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3

 

Our cab whirled through the soft Indian night to the bursts of sound and light that signaled the Indian Diwali, or Festival of Lights, to the Taj Mahal Hotel, whose long arched marble corridors reminded one of a cloister or a girls' dorm. A huge fan, and restless thoughts of Beloved, kept me awake most of the night. At 6:30 on a walk around the hotel I had my first shocked glimpse of the Indian poor; sleeping against the wall of the hotel were men, women, boys, with nothing but a brass pot and a bundle of rags for worldly goods. Across the street the Victoria Gate framed the bay of Bombay as hundreds of black crows whirled overhead. The day was grey, cloudy, and hot. A little boy in nothing but a ragged shirt walked along by the sea, playing his flute, symbolic of India, the Beloved's homeland.

 

After an English breakfast at the hotel, where we met up with Margaret Craske and some of her young dancers, we caught the train to Poona, our baggage balanced on the red turbans of the native porters. In one compartment, Charmian Duce, '3-B' Dimpfl and I sang ourselves hoarse most of the 3½-hour journey up into the Deccan hills, past the most fascinating railroad stations full of people, camping out bag and baggage on the platforms. At several stops they peered into our faces or thrust a hand out for alms. Both men and women wore violent, marvelous colors, purple, orange, green, and so on. We passed many rivers where the women were washing out their saris or carrying water home in enormous brass pots on their heads; or men were washing the huge black water buffalos. At last we reached Poona, where the Eastern volunteers, led by Jal S. Irani and Meherjee Karkaria met us and drove us to our separate hotels. Mine was the Poona Hotel, a small hostel where I shared a room with Adele Wolkin and Norma Gould. Other friends of the New York Group and many of the Australians were stationed here. We also met the Eastern volunteers, appointed to aid our group (under the direction of Baba's brother Jal): Minoo Kharas, Beheram Dadachanji, Eruch’s brother Meherwan Jessawala, Dr. Bharucha, staying in our hotel, Sorabsha Siganporia, and Kishanchand Gajwani who taxied myself and several others to Guruprasad every day. Adi Senior also came over to say hello and deliver a message. The afternoon passed quickly in struggling to clean up our quarters, unpacking, and chatting eagerly about the coming reunion with the Divine Beloved.

 

 

Tuesday—October 30

After a breakfast of sweet limes, bananas, tea, toast, porridge and eggs in the Poona Hotel, we were visited by a charming lady from Air-India and by Baba's long-time disciple, Meherjee Karkaria, who had been in charge of our hotel arrangements and the group air flight from New York. The

 

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