Friday, May 22, 2015

No Show

Mallika's keema-pao party: Too much for too few
The eagerly awaited showdown between Hari Singh Shekhawat and Bijoy Gupta (ref yesterday’s post) did not take place today. The bus from Mahabaleshwar had reportedly returned late last evening, around 9:00 pm. Like all others on that trip, Shekhawat was obviously much too tired to stir out in the morning and gave the Garden a go by.
Gupta was nevertheless there itching for a fight, even as he had an appointment to keep at VT Station at 10:00 a.m. He hung around for a while – even participated in the first laughter round – and then, upon seeing no sign of Shekhawat, went away disappointed. Ultimately, Razia Khan led the rail gaadi round with just Jagmohan Papneja, Dilip Babani and Mumtaz Jahan behind.
The diminished turnout today created a problem of a different kind for Mallika Kagzi. She wanted to host a reception of sorts for the Mahabaleshwar group and expecting a full house, she had laid out a full spread -- mutton keema, potato curry, pao and tea for 40 people. Not one to take back anything, she got the 15-odd present this morning to consume the whole lot. Breakfast, lunch and dinner for the day were done at one shot.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Saali Defection

Bijoy Gupta
Bijoy Gupta has engineered a major coup in the Club. Taking advantage of Shekhawat’s absence since Tuesday, he has managed to win over his saalis in what is being seen as the first step to wrest control as president of Big Laaf. Tomorrow, when Shekhawat would be back from Mahabaleshwar, Gupta will have a ‘show of strength’ in the rail gaadi round.
“You must all follow my engine,” he instructed Shekhawat’s saalis who now swear allegiance to him. “None of you shall follow Shekhawat’s engine. This applies to everyone else too. Let Shekhawat run his engine by himself, all alone.”
That Gupta has been harboring ambitions to oust Shekhawat from the presidentship of the Club is well known – just that he is not able to pay the Rs100,000 he had promised to seize the post.
Garden tea party, courtesy Mallika Kagzi... as usual
Quite clearly he had been biding his time quietly and then moved swiftly when he saw his rival leaving for the Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani trip.
The opportunity presented itself this morning when Razia Khan complained to Mumtaz Jahan for not giving a treat on purchasing a penthouse in Lokhandwala (ref post of May 15). “Of course, I did, I gave luddoos to everybody,” Mumtaz asserted. “Maybe you didn't come that day. But didn’t Shekhawat tell you?”
“Oh, forget about Shekhawat,” Razia said dismissively.
Arun Patil
“And then he claims to be jija-ji!”
This was the moment Gupta was waiting for. Instantly he offered himself as a better jija (brother-in-law) provided of course, the ladies agree to jump onto his bandwagon. Effectively, he was asking them to defect and oddly enough, Mumtaz readily agreed. Before long, Razia decided to follow her. Gupta looked set now, as though he had pulled off a major victory in life.
Now, if Shekhawat has to reclaim his position, the only option left for him is to stand outside the gate tomorrow morning and prevent Gupta from entering the Garden. Watch this space.
Postscript: Arun Patil was discharged from hospital (ref post of May 13) last evening. He is back home at Room 73, Madhav ‘B’ Wing, Devi Kumari SRA Housing Society (opp Oshiwara Bus Depot), Link Road, Goregaon, Mumbai 400104. Please call him on his cell number 98190 06173 before dropping in.
Bihari Milwani from Los Angeles:
Politics in BIG LAAF family? Or is this backdoor entry?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Killer Round?

Siba Prasad Maitra
Razia Khan
Remember that 1998 rap number, Breathless? It runs on and on like an unending torrent, without a single break in line, verse, stanza or even pause for breath. Now, transpose that into a physical workout and what do you get? Something equivalent to a runaway train – an absolutely mindless rapid-fire series of seemingly endless exercises without a single break or pause in between. You are left breathless.
“You feel at least 10 years younger,” chorused Razia Khan and Jagmohan Papneja at the end of the second laughter round today. Unlike the relaxed, unhurried pace we have been used to, it was decided this morning to accelerate the last five exercises and 108 claps at the end. “You will all die,” warned Mallika Kagzi refusing to be part of the madness. Khatoon Baig also demurred. But once we stepped on the gas, they too joined the frenzy and the exercises that normally take 12 minutes (by the clock) were wrapped up in three minutes flat.
“Tomorrow, we will do it even faster,” said Razia excitedly. “You feel so refreshed!”
But Siba Prasad Maitra sounded a note of caution: “Let us not subject everybody to extra strain. We come here to exercise in a relaxed manner and also have some fun. Some people may not be able to take it on a regular basis.
Santosh Tyagi says her goodbyes before leaving for Delhi
Once in a while is okay…” He also suggested reserving a day in the week, maybe Wednesdays, for this killer round.
It was not the first time we had conducted this experiment. Twice earlier we tried it out – the last time being yesterday when Sitaram Hivarkar became so charged that he even conducted the prayers in full clip. But more than that, what became evident was that not only were we saving time, any possibility of idle chatter or distraction was eliminated. Every single person in the circle was completely focused on exercising and those who could not keep pace, were still doing their best anyway. Most importantly, it was fun.
Srichand Arora demonstrated how rejuvenated he felt by prancing about like a jack in the box and leaping up to score high fives. Watching him, others developed springs on their feet till some like Ved Prakash Grover and Bijoy Gupta were left looking wild eyed, not knowing from which direction the next ‘prancing monkey’ would leap upon them and say, “Jai Sri Krishna!” Pity no photograph could be taken. It happened so fast.
Siba Prasad Maitra:
I also enjoyed the fast, faster and fastest way of doing the exercise. In fact, today we could complete the session by 7:40 a.m. But I observed some of our senior members were finding it difficult to keep pace with the speed and they were not taking part in it. Now it is left with the instructor of the day to decide how to go.
Bihari Milwani from Los Angeles:
Great to know that the BIG LAAF BULLET TRAIN (BLBT) has made a start. Wishia great success.
Lt Col Angad Singh (retd):
The josh and spirit with which grown-ups (NOT 'oldies') are conducting themselves in the morning is commendable. It only shows that the exercises have kept them fit as a fiddle. Keep it up.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sweating it Out

Mallika Kagzi
Everybody agrees that it is unusually sultry for this time of the year in Mumbai. And were it not for Mallika Kagzi, attendance for the exercises in the Garden would have dropped to zero by now. Every morning, she comes in carrying two heavy bottles of chilled water which is shared by all of us. Nobody has told her to do so. But this is what keeps us going.
Srichand Arora conducts the exercises in the oppressive heat
Or else, we would be dropping to the ground like nine pins out of sheer dehydration.
“There can be no greater virtue in life than giving the thirsty water to drink,” a grateful Srichand Arora complimented her the other day.
Today was no different – except that attendance had dropped further with Shekhawat whisking away a sizeable number of regulars for the three-day excursion of Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani. They left by chartered bus at 6:15 in the morning and as you read this, they could well be gallivanting in the cooler climes of the hill station. They reached at 12:30 pm after a brief stopover for breakfast at Lonavala.
Meanwhile, lesser mortals like us sweated it out in the Garden, seeking distractions to keep the laughter going. Razia Khan stepped into Shekhawat’s shoes to be the engine driver of the morning while Mallika had a blast egging Arora to keep talking even after he had nothing to speak about.
Karishma Milwani with parents
Maitra narrates a 3-in-one joke
And then came the hilarious rapid fire wrap-up of the exercises – just what Jagmohan Papneja wanted to keep us sweating even more. But ultimately, it was Siba Prasad Maitra who stole the show with a charming three-in-one joke that won many hearts.
Incidentally, today was Arora’s wedding anniversary. And Bihari Milwani, who is away in Los Angeles, sent him a beautiful laminated card to mark the occasion. He had gone to attend the convocation of his younger daughter, Karishma who has earned her masters’ in cyber security from the University of Southern California. In the photograph alongside, she is seen flanked by her proud parents. Our hearty congratulations and good wishes go to her.
Kiran Prakash:
* Congratulations Karishma on your achievement. Congratulations to the proud parents too.
* Happy wedding anniversary to Kiran and Srichand Arora. May God grant His choicest blessings on both of you.
Srichand Arora:
Congratulations dear Karishma and many many thanks, dear Milwani family for such a beautiful and meaningful greeting card. Actually I was 100% sure to receive your wishes. Thanks once again, you all.
Bihari Milwani from Los Angeles:
Dear Mallika, from the bottom of my heart I thank and congratulate you for tirelessly doing such a wonderful job of quenching the thirst of all members of BIG LAAF family.
Lt Col Angad Singh (retd):
Heartiest congratulations to Karishma and her proud parents for the big achievement. I wish her more success in times to come. Heartiest congratulations to the Aroras as well on their wedding anniversary. I wish them many healthy and enjoyable years together.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Overbooked

Last-minute 'adjustments' for the Mahabaleshwar trip
The Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani tour, beginning tomorrow, is overbooked. For the first time Shekhawat is faced with a real possibility of having to refund money (collected from four extra people) unless he is able to find accommodation for them.
Shekhawat had arranged for the stay of 20 people in the Mahabaleshwar hotel, but following a couple of dropouts, he began to invite newer members in the group. Suddenly, to his disbelief, he finds that he has taken up more on his platter than he can possibly handle. The hotel has informed that there are no more rooms available – unless some last-minute cancellation crops up.
Shekhawat now has the option to wait indefinitely and keep his four guests in suspense. Or else, he will have to check with the hotels nearby. Either way, he will not get the benefit of any discount on the new bookings.
Meanwhile, Monthi Serrao kicked up a row on Pehchaan Kaun-12, the results of which were declared the day-before-yesterday (see post). She is convinced that Yusuf Rassiwala is fibbing on his shoe size.
Monthi Serrao argues on Yusuf Rassiwala's shoe size 
“How can you say it is No 10?” she demanded. “I don’t believe it!”
Yusuf struck a tribhanga pose, balancing himself on one foot and told Monthi to study the shoe sole of the other. Monthi refused. He then sat on a bench and painstakingly took off his right shoe. The only number decipherable was ‘45’ marked on the instep. “Barobar,” remarked Dilip Babani. “Four and five make nine. So the shoe size must be 9!”
Before Monthi could jump jubilantly, Yusuf reminded her that even if she was right on the shoe size, she had got the age wrong. “But who told you to apply for an auto licence at the age of 28?” she charged. “My husband applied for a taxi licence when he was 21 and he also wore that Gandhi topi. He did not wait till he was 28. He was married at 24.”
Yusuf declared lamely, “I got married at 25.”
“But who told you to marry at 25?” Monthi thundered.
This time Yusuf was at a loss of words. “She is correct,” Dilip instigated him. “Yusuf-bhai, you are wrong. You should not have got married at 25. Neither should you have applied for auto licence at the age of 28…”
Yusuf gave them a look of losing his sanity and walked away without uttering another word.
Bihari Milwani from Los Angeles:
PK-12 ne Yusuf-bhai ka barah baja diya!