Dr. Goher’s Mosquito Net

When Meher Baba shifted His room at Meherazad from the top floor to the ground floor in 1958, it was decided to move Goher’s bed (which originally stood where Baba’s bed is now) just outside Baba’s room. In this way she could attend to Him in the night if needed. At that time Goher had a string* bed (like the ones we used to see in front of old tea stalls on the side of Indian roads festooned with colorful turbaned men drinking tea all hours of the day and night). Goher told us that one day Mehera pointed out the pitiful bed to Baba, asking if Goher could have a proper one like the rest of the women. And of course, because Mehera asked, Baba agreed.

But there was one problem. The new bed, as lovely as it was, had no rods for a mosquito net, and Goher was extremely allergic to mosquito bites. So what to do? The answer was simple—ask Dr. Donkin to solve this dilemma. And solve it he did with bamboo poles, a bicycle clip, some cloth and some string. Every evening Goher’s mosquito net was strung up and tucked in, and every morning it was taken down and carefully folded at the foot of her bed. Below are photos of Donkin’s innovation, which saved Goher from many hours of mosquito-scratching misery.

Goher’s bed and mosquito netting ready for occupancy!
(See end of story for a photo of the components of the mosquito net assembly.)

There’s one very funny story concerning Goher and her mosquito net.

At the time of this story Mehera had already rejoined her Beloved and just Mani and Goher were staying in the Main Bungalow. I was sleeping with Arnavaz in the Small Bungalow so, in the early morning, Goher would do her leg exercises in bed and then open the screen door around 5 AM to let me in.

One morning I found the door still locked and, as I looked through the screen door, I could see Mani standing in the doorway of her room looking quizzically up at the ceiling and calling out repeatedly, “Goher where are you?” This was followed by a faint voice, muffled as if under many covers, calling out to Mani for help. Mani, whose hearing was impaired from her childhood mastoid surgery and sometimes could not discern the direction of sound, was looking at the ceiling as if Goher herself were up there! And Goher, who, while doing her exercises, had managed to roll off her bed onto the floor in the small space between wall and bed, was trussed up like a chicken enwrapped in her mosquito net and further rendered helpless with laughter. By this time Meheru, who had heard my coaxing Mani to open the door, joined me and together we finally convinced Mani to abandon her search for Goher on the ceiling and let us in!

*Though called string beds, they were actually made of wide cotton tapes, not strings.

—Shelley Marrich for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, 19 February 2015

Meheru, Goher and Mani sitting on Mehera’s porch enjoying
Mehera share stories of life with Beloved Baba, 1980’s.
(From Goher’s personal photo collection)

To create a mosquito net for Goher, Baba’s disciple Dr. William
Donkin ingeniously assembled 2 bamboo poles, a bicycle clip,
string and some cloth.

(The final product is shown in the photo in the body of this story.)