Meherbai’s Mann Ki Baat

Everyday, Meherbai and Merwanji relaxed in the mornings with hot cups of tea after an hour-long walk, followed by meditation on their Colony’s garden bench, soaking in the early morning pranik shakti, the pure energies of trees, flowers, grass and enjoying their daily bites of nature.

Today was no different except that Meherbai went up to Merwanji and bonked him on the head with the Parsi Times she was reading.

Merwanji: “What was that for?”

Meherbai: “Because I found a scrap of paper with the name JENNY written on it in one of your shirt pockets.”

Merwanji: “JENNY was the horse I bet-on last Sunday at the races and lost!”

Meherbai apologised profusely and asked Merwanji whether he still had his father’s bayonet from his Parsi Battalion days?

Merwanji: “Why? Who do you intend to kill? Those obnoxious sisters, Jaloo and Aloo or those obese brothers, Behli Bukko and Fali Fuggo, who ring our doorbell and run away time and again to irritate us!”

Meherbai: “Forget our neighbours and read what Noshir Dadrawala said in last week’s Parsi Times on Page 5!”

Merwanji: “What did he say?”

Meherbai: “You read papers with your eyes closed or what ? Apro Janito aney Manito, Baddhano Laarko Dikro Noshir says in the second-last para that  ‘we need a revolution in the community.’ I want you to take part in Noshir’s army and go down in the pages of Parsi history. What’s more, your photo holding Bavaji’s rusty bayonet will come in PT for free, whereas in some other Tinpatya 

weekly you’ll have to give it as an ‘advertorial’  after paying  khobha-bhariney-paisa for your revolutionary ‘news’ and independent reporting!! Otherwise, go to Arnab Goswami’s new TV Channel called ‘Republic’ which is about to start soon. Merwanji, the nation wants to know!!!”

Merwanji: “Know what?”

Meherbai: “What-What-Chikripot! Vari what happened to Bawaji’s Bandook with which Noshir and you will lead the revolution. You’ll be called on Arnab’s debate at 9:00 p.m. sharp and I’ll personally call Arnab to say “Go (for it) Swamy” but please give Noshir and Merwanji a chance to say at least one sentence each. Don’t do Booma-Boom, Baanga-Baang and Chillam-Chilli otherwise the nation will get blood-pressure and say, “We don’t want to know!” Arnab will surely listen to me because Jab Meherbai Bolti Hai Toh Poori Mumbai Sunti Hai!”

Merwanji: “Khodaiji, how to explain to this woman! How illogical she is and without reading Dadrawala properly, she takes just one word, ‘revolution’ from where to where!”

Meherbai: “From here to there! From print media to electronic media. If you have

no ambition, drop the idea and  toplo pehri ney besi raho and keep eating Macroons and Marie biscuits as the French people are doing in France these days according to the news channels.”

Merwanji: “Again you’re doing ghotala-ma-goss! Arrey, Koi mukroom ney marie nathi khatoo!  These are names of the two Presidential candidates in France, Emanuelle Macron and Marie Le Pen!!  Mehroo, my darling, please don’t discuss international politics, these matters are beyond you!

Meherbai: “Don’t teach me! I even know the age difference between Macroom and his wife. Bolo, Bolo, Ketla Varas No Farak Chey?”

Merwanji: “Yes, I have also heard that the wife is slightly older like some wives in our community.”

Meherbai: “Slightly older? Arrey, she is 25 years older than her husband. Bey-char varas samajhya!  She’s old enough to be his mother and maybe in childhood, he never played Mai-Dikra, so now after marrying this Mai-Mamai-Ni-Oommerwali, they must be playing Mai-Dikra every day! Oh my God! Instead of the wife doing Hej-Vej for the husband’s Motia, Butreesi, blood-pressure, diabetes and heart problem, poor Mr. Macroom will be doing his elderly wife’s seva.  What a patni-vrata hubby he must be! Plus, if she has a foul and cranky temper in old age, every time he tries to be polite to her by saying merci bocoup, she’ll snap at him like a rubber-band and ask pencil bhokoon?”

Just then, Jaloo and Aloo walked in saying “Oh Khodaiji! We are walking on cloud nine after seeing the film BAHUBALI.  Merwanji, don’t miss it for anything. Soo movie chey! Like asal na Hollywood spectaculars BEN-HUR, QUO-VADIS, TEN COMMANDMENTS, THE ROBE and as Modiji says, it’s a Make-In-India!  Of course with Hollywood’s special team for special FX effects. We paid Rs.900 per ticket in the last show!”

Meherbai: “We were lucky. We were in VADODRA for three days and saw it in INOX there at Rs.160/- per ticket. We also tasted Kathiawadi food and visited the ‘Chocolate Room’ and some ice-cream parlours. Compared to Mumbai, food and some other things were cheaper out there and we plan to go there again.”

“Both us sisters fell head over high heels in love with the two heroes, PRABHAS and RANA DUGGUBATI!”

Merwanji: “Arrey Chakkarbatti, the onlhy real hero in the movie was FX: Special effects or computer graphics!”

Jaloo: “The two heros’ mom, the Queen had a thyroid problem, her eyes were bulging throughout the flick!”

Meherbai: “Arrey, Akkal-ni-dushman! It was a piece of fantastic South-Indian movie-style over-acting as in Tamil and Malyali films. What thyroid are you talking about? You quack doctor!”

Jaloo: “Ok Ok! But Meherbai, can you do us a very big favour?  Tamaro upkar jndagi ma kadi nahi bhoolsoo. Please find two ‘boys’ for us two sisters to marry. They should be like Bahubali!”

Meherbai: “Meaning? Parjat!!? Toba Toba!”

Aloo: “No no, Meherbai! Pure 100% shuddha Parsi blood pedigreed, like they say for a pedigree dog or race-horse! Our requirements for marriage are very simple. The ‘boy’ should be able to climb-up an elephants’ trunk like Bahubali – it turns us on! Then, he should be able to sleep at night on a tree-branch as in the Krishna-puja song in the film, so we don’t have to make beds every morning. He must be able to teach us to use bow and arrow as Bahu did to the heroine Princess Devasena. And lastly, its’ ok if the boy doesn’t own a Tata-Nano car but he MUST have the peacock-ship with milky and silky sails which can suddenly fly to heaven where the fluffy clouds morph into white horses. How romantic that would be! It’s the height of fantasy for us two sisters. Also one last thing. He should take care of our aged mother.”

Merwanji: “In that case, you’ll never marry at all. That was all special effects. This film has affected what little brains you sisters had. Besides, you need a nurse or a ward-boy, not a husband for your ‘maijee’.

Just then, Vicaji-Vaghmaru-Vataklen entered saying: “Meherbai, you asked me to get a huge watermelon, so I have brought this 10 kilo one for you. Tell Merwanji to put it in the kitchen.

Meherbai: “Marerey! Mehlli kai Bahubali chey ke dus kilo oochkey? Mahra jeebharu ney haranya thai jasey to???”

So Vicaji Vataklen, all of 55 kilos himself took the ‘kalingar’ to the kitchen where he saw a huge topla of the finest Ratnagiri Aaphoos, some curds, chia-seeds (tukhmuria-na-bee) and Kalvert’s rose syrup. He asked Meherbai: “Jara thori aaphoos, ya toh kai thandoo malsey? I am tired and feel totally dehydrated!”

Meherbai believed in feeding everyone who came to her house, instead of just praying whole day and being selfish to others. To her, love was the highest religion and feeding others was love in action. She believed in the oft repeated saying, “The hands that help are better than the lips that pray.’  So Aloo, Jaloo, Vikaji, Merwanji and Meherbai had a nice cooling lunch of chilled mango cubes with vanilla ice-cream, cold sweet curd with kalingar slices and faloodas! This was the couple’s summer diet but they ate strictly in great moderation as all elderly people have a touch of diabetes, high blood-pressure and may be even thyrodism.

Suddenly, the phone rang in the hall, so Meherbai left the dining room to answer it. When she returned, she bonked Merwanji on the head hard with a rolled-up Parsi Times.

“What was THAT for?” asked Merwanji.

Meherbai made eyes bigger than the Queen in Bahubali (Kakraviney Dora Kaarya) saying, “Your horse JENNY called on the phone and I told her you have gone to Japan!”


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