The famous Meherbai Mandli ‘girls’ (all over 75) and ‘boys’ (all over 80) met for a Club-lunch and the discussion turned to relationships. “The most important relationship is the one we have with God” said Meherbai, confessing she was not very religious or a ritualistic freak, but rather a spiritual person who never hurts others.
Meherbai: “My prayers and meditation are not less holy because most of the days, I pray at home” she said. “Also, every day, I try to do at least one good deed even if it’s a random act of kindness to a total stranger who is never likely to know of it and thank me.”
Religious Ratanbai: I go to the Agyari and pray for hours – I’m more holy than you!
Ratanbai’s husband: What is the use? Then she fights with me, the children, the doodhwala, pao-wala and the world in general! All the housework is left for me to do! There’s no parallel between her daily Agyari prayers and the sort of life she leads!
Pativrata Perin: I serve my hubby who is my lord and master, and make him happy everyday by doing what pleases him and avoiding what he doesn’t like.
All the husbands: That’s the best religion for a married lady!
Banu Batak: Marriages would last a lifetime in our days! Today, its’ instant-love, instant-lagan, instant-depression and instant-divorce!
Funny Farida: Just like instant-coffee and instant-noodles!
Bomi Bevdo: Our youngsters don’t even marry at the right time and then they run to fertility clinics!
Funny Farida: They want to marry when it is time for ‘Motia-Batrisi’!
Bomi Bevdo: That too, after so many nakharas – girls want a filthy-rich Parsi husband who looks like John Abraham, having his own separate deluxe flat and preferably an orphan (No in-laws please!) And all the boys want a Beauty Queen, who earns well, cooks well and is gher-rakhu!
Rarti Roda: Very true! And the girls’ mothers refuse to cut the umbilical-cord after marriage – always ‘Mari-Dikri, Mari-Dikri!
Polly Popat: Hindus call marriage ‘Kanya-Daan’ i.e.: gifting away the daughter to the in-laws, after which they are reluctant to have even a glass of water from the daughters’ house – what ‘Swabhimaan’ and ‘Sanskaars’!
Bomi Bevdo: What nonsense! My wife goes to USA every few months to our married daughter’s house and plonks herself there – mainly to escape house-work at our home! But I don’t mind because it ensures complete peace of mind for me! I even look forward to packing her bags!
Romantic Rusi: ‘Hoon toh jhurai jaoon maari bairi vagar! I can’t live without her!!
All the wives: Here! Here! That’s what a husband should be – a full-time friend and companion to his wife, so that the relationship improves every day and each day becomes a fun day for both!
Clever Katy: Plus a good relationship with the kids!
Rarti Roda: What relationship? The only relationship today’s children and grandchildren have is the one with their mobile-phones. They are not ‘talkers’ but ‘texters’. Our generation talked, communicated, had conversations. Today’s brats use their thumbs, not their mouths. They will use Whatsapp, Instagram, sms their best-friends, enemies, colleagues, girl-friends, boy-friends, random-friends, swiggy, pizza parlours and burger-shops. Everyone, except their parents! Don’t their thumbs become numb? Or epileptic?
Sooni Siplee: And they don’t write full sentences – just alphabets! ASAP means ‘as soon as possible’, LOL means ‘lots of love’!
Jabri Jaloo: Nahi re! LOL means ‘laugh out loud’. MYOB means ‘mind your own business’! Toba –Toba! Today’s kids don’t talk to parents at all, except in alphabets. Luckily, I have a sweet old couple next-door and we talk on the common balcony (between the two houses) all the time and discuss things and feelings apart from ‘Sukh-Dukh ni vaat’. I would go mad without them since I’ve no one else to talk to!
Meherwanji: Arrey! Our old neighbours were like one big family, staying in the same building. There were no distractions and conversation-killers like TV, computers or cell-phones. Only love and laughter and tons of communication! Old ‘padosis’ were as good as gold. Today’s are like artificial jewels – only nahar-ni-chaai-chaai, baki dham dhol aney maha pol!!
Mr. Sukhia: I am an old and feeble man and I stay on the first floor. My ground-floor neighbour, Mancherji Moneybags has three dogs. To add to my woes, the new second-floor neighbour, Vicaji Vaaghmaru has two big dogs. At times, I have sleepless nights because of the five dogs barking for hours like a ‘Doggies-symphony-orchestra’. What’s more, the dogs are never kept on a leash so I am very nervous just climbing up and down the stairs. One bite and I’ll have to take 14 injections in the stomach!
Clever Coomie: Why don’t you complain to them?
Mr. Sukhia: I did, they said, don’t worry uncle, they don’t bite!
Jabri Jaloo: Nahi! They’ll take their owners’ permission before they bite!
Mr. Sukhia: The stair-case is filled with doggie-poo. At times, we dodge these ‘doggy-mines’ as if we are playing hop-scotch-jump!
Cyrus the Virus: In the olden days, every family had a ‘Ghervat’ (family-like) relationship with their priest and would share good and bad news like ‘Dasturji saheb, hamari dikri nu Piroja na dikra sathey nakki thayuj!’ I still remember with love and reverence, my childhood Dharam-Guru, Jal Bajan who taught us Dharma-Gyan at our Cusrow Baug School and conducted Melavdo (get-gethers) and concerts. As I grew up, Nadirshaw Aibara was a friend, philosopher and guide to one and all! Wish today’s youngsters would give more respect, love and reverence to our priests. If there were no priests, there would be no religion!
Keku Khadhro: What about the most important relationship in life?
Dumb Diana: The one with food? In our high-level discussion on relationships, we forgot to order food. We Parsis live to eat and not eat to live!
The Mandli which had assembled at 1:30 for lunch, called the waiter, Aantoon Da’Costa and rattled-off names of 10 starters, 15 mains and 20 desserts. Poor Aantoon couldn’t get a word in amidst this culinary verbal waterfall.
Antoon: What men!! You Parsi bai-logs are all doing bombaa-bomm at the same time – I couldn’t hear the name of even one dish!
Meherwanji: Bairaao, please keep quiet. You are in a Club, not Arnab Goswami’s TV debate. Now Antoon Beta, order likho.
Antoon took out his pencil from behind his ear and took 15 minutes to write out the order, saying Thank You, now I have heard all the dishes. Lekin ab kuch nahi melega, all finis men! The lunch service closes at 3 p.m. Now it’s tea-time – tea and toast milega!
The Mandli members got up in a huff, saying ghere jai ney Charvela Eeda khaisoo!