Jalu Kekobad Dastur died this morning at Meherabad. She had lived in the quarters adjoining Baba's Cage Room for many years - first with her sister Gulu and later on her own - until today. She will be cremated at Lower Meherabad in just about half an hour.
Jalu was always considered the 'fey' one. She was not always fully present and Gulu used to usually tell her what to do. When Gulu died everyone expected Jalu to not get over her sister's passing, but Jalu confounded everyone and managed fine. She had a wicked sense of humour and recalled events that showed that she was very observant of everything that went on around her. I recall once she was talking of a lady called Banubai whom she called a "Tumakhi kutri" which means a stuck-up bitch, because the said lady talked down to her as if she was an idiot.
Dolly Dastur used to go and visit her each morning and I would sometimes accompany her, and we used to encourage Jalu to do her exercises by all of us lifting and lowering arms and legs, turning our neck and head from side to side and up and down, rolling shoulders and back and finally saying "Jai Baba" loudly. Then Jalu would recite a poem with Dolly's help. It could be "Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?" and she always remarked that I came from London (because I used to live in the UK). But my favourite was a Gujarati poem, also about a cat. I recite it here in Jalu's memory:
Mey ek bilaadi paali chey
Tey halvey halvey chaaley chey
Tey andhaaraa maa bhaaley chey
Tey doodh khaaey, dahi khaaey
Ney ghee toe chup chup chaatee jaaey
Teynaa dilpar daag chey
Tey mhaaraa gher noe vaagh chey
(I have kept a pet cat
She walks around very lightly
She sees in the dark
She eats milk, eats curds
And licks up ghee with great speed
She has stripes on her body
She is the tiger of my house)
Jalu, you are now with your Beloved Baba, for whom you always waited. You used to say, "Baba always told us to stay at home with our parents. We were from Bombay but we were very innocent. We knew nothing of people who were sophisticated and clever. But Baba always took care of us."
I salute your love for Baba and your life lived for Him. I will miss you and our morning sessions, your soft skin and your insistence that you would not make me a cup of tea or give me a biscuit for coming to visit, your "Chal jaa" when you wanted us to go away. Happy trails sweetheart. I will be thinking of you when they light that fire, and wish I could have been there to see you off. As we say at the end of Arti, "Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai, Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai, Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!!!