After an hour of riding we found ourselves in one of the most luxurious surroundings in Bombay. Marble walls and red plush carpets . . . quaint, elegant elevators leading to magnificent suites . . . the Taj Mahal! India, the land of contrasts . . ! A very tired group of excited people washed up and met for breakfast. Silver settings, cloth napkins and beautifully dressed waiters greeted us. I began to butter my toast when Allan suggested that perhaps the butter was not from a cow. I didn't butter my toast. I began to pour milk into my coffee; once again Allan implied that the milk was from an animal other than the old familiar Elsie type, but from a water buffalo! I drank my coffee black and reminded myself not to have breakfast with Dr. Cohen in India again. Bernie Schwartz had breakfast with the two of us that morning also. He proudly announced that he had drank some water from the pitcher in his gorgeous room. He was our first guinea pig . . . we waited for him to turn green.
Some of us decided to sleep after breakfast and others shopped or stayed around the hotel. I slept. Dave Wietersen met the editor of GLOW (a publication dedicated to Meher Baba) and Sarosh Irani. Sarosh has been serving Baba devotedly for nearly 50 years. He was driving the car carrying the mandali when Baba had his accident in the U.S. He felt he wanted to kill himself after the accident. He didn't feel he could face anyone back in India after allowing the Master to get hurt. Sarosh told about the one time he disobeyed Baba. After the accident, Baba told him to have an operation he needed, by a certain surgeon. Due to many Mayavic episodes, he went to another doctor. He ended up suffering for three years until he finally had the operation redone by the doctor Baba had originally designated.
Sarosh also told about a vision of Meherjee Karkaria's. Two days before Baba dropped his body, Meherjee saw it happen. He told Sarosh immediately. Sarosh didnt believe that Baba would leave, so he decided to follow previously-made plans to depart from Bombay. No sooner had he left when he received a telegram from Meherazad informing him that Meherjee's vision had come true.
At 5:30 we were back at the airport to catch our last plane for a while. Destination: Poona . Everyone was cheerful and the general feeling was that we were really in a dream . . . getting farther and farther away from "reality!"
We arrived in Poona after a half-hour ride. Energy seemed to come from nowhere. The lack of sleep didn't seem noticeable on anyone's face. The airport in Poona was an old wood building. The runway, an old field. There were miles of land with vegetation growing. We were all relieved. In Bombay we almost never saw a tree and we were afraid all of India would be like that. More Baba lovers were there to meet us, Meherjee Karkaria among them. They had a bus waiting to whisk us off to our hotels. The sights along the way were once again full of contrasts. On the way to the hotel we passed Guruprasad. It was announced by the driver, but it wasn't necessary. We had all seen it so many times in pictures and dreams. Everyone reacted. . .each in his own way. . .all saying "Home! "
About six of us were dropped off at the Amir Hotel. We were surprised at how modern it was. We went to our rooms and quickly washed and unpacked. It was quite a coordination problem trying to get the six of us downstairs to dinner at the same time. We had the feeling that this was just the beginning of problems. It would be five times worse when the second group came, which comprised at least 40 more people for our hotel. We were served a beautiful, carefully prepared meal. We did not see a menu. I was very nervous about the food and ate very little. I passed up the ice cream and worried about the others as they ate theirs.
We decided to go back to our rooms and sleep. As we were passing through the lobby we heard a lot of familiar voices. Allan Cohen, Carol-Leigh Jensen, Ann McGinnis. I ran out to see what was happening. Carol-Leigh told me that they were all trying to check into our hotel because the rooms they were assigned had lizards in them! We all started to laugh and hug each other. So this was India! It took about an hour to reshuffle the new people into the hotel. Everyone was appeased, —for the moment.
Tuesday, April 8th.
The 156 on the charter flight still hadn't