Saturday, December 10, 2016

Second Weekend Treat

Yusuf Rassiwala
Manchurian sticks, coconut pastry, mawa cake, Pune khadi, soya biscuits, methi wadi, eggless cupcakes… These were some of the items on offer at the Club's second week-end treat of December (ref post of November 30) courtesy Yusuf Rassiwala.
Party Time!
There was steaming hot tea also, as usual prepared by Banoo Apa from home.
In a clear departure from the standard oily and fried stuff (such as phapda-jalebi and samosas) we have been eating for years, Yusuf R had specifically asked for “healthy and nutritious food”, as far as possible. Trust Dilip Babani, he literally raided a bakery in Lokhandwala Market last evening to produce so many items for us at short notice.
They were all well received – if the number of gate crashers, guests and late comers clamoring for a share was anything to go by. (Surprising how quickly word gets around and like moths drawn to flame, they converge just at the nick of the moment – neither early nor late.)
'Kitchen Cabinet' busy making plates
Even regular members like Shanti Singh were asking for extra plates for their families to sample at home.
Being an exemplary host, Yusuf R was not one to refuse. Pity he could not stay for too long
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Laxmi Hadimani (l)
(due to domestic compulsions) and excused himself midway through the party. But for the time he was around, he gallantly played ‘master of ceremonies’ with the ladies – Banoo Apa, Kajal Babani, Fahmida Khan, Bhaswati Bose and Pushpa Gupta – lending support by preparing the plates and serving all present.
Among the guests, we had Laxmi Hadimani dropping by. Little known to us, it was her birthday today. But Nahid Khan remembered and waited for her patiently, a small bouquet of roses in hand. The moment Laxmi appeared, Nahid hugged her as only a true friend would and planted a kiss on the cheek. It made such a pretty sight – so very natural and spontaneous.
Many happy returns of the day, Laxmi.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Human Train

The Human Train is back in operation
We are back with the most celebrated feature that sets us apart from all other laughter clubs – the Human Train. For the third day running, this ritualized lining-up of back thumpers has been signalling the end of our hour-long routine in the Garden.
Introduced as part of our tai-chi warm-up exercises last year, the train had to be disbanded since summer for a very peculiar reason -- thumping the backs of one another made our hands wet and smelly with other people’s sweat. This interfered with our partaking of the delicious
Happy BirthdayManisha Kolhe!
treats that invariably followed the exercises every morning.
Now that winter has set in and nobody sweats so profusely, we can risk going through the drill again without ‘dirtying’ our hands. Moreover, there is no denying that it serves a very useful purpose.
Shekhawat helps Lakshmi with change for a Rs2000 note
Our back, which gets left out in the course of the full-body tai-chi exercises, now gets a vigorous pat down, leaving us thoroughly refreshed for the rest of the day.
But then, this is not the only train that runs through our daily routine. There is another one, entirely of Shekhawat’s making, that has been in operation for the last two years. It is his way of demonstrating his authority, particularly over lady members who follow him (like Mary’s little lambs) round the circle and in effect, marking the end of the free-hand part of our exercises.
In fact, this routine has become a cause of much amusement and hilarity, what with Bijoy Gupta coming up with a new description for the train every morning, just to deflate Shekhawat’s ego. He of course, refuses to board the train because, as he says, “it is meant for disciples of Asaram Bapu (the godman)”, that it is “badly rusted and would derail any moment”, that it “is headed to a jail”, that “not even a bangar wallah would pick up its metal as scrap”... and so on.
The only time Shekhawat got worked up was when Gupta remarked that he would never join the train because it stinks. “Baas marta hai!” he declared, holding his nose in mock disgust!
Kiran Prakash:
Happy Birthday Manisha. Many happy returns of the day.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Sterling Qualities

Santosh Tyagi (l) escorts Rukhsana Khan out of the Garden
Today Rukhsana Abrar Khan made a startling off-the-cuff comment: “Who are we to judge anybody? We don’t even have the faintest idea why people behave the way they do and yet we are so eager to pull them down in the hope we would rise in the esteem of others. Why can’t we move on with our lives peacefully and let people be the way they are?”
What lent weight to this otherwise commonplace comment was that it came
Tara Chand Seth
in the face of a vicious tirade, criticizing certain people who are prone to double talk and hypocrisy. Rukhsana’s was the sole voice of dissent. At the risk of
Bijoy Gupta
being unpopular, she stood her ground with courage and conviction, rarely seen these days.
But that is Rukhsana. Belying her matronly looks, she can be incredibly forthright in her views when she wants to and at other times, would recede into the background – self-effacing, non-judgmental and uncomplaining. As they say, she does not have a mean bone in her body and would always have a kind word for everybody. She has just recovered from a crippling hip fracture (but still keeps a walker) and is blessed with three wonderful daughters who are the source of all her strength, physical and otherwise.
Rukhsana is not the only one with such strength of character who we tend to ignore in our day-to-day madness. Take Tara Chand Seth. Nearing 90, this is one gentleman who has never made a friend all his life. “True, I don’t have any friends,” he maintains. “I don’t know what friendship is. I don’t go to anybody’s house to socialize, nor does anybody come to me, barring my brothers and family members. They are everything to me."
"This does not mean I have been making enemies," he adds. "I don’t think I have ever antagonized anybody, even unknowingly. Such is my nature. I have no enemies in this world and in that sense, everybody is my friend!”
And what would you say of Bijoy Gupta who insists he cannot get angry? “Believe me, anger is alien to me, whatever be the provocation,” he says. “I am a trained boxer, since childhood. If it was possible for me to get angry, I would be bashing people to pulp on the slightest pretext. But it is so foolish. Nothing ever gets solved by anger. Whenever I see an altercation building up, I walk away quietly. People might call me a coward, but honestly, I do not know what else to do.”
Kiran Prakash:
I admire them -- Rukhsana, Tara Chand-ji and Bijoy Gupta. They are full of positivity and never speak a negative word about anybody or any situation. We are lucky to have them among ourselves and can learn a thing or two from them. It's so nice of Blog Monster to have documented it for all of us to read and think of emulating them.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Dilemma of a Do-Gooder

Dilip Babani (l) with Kiran Prakash
Dilip Babani has got himself into a funny bind. Owing to his ever helpful nature, he is the go-to man every time someone wants to host a party in the Club. Dilip accordingly wakes up early morning in the dark, scours the marketplace, picks up the good stuff and materialises at the Garden gate at 8:00 a.m. – the time we normally wrap up our exercises every day.
But this is only on the days a party is on. What happens on other days when Dilip is a little late for the exercises, or perhaps, not to be seen? Strangely, this is good news because it raises hopes all around of he having gone to the market to pick up goodies for a possible party. After all, he is the one to be approached first when somebody gets into a generous mood.
As a natural corollary, when Dilip is on time at the Garden (like everybody else), we are deeply disappointed.
Mallika Kagzi (l) is back, having recovered from dengue attack
In fact, many of us hope and pray every morning that we don’t get to see Dilip before 8:00 a.m. And then there's that delightful sight of him waving from the gate, face lit up in a smile... This is something many are prepared to break a leg for. Instead, if Dilip were to come early and diligently do his exercises, it would be akin to disaster striking us!
Kiran Prakash brought this up today when he politely told Dilip to be punctual for the exercises. What he did not say is that he would much rather have Dilip coming late, lugging heavy bags in both hands. And that his coming early, empty-handed is not a happy situation at all. Or perhaps, he (Kiran) had become mentally so conditioned as to expect Dilip to play Santa Claus every morning!
Whatever be it, Kiran Prakash was only articulating the general sentiments of the Club. And Dilip now enjoys the rare privilege of turning up whenever he pleases – later the better. Till then, we might as well be on a self-induced high.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Gloomy Morning

Tara Chand Seth
News of the death of Tamil Nadu chief minister J.Jayalalithaa late last night cast a shadow on today’s proceedings. On top, Tara Chand Seth returned to the Garden after performing the last rites of his sister in Delhi (ref post of November 24).
Karuna Waghmare
In keeping with the solemnity of the occasion, we refrained from raising the last round of laughter this morning.
Tara Chand’s sister was a few years older to him (he believes “she was in her nineties”) and had been in and out of hospital for the past couple of years. She was suffering from “usual age-related problems” of the heart and kidneys, but had consistently resisted any surgical intervention.
Given her advanced age, neither did the doctors nor had her family members compelled her. And so, on a bright winter morning, while soaking in the sun on the verandah of her Delhi home, the lady collapsed from her chair. She never woke up again.
“It was all too sudden,” Tara Chand ruminated. “But that is the nature of death.
Pondering over weighty issues of life?
You can never say when it will strike. She had collapsed from a heart stroke at 11:30 a.m. Her folks rushed her to hospital, but she was already long gone. We can only seek comfort from the fact that she had a painless death.”
Karuna Waghmare provided a measure of diversion from the all-pervasive air of gloom by showing up after almost two weeks. Clearly, she was not aware of Tara Chand’s bereavement and much to everybody’s surprise and infinite embarrassment, greeted us individually with a cheeky one-liner: “How was it in the petticoat?”
Now, what can anybody say to that?
What Karuna meant was whether we enjoyed the hilarious 'Petticoat Game' she had introduced us to on our last picnic at Saina Resort (ref post of November 26). But the way she put forth her question, in conspiratorial tones, left many red-faced. Even Shekhawat did not dare to reply!
Lt Col Angad Singh (from Mohali):
Births and deaths follow the laws of nature and these would continue despite our best efforts. These have to be taken in our stride as one cannot remain gloomy for long. Be part of the crowd, shun gloominess and enjoy the morning breeze.