Tuesday, October 21, 2014

“Hot Ladies”

The ladies are on their own trip... individually 
That Santosh Tyagi is capable of wicked wisecracks is a well-known fact. But whoever knew that she is also capable of unleashing her unique brand of humour with a perfect sense of timing? So this morning when she was to suddenly describe the ladies of the Club (not excluding herself) as “hot”, the effect was simply jaw dropping.
It all began with Mallika Kagzi straying away from her self-assigned position in the circle (among the ladies) to exercise in the midst of the men. Not that it mattered to anybody. But after some time, when she returned to her original position, a few eyebrows went up.
Ruksana Khan
Mallika’s reply was that it was “too cold out there” where the men stood!
Probably she meant that the area was too shaded or perhaps, the grass out there was still wet with dew. But Santosh did not wait for her to clarify. “Yes, yes… come back, we are hot ladies!” she retorted aloud, taking Mallika completely by surprise. Only someone as witty and with a terrific presence of mind could make with such a provocative remark -- that too, when her father is ailing and mentally, she is already in Delhi (ref yesterday’s post). Quite clearly, she did not want others to be affected by her personal distress and anxiety.
For better or for worse, the import of that remark was drowned in uproarious laughter -- even as the men looked sheepishly at one another, suitably embarrassed – barring of course, Shekhawat. He took it upon himself to prove that men are no cold fish and on a whim, insisted that he be flanked by females on either side while the exercises wore on. In the absence of Razia Khan, he began entreating Ruksana Khan and when she departed complaining of sore feet, he targeted Fehmida Khan. She gladly agreed to stand in, but from tomorrow.
That should suit Shekhawat fine because from tomorrow, Ruksana will be away at Surat. She joins the off-season exodus (ref yesterday’s post) and like most others, isn’t sure when she would be back.
Jagmohan Papneja:
The happiest people don't always have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. This is true for our club members -- more so for Santosh-ji.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Unseasonal Exodus

Arora lends moral support to Santosh Tyagi
Geeta is the last to sign up for the Darjeeling tour
Every year, the Club witnesses an exodus of members on two occasions: once, when schools and colleges are shut for the summer vacation in May-June; and the second time, just before Dussehra, during the Navratri festivities. This year though, hardly anybody went out of town on either occasion. But soon after Dussehra, Shekhawat made a trip to Rajasthan and was followed by Razia Khan, presently in Pune.
Now it is Santosh Tyagi’s turn to pack her bags. This morning she informed the Club that her father had been hospitalized in Delhi with a serious heart condition and the earliest she could get herself a ticket is for a midnight flight on Thursday, October 23. She said that at age 94, her father has been in the pink of health with no complaints on BP, diabetes or any age-related problem seniors suffer from. Yesterday she was informed that he had contracted lung congestion and before long, had to be hospitalized. It turned out to be a heart stroke with 90 per cent blockage.
Today, during the exercises, she called her brother in Delhi for an update and was relieved to learn that her dad was doing well. “He is not only alert and responding to treatment, but is cracking jokes with the nurses attending on him,” Santosh told us with a faint smile. On behalf of the Club, Srichand Arora assured her that we were all at her beck and call, if and when we could be of any assistance to her.
In keeping with the unseasonal exodus, Arora himself would be leaving – this time for Singapore, to celebrate Diwali with his son. He usually goes there every year on Ganesh Chaturthi, but this year he was unable to do so. So he is making up for it by spending a fortnight there now. He takes a late-night flight today and will be back on November 3. We wish him and his wife, Kiran a safe and happy celebration.
Srichand Arora:
Jab Salman Bodyguard Bun Sakta Hai, Pappu Pass Ho Sakta Hai, Munni Badnam Ho Sakti Hai, Sheela Jawan Ho Sakti Hai, Pyaaz 80 rupees kilo Ho Sakta Hai, Saniya Pakistan Mey Shadi Kar Sakti Hai, Character Dheela Ho Sakta Hai, 7 Khoon Maaf Ho Sakte Hai, Mallika Jalebi Bai Ho Sakti Hai, 12 Mahine Me 12 Tarike Se Pyaar Ho Sakta Hai... Toh Phir Main Doh Din Pehle Diwali Wish Nahi Kar Sakta Kya? Wish You a Happy Diwali!
Jagmohan Papneja:
* Arora-ji, you can do anything and everything. We know you'd do so when you bring a box of Diwali sweets on your return. Thanks for your greetings. I warmly reciprocate and wish a very Happy Diwali for you and your family.
* All those who have gone out of Mumbai, hope you have a safe and enjoyable trip. We are eagerly waiting for you in the Garden with greed and to carry out an extra laugh.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Day 1440

Pic of the Week
Jagmohan Papneja:
Voting is an expression of our commitment to democracy. We ought to exercise this fundamental right.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Going Gung Ho

Discussions in the Darjeeling-Gangtok group
Having survived the houries of Rajasthan – sundry saalis and notorious chudails included – Hari Singh Shekhawat today returned to the Garden with an extra spring in his step. Dressed in a smart yellow t-shirt and denim shorts, he declared giddily, “Ek ke peechchey unniss!” thus boasting of being the only male among 19 females on the trip to Darjeeling-Gangtok, scheduled next year for March 28 - April 2.
Already Monthi Serrao and Bhaswati Bose have done the groundwork for him by drawing up a list of the tour members, collecting an advance from each for hotel bookings and arranging for local travel and logistics at Darjeeling and Gangtok.
Razia Khan
In effect, they have eliminated the "dol-dols” – a peculiar term coined by Shekhawat to describe persons in two minds over joining a trip.
So today, when Bijoy Gupta innocently asked what the trip was about, Shekhawat nearly lost his temper: “After narrating the full Ramayan, you want to know who was Sita?” Fact is, like Gupta, there are many who are disappointed about not making it to the final list of 20 and are now complaining of being kept in the dark. For their benefit, Monthi and Bhaswati are now contemplating a second trip, the only problem being that the tourism season in those parts is restricted to two months only -- April and May. (After that, monsoon sets in, followed by bone-chilling winter.) So the second trip, if at all, has to be planned right away, or else, hotel bookings would dry up. Incidentally, more than a dozen people have already enlisted for it.
Meanwhile, Razia Khan (who cannot join this trip because of her grandchildren’s exams) is leaving for Pune and has taken leave of absence from the Garden till mid-November. It is one of those coincidences we have got used to in the Club: one person comes back, another person leaves…
Jagmohan Papneja:
Before the trip, Shekhawat-ji -- Paancho ungali ghee mein, sar kadai mein.
On or after the trip, Shekhawat-ji -- Chaaro khane chit!

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Visit

Najma Sayyad surveys the Garden from her perch  
What would you say of an elderly lady, burdened by age and adiposity, longing to see us for the past seven months? That she has been in no state to stir out on her own and there was nobody at home to escort her to the Garden – so busy are they with their own lives? That she wasn’t inclined to meet us in small groups in her house but wanted to see us all together during our exercises? That only after her daughter-in-law had found her sobbing one day in bed that her meeting with us was arranged’ – her son escorting her to the Garden this morning.
Najma Sayyad suffers from crippling overweight issues caused largely by a hormonal disbalance. We have been keeping track of her treatment, but of late, apparently, her dieticians and nutritionists had given up.
Angad Singh is 'capped' by Papneja
Osteoporosis has set in and her legs are no longer able to bear her weight. Knee replacement surgery is not feasible. Let alone walk, she requires support to stand. According to her neighbor Khatoon Baig (who has been updating us regularly), she has had several bad falls at home, her knees buckling under her weight.
Wrap-up with Najma's samosas

Still, Khatoon was to lead Najma (with her son protectively supporting her from behind) into the Garden while the exercises were on. A chair was promptly placed in the circle and she took her position as she used to in the past. It was a lovely sight – the lady sitting majestically, observing us with a detached look, members breaking out of the exercises to wish her one by one… and suddenly, it was all over. She wanted to go back. “I can’t sit for too long,” she said apologetically. “I came just to see you all. Now I can go back happy.” As a 'parting gift', she left behind a big packet of samosas on a bench.
The exercises continued after she was gone and then there was a small formality to be completed. Angad Singh was formally inducted as a Big Laaf member with Jagmohan Papneja ‘crowning’ him with the blue Club cap. It was a brief and unfussy ceremony, followed by a round of the samosas Najma had so thoughtfully brought for us.
Srichand Arora:
Angad-ji, you are most welcome to the BIG LAAF family.
Jagmohan Papneja:
Let us be grateful to Najma-ji who has come all the way to the Garden in a critical health condition to meet us. This reflects her emotional attachment with club members. We pray to the Almighty to shower her with grace and blessings.
We are pleased that Lt Col (retd) Angad Singh has accepted our traditional cap and become member of the Club. We welcome him wholeheartedly.