Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Monsoon Picnic

Shekhawat's briefing for the Lonavala picnic on August 9 
Dark and wet morning for the third day running. But somehow, we are getting used to this. Many are actually wanting more rains if that should fill Mumbai’s lake reservoirs in crucial catchment areas. News reports describe the monsoon so far as “topsy turvy” (what a peculiar expression!) and maintain that the rainfall has not been good enough to ensure a year’s supply of potable water for the city.
Another reason why nobody minds the rains is that the picnic to Lonavala has been fixed for August 9. Shekhawat today announced that August 2 will be a “little too soon” (ref: yesterday's post) considering that Eid festivities are still on and most of our Muslim friends have not yet rejoined.
Yusuf Rassiwala gives directions
He was hopeful that the current wet spell will continue on August 9 and we’d still enjoy at the hill station while it is at its pristine glory. After all, what does a trip to Lonavala amount to if it isn't timed with the monsoon!
Yusuf Rassiwala too had some good news, which was promptly greeted with a round of applause.
Monthi Serrao
Like last year, he wants to host an Eid party and invited us all to his place on August 3. Such was his grace and humility while extending the invitation that we were left dumbstruck. He spoke to everyone individually and for those who have not been to his house, he gave directions. Knowing him, we can be assured that such personal attention is not for effect and we shall be seeing more of it from his family as well on the evening of August 3.
But the biggest surprise was to come from Monthi Serrao. She brought two biscuits of palm molasses, broke each into tiny pieces and distributed them. Now who would ever think of doing this? Anybody else would have wondered if it would be appropriate, would it suffice, what would people say, such small pieces… But here was a lady who couldn’t care. She had a good thing in hand and believed that it ought to be shared. As simple as that. No pretences, nothing. When someone asked what the ‘occasion’ was, she snapped with maternal authority: “Nothing, eat it. That’s all.”
Obediently the fellow nibbled at his piece. Sometimes goodness can be very difficult to understand.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eid ul-Fitr 2014

Capturing the spirit of Eid
Yet another rainy day – a repeat of yesterday – except that today was Eid ul-Fitr. None of our Muslim friends were there (and expectedly so), but in our own small way we raised an extra laugh to mark the occasion. Also, at the behest of Srichand Arora and other seniors, we clapped to ‘Eid Mubarak Ho!’ at the end of each of the three sessions of the exercises.
To our readers, we wish you every happiness, goodness and prosperity on this auspicious day. May Allah shower his blessings on you all and fill your heart and homes with love and good tidings. Above all, may peace be on you.
While we missed the special sweets and delicacies associated with the festival, Harbans Kaur more than made it up for us by treating everyone to ladles of lip-smacking halwa soon after the exercises. She was away at Pune to attend the engagement ceremony of her nephew. The halwa was to celebrate the formalization of the union and we can only bless the boy and his bride-to-be from afar as they embark on their new journey in life. We thank Harbans Kaur also for including us in her joyful times and sharing that unforgettable halwa from Pune.
Halwa to die for... from Harbans Kaur

But then, as things stand in the Club, Shekhawat is getting increasingly consumed by the idea of a ‘monsoon picnic’. Lonavala is of course, uppermost in his mind, though he isn’t quite sure whether to set out this week-end or the next. After extensive discussions, he has figured that if it has to be an overnight stay, we should fix the date for August 9. Or else, we could as well go and come back on August 2.
There is a third option yet. The Independence Day-weekend (August 15 to 17) gives us time to venture still further out -- perhaps to Matheran, even Mahabaleshwar or Panchgani and spend two nights out on the hills. This might sound too adventurous at the moment. But who knows, a majority of members might just go for it. And as always, it is the majority opinion that counts.
Jagmohan Papneja:
Sending you warm wishes on EID UL-FITR: Khushion se bhari, Phoolon se dhaki, Khusbooan me basi, Rango se saji, Taron me chhupi, Supno me dhali aur, Shabnam se dhuli... Eid Mubarak to all of you.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Duty before Self

The 'early birds' wait for others to show up
It rained relentlessly all of yesterday. It rained all of last night. And at 6:30 this morning, just as we were leaving for the Garden, it rained with renewed vengeance. The streets were flooded, devoid of all life, but for a few half-empty school buses, newspaper boys on bicycles and some isolated milk vendors. Who would have expected anybody to turn up for the exercises in this scenario?
But wonder of wonders, half a dozen members were already there before time – Nahid Khan, Santosh Tyagi, Srichand Arora, Shekhawat, Sunita Jajodia and Ved Prakash Grover. Soon Geeta Sardana joined them. And then came Jagmohan Papneja and Bihari Milwani and Monthi Serrao… All of them had braved the blinding rain, waded through water-logged streets and negotiated treacherous potholes, only to keep their appointment in the Garden. Like bravehearts who put duty before self, they ensured that the exercises were not abandoned even for a day.
If anything, this only shows what a committed group we are. Whatever we might appear to be as a cranky, carefree, fun-loving and food-loving lot, on the question of exercises there can be no compromise. Come hell or high water, we shall always be there – at 7:00 a.m. sharp!
Srichand Arora:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Day 1356

Pic of the Week
Somebody, please check: Are they okay now?
Harish Wadhwa:
What an awful picture with a weird combination of navy blue and green. Moreover, clicked in a most dubious situation on the road. It is classic example of everything going wrong -- weird and mismatched colour combination, wrong T-shirt sizes, wrong timing, wrong action, situation... I recall it was a moment when we were trying the new body hugging T-shirts, the sizes of which went horribly wrong. It was a herculean effort to somehow get into it. Can't stop laughing at myself. I could still manage to slip in, but the bulges of my dear friend wouldn't let him even breathe. Ho ho ho... I am thinking of getting it framed and pinned at my home wall. LOL
Srichand Arora:
Don't hang it on the wall. People will think something is fissssssssssshy about us both!

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Geeta Sardana blows the candle and cuts her birthday cake
The extortionists had their way today. This is a new female sub-group in the Club that targets people selectively for ‘parties’. But all for common good. And so it was Geeta Sardana's turn to fall prey to their persuasions by having to celebrate her birthday prematurely – one day in advance.
The best part was that her husband too was part of the celebration this morning. An otherwise quiet and reticent person, he joined us ‘on invitation’ for the first time inside the China Hut, taking part in all the fun and frivolities and even gave his wife the first bite of the birthday cake.
All in good fun
Of course, she too reciprocated in equal measure (and daintily brushed the sticky crumbs off his hairy arms) thus making for a beautiful photo op.
A Happy Birthday from hubby

Earlier on, he helped carry two heavy bags of packed salties and sweet into the Garden while Geeta strode in holding a large cake box. An elaborate cake-cutting ceremony was organized on-the-spot by the ladies, replete with a white plastic chair for support, the candle being lit and the ‘birthday girl’ bending down to blow it off in style.
Geeta was lucky that she was in civilized company. Or else, her lady friends were just itching to smear the full white cake on her face. But they contained themselves with cosmetic finger flicks of the cream on her cheeks and forehead, though Santosh Tyagi, Kajal Babani and Kiran Makharia took some more liberties. The men dared not do anything of the sort (what with Geeta’s hubby prowling around) and patiently awaited their turn for a slice of the cake and their share of the breakfast box to be taken home. It was a morning well-celebrated. Truly, the ‘extortionists’ have their use.
Jagmohan Papneja:
Happy Birthday Geeta-ji, for today and tomorrow. What an adorable cake! I am contemplating doing the same on my birthday.
A simple and nice celebration. A gathering of friends. A joy that never ends. Here is wishing you all the best on your birthday.
Srichand Arora:
Geetaji, Kiran and I wish you a very Happy Birthday and many happy returns of the day. GOD BLESS YOU!