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19

 

Ahmednagar where it is believed that Rama with his faithful Sita and loving Lakshmi lived for some time.) Happy Valley is not an uncommon name for a beautiful place in India.

 

The Happy Valley on this occasion was a beautiful spot eight miles distant from the Ashram at Nasik, situated along the banks of the river. Everywhere were mango trees. It was a very peaceful spot with few visitors or onlookers. We saw the buffaloes cooling themselves in the water and women coming down in their bright colored saris with shining brass watering cans perched on their heads without even the support of a hand to balance.

 

Baba, as usual made an early start. We left at 7:30 A.M., a few of us in Baba's car, Freni driving, the rest in two other cars, one driven by Elizabeth. We walked awhile ― a long straggling line ― until we came to some shady mango trees where we rested and photographs were taken of Baba with the others and of Baba alone. Baba then suggested that the less strong should rest by the side of the shady trees in the cool — these were Nonny, who was on a forty-day fast (orange juice and water) and Ruano Bogislav, whom Baba asked to keep her company, and Nadia Tolstoy who was just up after flu ― the rest found a shady spot and started playing a kind of deck tennis, with Baba joining in the game. There followed a rather complicated Indian game, with a spiritual significance, played with stick and stones. Baba explained and played with us. One just felt Baba wanted to be with us and join in our games because he knew how happy it made us. We ate together, played together, told amusing anecdotes.

 

Around 10:30 Norina went back to the ashram to pick up the lunch and returned shortly with a wonderful hot meal of rice, spinach, etc., Baba ate with us off dried green leaves sewn together forming a round plate, giving to each a portion of his food. After lunch a short rest and more games. One was throwing rubber rings from a distance over a stick held first by Baba and then by Tom Sharpley. Fortunately Norina had provided ample drinks to quench our thirst. Baba prepared himself a drink of barley water, soda water, orange and watermelon — a very cooling and refreshing drink. We enjoyed watermelon. I am sure there were some who would have liked nothing better than to have "stayed put" for the heat was approaching fast as we neared the break of the monsoon, but Baba kept us on the go, no doubt for a good reason!

 

Rustom, Adi Sr.'s elder brother, arrived shortly after lunch. Freni, his wife, had been sent by Baba to fetch him by car as he had been ill with

 

 

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