Chapter 33: Western Sahavas, 1958
Baba was leaving India for what proved to be his final visit to the West. On Thursday, 15 May 1958, he and the women mandali were driven from Poona to Bombay in Meherjee's Chevrolet. The men mandali followed in Nariman's Ambassador and Adi's Chevrolet. That same night, Baba, accompanied by Eruch, Adi Sr., Nariman and Don, flew to New York from Santa Cruz airport at 12:10 A.M. via TWA Flight 881. (The women mandali returned to Meherazad on the 18th, as did Bhau.) A crowd of lovers from Bombay, Poona and Navsari came to the airport to see Baba off, and he met with all, drenching everyone with his love. Baba was in a happy mood. His arti was performed at the airport and he was garlanded, despite his previous instructions otherwise. The group was staring at him, and Baba remarked, "Why are you looking at me; look at my infinity!"
He added, "I never come and I never go; I am always seated in the hearts of my sincere lovers."
After an hour halt in Cairo, they traveled on. There was a scheduled four-and-a-half-hour layover in Rome, where they were to change planes. Baba asked, "What are we going to do for three or four hours?" Don requested that the pilot radio ahead for a room in the Rome airport in which his patient could rest during the layover. Speaking in Italian, Don impressed them that he was a British doctor in charge of a very important person. He was under the impression that a room would be given at the airport. When they arrived, they were met by two attendants with a wheelchair who insisted on escorting Baba, though Eruch said he would push the wheelchair. They did not speak English, and only Don spoke Italian. They wheeled Baba onto a platform outside, and while Don went to check about the room, the mandali heard an ambulance coming, its siren blaring. It pulled right up to Baba. Two men very gently but firmly put Baba on a stretcher and loaded him into the ambulance. Eruch verbally protested against what they were doing, but because of the language barrier they did not understand what he was saying. Eruch jumped into the ambulance next to Baba and they were driven to a hospital three miles away.