Now it was 5 o'clock, time to go to Guruprasad again, to be with the women Mandali. About sixty women of all ages, sizes and backgrounds seated themselves on the carpet in Guruprasad Hall. Mani, Mehera and the other women sat in the breezeway by the door to their quarters; Mani greeted us, swinging the big silver stork of the mike this way and that. Then Mehera, in her low pitched bell-like voice, began to tell us how she first met Baba. Diane Cobb describes this interlude:
Mehera told, in a shy, halting voice, of how Babajan granted her wish. As a child, Mehera had a girl friend who was very bold. She told Mehera there was an old woman, Babajan, who could grant any wish. One day, after school, the girl spotted Babajan and ran to catch up with her and tell her her wish. Mehera hung back, but finally got courage to ask for a white horse (her mother sold all their horses at Mehera's father's death). Babajan sat down and began looking skyward. She seemed in a trance. "Ah yes," she said. "I will get you a horse. A beautiful horse, a grand horse. The whole world will look to you when you ride this horse." Mehera said she was so proud, imagining how beautiful and stylish she would look riding him, not knowing Babajan meant the White Horse Avatar. And it happened her mother really did bring back a white horse from market one day — all white, with one brown eye and one blue one. Mehera said, "I just fell in love with it." A wealthy man had owned the beautiful animal, but Mehera said the horse had a sign on him that whoever rode him would be a fakir — a poor outcast, and naturally, the rich man did not want it. The horse was quite wild, so Mehera was forbidden to ride him till he could be trained. But she couldn't resist, and one day snuck him out of the backyard and mounted him and rode him around town. She was caught and everyone said — 'Get down or he'll throw you! You'll be killed! 'But Mehera was not about to get down, she was having such a good time, and "it happened the horse was gentle." (Later on Baba rode the white horse once, and said no one should ride it again.)
At Mehera's father's death, Mehera's mother was attracted to spiritual things and sought out Upasni Maharaj of Sakori. There it happened that Mehera's first glimpse of Baba was as he was just leaving Upasni's ashram in a tonga and. all were bowing down to Him. It was His last day with Upasni Maharaj.
Later her mother and the family tried to arrange a marriage for her, but Baba said, "She is my daughter — she is too young for all that — she should stay here." So it was arranged for her to stay at Meherabad ashram.
Mehera also told me that her mother was the first to give everything to Baba — house, belongings, money, etc. She lived in the world, but at Baba 's order she observed silence until her death twenty years later. Mehera, all the while she was talking, was getting shyer and shyer, and her voice lower and lower, and finally Mani took over for her.
Mani told of the lively infighting between Baba's mother and His other two "parents," Babajan and Upasni! Shirinmai and Upasni, it appears, used to have it out together very frequently. She would trot down to Sakori and tell the old man to leave her son alone! Of course she respected him, as a holy man, but she wanted her boy to go into some brilliant profession. So there would be big squabbles. One day, on the train to Sakori, she took her garland for Upasni out of its box to straighten and admire it a bit. Meantime, she was berating the old man in her thoughts. Arriving at last at Upasni's, she went to garland him (it being customary to garland holy men before business with 'em.) Upasni looked up and smiled grimly! "Oh, what a lovely garland of shoes you brought me!" "Maharaj, what do you mean? These are beautiful flowers!" "And how many times did you shower abuses (old shoes) over my head as you admired these flowers on the train?" . . .
And Shirinmai would also tussle with Babajan. Making no headway. Shirinmai thought perhaps there was a generation