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Chapter 49: Session 49

I divided those rooms according to my different kinds of activities. One room I kept for learning; I used to learn all kinds of things in that room, like snakes and how to catch them, how to teach them to dance to your music, which is not much to do with music at all. I learned all kinds of magical tricks. That was my room. Even my grandmother was not allowed to enter, because it was a sacred place of learning, and she knew that everything except the sacred went on in there. But nobody was allowed in. I put a notice on the door: NO ADMISSION WITHOUT PERMISSION.

I had found exactly the right notice in Shambhu Babu’s office. I just told him, “I’m taking it away.”

He said, “What?”

I said, “On this notice there is nothing written saying that you have to pay for it. It is free. Shambhu Babu, do you understand?”

Then he burst into laughter and said, “For years this notice has been up right in front of my eyes; nobody pointed out to me that the price was not written on the board. Anybody could have taken it away. And it was just hanging on a nail, nothing needed to be done. You can just take it away.”

I said, “You are a friend, but in these matters don’t bring your friendship in.”

I had that notice on the door of my room. Perhaps it may still be hanging there.

That man, whose name I cannot remember all this time.I have been trying all kinds of memory exercises while talking to you. Nobody can help either, so we will just forget what his name was. What matters is not his name but the material that he was made of - just rubber. You could not find another man like that. But he came with tie and suit, and it was a hot summer’s day! From the very beginning he showed his stupidity.

In central India during the hot summer you start perspiring even before the sun rises. And he came dressed in socks, tie, long pants - and you know I always disliked long pants. Perhaps this very kind of person has created in me a sort of seasickness about long pants. He is still standing before me. I can describe him in very minute detail.

He coughed when he entered the room, fixed his tie, tried to stand upright and said, “Listen, boy, I have heard many stories about you, so I want to tell you from the very beginning that I am not a coward.” He looked here and there in case somebody might be listening and may tell his wife, and he was not aware that I was very friendly with his wife. He continuously looked from side to side.

I always think that is the way all cowards behave. Generalizations are not absolute truths, including this one, but they certainly contain some truth. Otherwise what is the need to look from side to side when there is only one child sitting there in front of you? Yet he was looking everywhere except at me: the door, the window, and yet talking to me. It was so hilarious and so pitiable that I told him, “You listen too. You are saying that you are not a coward; do you believe in ghosts?”

He said, “What?” - and he looked all around, even behind his chair. He said, “Ghosts! Where did ghosts come into this? I am introducing myself to you, and you introduce ghosts.”

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