On 16th Oct 1950 in the meeting held by Meher Baba on the mount of Mahabaleshwar, most of the members of Poona group where I was also present, had the opportunity to meet God in his tangible human form about whom they had only heard and imagined. In that meeting Dr. Ghani was with us. It was a joyful sight to see Baba making Ghani butt of his humour and Dr. Ghani playfully responding to that fun.

Immediately after this meeting, the Poona Bhajan Mandali was invited to sing before Baba. The program was organized to celebrate Mehera’s birthday and it was in December 1950. We sang to our hearts’ content and Baba responded with immense love. We were very happy because we felt we could make God happy.

From this time onwards, Poona Bhajan Mandali came to be known as Meher Baba’s Poona Bhajan Mandali and the group as ‘Dr. Ghani’s Group’.

Thereafter, whenever and wherever need arose, Baba invited rather commanded this group to sing.

The bhajan singing program before Baba at Mahableshwar became a memorable event in the lives of all the members of Baba’s Poona bhajan mandala and also the first Darshan of Baba that many of them had had on 16th October, 1950. As said earlier, most of the members of Poona Group had met Meher Baba for the first time at this meeting at Mahableshwar on 16 October 1950. This was the meeting at the junction of Meher Baba’s Old Life and his New Life. The people who came to Baba at this point of time became the fortunate slaves serving Baba further in their lives. Avatar Meher Baba Poona Centre celebrates this day of 16th October as a day of solemn remembrance every year. Every one of us have special feelings for this day.

Day by Day the Baba activities in Pune were gathering more and more momentum and practically every day of the week was engaged by Baba lovers for having programs at their houses. Besides this, the group was kept informed about Baba’s activities and movements in New Life by senior members like Dr. Ghani and Gadekar. Dr. Ghani was spending more and more time with this group. He seemed to be in a hurry to give to these young boys everything that he had got. He had told us that we should never displease Baba.

Doctor’s talks used to be a joyful experience. He would help us understand and digest heavy doses of esoteric spiritual philosophy with a mixture of humor, interesting stories and insightful incidents of his life with Baba. In fact, that a group of young boys and girls is being nourished and nurtured by Dr. Ghani  came to Baba’s notice soon. Also Baba had heard all the praise for this group from Ghani. So Baba’s attention was drawn to the activities of this group. Since Baba was paying attention to this group, Baba’s disciples and mandali members also began treating this group with love and tenderness.

On 20th August 1951, at the time of sunset we received the news that Dr. Ghani passed away due to heart attack. Myself and Laxmikant Thade, we rushed to his house near Poona railway station.

The man who was talking to us ceaselessly for so many years had become silent ….. Silent forever.

Khak Saheb had passed away when we were preparing to go to Mahabaleshwar for singing before Baba. Behli Irani, another old contact of the Pune group had gone and settled at Hyderabad for a permanent stay. He died there. Nobody got to know of his death in time. And now Dr. Ghani had left us. We had attended the funeral of Khakasbeh that took place at Pudamji Park burial ground at Pune. Ghani’s body was taken to Lonavla, his home town, for performing the last rites. LB Thade and I went to Lonavala to attend our dear Dr. Ghani’s funeral. On that day, there were unprecedented rains in Lonavla. From railway station to the burial ground, there was a sea of people holding umbrellas to protect themselves from rains. I still remember that sight. After the funeral we returned to Pune with heavy hearts. The hollowness that Dr. Ghani’s death created was unbearable for all of us. We took long time to reconcile with the situation.

Many Baba lovers all over India who had some connection during decades of 50 and 60 with Pune would have known a tall and hefty person with very thick glass spectacles, a white hat on his head, a white coat and a white trouser as his uniform. Baba lovers knew him because he was serving as a ticket collector at Pune railway station. He was Shri Damodar Shivram Bhawsar who would spot Baba lovers alighting at Pune railway station and would be to help them and guide them to their destination. He also used to help Baba people for getting railway reservations.

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