Thursday, April 24, 2014

Polling Day

Arora narrates his story on Aam Aadmi Party
Clapping and rejoicing on Bijoy Gupta's birthday
In an avowedly apolitical Club, there has never been any room for discussions on political parties, affiliations or ideology. But today, being polling day, many members unwittingly revealed their political bias and argued over who they would like to see voted to the next Lok Sabha.
Nahid Khan declared that she and her family have all along been Congress supporters. Shekhawat insisted on voting for the kamar (or waist) when he meant kamal (or lotus), the BJP symbol – only to change that to bow-and-arrow, the Shiv Sena symbol. Many like Monthi Serrao, Bhaswati Bose and Geeta Sardhana pitched for “the party that stands for anti-corruption” and teased others with being banished by the broom.
“Of course, jhaadu lagana is the job of women!” Shekhawat argued.
“And making tea is the job of the men,” countered Bhaswati, obliquely pointing to BJP leader Narendra Modi’s tea boy background.
In between word drifted in on Jagmohan Papneja having cast his vote first thing in the morning. Another absentee, Srichand Arora was rumored to be on polling duty somewhere at Lokhandwala Back Road, which instantly got Yusuf Rassiwala worried that he must have already picked up a quarrel there.
“I know him very well,” said Yusuf. “He will insist on inking all five fingers of the people who go there to vote and that will create a big bawaal.”
Coincidentally, Arora walked into the Garden at that very moment, sparking speculation on whether he had already been packed off from the poll centre so early. But Arora had another story to narrate – about how he had encountered Mayank Gandhi, the local Aam Aadmi candidate being massaged by a lackey for hours on end in filthy surroundings. Everybody listened amused and did not utter a word – except for Yusuf who voiced his disbelief.
The surprise of the morning was Bijoy Gupta treating the Club with chocolate bars after the exercises. We learnt it was his birthday today and led by Shekhawat, we sang and clapped for him. Gupta is nearing 70, but has kept himself remarkably fit and healthy. We wish him many more years of good health and happiness.
Jagmohan Papneja:
Today marks the culmination of yet another successful demonstration of the strength of our democracy. The credit for this goes to the Election Commission. It must be congratulated for conducting the poll peacefully.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Generation Divide

Srichand Arora
To an outsider, we would appear to be a bunch of predominantly elderly men and women on a roll. In reality also, most of us have well crossed the threshold of youth and technically, would qualify to be 'senior citizens'.
Yet, surprising as this may sound, there exists a striking generation gap within us which only we are able to recognize (if subliminally) and is invisible to all others. On the one hand, there is a carefree lot who can never be serious, are perpetually up to playing pranks and quite evidently, have forgotten to grow up. On the other hand, there are the serious and even intimidating types, self-opinionated but always held in high regard.
Cross-section of the mixed grouping

They are the classical oldies. But then again, this has nothing to do with physical age or appearance.
A prime example of the older generation would be Srichand Arora.
Yusuf Rassiwala
Nobody messes with him -- as indeed with Sitaram Hivarkar and Ved Prakash Grover and Santosh Tyagi and Harbans Kaur… Much as they are adored and admired, they are also kept at an arm’s length simply because of the way they conduct themselves. An invisible line separates them from the rest and nobody can dare to cross that line.
At the other extreme are the forever young-at-heart, as this example will amplify.
Geeta Sardana

Today, Shekhawat pulled up Yusuf Rassiwala for “playing phunti” yesterday and then lowering his voice, inquired mischievously what he was up to. Pat came the reply: “Do I check the kind of ******giri you are up to?” Both broke into uproarious laughter as only juveniles can.
This is the no-holds-barred spirit that also binds the likes of Ram Shankar Shukla, Nahid Khan, Nafisa Sayyad and Tara Chand Seth. Nothing stops them from playing the fool with others and vice-versa.
Significantly, there is also a third category, sandwiched between these two generations and they comprise a majority of female members. Ladies like Geeta Sardana, Khatoon Baig, Sunita Jajodia and Razia Khan can be refreshingly outgoing and happy-go-lucky, clearly defying their age. And yet, they can also turn chillingly staid and old-fashioned, taking everyone by surprise. You could call them the 'Tweens of Twilight Years'.
Harish Wadhwa:
* At heart, each one of us is young (actually 'very young') since it still beats for one and all with concern and care. The child in us will never die. Rather, the senior citizens will become children as they grow. It is logical therefore to have fun, joke, mock, feel sad, brood, back-bite, etc.
* I must have made at least 8-10 clicks today to read this blog...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fiery Start

Nahid 'Bhaijaan' Khan
Sunita Jajodia
No woman likes being reprimanded in public, least of all by a man. If only Shekhawat understood this simple fact of life, he wouldn’t have taken on three women at one go this morning -- Nahid Khan, Sunita Jajodia and Ruksana Khan. He probably thought he could get away with it because he is Hari Singh Shekhawat. But in the end, Jagmohan Papneja had to bail him out.
It all began with the three ladies reporting late for the exercises, even as they were already present in Garden. The laughter round had started and the they were still chatting merrily in the China Hut, with Papneja joining them. Shekhawat just couldn’t take it. Fuming with rage, he shouted “Nahid Bhaijaan” a couple of times and then relapsed into exercising silently.
Before long the three ladies ambled in one by one. Furious at their casual attitude, he went hammer and tongs at Sunita first, little expecting her to hit back with equal ferocity. She thundered in her native Marwari lingo, made angry eyes and wagging her finger stepped in the centre of the circle to hold up the exercises.
Shekhawat quietly watches the sale of designer clothes in the Garden
Nahid soon followed suit – the crux of their argument being that when Shekhawat breaks any “rule” all is fine but if they take a minor liberty, it becomes a national calamity! With others like Nafisa Sayyad and Ruksana adding fuel to fire (though in light vein), Shekhawat did not know what to say. So he charged at Papneja who had just walked in, oblivious to the pandemonium in his absence. Questioned on what he had been doing in the China Hut for so long, he remarked nonchalantly that he was only switching off the ceiling fans. This came as an anti-climax – a perfect antidote to a fiery start in the morning.
The tension in the air was eventually relieved by a surprise sale of designer clothes close to the Garden gate. Apparently a local boutique owner had shut shop and was offloading surplus stock at throwaway prices. While some like Monthi Serrao eagerly took their pick, the chief combatants of the morning drama kept their distance. They had retired hurt.
Harish Wadhwa:
* It is impolite to comment on women power and their 'liberties' in today's context. So men must better get used to it for their own benefit. Just chill, because women are anyway NOT in your control and will never be.
* Arora-sa'ab, for whom are you selecting the sarees and suits? It is better, Kiran Bhabhi-ji makes her own choices... LOL

Monday, April 21, 2014

Treat Upon Treat

Easter treat of sliced cake from Monthi Serrao
Teja Singh has brought milk cakes from Faridabad for us
Easter is said to be a season of renewal – of new beginnings and hope. Since Sundays are our regular weekly off, we missed out on any Easter celebration at the Garden yesterday. Nonetheless, we trooped in this morning in the shameless hope of an Easter treat from Monthi Serrao, the only devout and practicing Christian in our midst. She observes Lent and participates in all church-driven activities including administering the Holy Communion and even the ritual foot washing preceding Good Friday. Now, having broken her 40-day fast, she enjoined us in a sumptuous Easter treat of sliced cakes and chocolates.
That was not all. In the same spirit of happy revivals, Sardar Teja Singh Bhambra rejoined us after a long spell of absence and treated us to Faridabad’s popular milk cakes. So it was a double treat for us. But more than that, we were back to old times when Sardarji’s arrival in the Garden at 7:00 a.m. sharp would get us cracking for the exercises, his gentle sense of humour and silent chuckles… we were missing all of that. Today, with his return, we became a ‘full family’ once again. Much as he complained of “age-related weakness”, in our eyes he looked unusually fresh and rejuvenated from his visit to Faridabad.
If that were not enough, we had Sandhya Narang also this morning – showing up after close to three months. She said she was down with throat infection and had been running fever which took so long to subside, but has left her considerably weak and physically distraught. While wishing her complete recovery at the earliest, we raised an extra laugh to welcome her back in our fold.
Harish Wadhwa:
* Thank you so much, Teja Singh-ji. Even though I was not at the Garden, Bose-babu was generous to share his part of the milk cake. Enjoyed it thoroughly. You look so elegant and handsome in your signature turban. Happy return to the garden.
* Happy return to Sandhya-ji as well. Had not heard about her for a long time. Nice to see her keeping fine, hale and hearty. Her picture in the blog says it all.
Jagmohan Papneja:
Thank you Monthi-ji for the lovely cake. It was really delicious. I hope you had a lovely Easter. I thank Teja Singh-ji also for offering the tasty milk cake. Welcome back, your presence would fill the vacuum created by your absence in the Club.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day 1267

Pic of the Week
Happy Easter!
Jagmohan Papneja:
Colorful eggs and bunnies -- the cool breeze this season brings the warmth and laughter of loved ones gathering around. The love of the Lord pleasantly surrounds. HAPPY EASTER.
Bhaswati Bose:
Dear Monthi, enjoy the season of Easter eggs, bunny hats and hot cross buns with Tian and the rest of your family. We wish you all lots and lots of fun, happiness and everlasting peace.
Harish Wadhwa:
Happy Easter, Monthi-ji. Even though morphed, the picture has come out very nice. Worth treasuring.