62. Self-respecting Ba
When Bapu was practising as a lawyer in Johannesburg in South Africa, one day some European friends of Mr. Polak, who at the time was staying along with Mrs. Polak under the same roof with Bapu, came to dinner. Bapu did not know them, however, well enough, but Ba did not know them at all. Now the guests asked Bapu, in course of conversation, all sorts of curious questions, some of which were even rather unbecoming. But he replied to them simply and quietly, though at some of them, particularly at those relating to their wrong impressions about India and the Indians, he laughed heartily, too, because they were so foolish. But Ba could not stand the guests, as occasionally they asked even personal questions. So she went upstairs in a huff. Bapu thought this was showing discourtesy to the guests. Therefore, he went up to plead with Ba to come down, but in vain. Bapu offered, however, some sort of explanation to the guests for Ba's absence from the table arid they took their dinner. But next day when Mrs. Polak inquired of Ba as to why she was not present at the dinner, she answered in her halting English "(Guests) to make laugh of me and my home", meaning that the guests had the audacity to laugh at some of their manners and even ask some personal questions. This, she continued, she could not tolerate, and so she went away.