Eruch Jessawala

In the New Life we ate whatever was received from begging and this meant that a companion was unable to select his food in accordance with his own religious tradition. This notably affected Dr. Ghani, a Muslim, whose diet was different from the others, and thinking about his kind of food sometimes led him to tell Baba with great humour how a body that is denied, cries out for food to which it had long been accustomed.

So one day while we were in Moradabad, Dr. Ghani presented his favourite thesis on food conditioning to Baba who with equal good humour, told him that since it was a vacuum period during our training, he had His permission to go to one of the swank hotels and eat whatever appealed to him. Kaka, who was in charge of the emergency funds, was ordered to give Dr. Ghani some money for his celebration.

Dr. Ghani, pleased with Baba's generosity, left in a very happy mood and walked to the centre of the city where he selected a fine hotel and enjoyed a hearty meal. On his return he entertained us with a full and almost poetic account of the dishes he had ordered that bore evidence of his satisfaction with the freedom which Baba had allowed him. Baba too was happy to hear about Dr. Ghani's pleasurable excursion.

On the next day however, Baba had a little surprise for him. Baba said to him, "Doctor, there is one very important thing for you to do today. Go to the same hotel where you enjoyed your meal yesterday and as a New Life companion, beg for food and bring back something of what you ate yesterday."

Under the conditions of the New Life, Dr. Ghani had no choice but to obey. So back to the hotel he went and the people there were quite surprised to see him in his new begging role since a day earlier he had been such a lavish spender in the dining room. So once again but unwittingly this time, Dr. Ghani amused us highly in the final episode of his adventure in dining out.

Another incident I recall had to do with Murli Kale, another of our companions, whose responsibility was to take the bullock cart from Motichur to Hardwar for the purpose of collecting fodder for the same English bull that pulled the cart.

One day while returning from Hardwar, the sturdy English bull became too unmanageable for the frail Murli at a time when they were being followed by a car driven by an Englishman who was attempting to pass. But the stubborn bull refused to leave the middle of the road in spite of Murli's desperate attempts to cooperate with the signals from the Englishman's horn.

Finally the Englishman lost his temper and driving on the shoulder of the road, brought the car to a halt just in front of the cart and shouted to Murli, "Don't you understand that there is a car behind you? Don't you know that there is other traffic on the road besides you? Why don't you take your cart to the shoulder of the road and give passage to the car?"

By this time Murli had somewhat succeeded in exercising some control over the animal, so leaving the bull he walked over to the Englishman and said in what English he could command, "Sir, I am an Indian and the bull is an English bull. Somehow or other, he does not seem to understand my language. Will you please explain your instructions to him so that he will bear it in mind for the future?"

The whole family in the car laughed at this unexpected touch and the incident ended on a very friendly note.

The Ancient one-pp. 59-60, ed. Naosherwan Anzar
1985 © Naosherwan Anzar