Amartithi dawned - Meherwan called us to look at the sunrise - a huge fireball of glowing orange rising outside his bedroom window. It was a special treat for him, because to see the sun rise at Meherazad you have to climb Seclusion Hill a lot earlier than his usual walk time of 7.30 a.m.
We all had a family breakfast and then my sister Dolly took first Mum and then Dad up the hill on her scooter. Meherwan and I walked up via Eruch and the men Mandali's graves and Dhuni, arriving a bit later than mum but before Dolly returned with Dad. The morning programmes were lovingly presented and people did over-run their allotted times, but this is not a new phenomenon. Bhauji wasn't there so we didn't have a long speech but we had his long message translated into several languages! Then Mehernath Kalchuri started on what I thought was going to be a report of the AMBPPCT projects for 2010, but no..he was more interested in quoting poetry in Urdu and Hindi, rambling on about this and that and all this when he knew full well that we still had Begin the Beguine and the all-important Meher Dhun - the song of His Name that everyone looks forward to before the silence starts at 12.00 noon - to come. He stopped (reluctantly) at 11.45 a.m. and then Mr Thade (who has to be the worst time manager and organiser I've seen in a long time) dropped a bombshell!! No Begin the Beguine and NO MEHER DHUN!!! People had been coming to the stage in anticipation and there was a collective shout of "NO". But to no avail, we had to forego this loved and cherished song to listen to the Nagar Centre sing in chorus a song that could have been performed any time at all. Nothing special about it, except it was very, very long. All around I heard people complaining that the song wasn't important, the Dhun was. A big lapse on the part of the stage managers. Then, because they must have heard all the shouts of disappointment, they gave the Meher Dhun 3 minutes after the Silence ended (which it did a whole minute before 12.15 p.m.). This was followed by (change again) The Universal Prayer in English, Telugu, Hindi, Gujarati, Sanskrit, Marathi, Punjabi, Persian. We didn't have the Repentance Prayer (because we have nothing to repent for, I guess) and Beloved God. We did have Artis in several languages too!! How strange it was to see all this confusion, the one time in 42 years that Bhauji was not present on stage.
People were totally fed up by that time. It was getting on for nearly 1.30 p.m. and people needed to eat, take a comfort break, move around.. we had been sitting in the first row since 9 that morning and Meherwan and my Dad were acutely uncomfortable as were many others around us. The rush to the toilets and food stalls is testimony to this. Beloved Baba's prayers need to be said with total concentration and the first couple of ones were, but then people started to get up and wander away, and I can't blame them. We finally arrived home at 2.00 p.m. and had a very late lunch and a brief rest.
The evening programme was delightful, though. When we arrived at around 5.00 p.m. the Irani group were in great voice. Bhajans in Marathi followed. Then there were several dances by very talented young ones. They danced with their hearts and gave their all to entertain their Beloved Baba. The stage rang out with tunes ranging from Lavni music from Maharashtra to Sufi music to classical Bharat Natyam and Bollywood Disco. The crowd loved the young artistes and clapped along and cheered them with loud "Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai" when they finished.
The Baba film started around 7.15 p.m. and it was magical to see Baba on a large screen, gesturing and walking and enjoying His lovers' company. I must admit, I get moist-eyed every year when the film comes on. The crowd was proclaiming His Jai at intervals. First one group on one side would roar, then another somewhere else. Baba is ever-present, but seeing His films makes those of us who were fortunate enough to be in His physical presence remember His wondrous beauty, and those who weren't get to see how spectacular our Beloved was in His physical form.
Meherwan had to return to Meherazad after the film, so we made our way to the car that was to take him back and all got a ride to the house. After a quick meal of scrambled eggs and toast, the rest have gone to sleep and I am sitting here writing this while it is still fresh and glowing in my heart. I wish you all a wonderful Amartithi and may His Love lift you ever-closer to Him.