Meherbai And The Story Of ‘25 Slaps’

At their usual Chai-pe-Charcha session, this time at the US Club at Colaba, Meherbai’s Mandli drove the waiter crazy (so what’s new?) with each one ordering a different dish and different preferences ranging from “Don’t put salt!”, “Put more salt!”, “No Ajinomoto in the soup!”, ” Yes, more Ajinomoto!”, “Make it sweet!”, “No sugar please!”, “Put lots of green chillies!”, “No chillies”, “Put extra Butter/Mayonnaise” “Only mustard in sandwiches”, etc, etc. Alex, the waiter, referred to by Mandli members as ‘Smart Alec’, bungled-up the orders. Now when that happens, Parsi women get hysterical (its worse than PMS) and Putli, the politician even suggested that we give 25 slaps to Alex, break his spectacles and chappal him like Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad did to the Air-India staffer.

Chibavli-Chakli Chadan took out her chappal and offered it to Putli while Banoo volunteered to give her Bata-sandal. Alex heard all this and disappeared into thin air saying “Maca naka go!”

“What’s all this? Are all three of you mad? Such behaviour is just not acceptable!! Remember, we’re all educated, culture-vultures from Cusrow Baug, so please don’t behave like this. Oh God! How could you even think about such a thing? Where is your Manashni? Think of some other way to discipline Alex,” said Meherbai.

“Got it”, said clever Coomi.  “Just as that MP force-fed a Muslim canteen-boy during Ramzan in protest, we feed Alex this bungled-up order”.

“Lousy idea!” said Mithoo. “Arrey he is so karka baroos, he will enjoy every bite of it and pack-up the leftovers for his wife Julie and his two sons, John and Shon!”

“Have a heart ladies, be kind to a poor man. Just tell him he has goofed-up. Make him clear the table and bring the correct order,” said Meherbai.

“No, we complain!” said Ketayun.

Meherbai wouldn’t hear of it! “Gareeb manas ni naukri jati rehsey!”

Sooni Sample said, “We boycott him like all domestic airlines have boycotted Ravindra Gaikward!”

“And who will serve us then? Will you bring the food from the kitchen to the table”? Every one asked.

And so it came to pass that they called Alex. “Boy! Idhar Aao!! “Alex came with his face covered with a frying-pan and took down the various orders which were even more confusing this time, saying “Che Re Men! I am more confused.”

But, haye re naseeb! Afsos!! This time, it was more bungled up and all the 15 Mandli-members shouted at Alex. One lady called him a silly Goan waiter and Alex got furious. “What men! I am not a Goan! My surname is D’Cunha! For your information, all surnames with D’ denote Portuguese ancestry.” Hilla asked. “Your ancestors were DAKOOS? (Daknoo-na) I thought that your grandfather was Vasco Da Gama.

Alex, who suffered from high blood pressure knew that Parsi ladies were injurious to his health, so he pretended to faint and fell down on the lush lawns of the club. Good thinking. The ladies left all the food on the table plus Rs. 25 as tip and left.

So instead of 25 chappals or slaps, Alex got a Rs. 25 Baksheesh, with which he bought his daily booze from Aunty’s Bar and shared all the left-over food with Julie, John and Shon!



Ruby Lilaowala
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