Mani was not used to cooking, so Mehera helped by showing her how to make curry with all the spices. Mehera tired to grind the spices on the stone as finely as possible for Baba's curry, but on especially cold mornings, this was extremely difficult. On those days, though Mehera washed the stone with hot water, by the time she put the spices on it to grind, they would be frozen. Grinding coconut was almost impossible, because more often than not, it stuck to the stone.
At around 8:00 a.m., Baba routinely went by the kitchen to inquire, "Is the food ready?"
"Oh no, Baba, another hour yet. The rice is not ready."
"All right. I'll come back later." But He always returned after only a few minutes.
On one very cold morning, Baba arrived at the kitchen with a sliver of ice in His hand.
"Oh Baba, you've brought ice! We are already feeling cold and frozen, and looking at the ice makes us feel even colder," Meher chided.
"By this you can see how very cold it is — freezing! A pail of water was forgotten outside, and this ice had formed on the surface of it." Then, with an expert toss, Baba threw the sliver of ice across the room and out the open door.
The women were always struggling to get their hands and feet warm, especially in the mornings when their fingernails turned blue. The one doing the cooking enjoyed the privileged spot near the fire, and sometimes there would be dissension when the others wanted to crowd around.
In spite of the cold and difficulty, the curry always tasted delicious as everyone was quite hungry and eager for something hot to warm them up.
One day, Mehera persuaded Baba to allow them to buy snuff, considered to be an antiseptic against sinus colds, from which Mani frequently suffered. Baba agreed to this and the women began using it in the evenings.
Once Mehera, complaining about the cold, asked Baba, "Why did we come here in January?"
Baba did not answer her directly, but all of a sudden, Mehera, remembering the extremely dry and sweltering summers in Meherazad, promised, "Baba, however hot it now becomes in Ahmendnagar, I'll never ever complain or grumble about it again!"
MEHER BABA'S NEW LIFE, pp. 337-338
2008 © Bhau Kalchuri