RUSI POP & KHORSHED

RUSI IRANI (POP) & KHORSHED BANU

(Father & mother of Dr. Goher)

On 7th June 1923, after spending a pleasant week in Karachi, Baba departed with the mandali for Quetta. Pilamai had spared nothing in seeing to Baba's comfort, and he appeared pleased with his visit and her consideration. The group reached Quetta the next day. For the Master's privacy, Rusi had rented a house on Bruce Street next to his own; Baba stayed on the ground floor while the men mandali stayed upstairs. Rusi owned a restaurant and saw to his guests' food and general well-being. The Zoroastrian and Mohammedan mandali's meals were prepared at Rusi's restaurant; the Hindu mandali had their own separate (vegetarian) cooking arrangements in the house.

It was cold in Quetta, even though it was summer, and Baba relaxed the order for the men concerning their early morning cold-water baths, permitting them now to use hot water. Despite the cold, Baba did not stop fasting and would drink only warm milk and almond broth in the mornings and eat plain dal in the evenings.

Baba played with all of Rusi's children but he was most attentive to Goher and Katie. Goher was only seven years old and Katie was three. Baba became their perfect playmate and would teach them games. Katie once remarked to her father, "Meher Baba is such a fine gentleman. Don't allow him to leave!" While playing carrom one day, Baba quietly lifted up one of the pieces. "Baba, you're cheating!" Goher complained. "Play fairly." The Master laughed.

Rusi was an amateur magician and would stage magic shows every evening for Baba's enjoyment, telling jokes and funny stories as he performed his tricks. Rusi also took Baba and the mandali to different orchards and gardens surrounding Quetta, especially the beautiful garden of Jamasp, and showed them the city's many scenic spots. Baba was quite happy in Quetta and pleased to be in Rusi's humorous company.

Goher Irani had moved to Ahmednagar from Quetta in 1932 with her brother, Jal. The rest of her family moved in 1933, following Baba's warnings to leave Quetta before a terrible earthquake struck in 1935. All in the family were devoted to Baba, especially Goher and her sister Katie. On 22 August, "Rusi Pop" (as Goher's father came to be known) arrived in Nasik. He stayed overnight and left with his cousin Adi Sr. the next day for Ahmednagar.

In 1933, Big Khorshed (the wife of Baba's deceased elder brother Jamshed) left the ashram and moved to Bombay, preferring a more independent life, as compared to the strict secluded life of the women mandali in the ashram, Big Khorshed had joined the ashram in 1926 after Jamshed's death and was also among the women staying at Toka during 1928. She later re-married and eventually moved to Karachi, though she kept in touch with Baba's family.

On 28th January 1934, Freiny Masi arrived suddenly with her son Keki. She was suffering from cancer and was depressed about her condition. She begged Baba to keep her in the ashram. Adi Sr. drove them to Khushru Quarters and Daulatmai was informed in Nasik. While returning, Adi brought Rusi Pop's daughters Silla, Goher and Katie to Meherabad to see Baba. Rusi Pop, Sarosh and Viloo came the following day.

On 1st March 1935, Rusi Pop came to see Baba in the morning along with Padri's mother Freiny Masi, with whom Baba had a long talk about her illness. Baba assured her she would recover and instructed her to go to Poona and, for 40 days, to place ashes from his dhuni on Babajan's tomb.

1941, Rusi Irani had been instructed at Ahmednagar to go to Quetta, and arrange living accommodations for Baba and the group. Pendu and Rusi came to Jaipur on 22 February 1941 and the following morning had a long discussion with Baba about the arrangements. Rusi was a former resident of Quetta, and during the 1920s Baba had stayed at his house three times. Following Baba's advice, Rusi and his family had left Quetta and were now residing in Ahmednagar. Rusi's daughter Katie had joined the women mandali on the Blue Bus tour, and another daughter, Goher, was studying to be a doctor in Bombay. During her vacations, Goher would eagerly come and stay with Baba, as she too had tasted Wine and longed for more.

Goher R. Irani, had finished medical school and had come to Ahmednagar to stay with her family. Although she very much wanted to be with Baba, her mother Khorshed was disconsolate and wept at the thought of yet another daughter leaving her to join Meher Baba's ashram. Goher's sister, Katie, had been one of the resident women mandali since 1938, so their mother wished Goher to work as a doctor and live at home. Goher's father Rusi Pop, however, had no objection and wanted her to remain with Baba.

On 31st January 1945, Baba left Pimpalgaon and moved with the women to Rusi Pop's house in Ahmednagar, not far from Khushru Quarters. This move to Katie and Goher's parent's home was necessitated because of some minor construction and renovation work which was to take place at Pimpalgaon under Kalemama's supervision.

Baba's 54th birthday was observed (according to the Parsi calendar) on Friday, 13th February 1948. Baba called the women from Meherabad to Pimpalgaon at three in the afternoon for a bhajan performance by an Arangaon group. Also allowed to attend the festivities from Ahmednagar were: Khorshed Banu (Rusi Pop’s wife) and her daughter Roshan. Shirin Damania.

The first program was held on Monday, 16 th February 1948, at the town of Kotul, 80 miles from Ahmednagar near Sangamner. Driven by Adi Sr., Baba left Pimpalgaon in the middle of the night at 3 A.M. and came to Rusi Pop's where he washed and had breakfast. He left with Dhake, Kaka and Jalbhai, and arrived at Kotul shortly after eight in the morning. The program was held at the dak bungalow. Baba sat on a stool and washed the feet of 1,010 poverty-stricken men and women, placed his head on their feet, and handed them his prasad. To 27 of them he gave one rupee each.

In Meherabad, on the morning of the 26th of February 1948, Baba broke his 40-day fast. In His presence, Nilu, Don and Ghani also broke their partial fast of 25 days by eating some food in front of Baba. Kaka and Annasaheb Kale broke their silence of the past 25 days by speaking to Baba. On the hill that afternoon at five, Rusi Pop gave a magic show before an audience of both the men and women mandali. Baba returned to Rusi Pop's with the women the next morning at eight.

On 17th September 1947, Baba drove to Bombay with Sarosh and others. There they were met by the other mandali who were to accompany them including Rusi Pop. All boarded the train at 8:30 that evening and left for Surat.

Having completed his mast work in Bombay, Baba and the men and women mandali returned to Ahmednagar on Saturday, 20 March. From that night, Baba changed his routine and began sleeping at Rusi Pop's, rather than Gyara's. He visited the mandali at the Ice Factory during the day.

The day after Baba arrived, Adi drove him as usual at 8:00 A.M. from Rusi Pop's to the Ice Factory Bungalow. Baba went through the post and telegrams that had arrived while he was away, and met Don, Pendu, Padri and Sarosh. Don showed Baba the cover and some pages of proofs of The Wayfarers, and Baba expressed his pleasure at the work. Baba returned to Rusi Pop's for lunch, and Adi drove him back to the mandali's at 3:00 P.M.

The women mandali stayed Ahmednagar while the Pimpalgaon construction work was going on.

Although were happy to be back in India, they were feeling the pain of separation at being kept at After the housewarming at Meherazad, Baba called Jean and Delia to Pop's house to stay, and they felt much happier. Kaka was cooking separately for the Westerners living at Pop's and Baba was sending them to the Ice Factory Bungalow for their meals, while he ate with the Eastern women at Pop's.2688-1948

1st August 1949, was a red-letter day in Meherazad. All the Meherabad mandali, as well as other Meherabad residents, including Rusi Pop were invited. No one was to eat breakfast or take tea before arriving. All the men and women had been observing silence for one month, and they were to break it in Baba's presence when he stepped out of seclusion. Sarosh was the only one who had been exempted from being on silence because of his political involvements and work.

Before New Life, on 15 th September 1948, Rusi Pop and two others had interviews at Meherazad and received instructions from Baba.

Pointing to Rusi Pop, Goher's father, Baba commented, "I stayed in his house in Quetta years ago."

On 31st March Rusi Pop came to Meherazad in Meherabad. Baba was in a very cheerful mood that day. A discussion took place about lower Meherabad and the Family Quarters.

Goher's mother was seriously ill with cancer and required an operation in Bombay. Baba was informed and instructed the family to proceed with the operation. Meanwhile, Feram and Goher's father, Rusi Pop, were called to Meherazad at 9:00 A.M. on 23 March. Baba ordered Feram to sleep at Rusi Pop's for some days.

Goher's mother Khorshed's condition was becoming worse. Alu Khambatta had been enlisted to help the family look after her. Baba was informed on 16 May, and through Goher he conveyed a message to her parents to "remember him constantly, take his name and do not worry." On the 23rd, just as Khorshed was passing through a crisis, a phone call from Baba came to Adi, informing him that Khorshed would drop her body when Baba willed it, and that he was pleased with the efforts of all those who were attending her.

Khorshed died the following day at 2:00 P.M., and Baba had this message phoned to her husband Rusi Pop in Ahmednagar:

Dear Khorshed has come to Me to rest eternally in My love. You be brave and be resigned to My Divine Will. I will call you when I return to Meherazad. My love-blessing to you and the family"