Marttina Italiana, Genova
17 September, 1928.
The sea is a vast turquoise and the coast line of Arabia a faint
jagged coral in the distance. Tomorrow we reach Aden - and I am foolish enough
to wish that instead of my letters I might be dropped into the homeward bound
boat that will take my greetings to all I love in India! I am not one of those,
as you know, who look backward. Having set my hand to a task I endeavour to
carry it through giving my best to my work, but I am not ashamed to confess that
there is one thing that does draw my heart backwards all the time. All the time,
my overmastering anxiety about my little suffering Padmaja.
I am now going to make a bargain with you in a true Shylock spirit. You have given me a task to do in far off lands, and the whole nation has endorsed your mandate. I am giving you a duty to fulfil at home in which I cannot ask the entire nation's assistance, though I can certainly count upon its sympathy! You must undertake to look after Padmaja for me till I return. Only so should I know even an hour's peace in the distant land to which I am bearing India's message. I am not so anxious about Padmaja's physical health, but I am desperately anxious about her. She has come to a very difficult corner of her spiritual pilgrimage in which no one can help her, except you or I. I am saying this advisedly. No one else can give her just that healing and helping love that she needs at the moment save you or I and I think just now you could do it even better than I could. You represent to her sensitive, delicate, yearning and self-crucifying spirit, light and love and I believe that if she could be near you for a little time it could help to restore her sense of normal perspectives. I have written to her to go and stay with Mrs. Ambalal. Mrs. Ambalal is the right sort of companion for her, and their delightful children will be in themselves a prescription for all ills. But the lure I have held out is that she can see you everyday and for as long as she likes and she could sit curled up quietly near you while you work, and you could give her work to do. So please lay your command on her and make her go to Ahmedabad. You will find the right magic to heal her troubled soul and she will regain possession of herself and once more give all the treasures of her beautiful mind to enrich the world. I love my little Padmaja, and I entrust her to your wise and kinder hands.
You must have seen in the papers what wonderful farewell demonstrations there were before I left - I have been greatly moved by such unexpected and overwhelming expressions and tokens of affections from all sections of the people: but of all the titles bestowed upon me I think I like best "Little Mother of Young India" because Young India has always been extremely precious to my heart.
I have been very lazy on this voyage, but you can hardly realise how worn out I am - body and mind by months of strain and anxiety. It is however very comforting to feel for once that one can afford to be idle and indolent without being charged with any grave breach of duty!
Take great care of yourself and continue to give Beautiful Visions of Peace to the world eager for Peace. Salutations to the "Mystic Spinner" from the "Wandering Singer".