I loved those wooden sandals. As far as I was concerned I loved them because I used to go for long walks, for miles, in the morning and at night. And with a wooden sandal…I don’t think any of you has the experience of wooden sandals, but it sounds as if somebody is walking behind you, and although you know it is only your sandals making the noise, who knows? Perhaps, maybe…or, why take a chance? Just have a look. One wants to look back to see who is following. It took me years to train myself not to do such a stupid thing, and even longer not to even think of doing such a stupid thing.
I told Masto, “I have always been reluctant, even about things which anybody else would agree to easily.”
But to say yes came to me very late. I went on saying no, no, until all the nos turned into a “yes” – but I was not waiting for it.
Now, this has become a distraction. In fact, everything in this series is going to be a distraction of some sort, but I will try to come back again and again to the same point from where we were distracted.
I agreed. Masto and I went to the prime minister’s house. I didn’t know how many people respected Masto because I did not know much of the world anyway. I asked him on the way there, “Have you made an appointment?”
He laughed and didn’t say anything. I thought to myself, “If he isn’t worried, why should I be concerned? It is none of my business. I am only going with him.”
But he needed no appointment; it became clear as we entered the gate. The policeman fell at his feet saying, “Masta Baba, you have not been for months, and we love to see you. Once in a while the prime minister needs your blessing.”
Masto laughed but didn’t say anything. We entered. The secretary touched his feet and said, “You should have just phoned and we would have sent you the prime minister’s car. And who is this boy?”
Masto said, “I have brought this boy to be introduced only to Jawaharlal and to nobody else. And please remember, nothing about him is to be mentioned in any way.”
Although he took every care, still my principle worked. I have told you the moment you create a friend, immediately you create an enemy. If you don’t want the enemy then forget about the friends. That is the way of the monk, Buddhist and Christian; forgetting all about relationship, friendship and everything, so that you don’t create enemies. But to just not create enemies is not the purpose of life.
You will be surprised as I was, but not that day – only after many years…. That day it was not possible for me to recognize the man sitting in the secretary’s office waiting for his appointment. I had not heard of him then, but he looked very arrogant. I thought he must be somebody powerful. I asked Masto, “Who is this man?”
Masto said, “Forget all about him; he is nothing of much value. He is Morarji Desai.”
I said, “He is of no value?”
Masto said, “I mean, of any real value. He is just hocus-pocus. Of course he is a cabinet minister, and look at him, he is very angry because it is his time to be with the prime minister.”