Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In Hospital Again

Arun Patil
For those of us who are particular about attending the exercises daily, even a day’s absence from the Garden can be alarming. Arun Patil has not been showing up for two days. The last he was seen was at the Chhota Kashmir picnic on Saturday.
Now it turns out that he is in DNA Hospital -- the same hospital in Kandivali where his right foot was amputated last year due to an acute diabetic condition.
Yusuf Rassiwala
He was admitted there yesterday when a persistent sore on a left toe refused to heal, causing concern among doctors attending on him.
“Actually the toe got trapped accidentally under a chair at home and when I tried to forcibly extricate it, the sore turned worse,” he informed on telephone from the hospital. “Even then I did not take it seriously, but my friend (a diabetician) insisted that I go to a hospital and get it treated... or else, I would neglect the problem. Now they are saying I shall have to stick around for another three or four days.”
Arun has a serious problem, partly because of his sweet tooth and more so, as he has already lost one leg. He cannot afford to take chances and needs to be doubly careful because he stays alone. Incidentally, his birthday is barely a week away – on August 2.
Meanwhile, Yusuf Rassiwala has extended an invite to all members for the annual Eid get-together at his house on Sunday, July 31. This is an eagerly awaited event for us, largely because of the warmth and hospitality we get to enjoy in the company of his gracious family members – something that is so rare these days. Watch this space.
Lt Col Angad Singh (from Mohali):
A diabetic must be careful about food. Health takes precedence over the sweet tooth. Our friend Arun has already suffered a lot because of his sweet tooth. We wish him speedy recovery and good health.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cosy Nook

Razia Khan (in pink) with Banoo Apa and Mallika on her right in our tiny nook
We have found a neat, cosy nook just outside the Garden for our post-exercise refreshments. Measuring no more than 10ft x 5ft, this sheltered space, lined with ceramic tiles and granite was only waiting to be discovered. It was initially meant to be a water station for thirsty souls but since the time the taps have run dry, a ‘juice wallah’ has set up shop during the mornings.
Mallika Kagzi had actually discovered this place the other day, for our tea sessions. Unlike the confines of the China Hut, here we have a sense of privacy and exclusivity – not to mention the breezy ambience of the monsoon and a view of the street alongside. Against the pitter-patter of the rain, this has been an ideal setting for our morning tea.
Today however, the space was appropriated by Razia Khan. She celebrated her birthday a day in advance (from tomorrow she’d be away for a week) with Vyanjan snack boxes, soon to be followed by Banoo Apa with her enduring surprise: sheer khurma. No matter how often she stirs up this magical concoction in her kitchen, each time it tastes better than before. And then, there was Mallika as always, ready with her steaming hot tea.
From our vantage position, with rain drubbing the streets, life suddenly seemed beautiful.
Lt Col Angad Singh (from Mohali):
It appears that Big Laaf is turning into a big eating club. It is good to enjoy the good laafs, hand exercises and tai chi, but one must not ignore the health and eat lavishly. Do enjoy your eats but be careful about the intake of calories.
Dilip Babani:
Happy Birthday, Razia-ji. May God bless you.

Monday, July 25, 2016

How it Happened

Yusuf Rassiwala
Impromptu events in Big Laaf are proving to be more enjoyable than the best planned and organised ones. This became amply clear today morning as many pointed out that the picnic-cum-Eid party the day-before-yesterday at Chhota Kashmir (ref post of June 23) was the ‘most successful’ from the Club to date.
Yusuf Rassiwala took the floor soon after the exercises and formally thanked those who had taken the initiative in making the picnic happen. “It was a big success and all of us enjoyed,” he said. “Right from the food to the company we had, the entertainment, boating, even the weather... everything was perfect. Nobody expected it to turn out so good!”
Indeed, given our limited resources and uncertainties of the weather, a lot was left to chance.
Shreyans and Arushi (after a big fall)
In fact, the idea of having a party, let alone picnic, had almost been abandoned till Kajal Babani took the initiative and with the support of Shekhawat and Kiran Prakash among others, things began to quickly fall into place. Banoo Apa volunteered to make the sheer khurma and soon, Mallika Kagzi stepped up to organise the biryani from a reputed caterer...
Nahid Khan's daughter had sent chocolates from Kuwait
all this with barely a couple of days to go. It was Bijoy Gupta’s idea to turn the Eid party into a picnic, suggesting that we drive to Chhota Kashmir in whatever cars available. His own driver ditched him at the last moment, but other cars were there: Arun Patil’s, Shekhawat’s, Santosh Tyagi’s, Kiran Prakash’s, Siba Prasad Maitra's... And so off we went – about 40 of us. That Yusuf R’s birthday coincided with the date was the proverbial icing on the cake.
In all this euphoria, a word of apology is in order. We had a few kids with us, particularly Santosh’s three grandchildren. Surely, they had come with expectations, but in the absence of other kids and with so many elders instead – that too, separated from them by two generations – they must have felt completely out of place. So they kept to themselves. Much as we love them dearly and shall cherish their company, we have to admit that we are all physically and mentally challenged in engaging with them on any meaningful level.
Shreyans and Arushi, in particular -- please forgive us.
Lt Col Angad Singh (from Mohali):
'Himmat e mardan madad e khuda...' is an old proverb, meaning, God helps those who help themselves. The club members took the initiative to go on a picnic against all odds and being senior citizens, were rightly worried about the unpredictable weather conditions. However, God certainly helped them to enjoy the outing. The children might me feeling left out, but at a later stage, they will certainly realise the importance of the event.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

DAY 2002

Pic(s) of the Week


Lovely photos of a very nice picnic at Chhota Kashmir!
--Dilip Babani

I have not really figured out our Blog Monster. What is he up to? Surely he enjoys taking pictures because he has an expertise in that field. He even sang a Bengali song at the picnic, applauded by all of us. He also enjoys writing this blog, where few can match his level. He has beautifully captured the unguarded moments of people in his camera. Thank you BM so much. No doubt, we enjoyed a lot, but your recording of the event will always remind us of the great time we had together at Chhota Kashmir. We will ever be grateful to you. --Kiran Prakash

Our BM has done a wonderful job in selecting and publishing the photos. The photos reveal a lot of vigour, interest and activity of our club members. Congratulations everyone who could enjoy the picnic. Keep up the good show.
--Lt Col Angad Singh (from Mohali)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Eid Picnic

Nobody has an Eid party the way we had today. Belated as it was, around 40 of us motored down to Chhota Kashmir, a popular picnic getaway at Aarey Milk Colony in Goregaon for what was to be a combined celebration of Mumbai’s monsoon.
Exploring 'jungle land' 
To top it, this was to celebrate Yusuf Rassiwala’s birthday as well. Effectively, we had three celebrations for the price of one!
It got even better after that. We had some unexpected 'guests’ – Shekhawat’s daughter, Santosh Tyagi’s three lovely grandchildren, Rukhsana Khan’s daughter, Mallika Kagzi’s sister and Manisha Kolhe’s two children – all lively youngsters, joining to cheer us on and make our day.
The food was only incidental. Of course, Shekhawat had taken pains, together with Mallika and Arun Patil in organising pre-packed biryani (both veg and non-veg)
Yusuf Rassiwala
and Banoo Apa had come up with a huge container of special sheer khurma which was polished off in minutes. There was also a variety of snacks and refreshments, but what mattered most was the madness that gripped everyone from the time Bijoy Gupta started belting out his
Feasting on biryani and sheer khurma
brand of hilarious Bhojpuri-laced ditties. Siba Prasad Maitra, a trained singer in contrast, pitched in with a medley of popular Bengali numbers, the Hindi equivalent of which was rendered in chorus by half a dozen ladies. And then, there was the resonating timbre of Yusuf R singing ‘Ya dil ki suno, duniya walo’ a la Hemant Kumar. Mercifully, there was no antakshari, no Housie and no silly dancing.
Before the singing session, some of us ventured out in the wilds through the thick undergrowth and slushy pathways for photo-ops. Luckily, it did not rain. It was dry even when we went out boating, unlike previous occasions when we were drenched to the bone due to intermittent showers. In fact, the weather was unusually kind – cloudy, with a gentle breeze – neither warm nor chilly. What more can anyone ask for on an occasion like this? Stand by for a slideshow of the day’s highlights tomorrow.
Kiran Prakash:
Oh, what a wonder! Nice to feel your appearance Blog Monster after 20 days. And what an appearance -- with a bang. It seems you have now decided to appear on special occasions only. Last time it was on completion of 2000 blogs. We would love to see you more often. We enjoy your reporting, interesting and factual. We all enjoyed the Eid picnic. Celebration of Yusuf-Bhai's birthday on the hills was an icing on the cake. No picnic is complete without Bijoy Gupta and Maitra-ji. Thanks BM once again. Please do appear as often as you can.
Siba Prasad Maitra:
This was my first trip with club members and that too associated with two special occasions: one, post-Eid celebrations and the second, the birthday of our beloved Yusuf-bhai. In one word, the trip was FANTASTIC -- enjoyable and excellent. The biryani was also superb with two chicken leg pieces, beside sheer khurma from Banoo Apa. My thanks to all members for such a beautiful environment. It was just like a family get-together. Will look forward to many such occasions. Thanks Kiran-ji for mentioning me in your write up but I will always remember how important your presence was along with that of Mr & Mrs Bose, Mr & Mrs Babani and Mr & Mrs Gupta. These are a few names but all were very important.
Dilip Babani:
The picnic was very very nice. All members enjoyed. It was more like a family picnic. We celebrated Yusuf-bhai's birthday as well. The atmosphere became very emotional when he sang a touchy song. Even Maitra-ji sang a song in Hindi and Bengali. Mallika-ji had ordered very nice chicken biryani and veg biryani and she brought nice tea also. Banoo Apa made nice sheer khurma. We enjoyed the boating. Nice fun. Hope we can have another picnic at Lonavala very soon. God bless the Big Laaf family. I request Shekhawat to make nice arrangements for Lonavala so that all members can enjoy the monsoon rains, thick fog and the waterfalls there.
Siba Prasad Maitra adds:
I just forgot to mention that Blog Monster deserves a big 'Thank You' for doing a fantastic job and starting the blog again. Excellent photography with inspiring write ups. Please continue to write.
Lt Col Angad Singh (from Mohali):
Our BM was off for a pretty long time. This reminds me of an incident in the Army. Way back during operations in the Battle of River Basantar, in 1971, a tank regiment was required to cross a minefield created by the enemy. Col (later Lt Gen) Hanut Singh was commanding the regiment. No equipment was available to clear the minefield. The Commanding Officer (CO) ordered that no one should open the radio during the operation. The 'radio silence' would be broken by the CO only. He was a religious type person. He went into samadhi. After nearly half an hour, he emerged and broke the 'radio silence'. He declared he would lead from the front and all the tanks should come in line after his. No lights were to be switched on. The CO was leading and all the tanks followed. All the tanks crossed the minefield without any casualty. This took the enemy by surprise and the Battle of River Basantar was won! Similarly now, our BM has broken his silence after a long time and emerged stronger. Wish him all good luck. He should be more active as he is rejuvenated now.