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13

 

I'll tell you how Kaka was chosen. In the old days when we travelled by ship I used to be a very bad sailor. At the very sight of the ocean I used to get seasick; Baba got so fed up with me that he took Kaka Baria with him and he was a great help. He could read the alphabet board to a certain extent, but if Baba started giving a discourse, then he couldn't follow it. Kaka could only say, "No discuss!" So that's why I had to go along with Baba.

 

Back to Hollywood; when Baba went out I used to eat the fruit on his table because I was so hungry. Once, twice, three times it happened. Poor Kaka didn't eat any of it. One day Baba asked Kaka, "What is this, who eats these fruits? Everyday the bowl is full and after I go out it is empty." I said, "Baba, it is I who eat it."

 

He replied, "Why do you eat it without my permission?"

 

"I get so hungry," I said. Then Baba asked what kind of food we were getting. I told him, "In the morning, breakfast is alright, but we can't go on eating cream and bread and butter the whole day . . . without spices! Only vegetables!" Then Baba asked Kaka Baria to cook food for him and out of that we used to get a portion.

 

Now one day Minta De Leon* was staying in an adjoining room. I had noticed she had brought in a huge box of chocolates. I thought there are too many for her to eat by herself. Immediately I got hold of Kaka, "Come here." I said. "Do one favor for me."

 

"Yes, what is it? If I can do it, I will do it."

 

"Please go and ask Minta for some chocolates. I am feeling very hungry right now."

 

"No, no, no. I am not going to do that;" he protested.

 

I said, "You are an elderly man, we are young people. It's far too strict for us . . . but very easy for you. Don't bother about it at all. Please go ask." So somehow or other I got him to do it. He went inside and asked Minta for chocolates. Poor Minta ― she was caught between Baba's orders and Kaka's request. She took out a lot of chocolates and gave them to him. The minute he came out I emptied his pockets. Only one or two pieces were left . . . and I ate all the rest. Imagine how famished I was!

 

After a while Baba came in; I was about to go out for a walk. Then Minta's conscience started pricking, because Baba had given instructions not to give any sweets to the mandali. Since she had broken his order, she had to confess: it took a very long time.

 

"Baba, I made a very big mistake."

 

"What is it?" queried Baba.

 

"I gave some chocolates to Kaka."

 

"Chocolates to Kaka? Where is Kaka? Call him."

 

I was standing near by where when Kaka came. "Yes, Baba, chocolates, yes. I went and asked her for chocolates."

 

"You ate the chocolates?" Baba asked on his board. "Yes, yes."

 

Baba said, "Let me see your pockets" Only one or two pieces were there. Then I said, "Baba, Kaka hasn't eaten even one piece. I tell you honestly, I have eaten them all." Then Baba asked Kaka, "With whose permission did you ask her?"

 

"Adi," he said, "Adi asked me to go."

 

"Was it you, Adi? Did you tell him?"

 

"Yes, Baba, I told him, but, if I were to ask him tomorrow to jump into a well and commit suicide, will he do it? It is I who told him to go and ask for the chocolates. But tomorrow if I ask him to do anything, must he do it?" Kaka got so infuriated he didn't speak to me for three or four days. Gradually he calmed down.

 

*Minta reminisces: "We used to go for lovely walks every afternoon and returned as the sun set, which was spectacular . . . Baba was very sweet to me, but I didn’t have much time alone with Him, but I was very happy in that period . . . Nonny (Gayley) was especially sweet to me. . . I shared a bedroom with Rano (Gayley). There was a lovely mimosa tree in front of the villa and I used to pick a sprig every day for my room."

 

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