I had never gotten a passport; I thought you walked in and you got it, like going to the store. One of the photographers took pictures for me and I went racing down to the county court house and filled out the passport papers. The pictures were wrong, but the man said, "Look you go across the street, get new pictures, It's getting late and I'm supposed to close, but I'll wait for you." I got the pictures, came back with all the papers and said, "Now, how long is this going to take?"
And he said, "Three weeks."
"But I'm leaving for India Thursday night."
He said, "Oh," and he put all the papers in an envelope, wrote a woman's name on it, and continued, "You go into Manhattan tomorrow; give these papers to this woman and no one else. Tell her I sent you and maybe she can help."
So the next morning, Ginny with Saks charge card, took me by the hand and we went into New York to the passport bureau. Now, this was the end of May, tourist season was just starting, and the place was jammed. But I found the woman sitting at her desk all alone having a cup of coffee, and there was nobody in front of her. I walked up and I gave her the papers. I didn't say anything; I let her look at them. She said, "Alright, come back in two hours, I'll have your passport ready for you."
I said, "Well, I have to go and get a visa, so what time does the Indian Consulate close?"
She answered, "They close early; you'd better come back here in an hour in order to make it." At that point Ginny and I began to suspect that nobody was going to say no.
We went over to Air India to get the tickets, and what they had done was this: They had booked me out of the United States on Thursday, May 26, 1961 and back on May 28, 1962, because, as the agent said, "Who goes to India for the weekend?" When we finally got it straightened out and he understood what I wanted to do, he said, "Lady, I went to London for tea once and you make me look like a piker."
Since this obviously looked like it was going to work, I asked the Air India man where I could send a cable because Baba had said in His family letter that people should not come at a great distance or at great expense for so short a time since He might give another opportunity in His own way. I didn't believe a word of it; I'd been hearing this for years. The man told us where the telegraph office was and I went over there and sent a cable to Baba, trying to cover myself: "No distance too great, no price too high (it wasn't my money). I'm coming and I'll arrange my own transportation from Bombay." What I thought was that if it wasn't right that I was coming, that cable would give Baba time to stop me. He could get back to me, and even if I was en route, Ginny and Liz could somehow get in touch with me and say, "Baba says no, turn around and come home."
As I was standing there doing that, the Air India agent came running in the door, and he said it had occurred to him that I was going to India alone, that I didn't know anyone there, and that if I would come back to his office, he'd fix things up to make sure that I got to Poona OK. I told him I would come back a little bit later; I wanted to make sure about that passport and visa. We went back to the passport office. The woman had it ready right on time. Then we went tearing over to the Indian Consulate. I thought this