Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘Rape of Crow’

Yusuf Rassiwala was in a jovial mood today. Quite likely, it was because of Bhoothnath Returns, the movie he is taking the Club to for the 11:45 a.m. show today at Fun Republic. His grandson is acting in the film.
Agitated crows in action 
Moreover, with Srichand Arora absent, he had taken charge of the proceedings, cracking jokes and playing the fool… till out of the blue, a bunch of noisy crows descended in an angry heap close to him.
The crows have always been mute spectators to our antics during the exercises, arriving peacefully at 7:30 sharp every morning and keeping a respectful distance till we disperse. Once in a while, they would engage in their ‘committee meetings’ (as Geeta Sardana says) or ‘party celebration’ (as Monthi Serrao says) sharing tit-bits among themselves. Neither do we get into their way nor have they bothered us.
Yusuf Rassiwala wishes Razia Khan (centre) bon voyage
Jagmohan Papneja briefs ladies on the education program
But today, the crows were in an unusually aggressive mood. They jumped and fluttered about menacingly, cawing and clawing, only to dash at one another’s throats and raising a cloud of black feathers. Nobody shooed them -- least of all Yusuf. He had stopped exercising and kept watching the agitated crows closely from a vantage point. Then raising his voice above the raucous din, he made a studied observation: “This is rape of the crow!”
Immediately Shekhawat and Nahid Khan turned red in the face, buckling down in laughter. For the benefit of others who did not hear, Yusuf repeated, “Kauwe ki balaatkaar ho rahi hai!” Before further damage could be done, some ladies charged at the crows and within moments they were gone.
On a serious note though, Jagmohan Papneja announced that the child education initiative (see post of April 11), courtesy Angel Express Foundation has taken off successfully. “Around 50 kids turned up for the inauguration last evening at the China Hut,” he informed. The classes would run on stream from today, twice a day and is likely to extend beyond the current summer vacation. While Monthi Serrao and Bhaswati Bose volunteered their services as part-time teachers, Nahid Khan wanted to know if she could admit her grandchildren for the classes.
Meanwhile, Razia Khan was given a warm send-off as she boards the Duronto Express to Calcutta this evening. She is going to her daughter-in-law’s place and has promised to bring us Bengal’s famous rosogollas when she returns. We wish her a safe and enjoyable trip.
Jagmohan Papneja:
12 persons from the Garden including members of the club went to see the movie, Bhoothnath Returns.The movie taught us a lot about elections. While this theme is well-timed, it also conveys the message that our vote is invaluable. Do not waste your precious vote. If you don't vote, you lose the right to complain. I would like to say also that the role played by the grandson of Yusuf-bhai was commendable. He should be encouraged. Our sincere thanks to Yusuf-bhai for arranging coupons for the tasty snacks and cold drinks.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Morning

NEW DAWN: Bhaswati Bose greets everyone on Poila Baisakh
Anybody who thinks that what gets into the blog is for effect must think again. Nothing that is reported here is made up or planned. When we enter the Garden, we have no clue how the morning would unfold. Every day is a new day. And every morning throws up new surprises.
Like this morning – when Srichand Arora walked in without his shorts. It was one of those rarest of rare occasions when he had his track pants on -- prompting Yusuf Rassiwala to comment: “Today, he is without half ticket. He has got full ticket!” Arora pretended not to hear, but the message was loud and clear for everyone to titter: “Arora has grown up to be an adult!”
Or take the lively music playing on Jagmohan Papneja’s mobile phone this morning. The lyrics of songs – suggestive of bleeding hearts and fire on water and vice-versa – were a constant refrain, inspiring hilarious mindless parodies, the target being Shekhawat (naturally)!
Acrobats in action
At one point, much to our surprise, Razia Khan (who was conducting the exercises) got so carried away by the songs that she stopped keeping count and instead, began singing merrily – thus leaving us all in a limbo. Only when Ved Prakash Grover protested aloud, “Arrey, what are you doing?!?” did Razia realize what she was doing.
Nafisa Sayyad
All this while Nafisa Sayyad went on needling Shekhawat on every mention of “dil” in the songs -- the obvious suggestion being that he better keep his dil in control, now that his heart has suffered a stroke. Not to be cowed down, Shekhawat boasted that his dil is stronger than ever after his heart surgery last year. “In that case, let’s see if you are man enough to do gulatis (somersaults) on the ground. Look there,” Nafisa urged.
At a distance, a couple of young bearded men were engaged in some peculiar acrobatic exercises – from doing headstands and somersaults to turning cartwheels and walking upside-down on their hands. Shekhawat gave them one dirty look and refused to turn in that direction again.
With Nafisa teasing Shekhwat for chickening out, the banter went on uninterrupted till Bhaswati Bose ushered in Poila Baisakh with a box of coconut luddoos. A happy morning and the beginning of yet another new year – this time for the Bengalis -- ended on a sweet note. Shubho Naba Barsho!
Harish Wadhwa:
Shubho Naba Barsho to the Bose family and other Bengalis. Today is also the Tamil and Malayalee new year. Thanks for the lovely yummy luddoos.
Jagmohan Papneja:
Every season has its charm and all communities have their own typical way of welcoming the New Year. Poila Baisakh is here and so is the festive box of coconut luddoos (mishti madhur anonda) by the Bose family. On this auspicious day, I wish Mrs and Mr Bose a very happy Bengali New Year.
Harish Wadhwa adds:
Look at the lovely sunbeam as a spotlight on Bhaswati-ji, the star of the morning, with color faded tresses in the background. Beautifully clicked picture.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Baisakhi 2014

Happy Baisakhi!
Today was Baisakhi, the Hindu New Year. An auspicious day, it marked the confluence of several harvest festivals celebrated by different communities between April 13 and 15 – Vishukani by the Malayalees, Puthandu by Tamilians, Poila Baisakh by Bengalis, Bishubh Sankranti by the Oriyas, Rongila Bihu by the Assamese and so forth.
Yusuf Rassiwala speaks of the film
Community feasting and entertainment programmes were organized on a grand scale over the past three days in the neighboring Celebration Club and Lokhandwala Garden No 2 as part of the New Year festivities. But for us at the Garden, it was business as usual this morning – except for the customary chorus of wishing one another, “Happy Baisakhi – Happy Baisakhi – Hey!” at the end of the exercises. Indeed, Happy Baisakhi to all.
Yusuf Rassiwala had an announcement to make. His grandson, Hosein (a gifted child actor) plays an important part in the just-released Amitabh Bachchan-starrer, Bhoothnath Returns. It is a film about the camaraderie shared between a friendly ghost and a bunch of kids which goes on to assume political overtones. “Apart from being a rollicking comedy, the picture holds contemporary relevance in view of the current Lok Sabha elections,” Yusuf informed, exhorting everyone to watch the film in the nearest cineplex.
So it was decided on-the-spot that we would all go for the afternoon show at Cinemax this Wednesday (April 16) to watch Bhoothnath Returns. Yusuf agreed to book tickets en-bloc for us.
Harish Wadhwa:
Baisakhi di twanu sabnu, bahut bahut vadhaiyaan. Nacho te gao, bhangra pao, khushi manao!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Day 1260

Pic of the Week
Bhaswati Bose:
A beautiful mother with her gorgeous daughter and handsome son-in-law... Out best wishes and blessings to the newly-weds.
Harish Wadhwa:
Beautiful mother, her gorgeous daughter and handsome son-in-law with our Big Laaf smiling handsome men.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Total Tomfoolery

Kiran Makhria
Kiran Makhria is much puzzled and confused these days. For the past one week or so, Srichand Arora and Monthi Serrao have been reminding her to pay her contribution of Rs600 like all other members of the Club. She does not understand why. A lady of few words, she has since been asking around what this money is all about.
Obviously words like “yearly subscription” or “annual renewal of membership” do not make sense to her. When told that all along she had been paying up religiously and that till March 31, 2014 nothing is pending against her, she became all the more confused. Some of her close friends explained that there is no need to pay the full annual subscription of Rs600 at once, but she could as well pay for six months or even three months, calculated at the rate of Rs50 a month.
Khatoon Baig signs the 'get well card' for Santosh Tyagi
“Oh 50 rupees a month,” her face brightened. “Like what other gardens charge for entry? But they charge only two rupees at the gate.”
“Not two rupees a day, but 50 rupees a month!” she was corrected.
That stumped her all the more. She was back to square one: “But why 50 rupees?”
“Well, 10 rupees for doing the laughter round; another ten rupees for listening to the music; ten rupees for being allowed to exercise with Nahid Bhai; ten rupees more for looking at all the other members. Ho gayaa 50 rupees!” Bhaswati Bose explained in all seriousness.
That made sense. “Ab samjhi,” she said.
Later on, when asked whether she was convinced by the explanation, Kiran realized something was amiss. Quickly she regained her composure and smiled: “I was just joking.”
Amid all this tomfoolery, the members got together and put their signatures on a Get Well Soon Card for Santosh Tyagi (see yesterday’s post). She is likely to be discharged today from hospital and it was felt that rather than crowd her home, someone would discreetly leave the card at her place and in effect, convey the sentiments of the Club. Harish Wadhwa offered to play delivery boy.
Harish Wadhwa:
The card was delivered to Santosh-ji's home in the morning and the lady who took it was very thankful to one and all for the gesture. I was told that Santosh-ji will be home tonight.