In the days when Baba was physically present, He used to have books read to Him by Mani. In the evenings Baba and the ladies would sit in the big house in Meherazad and Mani would read aloud to them all. I would have loved to have been there, because Mani had a repertoire of voices and expressions, and I am sure that she brought those books alive.
Once they were done reading, Baba would send the books over to Bindra House, where Meherwan would read aloud to us all in the evenings. The stories about Monkey, the Buddhist pilgrim who journeys to India to get the scriptures back to China along with the master Tripitaka, the pig spirit Pigsy, the fish spirit Sandy and the dragon spirit Horse, was one such book. We all loved the hour or so in the evening when Meherwan would read aloud. As he read, he'd translate into Gujerati because the English of Gaimai, my grandmother Banu and their older sister Gulamasi was not good enough to cope with the reading. The servants would also be there and listen with as much attention as we all did. Gulamasi always called Tripitaka 'Khikhi-khakha' which is the Gujerati equivalent of a giggler! Monkey taught us many lessons - about obediance, trusting the master, overcoming one's limitations - so many things that are so vital on the spiritual path. And it was a pleasure to hear it in story form. Those who are not familiar with Monkey, do take time to read it.
Anyway, after Baba dropped the body, and I married and moved to England, I discovered the Monkey chronicles on TV! I was pregnant, miserable (we lived in Lancashire then, and it rained and rained.. there were only 10 days of sunshine in that first year I moved here!) and Monkey brought back memories of Beloved Baba, and His unique way of letting us discover how to love Him best!
Other books that Baba sent us to read/have read aloud were Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell. This is a book about St Luke and his life with his Lord, Jesus. Luke never met Jesus. He learned to love Him, as many of you do, through other people's accounts and inner experiences. Beloved Baba said that this was a very good account of Luke's life. The Narnia Chronicles were also sent to us for reading. One book that was sent just for me was 'Green Eggs and Ham' by Dr Seuss. We were also sent the Mathnawi of Jalaluddin Rumi, Baba's favourite poet (after Hafiz, I guess). Those were lovely days, with Beloved Baba at the end of a letter (we wrote to Him about everything! school reports, day to day stuff, everything got reported) and He loved to hear about these mundane experiences of His close ones. Baba was a very practical Master. He ensured that we had a good mix of the very profound and spiritual and the simply fun.
After all these years, last Christmas I got given a set of the entire series of Monkey on DVD by Gary, my boyfriend. We are watching them again, together. I find it just takes me back to the time when Baba was there, and we had the book read to us by Meherwan!
I'm still at home with that sore knee. I am hoping it will heal quickly, so I can (never thought I'd say this) go back to work!!!