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STUDENTS' PROJECTS > BA AND BAPU > The Mendicants - Ba and Bapu
18. The Mendicants - Ba and Bapu
In 1937 Bapu was on a visit to Calcutta. Suddenly he was taken ill there. He was, therefore, brought back to Sevagram. In those days, he occupied a room along with some others. In order to give him the necessary convenience and quiet, it was felt that during his illness at least, he should stay in a separate room alone by himself. For this purpose, Mirabehn vacated her own room. But Bapu would not move into it, saying that the room had been expressly built for the personal use of Mira and for the Khadi work. So he insisted on sticking to his own particular corner of the room. But if he stayed there, his fellow- inmates would be disturbed—something which Bapu would never like. Consequently, Ba offered her room to him. Now in addition to Bapu, his attendants also stayed there. Therefore, Ba and her grandson, Kahana, slept in the verandah, never for a moment thinking that it was only her right to share the room with Bapu and not of others.
Next morning, while taking his breakfast, Bapu said to those present at the time, "This room was built specially for Ba and now I have taken possession of it! Never before did she have a separate room. For, whatever she has, she always shares with others. Even after she got this room, which was built to give her a little more comfort and quiet in her old age, she has been doing this. For example, quite a number of girls, after whom Ba has been looking, have stayed here. But if I stayed here, then Ba would have to go. The fact of the matter is, that wherever I happen to go, the place is turned into a wayside inn. And this makes me feel very uneasy. But Ba has never complained even once. And so I can have from Ba whatever I need. Indeed, she has invariably acquiesced in my wishes and put up in her room, whomsoever I have sent to her."
Then Bapu laughed and added,—Ba was at the time sitting with him— "And all this is as it ought to be. Is it not? If the husband says one thing, and the wife another, then their life becomes unpleasant. But in the present case, to whatever the husband has said, the wife has always consented."
Hearing this, Ba, too, could not help bursting into laughter.