Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Deluge Again

The spectacle on the way to the Garden this morning
Just as we thought that we were done with the monsoon this year, it has struck yet again with a vengeance. Yesterday morning when we assembled at the Garden, it was partly overcast and quite pleasant -- even breezy. No sooner had we finished with the exercises than dark, thunderclouds moved in and it began to rain camels and elephants. It rained all day, it rained all night. And it continued to rain in the morning today.
End result: We were only two in the China Hut before the exercises were due to start. Strangely, no one else was visible in the Garden, which had turned into large swathes of crystal clear water. Not even the resident crows and canines were visible. The condition was however, still better than the approach roads which were flooded like crazy with swirling drain water and muck, bringing vehicular traffic to a standstill.
While Shekhawat was debating aloud whether to call off the exercises, Dilip Babani walked in, soon to be followed by Kiran Prakash.
Today's bravehearts: (l to r) Shekhawat, Kiran Prakash, Dilip and Kajal Babani
Later, Kajal Babani turned up, as though she had lost her way. The presence of these ‘bravehearts’ saved the day.
In situations of low turnout, a major worry has been that of who would conduct the main exercises. As of now Nahid Khan, Arun Patil and Razia Khan have been handling this responsibility by turns with a fair degree of competence. There has never been a problem with this arrangement, except for that rare occasion when all three suddenly do the vanishing act.
Today was one such day. But then, this was not the first occasion for them to disappear together. With the rains playing havoc every other day, a similar crisis had arisen last Wednesday (ref post of September 13) when Kiran Prakash, very graciously volunteered to take charge. He began rather tentatively, but in the end pulled it off with remarkable ease and confidence. All of us heaved a sigh of relief.
By stepping in today and doing a repeat performance, Kiran Prakash was to prove that last time around, it was not a one-off show. More importantly, he is doing this when everybody else in the group is much senior to him in the Club and have been doing the same exercises for many more years. Surely, there is a lesson to be learnt in this.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Irons in Fire

Bihari Milwani
We have a few irons in the fire that urgently need attending to before the year is out. The most important is the club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) for which we have received the audited accounts for 2016-17 from Bihari Milwani last evening. He has very kindly drawn up the balance sheet (in his professional capacity as C.A.) which needs to be presented
Managing Committee gears up for Annual Function
and passed in the AGM.
That apart, there are a few issues like membership review, formal ratification of the president’s appointment and possible reallocation of budget which also require the approval of the general body. The only problem here is that Shekhawat will be leaving on his Dussehra vacation for his village on September 23 (evening) and shall be returning not before October. Since the AGM has to be mandatorily convened on or before September 30 and Shekhawat's presence as Chairman Emeritus – along with Yusuf Rassiwala – is imperative, we are left with little option but to have this meeting next Saturday morning.
The other pressing concern is the Annual Function (ref post of September 6). Kiran Prakash today convened a meeting of the club’s Managing Committee and set the ball rolling for its preparation. The date, by common consensus, has been pushed to December 16 (Saturday). Other details are being worked out.

Lt Col Angad Singh (retd):
These are some 'technical' requirements that need to be completed in time. Earlier we attend to them, the better it is.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

DAY 2357

Pic of the Week
Attempt to 'culpable homicide not amounting to murder'?
It is not 'attempt to murder'. It is disciplinary action being taken by Commander-in-Chief  Shekhawat for not coming in time to exercise! --Bihari Milwani

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Freedom Struggle

Razia Khan (l) demands azadi from Arun Patil (r)
After a long time, Razia Khan spoke her mind today: “The moment we are born, we are in the custody of our parents. When we grow older, our brothers take control over us. After marriage, we have to be under our husbands’ thumbs. As we age, we become answerable to our sons. At least in the Garden, we should be able to breathe freely. But here too we face restrictions, all because of Arun Patil. We want azadi!”
Arun had this coming. He has acquired the reputation of a hard-nosed disciplinarian, pulling up all and sundry for say, being late, forgetting to wear the cap, not exercising properly, causing disruptions, being over-talkative and so on.
Shekhawat chats up Zarina during exercises
After bearing the brunt of this offensive for long, Razia today showed the first signs of rebellion by picking on the way Arun had been conducting the exercises. “Nobody is perfect,” she reminded him.
Emboldened, Nahid Khan also took a defiant stance when Arun tried correcting her and before long, other ladies like Khatoon Baig, Nahid Siddiqui and Shanti Singh challenged his authority on insisting upon the cap.
War of words breaks out after the exercises
But Arun remained unfazed, prompting Bijoy Gupta to ask in mock seriousness, “Who made him Captain?”
If anybody rejoiced at this sudden turn of events, it was Shekhawat. Here is one man who is genetically programmed to be disruptive during the exercises and his inability to stand at one place for even a minute has been the cause for countless slanging matches with Arun. Today, he had to be repeatedly told to be serious while exercising and at one point, was directed to step out of the circle when speaking on his phone.
Predictably, Arun’s instructions fell into deaf ears. It was another matter that Gupta got curious about who could possibly be calling Shekhawat so early in the morning. But before the mystery could be resolved, Shekhawat had crossed over to sit beside Zarina Khan and chat her up -- all this as the exercises continued. In no time she broke into fits of uncontrollable laughter, much to Arun's consternation.
But all he could do was to glower at them -- helplessly.

Bihari Milwani:
Discipline is a must. Otherwise some of us may be doing the laughter exercises at 2 in the afternoon or 5 in the evening or even at 9 in the night instead of sharp 7 in the morning. And we would have never been able to form our loving laughter club, BIG LAAF.

Lt Col Angad Singh (retd):
Liberty (or azadi) is one aspect which all of us enjoy. But azadi does not mean that one can do whatever one wants to. It has got to be within limits. When we join a group/society/club, we should follow its rules. In such manner we will be better placed to enjoy ourselves. Passing hilarious comments is enjoyable. They make us laugh. Relax and enjoy.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Impromptu Celebration

The Big BIG LAAF Birthday Bash
It takes more than blind courage to brave an early morning thundershower – and the treacherous traffic, puddles and potholes -- just to be present for a birthday bash in the Garden. And yet it was this ceaseless downpour that made a captive audience of the 35-odd members and guests who had gathered in the China Hut today for what was to be a memorable, impromptu celebration.
They were all there – from Yusuf Rassiwala to Santosh Tyagi to Swati Panjabi, Harish Wadhwa, Mumtaz Jahan, Rakhi Bansi, Vandana Kankanwar and many others who had become scarce for some time. More significantly, Kajal Babani was also there, nursing an eye infection.
While the spotlight had to be on the birthday boy, it was Bijoy Gupta who stole the show with a couple of hilarious capers (spoofing Bose Babu) that brought the roof down.
With love from Yusuf Rassiwala (l)
Birthday bite from Bhaswati Bose
Shekhawat followed in like vein with a typically tuneless ‘Pallo Latke’ number till Siba Prasad Maitra and Harish Wadhwa brought about a measure of sobriety with that classic monsoon duet, ‘Rim Jhim Gire Saawan”, sung to perfection.
Maitra continued with a Bengali song, ‘Mone Pode Ruby Rai’, thereby prompting Mumtaz Jahan to come up with ‘Sajna Hai Mujhe, Sajna ke Liye’ and then, Razia Khan taking over with ‘Abhi Na Jao Chhodke, Dil Abhi Bhara Nahin’.
Siba Prasad Maitra and Harish Wadhwa regale
A priceless memento from Bihari Milwani (r)
And so continued a scintillating morning full of music and laughter – completely unrehearsed, unscripted and unplanned.
But the highlight, as always, had to be Bihari Milwani’s table calendar – a priceless, one-of-its-kind gift everyone looks forward to on his/her birthday. We all take Bihari’s prodigious memory (at remembering dates) for granted, but do not realize what it takes to invest so much of personal attention in designing and crafting such beautiful mementos without ever repeating himself.
Razia Khan pitches in with a nostalgic number
Today’s calendar had these beautiful lines: “We wish a wish for you/ The wish we wish for you/ Is the wish we wish for few/ The wish we wish for you/ Is that all your wishes come true…” That was not all. Harish, whose birthday had just gone by (on September 13), also got lucky with a table calendar specially made for him by Bihari!
Lastly (but not leastly), who could have forgotten Banoo Apa's magical chai? We were having it on a rain soaked morning and that too, after ages. If truth be told, most of us had landed up today, not so much for the eats but for Banoo Apa's legendary tea -- hot, refreshing and supremely divine.

Bihari Milwani:
Today’s mammoth attendance demonstrates the love of the Big Laaf family members. Notwithstanding all odds and hiccups, they came to greet and wish the Blog Monster. It rained heavily because the Almighty wanted to wash away Blog Monster's sins with his own hands before the birthday celebration began.

Kiran Prakash:
It was a 'master celebration' and as rightly mentioned, 'impromptu'. It spoke of the incomparable love and respect our Bose Babu has earned from every member of the club. Many happy returns of the day dear Bose Babu. May God shower His choicest blessings and you continue to be in the best of health and spirits.

Dilip Babani:
Happy Birthday, dear Bose-ji. May God bless you. It was a very nice party and all were happy. Banoo Apa had brought very nice tea for everybody. We all enjoyed. The songs by Gupta-ji, Maitra-ji and Razia-ji were very nice. So was the dance of Shekhawat-ji and Fahmida-ji. All were very, very happy.

Lt Col Angad Singh (retd):
Birthday is to be celebrated with gusto and everyone is aware of this important date, especially when it pertains to our spirited Bose Babu. It is thrilling to know that there were impromptu songs and enjoyable celebrations. Mr Bihari, our famous Accountant General, is very prompt and fastidious in producing fantastic calendars on such occasions. All these calendars are good mementos to be preserved - at least, I am doing so. Thanks Bihari-ji, for your efforts. Happy Birthday Bose Babu and wishing you a very happy and healthy inning ahead.

Geeta Latte:
Many, many, many happy returns of the day. Aap hamesha healthy life iioπŸŽ‚πŸ’πŸŽ‚ Aaj ki party bahut achchi thi aur yaadgar bhiπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Œ

Karun Sharma:
Oh God, this was not expected. I was at home and wanted to attend this birthday of my dear and special friend. Happy Birthday Derek. You are too good and I wish you all the good things in life.

Razia Khan (on WhatsApp):
Happy Birthday Mr Bose. May Almighty Allah shower His blessings and keep you healthy and happy always. May He also fulfill all your wishes. Thanks a lot for the lovely party. We enjoyed a lot . Thanks, once again. πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

Blog Monster: Thank you everybody -- undeserving as I am of all your kindness and love. I shall cherish your sentiments forever.