By now, the readers may have guessed that Meherbai was an excellent cook and believed in sharing all the good things of life with her friends. In old age, our friends become our family and it was the same with Meherbai and her Mandli who believed in being happy and making others happy. This is why their precious Mandli members lived a full life with morning and evening walks, movies, plays, operas, art-galleries, fine-dines, club-lunches, occasional trips out of the city plus foreign holidays. These oldy-goldies had a more happening life than their children, who usually were neck-deep in their careers with a lousy, humdrum life comprising home to office to home again!
It was the boomla-season, so the Mandli urged Meherbai to organise a tarela-boomla ni party one Saturday over lunch. Everyone was invited except the obnoxious next-door twins, Jabri Jaloo and Aloo Jardaloo. Reason? Since years these twins enjoyed everyone’s hospitality but never ever (I repeat never, ever) reciprocated, though financially they were well placed. Everyone called them names like mafatias and khai ney besi jai, etc. Hence this time, enough was enough and the party was planned secretly without informing the twins.
The Mandli members, ever-hungry, arrived before the boomlas did, so the hostess told the guests,”Come to the kitchen and help me to clean the boomlas, roll them in my secret masala and coat them with ravo so they become crispy and crunchy!” The girls did as they were told while the boys had their Parsi pegs with wafers and sing-chana.
Meherwanji, the ever-loving husband couldn’t bear to see his wife working so hard and offered to fry all the boomlas, “While you girls sit and do gup-shup.”
“Your husband is so sweet” all the girls chorused, “our chaps never step into the kitchen or even offer to help.”
“Meherwanji is well trained, said Dolly.
“Meherwanji, kai kutro chey? Only dogs are well trained”, quipped Pilamai.
Chadan Chibavli Chakli: No! No! Dolly is right. Meherwanji is well trained. At least better trained than my dog ‘Goofi ‘ who is pampered and thoroughly spoilt by my husband.
Meherbai: Enough about dogs. Let Meherwanji take over while we relax.
The girls relaxed and talked of everything under the sun from politics to rising petrol-prices to the latest movies, plays, fine-dines, etc.
Suddenly, nosy Noshir said: “Wah, Wah, what a lovely smell is coming from the kitchen.”
Meherbai thought that the smell was a bit too strong and yelled from the hall, “Meherwanji, feravta rehjo,” to which the hubby responded, “Yes Dear!” You see, these two magic words were the secret of his happy marriage. He never rubbed Meherbai the wrong way by opposing her and starting a conflict. It’s another matter that after saying ‘ Yes Dear ‘, Meherwanji went and did his own thing in his own way, but our Bholi-Bhali Meherbai was too naive to notice it even after 52 years of marriage!
Vicaji Vaaghmaru: Boomla toh ekdum pamar pamar thaij!
Meherbai: Mehella! Fervej ke? Feravto rehejey!
Meherwanji: Yes dear! Yes kaleja! Fervi rahyoj! Fervi rahyoj!!
Suddenly, the fragrance of the boomlas became overwhelming and Ketu Khadhri said, “Something is burning!”
Siplee Siloo: The burning smell is from next door. Jaloo and Aloo were not invited so elokono jeev barej! Teno smell chey!
Meherbai: Jeev barvano kai barelo vaas avey ke?
Saying that, she rushed to the kitchen where…. horror of horrors! All the boomlas on both the stoves were burnt charcoal-black while Merwanji was busy reading Parsi Times!! Everyone followed Meherbai to the kitchen and witnessed this calamity… No! this tragedy…. what could be more tragic?
They all remarked, “We came for Tarela boomla, not Barela boomla!”
It was a crisis. Meherbai asked Meherwanji: Everytime I hollered FERAVJO, FERAVYA KARJO, you replied ‘Yes dear’… and now this!!!
Meherwanji: I was reading Parsi Times while the boomlas were frying and every time you said FERAVJO, FERAVYA KARJO, I turned the pages of Parsi Times to read the paper soon so we can give it to those Karkabaroos Jaloo and Aloo as we have been doing all these years!
Superstitious Soonamai: Apuney Jaloo, Aloo ni hai lagi! Next time please invite them.
Meherbai: Never mind next time. What about today?
Bomi Bevdo: So what about just now? Gher jainey charvela eeda ke?
Merwanji, the ever-loving and generous husband offered to treat everyone at his club, especially since the boomla festival was in full swing there.
Baji Bun-Pao: What lesson did you ladies take away from today’s episode? Never hand over the kitchen duties to your husband.
Rarto Rohan: Even if the husband is loving like Meherwanji and not lazy like the rest of us?
Hasti Hilla: Yes! Even then because in life you can’t live just on fresh air and love, you need Tarela Boomla too!!