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their chairs. Some of them "'~;"1.11 climb the stage and meet ~~;;.j Bhauji. Again the Master of Ceremonies announces 'Bhauji wants all the members of the Kalchuri dynasty to come on the stage'. Some

r call and waited for the phone connection to materialise. For this luxury, one had to visit the telegraph office. So, I did the next best thing: sent a cable to father suggesting that he and mother should rush to Meherabad. In a way, the journey marked the begin ning of my love with newspapers. I was not new to newspapers. Whatever be the pressures on his purse, father always ensured that I would get my three-four newspapers and a couple of magazines. Andhra Pradesh did not have a proper delivery system in the fifties and sixties. My 'quota' came by post. Probably, father could not have visualised that newspapers would become my addiction and a source of living. Not even 1. Welcome Ram Singh Kalchuri All these events of the past came flooding back as Bhau Kalchuri, Chairman, Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust, (AMBPPCT), called me to the Amartithi stage on Jan 31. I was sitting in the third row of the audience . As he came to the stage, he spotted me. And as is his wont, he made a symbolic twisting of his non-existent mustache, 'muche', I responded in the only way he expects me - twisting my long luxurious 'muche', There are Baba lovers, and Baba lovers who sport muche. But it is my good fortune that I could catch Bhau 's attention three years ago during an internet chat session at the Trust Office . To our surprise and to our acute discomfiture, Bhauji showcased me IO

and Vani on the Internet. And introduced us as members of the extended Kalchuri Dynasty. Soon I became his Ram Singh Kalchuri 'You are coming to Amartithi', he said during one of my visits to the Trust office in June. It was not a command. It was a simple expression of an expectation. 'Sit in the front row. I will introduce you to every body'. Bhauji pulls your leg, takes a dig at you and even upbraids you, all laced with humour. But there is an undercurrent of seriousness in whatever he says. One can catch the seriousness if one is alert. Otherwise one is prone to take his remarks as a joke. And commit the mistake of ignoring the remark. Even forgetting it. Like for instance, his repeated references to what Baba had said in the fifties about one fourth and three-fourths worlds being destroyed. About it a little while later. So I was there amongst the audience in the enclosure close to the Amartithi stage. I was feeling a bit sleepy though. Vani and Sheela were also in the audience, seated cross legged outside the enclosure. While fighting to keep sleep at bay, I noticed commotion in the front row. Bhauji's relatives came from his native place near Nagpur. Some of them are elderly, some in the middle age bracket. Soon came a word from the stage: Bhau wants the Kalchuri dynasty to come on stage. The family members get up from

lli~~ more members go up the stairs. Dynasty on Stage: Mystery Deepened From my chair I could see Bhauji was receiving every one of the Kalchuri dynasty, for some a shake hand, for some a hug, for a few a pat on the shoulder or a kiss on the cheeks. All this must be a great strain on his body. Remember Bhauji has had 21 operations. He cannot stand comfortably. And he needs constant 'medication'. I began to wonder about what a stam. -1. ina Baba has given Bhauji. Disturbing my reverie came one more announcement, not once, but twice in quick succession- a call to the Kalchuri dynasty to come on stage. There was an element of restlessness in the air. And the way Bhauji was looking made me feel he wanted me to join the family on stage. Does he really want me on the stage? Just because he 'elevated' me to the dynasty, should I go on the stage when it is a purely Kalchuri family gathering? Will it be fair for me to go on the stage? What will others think of me? Will they dub me a mad cap? I was confused. I didn't know what to do, frankly. In helplessness, I looked unto Bhauji, silently asked: 'Shall I also come'. He understood my dilemma and signaled "Don't worry. Don't come". It is Bhauji's greatness that he referred to my dilemma when he took the mike a short while later. Conveying that he has pardoned my 'indecision', he told the huge gathering ofBaba lovers, 'I wanted him to come. But he felt that he could not as he is an ordinary person, not a member of the dynasty. I understand .. .' His words had a soothing effect on me. By then, all dynasty members returned to their chairs. And stood up twice in their chairs on the left side of the enclosure. One of them, who is a regular at the Hostel D, signaled that I should twist my 'm uche', I obliged him as I stood up in my seat on the right side of the enclosure. What about him? You see, this member of the Kalchuri

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