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7

 

who he was, said, "He is the King of the world", and thereupon he fell on the ground, and held the photograph to his heart, and seemed in ecstasy.

 

Baba came down early the next morning and I hear him discussing affairs with Vishnu at about 4:45 a.m. Nilu's snoring kept me awake. I was restless that night.

 

Ramju, Nilu, and I left in the Chevrolet at 8:00 a.m. through Ahmednagar, Rahini, Sangamir, and Bhandardara — the latter, a beautiful lake, with monsoon storms on the hills all round, but sunlight on the lake, and passing through Igatpuri, we reached Nasik at 6:30 p.m.

 

Ramju describes how they walked about 200 miles with Baba in the early days along part of this road from Bombay to somewhere. Baba used to be "rough" with them then, before his silence; one moment in a "good" mood — the next moment, he would hit out at whomever was nearest him; he says Adi senior had the most beatings.

 

The following illustrates how Baba gave someone a nickname. At Rustom's engagement party, they were served at the end of the meal with a small cake of soap and water each. One of the mandali eats the soap and says it is nasty cheese; the rumor passes down the table that so-and-so has eaten his soap thinking it to be cheese; this reaches Baba's ear, and the ashram bell is rung and Baba's order chalked on the board, from today, so-and-so is to be called 'Cheese'.

 

Ramju tells me that when Baba told them in 1925 he was going to be silent for a year or so, on the following morning, he became extremely serious and made them all promise not to leave him 'till he spoke, whatever happened, though none realized at the time that they would have to wait 15 years or so.

 

I have been shown all over Nasik; and am sleeping in Rustom's house; very western, on the same grounds as the Meher Retreat for the western group. Have visited the Pandava Caves, and a Jain temple over the river. Nilu and I leave this afternoon for Bombay and Sholapur to join Baba there.

 

4/8/39: Nilu and I arrived at Sholapur the other morning, where Gadekar met us, and took us out by taxi to the Ekruk Tank* about 5 miles out of Sholapur. I am ashamed to say that I did not really recognize Gadekar, as he came to London in 1937; but I think his hair was shorter then. He has a good job here as inspector of schools.

 

This Eknath Dak Bungalow** is on the edge of a lake, some 4 or 5 miles across, with flat hills surrounding it, and an artificial dam at its western end.

 

Baba and the ladies are in the Dak bungalow, and most of us 'boys' in a tin hut under the dam. We bathe in the lake and canal, lie under the trees, and go up to Baba's room for meals; so we see a lot of him. I have also been to town with him in Elizabeth's car for shopping, post, etc. Baba is quite enigmatic over the political situation; though Friday, when on reading the paper regarding Poland and Germany, I said it looked as if another crisis and perhaps war was on the way, he gave me a quick wink, which I think meant no war yet.

 

He says tomorrow that Churchill is a bit weak, but that Eden is good, that Hitler's present policy of threat and snatch will lead to war in the end: Baba says, in any case, it is all "chalked out".

 

Today, I have been practicing driving the Chevrolet bus, which, if the present arrangement stands, I am to drive from here to Mysore, starting on the 9th August, with its full complement of ladies. It shall be an interesting drive, even if tiring.

 

13/9/39 Bangalore: We left Sholapur on the 9th and I for one. was glad to

 

* the Ekruk tank near Sholapur city is the second largest irrigation work in the Decca.-from internet, 1-26-05

** In Mani’s diary she refers to this as ‘Hiparja Tank Dak bungalow.’-David Fenster 1-26-05

 

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