Friday, January 30, 2015

Duel at Dawn

Playing to gallery: Shekhawat challenges Gupta over Rs100,000
It looked like a day of reckoning for Shekhawat and Bijoy Gupta. The latter wouldn’t pay the Rs100,000 he had promised to the Club should he be made chairman. And the former wouldn’t allow him to stay in peace, now that he had relinquished the post by a written undertaking in Gupta’s favour.
The matter has been flogged to death over the past two months and frankly, nobody could be interested any longer. But Shekhawat wasn’t willing to give up on the illusory Rs100,000. He has called Gupta names, embarrassed him no end and like every other day, needled him right through the exercises today. Things reached a head when Jagmohan Papneja had to intervene, even extending Gupta the facility of EMIs (equated monthly installments) over a period of one year. Angad Singh was even more gratuitous. “You can pay at the rate of Rs100 a year,” he advised Gupta.
Still, nothing was coming of it.
Arora wants to know about the car that hit Mumtaz 
So after the exercises, Shekhawat confronted Gupta head on to part with the cash. The altercation fast drifted towards a classic ‘duel at dawn’ with Gupta striking the pose of a boxer. Shekhawat riled him as a no-man before a group of bemused ladies. “A man talks with one tongue and keeps his word,” he reminded Gupta. Out of nowhere Banoo Apa piped in, “I am a lady and I also talk with one tongue,” thereby throwing the two combatants instantly off-gear. A potentially violent situation soon diffused into laughter and the duel was averted for the day.
Meanwhile, Mumtaz Jahan was to show up, complaining to Srichand Arora of how the Club no longer cares for her (actually she has been hibernating in Kashmir for long) and that nobody had even checked on her after a recent accident near Lokhandwala Market. A speeding Innova grazed against her, sending her crashing to the ground and leaving her with multiple bruises on her ankle and arms. “What about the car?” Arora asked earnestly. “I hope it wasn’t damaged?”
That brought an end to Mumtaz’s tale of woe.
Kiran Prakash:
Only you know how to report facts, whether it is pleasant, unpleasant, humorous, anger or laughter and still make it interesting. No wonder every day, BIG LAAF posts are followed by hundreds of those who have never even seen us.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

'PK' Fallout

Razia Khan is all fire and brimstone
The effects of the folly in overlooking the erstwhile ‘yoga group’ for the last Pehchaan Kaun (PK) contest (ref yesterday’s post) spilled into the Garden today. Barring the winner, Monthi Serrao, none of the other contestants had taken Fehmida Khan into reckoning – just because she was from the ‘yoga group’. But instead of gracefully acknowledging the mistake, the blame was turned around conveniently as a lapse on the part of the Club management. Why were the new members (in particular Fehmida) not introduced to us?
Now, this has never happened before. No introductions have ever been required for any member, once admitted. Yet even Santosh Tyagi (who had wrongly pitched for Mallika Kagzi yesterday) was insistent: “We are not aware of any of them. We don’t know what they look like. Earlier, before admitting someone in the Club, the consent of all members used to be taken.
Shekhawat introduces Rakhi Bansi (in dark glasses)
Nothing of the sort was done for this new set from the yoga group.”
Razia Khan was even more belligerent. Taking off from her caustic comments on the blog yesterday (see post), she went hammer and tongs on why rules were being bent, if not broken for the benefit of new members. Shekhawat tried to pacify her by explaining that no rule has been broken and the permission to admit the ‘yoga group’ was duly obtained from the general body at the meeting in Chhota Kashmir almost two months back – just that Razia was not there.
Still, in order to purchase peace, Shekhawat introduced Razia to three ‘new’ members – Rakhi Bansi, Naseem Khan and Banoo Apa – who just happened to be hanging around. He had no clue where the others were. “I cannot possibly get all 11-12 of them at one time to line up for you and be introduced,” he added cheerfully.
Lt Col Angad Singh (retd):
A new member is usually welcomed with a club cap. Similarly, for women, a senior lady member may put the cap on. This should do for the introduction of a new member.
Razia Khan:
I agree with Lt Col Angad Singh that a new member is always welcomed with a club cap. Nobody is blaming the club management. We are just trying to convey our opinion in a very healthy manner. A healthy discussion should always be welcomed by all of us. I would like to request you to please mention the names of new members on the blog. Personal introduction can be carried out as and when they make themselves available, because some members do not come to the garden regularly and some do not come at all. I would like to further request you to please explain to the members about the bye-laws. It will help all the members understand the rules and regulations which should be followed. This might be a burden to you, but I think along with all the fun, frolic and happenings in the garden if such important discussions also make news in the blog it would be fruitful for everyone. I hope you won't mind. Thanks a billion.
Big Laaf replies:
If only everybody could be as broadminded and large-hearted as Razia... Clearly, she has articulated what could also be bothering others. The practice adopted religiously is that the moment any member is admitted, the president/ secretary/ treasurer would give the green signal for the name to be put on the blog. Within 24 hours the name would show on the side bar under OUR FAMILY. It is the most authentic and updated list we have and occupies a permanent position, day after day, year after year. Fehmida Khan's name has been there as one of the earliest 'new members' to join. Please check, along with the rest. As for the bye-laws, the point has been noted and the needful will be done at the next general body meeting. Thank you once again, Razia -- for your magnanimity.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Plain Fluke?

Fehmida Khan... TODAY
Fehmida Khan... THEN
A dead rubber contest came suddenly alive with a last-minute entry. In what was nothing short of a miracle (or was it just plain fluke?), Monthi Serrao correctly identified Fehmida Khan from her b&w photograph as a 16-year-old, thus bringing to an end days of intense speculation and high drama surrounding the latest Pehchaan Kaun (ref post of January 18) guessing game.
Monthi herself was stumped for words when told that she was absolutely spot on and in effect, today’s winner. For a full minute she stared at Fehmida in disbelief, not uttering a word. Hers was the last entry and clearly, she had put up Fehmida’s name to stem the tide going Mallika Kagzi’s way, little expecting that it would land her the coveted PK crystal trophy.
Pre-dawn meet to identify the 'mystery maiden'
The remaining ‘suspects’ were evenly divided between Ruksana Khan and Nahid Khan – even as the latter protested vehemently that she could never look like the “chudail” in the featured photograph!
Clearly PK-11 was the toughest contest so far. It was on the verge of being scrapped/ deferred as no one had got anywhere close to the correct answer till this morning. Everyone seemed to have got waylaid by Mallika (perhaps because of her longish facial features) leading to countless hilarious situations.
Congratulations, Monthi Serrao!
At one point, she got so cheesed off with every second member peering closely at her eyes, neck, lips and nose that she began to actually pitch for herself.
Fehmida caught in a swirl of suspicion
“Look, even I have given my own name,” she lied during an impromptu pre-dawn meet in the China Hut today.
The result however, has not gone down well with a section of the Club. For one, many like Santosh Tyagi just cannot fathom why a Muslim girl should wear a mangal sutra in the photograph – much as Fehmida assured her that she has no problem with it. For another, some like Srichand Arora and Razia Khan argue that they “do not know” about members of the recently integrated yoga group, of which Fehmida is a part. Well, ignorance can never be an excuse. After all, the sole aim and purpose behind instituting the Pehchaan Kaun contest is to ensure that we get to know one another and interact better.
Kiran Prakash:
Congratulations, Monthi!
Razia Khan:
Whatever happened today was absolutely wrong, whether anyone accepts it or not. Earlier it was decided that a person who wants to become a member of Big Laaf should come to the Garden regularly for at least three months. Only then would he/she be accepted as a member. But never mind.
We came to know that 10 new members were included in the Big Laaf family. But who are the 10 new members? How many people know their names?
Razia Khan
Were they introduced to other members? This is not ignorance but lack of information parted to other members. How will one interact with one another unless and until all the new members are introduced with the older ones?
The word "politics" used by Monthi for me hurt very badly. What politics did I do? You all know me since 6-7 years. Have I ever played politics? Now I would like to make a humble request to Arora-ji and Jagmohan-ji that they should call new members and introduce them to all others of the Big Laaf family.
Big Laaf replies:
Razia Khan has raised three valid points, obviously out of a deep sense of hurt. We hold her in very high regard and surely, she deserves an explanation:
(i) Eligibility for membership arises after one month (and not three months) subject to (a) approval of the managing committee and (b) ratification/ no-objection of the general body.
(ii) The new members inducted are from the erstwhile yoga group. This decision was not taken clandestinely or even by the Managing Committee. It was a unanimous decision taken by all members at the last general body meeting on December 13, 2014 (ref post New Merger). Sadly, Razia was absent at that meeting.
(iii) Introduction of "new" members is a good idea, if they are strangers. We don't admit strangers. The yoga group has been with us for almost a decade. Besides, when was the last time any "member" was introduced to us? This could be humiliating to any self-respecting individual who has been known to us for years. Critically, none of these issues would have arisen had Razia also attended the meeting on December 13, 2014.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Random Pot Shots

Kiran Prakash obliges with his mobile
Even after nine days, there is yet no clarity on the person featured in the eleventh edition of the Pehchaan Kaun guessing game announced last-to-last Sunday (ref post of January 18). With one day remaining for the announcement of results, the Club witnessed hectic activity this morning as several hitherto reticent members made last ditch efforts to unravel her identity.
Mallika Kagzi being 'sized' up!
Kiran Prakash helpfully displayed her b&w mug shot on his mobile phone for the benefit of those who came in late and himself took a shot in the dark by naming Nahid Khan as his prime suspect. Srichand Arora targeted Mallika Kagzi. And Razia Khan switched from Mallika to Geeta Sardana, only to revise it to Ruksana Khan within minutes and then modifying it to “either of the two”! So take your pick.
Clearly, nobody is getting any wiser. But amid all this confusion, one name being mentioned most frequently is that of Mallika. Shekhawat did the unimaginable by producing a tailoring inch-tape with him to ‘measure’ her top to toe (one of the questions to be answered is to mention the height of the person) – so confident was he about his hunch.
Peering into images from Ajanta-Ellora
Within seconds, Santosh Tyagi made away with the tape and held one end just above Mallika’s head while Jagmohan Papneja and Sunita Jajodia quickly scrambled on the ground to grab the other end of the tape.
They got the ‘measurement’ they wanted, but Mallika simply could not get over the absurdity of it all. “They even fell at my feet, can you imagine!” she was to exclaim, while narrating how she literally jumped out her skin on finding so many people with a measuring tape around her. But Shekhawat cried foul, saying that was no way to measure anybody’s height; though he himself did not dare to take any chances with Mallika, even if were to be the right way!
Meanwhile, Bhaswati Bose held durbar with her laptop, flicking images from a recent trip to Daulatabad and Ajanta-Ellora (ref pics of January 25). She, along with Monthi Serrao, Fehmida Khan and Naseem Khan have returned from the three-day excursion last Sunday and at the request of Harbans Kaur and others, the photographs were played out to a largely female audience in the China Hut. From all appearances, they had had a gala time out there.
Bihari Milwani:
Answer to Pehchaan Kaun 11: Ruksana, photograph taken at the age of 17 years, she has 3 children and her height now is 5'8".
The enthusiasm of all members to find out the correct answer to Pechaan Kaun show their eagerness to win the trophy. Hale them! Good luck!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Republic Day 2015

Celebrations begin with singing the national anthem
Srichand Arora came personifying the national tricolor – saffron T-shirt, white shorts and green shoes. Earlier, Mallika Kagzi set the tone of the morning by pinning tiny metallic badges of the Indian flag on all present. And when Shekhawat did the customary salute, followed by everyone singing the national anthem, the Republic Day celebrations were under way.
With a medley of patriotic songs blaring out of Harish Wadhwa’s speakers, our senior-most member Tara Chand Seth led the traditional march around the Garden – the flag repeatedly changing hands along the way. We leave you with a collage of images of the celebrations this year…
Tara Chand Seth leads the march
The traditional Big Laaf march on every national day
Holding the tricolor aloft
Mallika pins a flag on the
chest of Yusuf Rassiwala
Hari Singh Shekhawat
salutes the national flag
Refreshments after the march
Srichand Arora: in national colors
Dance and bonhomie with patriotic songs
Section of club members and guests
Lt Col Angad Singh (retd):
The gusto, enthusiasm and smiling faces of all the members revealed the respect they have in celebrating a national day. Really fantastic and befitting.