This morning I woke at 4 a.m. (again) and as soon as I was fully awake the thought that this is the first day that Meheru is not in this world hit me like a fist in my stomach. Not only that, for this advent, there are no more of His women Mandali left. She was the last. I had not gone to Meherazad with Dolly Dastur and Indira, but I went to morning arti and sang Ishti Yakey for Meheru.
Rushed down and had a quick bite to eat, then went back up just as they were bringing Meheru into Baba's Samadhi. She was laid out at His feet, carried in by her family males - brother Jangu, nephews Faroukh and Meher Burzin and someone else whom I don't know. The 3 sisters-in-law and neices were there too. All were shocked. Prayers and Arti followed, then Meheru was taken to lie next to her beloved aunt, Mehera. After garlanding Mehera's tomb she was carried to the other side where she was laid down next to Mani. From there it was back in the ambulance and down to Old Mandali Hall, where she lay for over an hour and half. Originally the cremation was set for 10.00 a.m. but there were long lines of people waiting for a last glimpse of Meheru, and so everyone got a chance to visit with her one last time. The twins, Rustom and Sohrab, came from Pune and said a fond goodbye. I was asked by Heather to read the eulogy that Rick and Sheryl Chapman had sent for Meheru. It was beautifully written, only problem was I didn't have my reading glasses. As I peered at the paper I thought how Meheru would have commented half irritated and half amused, "Where are your reading glasses? Don't be too vain to wear them." She said exactly the same thing to me one evening in Manu's room, when Meherwan gave me something to read to her and I was too lazy to go fetch my spectacles.
Anyway, after the reading there were songs to Beloved Baba sung by those present, to entertain her for the last time...so many last times here. Then the Gujarati Arti was sung and it was time to go. She was carried out by the rear door of Old Mandali Hall and put into the ambulance. Accompanied by her care-givers and Dolly and Indira she went to the cremation platform where a flat bier had been laid. Her body was put on this and the wood arranged all around it, until she was covered. A very poignant moment for me was when Shelley took one of her handkerchiefs and went to cover her face. The village cremation expert put pieces of dry coconut on her mouth and eyes, then Shelley tucked the kerchief around her radiant face, and it was hidden from us for all time. Wood was piled over and then Gauris (cowdung pancakes) were arranged around it all, and the whole structure doused with Ghee (clarified butter) which would be the igniting agent. Meheru's brother and nephews along with Jal and Ramesh were then brought on stage and the flaming torches handed to them. The haunting sound of "Satchitananda, Parmananda" rang out accompanied by a lone cymbal and the Irani drums. It was so beautiful, tears streamed down my face. Then the torches were touched to the pyre and off she went! The flames caught and soared and crackled, and our Meheru's physical remains were on their way to dust. Her soul had already been dust at His Feet for so many years, now it was her body's turn. I recalled Baba telling Eruch on the occasion of his father's funeral, the body is the excreta of the soul. Just as you feel relieved when you have a good bowel movement, so the soul feels only relief when it sheds a body. Her relief was palpable, visible on her face. It was just our faces that had tear streaks, Meheru was laughing all the way to her Beloved Baba's side.
Gary and I have, between us, taken a lovely video of the 3 stops. He is travelling, so will post to YouTube as soon as he can. Once this is up, I will post a link here for you all to be able to be part of this momentous event.
Last one, never again will we be present at the final farewell to one of His dear women Mandali. As this day comes to a close I can feel a sense of expectation and dread...every time one of His close ones goes the world faces some great upheaval. Eruch's was the most dramatic, perhaps. He went and we had 9/11. It is as if each Mandali is holding something in check, holding back some great and terrible event. However, this is in the future. Right now I just miss her. A lot. Goodbye darling Meheru. Goodbye. Jai Baba.
P.S. The blogs about Meheru are in blue because she liked blue. Janet said that on every trip they took Meheru would look for blue cloth. And added the comment that she never bought any because she could not find the right blue!! These are probably also the wrong blue, Meheru, but I tried.