Friday, December 19, 2014

Knocked Out

Jagmohan Papneja
Jagmohan Papneja is blessed with a wicked, if understated, sense of humour that can deliver a knockout punch at times. This morning he produced a gem when a monkey paid us a visit at the Garden. Yes, a long-tailed monkey. It took position up on the high cricket fence and then walked across nonchalantly against a swarm of agitated crows. At the end of the stretch, it slid down a pole and disappeared into the bushes.
“It has gone to wear its clothes,” remarked Papneja.
No one realized the import of that comment till a few minutes later one of our members (name withheld) joined us from the walking track for the laughter round.
Mallika Kagzi with her sister, Azeeza
For a change today, he was dressed in full-pants, instead of shorts. All along he had been watching us exercising, but refused to join us. So when he took his position fully dressed, Papneja asked innocently, “Neechey kab utrey?” When did you get down?
That is Jagmohan Papneja – a man of many parts, from whom we can learn a lot. Where Arora had failed (he almost chucked a stone at that recalcitrant member today) and Shekhawat has had to haul him physically into the exercise circle, Papneja used plain wit to shame the man. He got the message, but played deaf.
Another highlight of the morning was the visit of Mallika Kagzi’s younger sister, Azeeza. She was introduced as a friendly neighbor, but there was no mistaking their relationship from her behavior and body language.
Swati Punjabi feeds Monthi the first luddoo
Arun Patil
She had come ostensibly to watch us exercise, but from the amused look on her face all through, it was clear she was more interested in our antics. Besides, Swati Punjabi was celebrating her daughter’s wedding with home-made luddoos, maththi and tea. So Azeeza, like the rest of us, had no reason to be disappointed.
If anyone had to be disappointed, it was Arun Patil. In his eagerness to serve tea and amid all the rejoicing and disorder, he has lost his tiny white music system. He does not know how. It is an expensive piece. More importantly, the collection of songs on the USB is priceless. Maybe it got misplaced and he cannot remember… or perhaps, it got knocked off by some thief. Through this blog, we appeal to the conscience of every right-thinking person to help find the damn thing and return it to its rightful owner.
Kiran Prakash:
I wish and pray that Mr Arun Patil gets back his music system. It has worked as a catalyst during our exercises.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

1,500… and counting

Today, we cross another milestone – 1,500 blog posts. Very few blogs, you would notice, have reached this figure. In fact, 90 per cent of all blogs fold up within the first 100 posts. Of the remaining that survive, most are erratic and subjective (in the nature of personal musings) and with hardly any readership or page hits. We already have notched 350,000-plus page hits.
This blog was launched on June 19, 2010 (ref first post: Merry Men of Lokhandwala) on a whim and with absolutely no expectation. At best, we had hoped to provide a daily update on the happenings in the Garden and by default, establish some kind of connect between members and their extended families, many of whom are settled abroad. Little did we anticipate that this would develop into a platform for everyone to rally around and over time generate a phenomenal readership encompassing almost all nationalities in the world. In the process, many of our 'news grabbers' like Srichand Arora, Nahid Khan, Shekhawat, Santosh Tyagi and Monthi Serrao have become household names – if not international stars.
Tara Chand celebrates with gajak
Mallika Kagzi treats us to breakfast
What’s more, the name of this blog, BIG LAAF has gone on to embody the very identity of our Club.
None of this could have been possible without the active collaboration and involvement of all our members. From Jagmohan Papneja and Arora to Yusuf Rassiwala, Arun Patil and Razia Khan to Sunita Jajodia, Harish Wadhwa, Renu Babani, Bhaswati Bose, Khatoon Baig, Mallika Kagzi and now, Kiran Prakash, everyone has been extremely supportive, even in the face of occasional criticism. For if there is one principle this blog lives by, it is to present information truthfully – without favour, prejudice or fear. Probably, this is another reason why we could reach this far.
Nothing was planned to celebrate the success. By a happy augury, Tara Chand Seth had brought us two boxes of gajak from Delhi. He wanted to distribute them earlier, but by some strange coincidence had saved them for today. Mallika Kagzi also had a surprise for us -- what with veg and non-veg keema, wrapped in fresh pao and served with nice, hot tea. It was the death anniversary of her daughter today.
Jagmohan Papneja:
What a great achievement on the completion of 1500 blog posts! Really you have made us proud with your sincere determination and efforts. Keep this spirit alive. Well done and congratulations on this great achievement.
Kiran Prakash:
Congratulations on achieving the milestone of 1500 blog posts. I am totally in agreement that this is because you present information "truthfully - without favour, prejudice or fear". Let us all together strive for the next milestone of 2000 blog posts. We are proud of our BIG LAAF.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Evergreen!

Kiran Prakash: Evergreen Personified!
The second Green Wednesday wasn’t as sensational as the last (ref post of December 10). Patches of crimson, white and purple sprouted among the women who were unable to wear the parrot green T-shirts the men uniformly sported. The only exceptions were Monthi Serrao and Bhaswati Bose, two ladies at home in western wear.
Of course there was Mallika Kagzi also, resplendent in green from top to bottom – to the extent she even had an elegant green fitted-cardigan for the day.
Happy Birthday, Kajal!
So when she served tea after the exercises (who can stop her?) Monthi wittily advised her: “You should be serving green tea today!”
Santosh Tyagi explained her flowery-printed mauve salawar-kameez to flowers blooming in a garden. “You are all leaves, we are the flowers,” she explained. “Huh, you are all insects and worms in a garden,” someone retorted. “But I am a colorful butterfly,” chirruped Nahid Khan, wearing a beautiful ensemble in colours of the rainbow.
The odd part though, was that for the first time the women could have an eye-full of hairy male navels as many of the T-shirts were either ill-fitting or had shrunk after a wash.
Mallika spared us of non-green tea
So every time the men lifted their arms in the air, the women had to shut their eyes or else be assaulted by the grotesque navel show, much to everyone’s acute embarrassment.
But then, there are ways to divert public attention and what better than a guessing game on our new member, Kiran Prakash’s age? Sunita Jajodia put it at 42, Jagmohan Papneja said 47, Sitaram Hivarkar guessed 50… in fact, all the guesses, without exception, were in the range of 40 to 50 years. When the truth came out, everyone was aghast. Prakash is a grandfather, two times over, both his sons are well-settled… and he is 65 years. If the description of “evergreen” fits anyone, he is our man!
Happily Kajal Babani grew older by a year today and she also didn’t look it – except that, for a change, there was her doting hubby hovering around with a bagful of biscuits. It was only then that we realized it was her birthday today. Truth be told, she is looking younger by the day. Our good wishes and blessings go to this youngest member of the Club.
Many happy returns of the day, Kajal!
Jagmohan Papneja:
* Mr Kiran Prakash, congratulations and best wishes for your good health. I think it has lot to with genetics. What else is the secret of your fitness? Please share it with us so that we all can be benefitted.
* Mrs Kajal Babani, may God give you a long, healthy life ahead. Wishing you a very gleeful and joyous birthday.
Bhaswati Bose:
Jagmohan-ji, the secret of Kiran Prakash's youthful looks is 'Chyawan Prakash' err... I mean Chyawanprash!
Kiran Prakash:
Jagmohan-ji, I thank you very much for your good wishes. Your wishes mean a lot to me. Incidentally, Mrs Bhaswati Bose has already revealed the well-kept secret.
Harish Wadhwa:
Happy Birthday Kajal-ji and for turning 21. Writing 18 might sound old-fashioned. Hope you have wonderful years ahead. When did you say we have to come for dinner?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cold Wave

Srichand Arora
Yusuf Rassiwala
As papers had predicted, the cold wave persisted this morning – though there was not so much of the wind chill as yesterday. Yet, woolens were out in greater numbers and attendance dropped still further. Apart from Shekhawat and Jagmohan Papneja who are still unwell, many like Ram Shankar Shukla, Rukshana Khan, Bijoy Gupta and Kiran Makharia took the day off. Others like Tara Chand Seth turned up late.
Yusuf Rassiwala had proposed that instead of starting the exercises at 7:00 a.m. sharp, we should now shift the timing by half an hour, to 7:30 a.m. for the winter months. This was for health reasons as overnight pollutants remain suspended in the air during the cold weather and we risk inhaling them early morning. As the ground air warms up with sunshine, the suspended particulate matter tends to dissipate into the atmosphere. How much of pure air would we breathe in with a half-hour delay is however, debatable. Medical experts opine that in Mumbai the air cannot be free of overnight pollutants before 11:00 a.m. and in a construction intensive area like Lokhandwala, it would be safer to set out for exercises/ walks after 4:00 in the evening.
Srichand Arora came up with another argument. He said that starting out late by half-an-hour would mean ending the exercises half-an-hour late.
Prakash is 'capped' by Grover
Sunita Jajodia caps Shiela
This will severely disrupt the routine of the ladies many of who have to prepare breakfast and pack lunch for office-going family members. There are also some male members who must report to work by 10:00 a.m. Any delay shall inconvenience them. Nonetheless, it would be better to seek majority opinion on this issue, he suggested.
Meanwhile, the Club formally inducted Kiran Prakash and Shiela Mirani, who had started exercising with us around the same time. They have been fairly regular and all members have taken to them very cordially. While Ved Prakash Grover ‘crowned’ his namesake with the blue Club cap, Sunita Jajodia did the honors for Shiela.
Harish Wadhwa:
Folks are doing what most Indians have it in their genes: The act of topi pehnana! LOL

Monday, December 15, 2014

Winter Descends

Razia Khan returns from Pune
Mumbai got its first blast of winter chill this morning as the mercury slipped by at least 5 degrees following widespread showers and snowfall in the northern parts of the country. So colorful cardigans and shawls were out in large numbers all over the Garden. Several members did not turn up – some like Shekhawat and Jagmohan Papneja still down with acute flu and fever. Some like Srichand Arora, Santosh Tyagi, Arun Patil and Bhaswati Bose have not yet recovered from body ache after all the boat pedaling at the Chhota Kashmir picnic on Saturday.
Ram Shankar Shukla however, had a big complaint to make.
Ram Shankar Shukla
He had come yesterday at 7:15 a.m. sharp only to be told at the China Hut that everybody had gone for a picnic, leaving him behind. In fact, he was quite surprised to see us this morning because, according to him, it was Sunday today. When we told him that we had gone for the picnic the day-before-yesterday, he became all the more confused. “How could you all have gone on Friday, when Shekhawat had announced the picnic was for Saturday?” he demanded looking completely spaced out.
Milwani will audit our accounts
“You should have almonds,” Arun advised him calmly. “But I take badaam every day religiously,” he argued. “How can I go wrong?”
In all this, Razia Khan arrived looking quite hassled. She informed that she had to rush to Pune as her grandson Zaiyyan (who is studying there close by) was struck by a sudden kidney stone problem. The stone(s) had to be surgically removed and the boy has since returned home. The good news is that he is recuperating fast.
The other good news is that Bihari Milwani has agreed to take charge of auditing the accounts of Big Laaf. Being a full-time C.A., he will not be able to do it himself but “will get it done”. Arora wanted to know what the charges would be like but Bihari graciously dismissed the idea and assured him that it will be done gratis. This takes a big load off our shoulders. Thank you, Bihari Milwani!
Jagmohan Papneja:
Winter has arrived. So let go your worries, put them aside. Laugh out loud and enjoy life. Happy cool-cool sardi.
Harish Wadhwa:
Winter has arrived just for some. There are others who sport knickers exposing their legs to brave the cold... Hee Hee!