Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Rains Again

Most were seated as Nahid Khan conducts the exercises
Another dark and bleak morning. But not as wet as it was yesterday. The heavens showed some mercy and the rains came down in phases, allowing us to exercise in the open shed. Some had a problem with the dripping roof; but surely, it was better than being in the dark confines of the China Hut and having to inhale one another’s breath.
After yesterday’s maniacal downpour (see post), it did not come as any surprise that many like Geeta Sardhana and Monthi Serrao took an off today. Some others like Razia Khan, Yusuf Rassiwala and Mallika Kagzi have been keeping away from the Garden for long, not willing to take chances in the foul weather. Significantly, it is not the fear of getting wet but the very real danger of contracting water-borne diseases in the rains that is proving to be a major deterrent these days.
Apart from fever, body aches and breathing problems which intensify during the monsoons, the incidence of viral infection has been alarming this year in the Club.
Santosh Tyagi feeds a modak
Santosh Tyagi could not exercise standing for long and required a chair midway to continue. Already Ved Prakash Grover and Ruksana Khan are doing most of the exercises seated. Ram Shankar Shukla also needed a chair today. At one point, barring just three people, all the others (including Jagmohan Papneja and Sunita Jajodia) were seated while Nahid Khan was conducting the exercises.
The monsoon extracts such a heavy price in terms of fitness. It saps physical strength and brings down energy levels. The saddest part is that many of us are suddenly looking old (and tired out). The signs of ageing become all too apparent when present-day photographs are compared with those taken five years back when this blog was launched.
Meanwhile, on a happier note, Santosh Tyagi shared with us the prasad from the Ganesh Puja she had held at her place. In spite of her nagging back pain, she looked unusually happy and content for having been able to worship an idol of the deity installed in her home for the first time. And needless to mention, the modaks were marvelous!
Jagmohan Papneja:
Daily physical exercise is an important determinant of health. Yet many members choose to be absent. Heavy rains and cold and hot weather have been the main barriers for them to take part in exercise.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Disastrous Downpour

...and the tree came crashing down in the rains!
Torrential rains lashed the Garden early morning, bringing life to a standstill. Not a soul stirred as it continued to pour on and on. Usually, in the worst of times, a few umbrellas can still be seen bobbing along the walking track. But today, the entire stretch was desolate, submerged in water. Whoever walked in through the Gate made a straight beeline for the China Hut, carrying tales of water logging on the streets, overflowing drains, dead rats, dripping roofs and water entering ground floor houses. In between, a giant branch of the tree at the Garden gate came suddenly crashing down, narrowly missing the watchman.
If morning shows the day, we could be in for big trouble with this resurgent monsoon. Actually yesterday was also a wet day and as the skies remained dark and overcast this morning, the signs were ominous.
Vasudev Batheja distributes modak
Today also happens to be the beginning of the week and the first day of a new month as well. Ironically enough, the Ganesh festivities are currently on and the 'Lord of Good Tidings' isn’t making life any easier.
Still, eight of us braved the rotten weather and marked our attendance for the exercises. After all, the 'show' must go on. But there was no Srichand Arora, no Jagmohan Papneja, no Santosh Tyagi… just Shekhawat, Nahid Khan, Monthi Serrao and some die-hard regulars. And there was Ram Shankar Shukla also. He was the only bright spark on a gloomy morning, looking refreshed and rested. He apologized for being a bother the last time (ref post of August 23) and thanked everyone for their support and help. He still does not know why he fainted that day as his doctors have eliminated the possibility of low BP, high sugar, etc. “All the tests and medical reports have established that nothing was wrong with me,” he maintained.
Meanwhile, Vasudev Batheja brought a box of modak to celebrate the Ganesh festival. He had organized a puja at home and this was the prasad of the deity. Every person taking shelter in the China Hut from the rain was given a modak each to dispel their monsoon blues.
Jagmohan Papneja:
The morning weather was absolutely unfavorable. Even then eight persons turned up for exercising. I appreciate the dedication of those brave hearts. In my case, I was invited to attend the Indian Oil Day function, celebrated on 1st September.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Day 1391

Pic of the Week
Ready for the next shot?
Bhaswati Bose:
Is he the 'Hero Hiralal' of Big Laaf Club?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

‘Balle-Balle!’

Shekhawat on a collection spree for Mahabaleshwar
This is Shekhawat’s acknowledgment every time somebody pays him money for the excursion to Mahabaleshwar scheduled for September 16. Since his announcement earlier this week (ref post of August 27) he has said ‘Balle Balle’ about ten times. He is expecting another half a dozen members to pay their share for the trip by Monday after which he will throw open the bookings to non-members. Come what may, he needs at least 30 members to fill a medium-sized bus and what’s more, some money needs to be advanced to the tour operator at the very earliest.
But that’s the least of Shekhawat’s worries. He is confident enough to "mobilize the entire Garden and even take two busloads" to Mahabaleshwar with him. What bothers him more is allotment of seats in the bus and rooms in the hotel.
Mallika Kagzi
Past excursions have taught him one important lesson: Members move in pairs, if not in packs. Nobody travels alone. A Nahid Khan has to be clubbed with a Lakshmi Hadimani (or vice versa). Razia Khan will not go if Nafisa Sayyad (in Pune) does not go. Bhaswati Bose will go if Monthi Serrao goes and Santosh Tyagi will go if Bhaswati Bose goes and Sunita Jajodia will go if Santosh Tyagi goes and so on.
To Shekhawat, recognising these subtle linkages is the key to the success of any excursion. He tried to pair a yoga group lady with one of our members and was told in no uncertain terms, “Woh meri cup-of-tea nahin hai!” So now Shekhawat has to find her a suitable cup-of-tea or else, dump her. This is apart from the compulsions of ensuring that no husband-wife has to spend the nights separately. Or for that matter, an odd man out is not ‘adjusted’ in a female’s room.
Amid all the high drama accompanying these permutations and combinations, Mallika Kagzi reported ill. For a long time prior to the exercises, she sat all alone outside a photography shop (near the Garden gate) complaining of giddiness. She was advised to return home but refused. She even joined the exercises and after 10 minutes, could not take it any longer. She excused herself saying she felt faint and feverish and left for home.
We hope and pray it isn’t anything serious and that she gets well soon.

Friday, August 29, 2014

'It's a Boy!'

Who's photograph could this be?
Five days have elapsed since the announcement of the 10th edition of the Pehchaan Kaun guessing game (ref post of August 24). And so far, only five entries have come in. As always, participants were given ten days to put a name to the boy’s face; but somehow, the responses this time have been quite tardy. Either people have turned extra-cautious and would rather wait and watch till the last moment. Or else, they are genuinely confused by the identity of the boy.
However, this much can be said: Of the five responses received so far, an overwhelming majority points towards Jagmohan Papneja.
Could it be Jagmohan Papneja?
Details cannot be disclosed at this point as it could provide clues to those who have not yet sent their entries and place them at an unfair advantage. Early morning though, they can all be seen comparing notes in the China Hut, bouncing off names and discreetly making inquires about one another’s background.
Mallika Kagzi is convinced that the face must be either Arun Patil’s or Bihari Milwani’s.
Or is it Ved Prakash Grover?
Nahid Khan would go by Arun’s, even as her bosom friend Lakshmi Hadimani insists that it has to be Harish Wadhwa. Monthi Serrao promptly dismissed her, opining that Harish’s “ears are toink” (whatever that might mean) unlike what the photograph suggests.
Then there’s Srichand Arora who has been changing his stance with every sunrise – from Shekhawat to Jagmohan to Ved Prakash Grover… Today, he physically compared a printout of the photograph with each of their faces, interviewed them loudly and became none the wiser. Jagmohan said he had a doubt about Arun Patil (if not Grover) but wouldn’t put anything in writing now. Sunita Jajodia got her Eureka moment when she announced triumphantly, “Whoever this is, it is a boy!” But then Shekhawat is not convinced. He has detected kajal in the boy’s eyes and maintains it is Sunita dressed like a boy. Finally, Arora was to have the last word: “Whoever this may be, he must have had an affluent childhood. He is even wearing a cardigan!”
Jagmohan Papneja:
On the auspicious occasion of Ganesha Chaturthi, may Lord Ganesha bestow you with eternal bliss, peace and contentment. A very happy and blessed Ganesha Chaturthi to you and your family.
Srichand Arora:
I stick to my earlier statement. But let me clarify here that though Jagmohan Papneja belongs to Punjab, after the division of the old state of Punjab, the area Mr Papneja belongs to has gone to Haryana. So now I can say he belongs to Haryana.