Saturday, October 25, 2014


Santosh Tyagi
Santosh Tyagi has lost her father. He was 96. An aggravated heart condition led to his hospitalization last weekend in Delhi -- after which he began to show miraculous signs of recovery. She believed all was well. But this morning, at 0430 hrs, he breathed his last.
A pall of gloom descended on the Garden as news of the demise spread fast. Santosh’s absence was palpable. The heavens also mourned while the skies remained dark and overcast and a steady drizzle forced us to take cover in the shed close to the China Hut for the exercises.
TWO MINUTE SILENCE - Members pray for the departed soul
It normally does not rain at this time of the year.
Santosh was to take the 1230 flight to Delhi today. She was earlier booked for a late night flight on October 23 [ref post of October 20] but by some strange quirk of fate, the flight was cancelled. She did not mind at that time since she was told that her father’s condition was fast improving and moreover, she wanted to meet her son and his family who were returning from an overseas vacation today. No sooner had they landed in the wee hours of the morning than she received the devastating news on phone. She packed her bags immediately and took the first available flight – at 0830 hrs.
We stand beside Santosh and her family in their hour of grief. As a mark of respect towards the dear departed, a two-minute silence was observed soon after the exercises. May his soul rest in peace.
Srichand Arora (from Singapore):
Heartfelt sorrow. Santosh-ji please accept our condolences.
Jagmohan Papneja:
Santosh-ji, we are deeply saddened by the loss of your father. May God put him in a special place with comfort and peace that we have included in our morning prayer. Please accept our heartfelt condolences.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Surprise Celebration

Hari Naraiyani is back with a box of sweets
Clubs everywhere try to conserve cash. We try to spend. And when we cannot, there would always be a generous soul showing up, bestowing us with unexpected goodies and refreshments. Either we are incredibly lucky to be so deserving; or else, somebody up there must be completely crazy to grant us such a charmed existence.
We were not supposed to have any celebration today after the Diwali treat Jagmohan Papneja gave us yesterday. But out of nowhere, Hari Naraiyani showed up this morning with a box of sweets to celebrate the new year (by the Hindu lunisolar calendar).
Razia Khan on a swing
And if that was no surprise, Mallika Kagzi had a flask full of superb home-made tea to wash it all down.
Naraiyani had gone missing for the past six months or so, after he lost his wife. But he was not sitting idle at home as we had imagined.
Mallika Kagzi serves hot-hot tea from home
He gave us a vivid account of what he has been up to all this while – an extended sojourn at Beas (near Amritsar) where his spiritual guru is based, a trip to Mohali to watch cricket, another trip to Sharjah where his son runs a hotel… and so on. He said he has been constantly travelling, but used to miss us all along. “How can I forget my Club?” said the 83-year-old. “So upon returning to Mumbai, I felt I must meet you all with a box of sweets. Today is an auspicious day.”
If Naraiyani has been travelling, a mystery seems to be growing around the whereabouts of Razia Khan. Before leaving, she had announced that she was off to Pune (ref post of October 18). But now it appears that she is anywhere but Pune. After several (unconfirmed) sightings by different people at the oddest of places – one even suggesting that she was seen with family in Malaysia – a little bird dropped this picture (above left) for our consumption. What are we to make of it?
Jagmohan Papneja
Before leaving Razia told us that she would be going to Pune. Whether she has gone somewhere else or to Malaysia will be known after her return.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Diwali 2014

HAPPY DIWALI: Barfis for all from Jagmohan Papneja
Lord Ram and his retinue return to Ayodhya today. It takes them every year 20 days to travel the distance from Sri Lanka after making mincemeat of the demon king, Ravan on Vijaya Dashami day. Such is the belief. And it is in celebration of Ram’s homecoming that strings of lamps and firecrackers are lit on Diwali.
Today is also the day when the benign Goddess Durga (Parvati, if you like) assumes a fierce form and appears as Goddess Kali – hair open and blow-dried, with a garland of skulls around her neck and a belt of dismembered human limbs around her waist – red tongue hanging out and brandishing an unsheathed sword dripping with blood. Such is the belief.
Bihari Milwani
And it is to invoke her blessings that many are also celebrating Kali Puja today.
At the Garden though, our celebrations were contained to distribution of sweets, thanks entirely to Jagmohan Papneja. Were it not for him, our Diwali would have gone dry. He had brought the barfis not only for us, but for every single person in the Garden – such is his large-heartedness and more importantly, the spirit of festive cheer that he so thoughtfully ushered in early morning.
After this surprise treat, the Diwali celebrations slated for tomorrow have been rendered redundant. And Monthi Serrao will not be dipping into the Club’s funds (ref yesterday’s post) for the moment. But this decision was taken for good reason and was appreciated by all present. We now have to find a better reason to spend the Club’s money!
Meanwhile, in keeping with the current exodus of members, Bihari Milwani today took off for Bournemouth, U.K. to meet his grandson. He sends his Diwali greetings and says he’d be back on November 10. Let us also wish him a Happy Diwali as well as a safe and enjoyable trip.
Renu Babani:
Wishing everyone a happy Diwali and prosperous New Year -- a year filled with peace, joy and everlasting happiness!!!
Jagmohan Papneja
The reasons behind celebrating Diwali differ from one state to another and this has been outlined in the blog. But it is the festival of lights even today and projects our rich and glorious past.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reason to Spend

Monthi takes a dig at Angad Singh
Monthi Serrao was a happy lady today. As treasurer of the Club, she had always been hard-pressed at explaining what she’d do with all the cash collected from members by way of subscriptions. Finally, this morning, she was given a good reason to spend some of that money: DIWALI.
In the past, Diwali sweets (as indeed all treats in the Club) have been bought from contributions, jointly or individually – the idea being not to disturb the corpus with our bank. Over time, we were faced with a rather piquant situation of making only deposits and not withdrawing any cash. Not that we were sitting on a fortune, but still, questions were raised on whether we would ever get to spend the money in our lifetime.
In fact, the other day, when Angad Singh was inducted as member (ref post of October 17), his first question was whether the Club had any plans in place for spending the money.
Fehmida Khan: Lots of Charbi'
“Yes, we spend it on parties,” Monthi replied.
“But in the past six months, I have not seen any party,” he countered. Srichand Arora promptly told him that if he had second thoughts, he need not join the Club. “We cannot compel anyone to pay subscription,” he explained. “You may think it over.”
Monthi got the opportunity to bring this up (nay in light vein) with Angad Singh today when the Diwali plans were announced. Jagmohan Papneja offered to pick up the luddoos from Tewari Sweets in Juhu tomorrow evening, in time for the festive treat on October 24 morning.
Meanwhile, outside the Garden gate, a couple of overfed females set up shop to instill the fear of death in people – unless they signed up with a certain Just 4U Nutrition Center. It was a joke. But still, a big crowd had gathered and everyone was made to hold a device (supposedly, a ‘body fat analyzer’) that produced instant readings on body fat, visceral fat, sub-cutaneous fat, etc. Not a single person turned out normal. And they were all routinely directed to report to an address opposite Kokilaben Hospital if they wanted to be alive.
Fact is the Garden has become a fertile catchment area for dubious entrepreneurs preying upon the health concerns of gullible senior citizens.
Jagmohan Papneja:
Ms Monthi Serrao was forthcoming in informing us that we have been depositing the club subscription in the bank but there is no withdrawal for a long time. She fears that if the status quo remains, our account may be classified as dormant. She was happy to withdraw a small amount for celebrating Diwali which will reactivate our account. On the occasion of Diwali, this is wishing you all a very happy, prosperous and safe celebration. May the festival bring happiness and success to all members and readers. Cheers!
Dilip Babani:
Happy Diwali and Happy New Year to everybody!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

“Hot Ladies”

The ladies are on their own trip... individually 
That Santosh Tyagi is capable of wicked wisecracks is a well-known fact. But whoever knew that she is also capable of unleashing her unique brand of humour with a perfect sense of timing? So this morning when she was to suddenly describe the ladies of the Club (not excluding herself) as “hot”, the effect was simply jaw dropping.
It all began with Mallika Kagzi straying away from her self-assigned position in the circle (among the ladies) to exercise in the midst of the men. Not that it mattered to anybody. But after some time, when she returned to her original position, a few eyebrows went up.
Ruksana Khan
Mallika’s reply was that it was “too cold out there” where the men stood!
Probably she meant that the area was too shaded or perhaps, the grass out there was still wet with dew. But Santosh did not wait for her to clarify. “Yes, yes… come back, we are hot ladies!” she retorted aloud, taking Mallika completely by surprise. Only someone as witty and with a terrific presence of mind could make with such a provocative remark -- that too, when her father is ailing and mentally, she is already in Delhi (ref yesterday’s post). Quite clearly, she did not want others to be affected by her personal distress and anxiety.
For better or for worse, the import of that remark was drowned in uproarious laughter -- even as the men looked sheepishly at one another, suitably embarrassed – barring of course, Shekhawat. He took it upon himself to prove that men are no cold fish and on a whim, insisted that he be flanked by females on either side while the exercises wore on. In the absence of Razia Khan, he began entreating Ruksana Khan and when she departed complaining of sore feet, he targeted Fehmida Khan. She gladly agreed to stand in, but from tomorrow.
That should suit Shekhawat fine because from tomorrow, Ruksana will be away at Surat. She joins the off-season exodus (ref yesterday’s post) and like most others, isn’t sure when she would be back.
Jagmohan Papneja:
The happiest people don't always have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. This is true for our club members -- more so for Santosh-ji.