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40

 

We were up early as usual. About 5 a.m. the group stood waiting in front of the motel for Baba's signal to step into the cars. This morning Baba delayed starting, however. He came out of his room and stood quite still for some minutes on the doorstep, withdrawn, sad and unusually still. No last minute questions, no haste to be off. Elizabeth sat at the wheel awaiting his signal. Ten minutes elapsed before Baba walked to his car, followed by the women. The rest of us got into Sarosh's car as before. After a short distance, Baba's car stopped suddenly and Baba got out and paced up and down on the right side of the road. We too got out and stood by our car. No word was uttered. This happened twice.

 

I should mention here that on this trip Baba had stipulated that his car, driven by Elizabeth, must lead and the second car, driven by Sarosh, must keep close behind and not on any account lose sight of Baba's car. This was somewhat difficult for Sarosh, as the stopping places agreed upon were not always clearly marked on the route. However, if we did lose sight of his car, Baba would wait for us to catch up or to find him in the town prearranged for our meeting.

 

On the morning of the 24th Baba reiterated this order. He had been very inconvenienced waiting so often for us in the very great heat. But he would not agree to Sarosh's request that our car go first. When we asked if we might stop to quench our thirst, Baba answered, "Yes, but do not linger." Delia too recalls that Baba had to repeat this warning, as the second car kept getting lost. He said, "If this happens again I will not forgive you."

 

Delia writes: “That morning (the 24th) Baba seemed very depressed and haggard. He impressed on us again that we must not get lost. At one time in the morning he stopped the car, got out and walked ahead with his head bent, seeming very far away. At one of the villages, we stopped to have a cup of coffee or cokes . . . We then put on speed to meet Baba at the appointed place. We could see no sign of his car and were beginning to get worried. It was about 10:05 a.m. We heard an exclamation of alarm from Sarosh. We turned our heads to the right. At first we could not take in what had happened; we could not see clearly from the car. We saw people standing round Baba who seemed to be lying on the ground. The women were lying in various directions. Sarosh exclaimed, "O God, there's been an accident!"

 

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