Chapter 29: Brief Darshans & Seclusions
On 9 December 1955, Baba visited Khushru Quarters, Meherabad, Akbar Press and, in the late afternoon, the Ahmednagar Central Railway offices. At the railway offices, Baba gave darshan for 20 minutes to a gathering of 300 men and women railway employees and their children.
On Sunday, 11 December 1955, Baba left for Satara in Meherjee's car with Mehera, Meheru and Goher. Eruch drove Nariman's car with Mani, Naja and Rano, while Aloba, Baidul, Bhau, Don, Gustadji, Kishan Singh, Krishnaji, Kumar, Nilu, Pendu, Savak and Vishnu followed from Meherabad. Krishna Nair left to return to his home in Malabar (Kerala), as per Baba's orders. Kaka was again left alone at Meherazad. On the way, Baba stopped at Bindra House in Poona; and from there, he went to Bapusaheb Shinde's shoe store, Samarth Leather Works, in the heart of the city at 489 Budhwar Peth, where a darshan function had been arranged. This small store was the first Poona "Baba Center," as it was here that every Monday when the store was closed, weekly Baba meetings were held. Although the darshan was meant to be an intimate affair, almost 300 lovers gathered there to meet Baba. The roads became jammed and the crowd was too large for everyone to have a chance to greet him. Baba promised to return to Poona in January and give darshan on a much larger scale.
Habibullah Baig came to the shoe store with a garland, which he put around Baba's neck. He thought to himself: "How gracious Baba is to Shinde. He was a pauper and is now quite rich!" Looking straight at him, Baba smiled but said nothing. From that moment, Habibullah was determined to go into business, and over the years he became quite prosperous as a merchant of Kashmiri wares.
Baba's arti was performed and he distributed prasad to some. Baba then met with Shinde and his family privately. Later that same day Baba left for Satara, where he and the women resumed their stay in Grafton bungalow and the men mandali at Rosewood.
During the sahavas period an abundance of correspondence had collected, and upon their arrival in Satara, every letter was read to Baba, and he dictated replies. Bhau's duty of looking after Krishnaji continued; but soon after reaching Satara, Krishnaji fell ill and Nilu was told to help attend to him. Meanwhile, Krishnaji received a letter from Malabar, and when he had recovered, Baba sent him back to his home. Baba instructed him to bring a letter from his parents that they had no objection to his staying with Baba. Krishnaji went to Malabar and several days later returned, but without the letter. Baba immediately made him go all the way back and to return only with his parents' written permission.