Wednesday, July 23, 2014

All Heart

Wishing Yusuf Rassiwala many happy returns of the day
Birthday treat from Tian Serrao (in absentia)
Serenading has traditionally been a male prerogative. You wouldn’t ordinarily expect women to serenade a guy – unless of course, he is Yusuf Rassiwala. Such is his fan following among the ladies of the Club that today, for the first time in any birthday, they broke into an impromptu chorus, singing and rejoicing to “Tum jiyo hazaaron saal-saal ke din hon pachaas hazaar… Happy Birthday to you!”
It was all heart, pure and melodious, led by Santosh Tyagi, Harbans Kaur, Bhaswati Bose and others. The men stood by, clapping awkwardly and happily jealous of Yusuf while he blushed and grinned, hogging all the adulation. After all, he had turned one year older today. And when Geeta Sardana addressed him as "Birthday Boy”, he corrected her, saying “Budda Boy”!
Yusuf’s birthday was deliberately hyped by the ladies (see yesterday’s post) days in advance. He obviously shares a comfort level with them which no other male member in the Club enjoys. That Yusuf had come in to celebrate with chocolates and cake rolls, even as Ramzaan was on, speaks of how much he also values their sentiments.
But true to style, he had kept us in suspense by turning up (fashionably) late. At one point Arun Patil declared that Yusuf had done the disappearing act and would now show up only after Ramzaan. But Nahid Khan did not lose hope and maintained we would have a good birthday celebration today.
As things turned out, it was ‘two good’ because Monthi Serrao’s grandson, Tian’s birthday coincides with Yusuf’s. So we actually had a double celebration this morning with Monthi bringing a bag full of biscuits on his behalf. Tian has been celebrating with us since his very first birthday, but now he is a big boy and has better things to do in life. So Monthi had to rush back for the cake cutting at home, before dispatching Tian to school.
The blog wishes Tian the very best in studies, more mischief in class, good grades in exams and lots of beautiful girlfriends in life. Happy Birthday, you too, Tian!
Harish Wadhwa:
Happy Birthday, 'Tall Boy' Yusuf-bhai. It is a humbling gesture that you thought of treating others even as you were on fast due to Ramzaan. And 'Little Man' Tian, may the Almighty shower you with what the blog says -- mischief and beautiful girlfriends.
Jagmohan Papneja:
On your birthday, Yusuf-bhai, I would like to remind you of your own words of wisdom: 'Laugh for health, Exercise for health and be regular -- Aatey Raho'. Many, many happy returns of the day. I would like to convey my best wishes to Master Tian also. May God bless you always.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monsoon Musings

Nahid Khan rushes in after retrieving her bag from the rains 
Now that the monsoon has kicked in right and proper, we are getting accustomed to the low turn-out every morning, people running in drenched from top to toe, leaking roofs and slippery floors, shifting location to avoid a sudden cloudburst during the exercises, wet crows constantly cawing over our heads, umbrellas getting exchanged… Arun Patil had provided everyone name stickers (with mobile numbers indicated in bold) for umbrellas. And still the umbrellas, once misplaced, do not come back to their owners.
Arun did another thing. He brought out his music box that he had been protecting from the rains. After a long time we were treated to his collection of vintage film hits, playing loud and clear in the enclosed space of the new Garden shed. Arun has identified a dry corner, away from the dripping tarpaulin roof, for placing the box, much to the delight of music lovers like Yusuf Rassiwala and Nahid Khan.
Arun Patil
Yusuf Rassiwala
Against the relentless drub-drub of the morning shower and fierce winds lashing the shed, the songs sounded simply out of this world. As someone pointed out, we could go on exercising for hours in this ambience without ever realizing it.
Yusuf’s presence also made a difference. In fact, his appearance nowadays is an event – so rare has it become. And responses have gone beyond comments like sighting the proverbial moon on Eid. Today, for instance, as he negotiated his way through the raging downpour, Nahid could not help remarking, “Where is this fresh gust of wind coming from? Yusuf-bhai must be around!” Sure enough, he was there behind her.
But that was not why Yusuf had become everyone’s favorite punching bag today. Tomorrow is his birthday. Ved Prakash Grover was the first to remind him of the party he lavished last year. Others were not so discreet. Some said they would skip dinner tonight to be hungry tomorrow morning. A few said they were prepared to fast the whole of today. Some others said they would take purgatives to clear their stomachs for Yusuf-bhai’s birthday tomorrow… Watch this space.
Harish Wadhwa:
Nice picture of Nahid-ji dashing to take shelter in the pouring rain as others watch and measure her speed. A very nice and timely shot!
Yusuf-bhai, aap ko abhi se hardik shubhkamnayen. Well, this is Ramzaan month and I am sure he will be busy with all the rituals in the evening and also fasting in the mornings. It would not be appropriate therefore to expect a treat.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Delayed Reaction

Ramila Mistry confronts Shekhawat
The Club was today witness to an unsavory row as the very purpose of congregating at the Garden every morning was brought to question. Was it to exercise? Or was it only to eat? And if it were the latter, who is responsible for informing absentee members that a party would be on?
According to Ramila Mistry, it is Shekhawat’s bounden duty to call everyone on phone every time a party/ treat is scheduled. And since he had failed to do so for the felicitation of Sitaram Hivarkar last month (ref post of June 20), she gave him a severe tongue lashing and threatened to resign from the Club.
Shekhawat was caught unawares and at a loss of words over this frontal attack. As it is, Ramila was never one to be serious about the exercises, given her record of turning up late and absenting herself for long spells. For her to wake up suddenly a month after the event and take Shekhawat to task was shocking.
Equally shocked were those who watched this sorry spectacle. Many pretended not to notice. When Ramila was told politely that it was not Shekhawat’s job to inform people on parties, she shot back: “If it was an individual’s party, I’d not have bothered.
Khatoon Baig leaves for USA
But since this was a Club event, I should have been informed!”
But why should anybody be duty-bound to inform her? If only she had been attending regularly, would she have reason to feel deprived? And why rake this up after a month? Where was she all these days? Is her interest in the Club limited to parties only?
These and many other questions were raised by seniors of the Club in an impromptu meeting and some even wanted to accost Ramila head-on. But they changed their mind, lest matters got aggravated. After all, nobody expected such aggressive behavior from her.
In all this unpleasantness, Khatoon Baig turned up to inform that she had finally got her U.S. visa. It has been her long-cherished dream to visit her relatives in Los Angeles and what could be any better than celebrating Eid with them next week? She leaves tonight and will be back on the last week of September. We all felt good for her and wished her bon voyage.
Jagmohan Papneja:
Big Laaf members are expected to follow a certain code of conduct whereby they should be respectful towards one another. Ramila Mistry is in no way justified at conveying her frustrations on Shekhawat-ji and turning it into a personal attack. Shekhawat-ji is not duty bound to inform members in any matter. Our members are lucky to have the facility of a blog to update themselves. Ramila is herself to blame not to read the blog. Her threat to resign from the Club for her own mistake does not make sense.
Arun Patil:
It is better Ramila keeps maun vrat (vow of silence). She is best when she does not talk.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Day 1349

Pic of the Week

Radiant colors and a sunny smile brighten our grey mornings.
Harish Wadhwa:
Rab aapko aise hee hamesha muskurata aur hansta hua rakhe Shaji. His positive vibes rub off on everyone who sees this smiling picture or meets him in person.
Bhaswati Bose:
It is the pious look of his face and the goodness in his smile that together make the picture so beautiful!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Jokers All

Today's breakfast offering from Santosh Tyagi
If joker, as the dictionary reminds us, is ‘a person who tells jokes’, we should soon qualify to be all top-class jokers. What began as a routine Santosh Tyagi ritual (many call it 'morning naashta’ or breakfast) was partly taken over by Jagmohan Papneja who added his own share of wit and humour. Then Nahid Khan joined with her risqué jokes which raised more eyebrows than laughter. Occasionally Dilip Babani and Harish Wadhwa pitched in, adding more spice to the proceedings. Then yesterday, Srichand Arora regaled everyone with a new brand of joke narration. And today, Bhaswati Bose too became a joker!
The test of a joke narration is whether it is amusing enough to tickle the funny bone. It requires the skills of a seasoned raconteur, a sense of timing and above all, an emotional connect with listeners. So narrating jokes is no joke. In this, Santosh deserves huge credit as the ‘mother of all jokers’.
Happy Birthday, BHASWATI BOSE!
Every morning, without fail, she manages to rustle up a fresh set of jokes (never repeated) and deliver them in typical deadpan fashion that would only leave us red-faced and asking for more. Papneja is comparatively more slapstick, but just as hilarious and regular as Santosh. But the real ‘master’ used to be Kishor Babani. He was the one to have started it all and none among us can match him in the quality or quantity of jokes in his stock – not to mention, his unique delivery style.
The best joke today was triggered by Papneja when he compared girls of the past and present. “A girl of the 20th century would say that for the sake of her love, she’d sacrifice the world. And guess what a girl of the 21st century tells her beau? ‘I will sacrifice the old for the new’!”
Geeta Sardana agreed with Papneja and everyone burst into laughter, but somehow, it made no sense to Monthi Serrao. “But what will happen to the old?” she asked, genuinely confused. “Who will take him? Better to repair the old fellow and carry on, rather than take someone new, isn’t it?”
That was the joke of the day. And it was in this atmosphere of good humour and bonhomie that Bhaswati celebrated her birthday with a round of aflatoon sweets. Everyone sang and rejoiced with her and as usual, an extra laugh was raised to mark the occasion.
Harish Wadhwa:
A very Happy Birthday, Bhaswati-ji. Thanks for the lovely aflatoon. The usual morning chai and the sweet made my day, before I left for work.
Jagmohan Papneja:
Birthday Greetings Bhaswati, filled with love and blessings. You had such an interesting narration that everyone enjoyed the moments with pleasure and aflatoon. Wishing you a day that is special in every way. Happy Birthday, once again.