Sunday, May 28, 2017

DAY 2258

Pic of the Week
AIR BORNE! BUT WHAT KIND OF AERIAL COMBAT IS THIS?
Very good competition. Both are looking smart and young. Lagey raho... --Dilip Babani

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Ramzaan Eve

Banoo Apa's tea party
Bihari Milwani was spot on when he predicted that “on Saturday, attendance will be full at the end of the exercises – just to attend the tea party hosted by Banoo Apa” (ref comments on post of May 25). In fact, it had got so crowded towards the end of the exercises today that there was no way we could dodge the advancing shafts of sun rays in the Garden.
At one point, Yusuf Rassiwala could not suppress his concern when the late-comers continued to crop up.
Shekhawat is dressed to kill
“They are still pouring in,” he alerted us, visibly alarmed.
Milwani simply smiled.
Banoo Apa too was unflustered. She had obviously come prepared for them also – with (two huge flaskfuls of) tea and abundant slices of fruit cake. No one knows better how food can be the most powerful magnet at drawing people to the Garden. After all, today was the third day in succession that she was feeding the Club, absolutely gratis.
There was another reason for today’s overcrowding. The first roja (fasting) of Ramzaan will be observed tomorrow (Sunday) and thereafter, for a month, Banoo Apa will not be turning up. Consequently, there’d be no tea, no fruit cakes, no lassi, no… nothing for us.
Pre-Ramzaan gathering... soaking in the sun
We will also perforce have to abstain from all goodies during the month.
Fact is, nearly half our members would be observing roja and most likely, taking a break for Ramzaan. Attendance for the exercises is bound to drop from Monday. In that sense, today’s gathering was a get-together of sorts, replete with a fourth celebratory laugh after the exercises, followed by a chorus of “Ramzaan Mubarak!”.
Shekhawat appealed to all “to be punctual from Monday” (to keep the numbers up) and even threatened to barge into the homes of habitual late-comers. The funny part was that he had turned up, all suited-booted, ready to go for his routine medical check-up at Colaba. Midway through the exercises he realised it was Saturday today and his doctor would not be there. Apparently he shows up only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
As usual, Bijoy Gupta smelled a rat. “There must be a lady doctor out there,” he concluded. “Why else should Shekhawat be so eager to go to Colaba today itself?”
Lt Col Angad Singh (retd):
The crowd is quite joyous when there are eats. Everyone knows Ramzaan means no festivity during the month. Attendance is likely to be thin during the ensuing days.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Triple Treat

Banoo Apa with box of barfi
Razia Khan and Tahira flag off today's celebrations
Treats are meant to make people happy. When the treat is unexpected, you become doubly happy. And when there are three unexpected treats in a row, one following the other, you cannot but be ecstatic.
Such was our state of mind when Razia Khan, Banoo Apa and Geeta Latte brought upon us this windfall soon after the exercises this morning.
Razia came (as we were wrapping up) with daughter-in-law Tahira whose 21st wedding anniversary it was today.
Tahira with box of luddoos
She had got a box of luddoos to celebrate the occasion. Her hubby, Sarfaraaz could not attend though, as he is in Pune.
As for the indefatigable Banoo Apa, here is one person who does not need a reason to celebrate.
Geeta Latte celebrates her return from Goa with jackfruit leather
Evidently, her life is a never-ending celebration. So today was yet another day (ref yesterday’s post) when she “just felt like” carrying a box of barfis to celebrate with us in the Garden.
And then we had Geeta treating us to jackfruit leather, a rare delicacy she picked up from a visit to her native village in Goa earlier this week. (Mango leather or aam papad is common, but whoever heard of a jackfruit version?) “What makes it so special is that no artificial sweetener is used in its preparation,” Geeta pointed out. At this rate, we are getting educated on food also.
Bihari Milwani:
This is like some 'stock clearance sale'. All types of parties are on before the fasting month (Ramzaan) begins.
Lt Col Angad Singh (retd):
Wow! Hurrah to the three 'lady musketeers' for co-jointly celebrating the pre-Ramzaan festivities. Enjoy the celebration and also keep laughing.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Vacation Time

l to r: Alvia, Ali and Eram with Nahid Khan
It is vacation time in Mumbai. With schools and colleges shut, children have started streaming into the Garden, transforming the place into a beautiful fairyland of color and gay abandon. It seemed as though spring was back with them, notwithstanding the oppressive heat and humidity of the morning. The energy these kids bring with them was quite in variance to the dark and somber mood of us oldies – happily relegated to being mute spectators from the side benches and walking track.
Nahid Khan’s grandchildren – Alvia, Eram and Ali – paid us a surprise visit and predictably, lost interest in us and our exercises within minutes. Alvia, the youngest of them, has the habit of picking faults and correcting us at every step. But today, she was rather restrained, having clearly outgrown the habit. At the bidding of their grandmother, the three kids withdrew to a bench and observed us from a distance, giggling to themselves. Before long, they were all over the place.
In this holiday atmosphere,
Banoo Apa (in blue) treats us to lassi, yet again
the only dampener was Shekhawat. He has been under the weather for the past few days, generally keeping to himself and remaining seated on a bench through long spells. He has also been in a hurry to leave the Garden the moment the exercises get over. Bijoy Gupta tried cheering him up today by informing that he consulted a tantrik last evening to get to the root of his problem. But Shekhawat was unmoved. This is quite unusual of him and has led to some speculation on the state of his health. Or maybe, it’s the heat taking its toll.
Meanwhile, our irrepressible Banoo Apa was back to treating us to lassi from home. The last time she did so, on Shab-e-Barat (ref post of May 12), we thought we had extracted a promise from her that the next treat will be only after Ramzaan. Today, she informed that she is still not done and despite protestations from Yusuf Rassiwala and others, would be treating us again on Saturday – “not to lassi, but tea”, as she put it.
Now, what can you say of such a person?
Bihari Milwani:
I am sure on Saturday, the attendance will be full at the end of the exercises -- just to attend the tea party hosted by Banoo Apa.
Geeta Latte:
This is masti ki pathshala -- a school for fun and frolic!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Scare Tactics

Shekhawat (c) is unusually cold towards Gupta
Fahmida Khan (l) buttonholes Bijoy Gupta
Bijoy Gupta met his match in Fahmida Khan this morning. Having failed to provoke Shekhawat enough during the exercises today, he was on his way out of the Garden when Fahmida stopped him at the Gate. Pointing at the gold chain around his neck, she tried to put the fear of God in him: “Don’t you know there are chain snatchers prowling around?”
Not one to be cowed down easily, Gupta dismissed Fahmida saying that he had already met many chain snatchers in the area. “The other day, right opposite my apartment complex these two guys stopped their motorbike in front of me and one of them got down,” he narrated. “I was wearing my sleeveless vest, displaying my body-shody. The gold chain was also prominently visible. I knew they were after it. I struck a threatening pose flexing my muscles and instantly, they started the bike and fled!”
Fahmida wasn’t impressed. She spun a tale of three women (which later became four) sitting on the footpath a few hundred metres down the street. “I know one of them drives an autorickshaw. But they all look very attractive. Any man will fall for their looks and the way they speak English. But the moment
Gupta continues to rave and rant about Shekhawat
you get talking to them, they would strike and you won’t even know when your chain is gone. Even women have fallen victims to them. So you need to warn your wife also!”
This time Gupta’s mouth dropped. He made some noises about wearing nakli gold, only to be told that the women will reappear next morning and give him a tight slap for fooling them with fake jewellery.
Getting slapped by a woman was obviously far more insulting than anything he had ragged Shekhawat about all morning. The odd part was that Shekhawat was unusually cold, just refusing to respond to all of Gupta’s raving and ranting today.
And here, Fahmida had stolen a march on him. Tightening the screws further, she informed Gupta that even our Razia Khan was robbed of her chain on the way to the Garden, just that she is too ashamed to admit it. “That was three months back,” Fahmida said. “Razia was still a kid then. So you too, better be careful now about your chain!”
Bihari Milwani:
Bengal Tiger got scared by Mumbai Lady? Unbelievable!