Today is Eruch's birthday. He would have been 93 years old today. We celebrated it, starting with special prasad at morning Arti (accompanied with an enthusiastic rendition of 'Happy Birthday') and a breakfast of rava. As it was a Meherazad day, we all went early to Meherazad with lunch - the traditional daal, rice, tomato patia (a sweet and sour dish made with chopped tomatoes and spices and stuff, usually eaten with daal and rice, though can also be eaten with khichdi) and fried fish.
At Meherazad we garlanded Baba's chair in Mandali Hall, the picture of Baba where He is physically present (this picture hangs in Manu's room) and His bed. Meherwan joined in and we sang again, both in English and Gujarati. Then the bus arrived and the pilgrim day began. There were not many but as Meheru was in Pune, most of those who came congregated in Mandali Hall to listen to Meherwan and my dad Sam tell stories. Meherwan Dubash had also arrived two days ago from Canada, and he told stories of his time with Baba. He and his wife Ruby live here for 6 months and back in Canada the other six.
The tea on Eruch's birthday is always special. All his favourites are served - onion and spinach bhajis, sweets and chocobars. He was not allowed to eat most of the stuff served today during the last few years of his life, but we know that he would thoroughly approve of us eating all this stuff and remembering him!! My uncle always loved his food. This was true to the very end.
The day before Eruch died, we were sitting on the porch on the men's side waiting for the tea bell to ring. Steve Edelman, who usually brought a chocolate cake or something similar had not got anything at all that day. Eruch was disappointed, and said, 'Where is my chocolate cake? I was thinking about it all day, and you didn't bring any?' Hearing this, I said I'd give him something much better if he kept quiet about it. Alan Wagner had made brownies for someone's birthday, and we still had a couple in the tin in Manu's room. I ran in, and got him a large piece of brownie. Seeing this, his eyes lit up, and he took it eagerly and ate it quickly. When I asked him to slow down, he said, 'I have to eat it quickly, before the food police arrive' Food police was Davana or Shelley, who would never have allowed him to eat the brownie.
That was the last chocolate item he had, and I am so glad it was a special treat, full of fat and chocolate and calories. He loved eating it, and we loved watching him. Of course, he died early the next morning. After a while Steve and I told this story to Meherwan and Manu, and they told some others. The food police said how great it was that he got to eat what he wanted, that time. I had to laugh, and ask them what they would have said had he not died, on finding out that Steve and I had gone against their orders and given him his last brownie!!!