Chapter 14: Blue Bus Tours
Preparations for the bus journey were going on throughout the month of November 1938. Sarosh had had the body of the bus built in Bombay, according to Baba's precise specifications. Because it was painted blue, it became known as the Blue Bus.
At last, 8 December was fixed as the date of departure. On 19 November, while burning some dried grass, Walu's sari caught fire and her legs were severely burned. The burns turned septic, and Padri, who was dressing her wounds, and Dr. Kalavker said to Baba that it was not good to take Walu on the trip in her condition. But Baba replied emphatically, "No, all of us must start together. Maya must not be allowed to put obstructions in my way!"
Baba instructed the women about the tour in detail. Rano was assigned the duty of packing and unpacking at every stop; Kitty was to keep food and refreshments ready. In this way, each had her own particular duties to attend to.
On 7 December, Baba approached Eruch, "Are you coming with us?" Eruch replied that it did not matter one way or the other to him. Baba spelled out, "Even to be indifferent is to keep something inside, and what is wanted is to be free of this 'something.' Come with me!"
That morning, Sarosh arrived with the bus and Padri drove it up the path to Meherabad Hill, and Eruch and Kaka loaded the baggage on top of it. There were so many packs of foodstuffs, cooking utensils, suitcases, bedding rolls, et cetera, that at one point Kaka, 48, fainted from exhaustion and fell down while heaving them on top of the bus. Eruch, who was 22 then and very strong, completed the task. When they were finished piling everything aboard, the bus had taken on quite a different appearance — similar to a gypsy caravan.
Chanji had already left Meherabad to arrange bungalows in Hyderabad with the help of Maharaja Sir Kisan Prasad and Maula Ali. The maharaja had a palace in the Shadnagar locality of Hyderabad, but since there had been incidents of plague in the area, he did not wish Baba to stay there. With extreme difficulty, and due to the influence of the maharaja and Maula Ali, Chanji arranged accommodation in a seraglio (harem quarters) in a palace garden at Ligampalli. Baba sent a telegram to Chanji saying that he wished to stay only in Shadnagar, but Chanji received the instructions on 8 December, so it was too late to arrange something else.