2736FINAL MAST WORK: PRELUDE TO THUNDER1949
On 10 August, Baba came to Panchgani from Satara with the women mandali, Eruch and Jalbhai. Arnavaz and Kharmen Masi were also called from Bombay. For recreation, Alu had provided many games, but Baba asked, "Where is the Ping-Pong table?" She had not thought of that, but promptly went out and borrowed one.
Considering the happy mood Baba was in these days, no one dreamt that an "earthquake" was coming. Baba was extremely happy in Panchgani. For two days he played games, had funny stories and jokes told to him, and took long walks and drives; the atmosphere was full of merriment and relaxation.
It was like a holiday at last. But after only two days, on Friday afternoon, 12 August 1949, Baba returned with everyone to Meherazad; and as soon as he returned, "war drums" began sounding! Day and night, he began dictating to Eruch instructions about the mandali's future, preparing for the meetings to be held at Meherabad in three days.
As Baba prepared to embark on what later became known as the New Life, Age could not help but consider how much work Baba had done in the last eighteen years — how incredibly active he had been!
It seemed long ago when Baba boarded the Rajputana with Mahatma Gandhi to sail for England on his first journey to the West. Age recalled with warmth the expressions of pure bliss on each Western lover's face as they beheld the Lord Incarnate on their shores. Their hearts welcomed him with tears of joy. How long the West had awaited him! — and how he had responded to its call!
Between September 1931 and 1938, Baba spent exactly one-third of his time abroad, because clearly he knew that war was a certainty, and that there would be no opportunity of foreign travel during the ensuing years. He traveled through Europe more than a dozen times, visited England eight times, and went to America thrice. He had journeyed to China, Egypt, Turkey — rekindling devotion, love and surrenderance to him wherever he went!
Memories flooded Age's vision: the Devonshire Retreat ... Meredith Starr ... the Harmon Retreat ... Pickfair in Hollywood ... Lugano ... the seclusion at Assisi ... Portofino ... Spain ... the elusive film projects ... Mt. Fallenfluh ... the Rahuri and Nasik ashrams ... Cannes. So much had happened during those years of Western travel!