Sunday, November 19, 2017

DAY 2410

Pic of the Week
FIRST DAY, FIRST ACT: PLAY READING IN PROGRESS

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saving a Situation

Four sentinels hold fort: Siba Prasad Maitra recites prayers from his mobile
For the first time, Siba Prasad Maitra led the morning prayers today. There was no other option as most of the members had defected to the ‘rehearsals’ (ref post of November 15) midway through the exercises. Shekhawat tried to save the situation and bumbled through the prayers for a while till Maitra whipped out his mobile and began to recite from the text appearing in some religious website. A small but significant ritual of the morning could thus be concluded.
In moments like this we realize how certain things we take for granted in our daily routine can be actually meaningful in the absence of a critical component. So far, not much importance was attached to the prayers because there was always Arun Patil (or earlier, Sitaram Hivarkar) to take care of them. At times Bhaswati Bose, Kiran Prakash and a few others would chip in. But today, in the absence of any of these people, we suddenly found ourselves at a loose end. Were it not for Maitra’s timely intervention, we would have ended up stuttering and stumbling through
Shanti Singh (wrapped in shawl) narrates her tale of woe
the prayers with only Shekhawat to blame!
But then, we were also to recognize Maitra’s importance in a completely unrelated area. Shanti Singh had reported for the exercises today after being indisposed for over a month. She was even hospitalized (ref post of October 14) in a precarious condition, her body all bloated and yet, the cause of her ailment could not be diagnosed. Maitra paid her a visit in hospital and figured that it was an adverse reaction to the medication prescribed for what began as a tiny pimple in her mouth tissue. Clearly, this was a case of sulfa allergy, a life-threatening condition.
Maitra is not a medical practitioner, nor a qualified doctor. But with his lifelong engagement in the pharma industry, he comes to us with the wisdom of his experience that has proved providential (ask Shekhawat). Maitra does not prescribe medicines, but his advisories have saved many in a critical state (ref post of June 26).
Today, while Shanti Singh thanked Maitra profusely for his timely intervention and narrated her tale of woe to us, Shekhawat looked wildly delighted. “Bilkul mere jaise!” he exclaimed gleefully. “Just as I was… Only he could save me.”
Embarrassed, Maitra walked away with a shrug. He is not one to take credit. All part of a day's work.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Nippy Morning

It was a little nippy in the morning
There was a distinct nip in the air this morning. Gone are the days of heat and humidity, relentless rains, of dampness and dripping sweat. Like many others in the Garden, Shekhawat has started wearing a jacket.
Rakhee Bansi (l) distributes chocolates
Geeta Latte (r) treats us to tea and biscuits
Clearly, winter is fast approaching.
In such weather, nothing could have been any more welcome than the cup of hot tea that Geeta Latte got us this morning. She had also brought us oven-fresh biscuits, as did Fehmida Khan separately. On top, there was Rakhee Bansi treating us to chocolate bars to celebrate her new acquisition – an apartment in the same complex where Bijoy Gupta stays.
These days, half the group breaks away for the ‘rehearsals’ (ref previous post) well before the exercises are over. Of the remaining, half would be preparing for their ‘yoga classes’. What we are thus left with is barely half a dozen miserable souls who have nowhere to go, but to dutifully wrap up the exercises and head home quietly.
Those left behind to wrap up the exercises
Bihari Milwani:
Warning: Winter is coming. Do come properly dressed. No sleeveless tops/ shirts and no half pants.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

D-e-f-e-r-r-r-r-... e-d

Rehearsals are on in full swing
The Annual Day function of the Club has been postponed by a week. Instead of December 16, it is now being scheduled for the following Saturday, i.e. December 23, 2017. The timing and venue remain unchanged.
Although no formal announcement has yet been made in this regard, the general opinion around is that holding the function on December 16 would deprive us of the active participation of many members who would be out of town or otherwise unavailable on that date. Most of them would be back within a week.
Significantly, December 23 being the Christmas weekend would not make much of a difference. None of our members (at least, so far) has any plans to take advantage of the holiday on Monday and combine it with Saturday and Sunday for an extended vacation out of Mumbai.
Meanwhile, rehearsals for the function have begun with renewed enthusiasm. One group took up a corner of the China Hut and another, occupied the adjoining shed of the Swasthya Kendra for a play reading session. These enthusiasts had to break out of the exercises 15 minutes before time, thereby missing the second laughter and tai-chi rounds. They would meet again in the evening.
From all appearances they are gung-ho, going full throttle for the Big Day.

Bihari Milwani:
Wow! This year my birthday will be celebrated on a grand scale at no cost to me!!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Return of Prodigal

Cake slices from Dimapur, Nagaland
Today was Children’s Day. And the 'prodigal child' has returned…
Just kidding!
Geeta Latte, the youngest member of the Club, returned this morning after an extensive tour of the North East and had a box of cake slices to share for it. For a fortnight or so, she had travelled through inhospitable terrain,
Geeta Latte
partly on foot and by motorbike, covering hills and dense jungles ("where there are no motorable roads") into the interiors of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Assam. Along the way, she stayed with the locals in villages in primitive conditions, without electricity, eating their food, drinking from fresh water streams…
“Being so close to nature was an out-of-the-world experience,” she narrated. “The people there are so innocent, so honest and helpful that it is hard to believe such good human beings still exist.
Bihari Milwani takes to the middle: One-two, Ho ja shuru!
It is not as though they don’t have problems; but you'd find them always smiling. It’s unbelievable. They are totally unspoilt by civilization.”
Geeta had tons of stories (with photographic evidence) to illustrate what she felt of those extraordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. She had also made video recordings of her interaction with some of them and has come back so much more wise and stronger in spirit. In short, the trip has been an eye-opener, a learning experience for her.
In the Garden though, it was business as usual – except that Bihari Milwani had to conduct the second laughter round today. He had done so earlier once and it was then that we observed that he had a peculiar way to kick-start every exercise. Departing from the usual prompt of “one-two-three-four”, he has improvised a lovely trigger: “One-two, Ho ja shuru!” and everything else would follow with renewed gusto.
It is amazing how a little tweak in an otherwise boring routine can make all the difference in life.

Bihari Milwani:
It seems that while the Bangkok team had gone by plane to search for Buddha, Geeta had gone on foot on a similar mission. But none could find Buddha. Buddha was stuck up in traffic at Delhi due to smog!