TO COMPENSATE for the “all-male” day held at Meherazad back in October when Jaipuri Qawaal had come to sing, about two hundred fifty women from Ahmednagar, Poona, Bombay, Navsari and Meherabad were called to Meherazad to celebrate Mehera’s birthday. The large group of women arrived at 9:30 A.M. on Monday, December 23rd. (1963). They had been instructed not to bring their children or any gifts for Mehera. They were met by Goher, who told them Baba and Mehera were seated on the veranda of the main house, and that they should greet Baba first and then Mehera.
The women queued up in the garden and began taking darshan. Over the microphone, Mani announced: “Baba wants you all to forget your worries and meet him in any way you like for not more than two minutes. He wants you all to be absolutely happy today.” Baba embraced each woman and then passed her to Mehera, who was seated on a chair to his right. After embracing Mehera, each walked into the sitting room, Baba’s bedroom and then out into the garden once again.
Afterwards, Baba signaled that he would come and sit in the hall. Holding Goher and Mehera, Baba rose from his chair and slowly stepped down from the veranda. Walking seemed an ordeal for him, and he went one step at a time. Maharani Shantadevi walked beside him. Mehera held his arm, and the other women followed them to the hall. Mani took a film of it.
Baba sat in his chair in Mandali Hall and looked cheerful. Mehera sat on his right on the floor, and Mani spoke on the microphone. Just then, a group of women from Poona who had chartered a bus arrived. They embraced Baba and Mehera. Baba asked about their health and sleep. . .
. . .Baba asked Viloo to narrate her experiences during her recent trip to Nauranga, and Prakashwati also talked about the mela. After they had done so, Baba indicated he would go to his room to rest for a few minutes, during which time each could go and refresh herself. It was the women’s day that day, so eight of them, including Arnavaz and Perviz Godrej, carried Baba in his chair to his house. They were afraid of jerking the chair and thus causing Baba more pain, but Baba assured them he was comfortable and not to worry. He even insisted on being carried up the steps.
Baba came out of his room after about fifteen minutes and sat down in the garden. A buffet lunch was served, and all gathered around a giant cake as Mehera cut it, and “Happy Birthday” was sung to her. Baba was given the first piece, which he tasted and gave to Mehera as prasad. After all the ladies had lunch, Baba reentered the hall. Mani announced that those who had sat near Baba in the morning should take their seats in the rear, while those who had sat behind in the morning should now sit near him.
Prakashwati and Freiny Nalavala brought a marble stone which was to be the foundation stone of Meher Dham, a new temple in Dehra Dun. Baba blessed it by touching it with his hands, and even placed his foot on it. The two women were overjoyed and carefully carried the stone back to Dehra Dun.
Soon after this, Baba gestured, “Something terrible is going to happen shortly!”
All wondered what could happen to disturb the festive atmosphere. Just when everyone’s curiosity had reached its height, a man strode into the crowd from behind. Because no men were allowed to come that day, since Mehera was present, there were several loud screams. The women tried to hold him back and push him out, but the man cried out, “I want to meet Meher Baba!”
The man, wearing white pants with a big yellow patch, a black coat, spectacles and a Parsi hat, pushed his way to Baba. Mehera was flabbergasted, and so were the rest of the women. All through the uproar, Baba sat placidly smiling at the ruckus. It was only when the man tried to advance toward Mehera, that he disclosed himself as Katie Irani! She had fooled everyone. Rano had done her makeup, and when all the women realized who it was, the hall resounded with laughter. When the laughter died down, a few bhajans were sung. A little later Katie came back, this time dressed as a Japanese geisha girl. Baba asked her to sing a Japanese song, (1) and her high-pitched voice made all double up with laughter.
(1) Katie Irani worked in the Embassy of Japan in Bombay and had learned some Japanese songs.
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 18, pp. 6226 – 6228.