Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wintry Winds

Morning haze and mellow sunshine in the Garden

With November nearing, the first winds of winter have begun to blow across the Garden. The nights have also begun to lengthen. But it is not too dark in the morning when we meet. Nor is it as bright and humid as it was a fortnight ago. We are normally greeted by a mellow sunshine and occasional gusts of wind which lend cool comfort during the exercises.
But then, nothing can be said for sure about this weather. During the day, it can get incredibly hot and should it start drizzling some morning – as it did last Saturday (ref post) – we shan’t be surprised. What does however, bother us is a real possibility of some viral infection or mosquito-borne disease breaking out. Hospitals are reporting an unprecedented spike in conjunctivitis and dengue cases in the city.
Already there is a growing body of opinion in the Club that attributes Shekhawat’s indisposition to his wearing shorts and tees in this weather – thus leaving his body over-exposed to the Garden’s notorious mosquitos. There is a mischievous interpretation as well, authored by Nahid Khan (in light vein). She insists that the absence of Ruksana Khan and Razia Khan has done Shekhawat in. “They were his right hand and left hand,” she proclaimed. “Razia’s dhoka was too much for him to bear. She said she was going to Pune and went to Malaysia instead. And now, there is Ruksana who said she was going to Surat for two days and still there is no trace of her.”
Fact of the matter is that Shekhawat himself does not know what hit him last Saturday (ref post of October 27). According to his wife, he continues to suffer from cough and cold and of late, has developed acute breathing problems. “The good news is that his fever has subsided since yesterday,” she informed. “But he has become very weak. His stomach is still bad. He can barely talk. So please don’t call him on his mobile. He needs rest. Call me on the landline if you must.” He needs dawa and daru in equal measure, was Jagmohan Papneja's philosophical prescription.
Jagmohan Papneja:
Shekhawat-ji always talks about how we should take care of ourselves. He insists that we must have three pegs of booze daily to remain fit. But he could not save himself now. It means that he does not practice what he preaches.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Prayer Session?

Arun Patil
Today’s morning exercises turned into a sonorous prayer session – just that, instead of keeping our hands folded, we were furiously flinging our arms about and rolling our heads and hips around in unison. And the culprit for all this was Arun Patil. For reasons best known to him, he had selectively played only religious numbers this morning on his sound box – filmy bhajans, kirtans, hymns… all invocations to Ishwar-Allah.
Funnier still, the sound box was at its best behaviour. Every morning, while playing assorted hits of Kishore Kumar, Rafi, Asha Bhosale and others, the box would abruptly shut down while we were midway through the exercises. Yesterday, when some racy numbers of Yo-Yo Honey Singh and Mika were playing, it became silent within 10 minutes! Arun’s explanation was that the battery had drained out. But today, by some divine intervention, no battery ‘drained out’.
TIME TO REJOICE: Harbans Kaur is back from Pune
And the music played on and on – all because Arun had put those yesteryear devotionals on.
Whether this was plain coincidence or that the music box has a mind of its own, cannot be ascertained. But it must be said that everyone enjoyed the session thoroughly till it lasted. They heard in rapt silence, not uttering a word – except for one occasion when Khatoon Baig drew our attention to a big, fat man on all fours, crawling on the grass like an overgrown baby. Khatoon liked to believe that he not only resembled, but behaved like her one-and-half year old grandson. Or maybe, it was the other way round.
Harbans Kaur woke us from our reverie with a big box of dry fruits and another containing kaju barfi. She had gone to Pune to attend a wedding in the family and returned some time back. Her leg pain had prevented her from making it to the Garden all these days. But today, she took an autorickshaw from home and limped her way in from the Gate with those two big boxes. She described it as a belated ‘Diwali treat’ for the Club.
Jagmohan Papneja:
A true and caring person does not have to speak out loud. What a wonderful way for Mrs Harbans Kaur to share with us the Diwali festival -- which is never too late to celebrate. Our hearty thanks and gratitude for her kind gesture. It will remain in our memory for ever.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Low Turn Out

Wrapping up for the day
Yesterday this blog had reported on Shekhawat being under the weather. But he is not alone. Ved Prakash Grover has for long been exercising seated on a bench / chair because of excruciating pain in the knees and today, he took a break. Sunita Jajodia’s shoulder pain has worsened (such that she cannot even lift her arm) and while she drops by in the Garden early morning, she is unable to join us for the exercises. Likewise, Harbans Kaur suffers from a persistent leg problem that compels her to stay indoors -- in spite of having returned from Pune quite some time back. Sandhya Narang is also home-bound, but with a broken collar bone. And today Monthi Serrao reported sick – thus bringing the attendance this morning down to single-digit.
So it is not only the travel-happy twinkle-toes robbing us of the numbers these days. Illness and sundry physical ailments are equally to blame for the rising absenteeism. And the weather isn’t helping in any way.
Kiran Makharia
After an extended monsoon, we had to suffer a revival of summer heat – the mercury shooting to record heights. And then suddenly, it was drizzly and windy for a couple of days only to be followed by impossible humid conditions this morning. Given this yo-yo weather, viral infections (conjunctivitis included) and diseases are only to be expected.
Yet, there are some who are hale and hearty and still do not attend the exercises. Kiran Makharia, for one, turns up daily at the Garden, but chooses to be fashionably late without fail. In fact, she is usually the last to join the exercises, just as we are ready to wrap up for the day. But this morning she surpassed even herself. Dressed in a red outfit, she entered the Garden and saw us from a distance in the middle of our penultimate exercise. Abruptly she turned around and was out of the Gate in moments.
Now what can be said of such people? She comes this far all the way from home, is perfectly fit and fine, even enters the Garden… and then suddenly takes to her heels!
Jagmohan Papneja:
October is seeing a distinct change of weather pattern from September. We fail to understand how nature truly works. Mrs Kiran Makharia is also very unpredictable. We should take care of ourselves in this changed global warming environment.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ladies’ Strike!

Shekhawat is unwell
Khatoon Baig announced her arrival today in the Garden with a wry comment: “Looks like ladies are on strike today!” She wasn’t quite off the mark as there were only men to be seen in the exercise circle. Nahid Khan, Mallika Kagzi and all other ladies who report on time every morning were conspicuous by their absence – obviously, because of the holy month of Muharram. Khatoon was the only one among them to be present today.
But then, this was to be expected. With a number of members (men included) traveling at present, the turn-out was bound to dip. When we started this morning, we were no more than four. Arun Patil had to step in the middle in the absence of regulars who conduct the exercises.
Razia Khan and family at Kuala Lumpur's Times Square
Only later, much later, did the numbers swell to around a dozen.
One person who was missed most today was Shekhawat. He is not one to skip the Garden for anything. A call to his house revealed that he has been bed-ridden since Saturday with high fever, sore throat and running stomach. “I prevented him from going to the Garden today,” his wife, Mohankanwar Shekhawat said sternly.
Meanwhile, Razia Khan’s absence has caused a minor stir. Somehow, no one wants to believe that she could have gone to Kuala Lumpur – Jagmohan Papneja even suggesting that her photograph against the iconic Petronas Towers (yesterday’s post) was a hoax.
Lal Khatri invites us to the Guru Nanak Jayanti celebrations
Nahid Khan, Monthi Serrao and others however, insist that Razia is not the sort to lie and when she had said she was off to Pune, that’s where she has to be.
Well, here is another photograph (above) from Kuala Lumpur that should put all doubts to rest. And if this is not conclusive enough, Razia Khan’s son has written in to say that they are returning to Mumbai on October 27, i.e. today. “But we'll be leaving for Pune on the same day,” he adds. “Mumma will come back from Pune by 6th November.”
So while this detour to Pune via Kuala Lumpur is making Papneja consider routing his own trip to Dubai (on November 1) via New Delhi, Lal Khatri of the local Sindhi Panchayat showed up to extend an invitation to the prabhat pheri he is organizing on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti on November 6. A cultural evening by the Lata Bhagtani Musical Group has also been scheduled the same day at Garden No 2, between 6:30 pm and 9:30 pm.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Day 1447

Pic of the Week

Twin photos of
Kuala Lumpur

Bhaswati Bose:
Razia has at last found her long-lost twin sister, Bhajiya in Malaysia!
Jagmohan Papneja:
It is difficult to make out from the photograph whether it is taken at Kuala Lumpur or in one of the studios of Pune where album photos are superimposed over the actual site. Who will uncover the mystery?
Dilip Babani:
Razia-ji, your photos are very nice -- as always, charming!