior partner in a very distinguished English firm of consulting engineers, had taken out the car and done splendid service in cleaning the engine, tightening bolts and nuts, and most valuable of all, securing the 12-volt battery; I owe him a debt of gratitude not easy to repay. Meherji's chauffeur had also polished and cleaned Zephyr so she was not made to feel too much of a poor relation beside Baba's big Chevrolet.

 

One of the compensations for India's hot weather is the ease with which anyone, even those like me, reluctant to get up in a cold climate, can rise at any hour of the night and quickly feel fully awake. At 4:30 the temperature was perfect and my nostrils were greeted with the scent of flowers and my ears with the songs of birds. Punctually at 6 a.m. I let in the clutch of Zephyr, with Gustadji beside me, whose smiling morning face was radiant, and behind me sat the cheerful Kishan Singh and Nigham. Pale tints were coloring the sky but dawn had not yet broken and for the first hour headlights were necessary Time passed pleasantly with snatches of conversation, and soon we were well on our way to Poona, when shortly before 8, occurred one of those incidents which make motorists new to Indian roads realize how easily minor accidents can take place, despite the far lesser volume of traffic than in Europe.

 

My car has a left-hand drive for Continental roads, and the tarmac width of the road is limited, with dusty lanes on each side. While passing a bullock cart, and wishing to avoid getting off the tarmac, I kept to the extreme left, but the buttock of the bullock gave a waggle, the cart lurched to the right and the axle buckled a mudguard and removed some paint. I was indeed thankful I had taken out a comprehensive insurance

 

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