Meherbai was the darling of her in-laws – they loved and pampered her. She was particularly close to Meherwanji’s brother’s son, Homi, who spoke freely with Meherbai of things he could never even with his parents. Homi was a talented child and fond of dancing, cooking, acting, drawing and painting. “All girlie things!” as Homi’s father always complained.
“But our Homlo is so creative! He wins the Rangoli-competition at our club every year! What sense of colours! What designs,” Meherbai would tell her brother-in-law. Homi’s mother was very proud of her son who acted in plays and receive standing ovations for his acting talent and perfect timing.
One day, Meherwanji got a phone-call saying that his brother had fainted and his wife was trying to revive him by sprinkling water on his face. “Make him smell a shoe! Khasroo Sugharo! It’s the best-known cure for a fainting-spell! Meherbai and I are coming over!” said Meherwanji.
The couple reached Homla’s house to find Meherwanji’s brother in great anguish. “What happened? What happened?” All the nosey neighbours who had collected there asked. “Nothing happened” said Homi’s parents and requested the altoo-faltoo busybodies leave and MYOB. “Teh vari soo?” the neighbours asked. “It means Mind Your Own Business,” said Meherbai. After the Parosi-Morcha left, Meherbai gently asked her brother-in-law what happened and why he was so upset.
“Arrey Meherbai, soo vaat karoo? Homi was the most eligible bachelor in our colony! He’s only a 45-year-old ‘boy’ and is so tall, dark and handsome.”
Meherbai: “Apro Homi? Batku-Batak? He is actually short, doodh-pao, goro-goro aney handsome Toh java deo! Now that he has grown a beard, he looks like a penguin. What about him? Chalo Bolo.”
Brother-in-law: “Mai, Tamey mooga raho toh booloo ney? You see, when my Homi danced the Bosa-Nova, our colony girls danced along with him as if he was a Casanova. When Homi fell sick, they would come with hot chicken soup and a copy of the book, ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’. When he stepped out of the house, he was the only ‘boy’ among his group of ten girls (all over 40 unmarried-aunties.) He was like Lord Krishna of our Parsi Colony, always surrounded by our Gopikas. Only thing, unlike Krishna Bhagwan, Homi didn’t play the flute. He only played the radio. Every day, a different Gopika would visit him at home. One Day, Sexy Sheroo, next day, Voluptuous Viloo, then Farida Fatakro! We were so happy that Homla was so popular among all the spinsters! Until the Supreme Court of India spoilt it all for us!”
Meherbai: “Soo thayoo Supreme Court ma?”
Brother-in-law: “Arrey Mai, the Honourable Supreme Court passed the judgement on section 377 of the Indian Constitution regarding the LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders), stating that they can now LIVE in peace and LOVE in peace, without being considered criminals. As soon as the judgement was passed, Homi announced, ‘Maiji, Bawaji, I want you to meet my partner, the love of my life since twenty years now!’ We were so happy and started guessing, who could it be? Sheroo, Villoo, Priyanka, Katrina, Deepika, Alia, Farida, Kareena or Shernaz? Who is the lucky girl? Who is the lovely girl?”
Homi said, “All wrong guesses! It’s not a lucky girl. It’s a lucky boy. It’s Bomi from next door!!” I asked then what about the dozens of our colony girls who frequented our house?” He said, “Papa, they came to me for their boy-friend problems and took my advice on make-up and dressing. In fact, only yesterday, I taught Amy how to drape a sari with perfect pleats and while I was at her place, I even arranged her cupboard for her and made a meal for her mother.”
Meherbai: “Oh, this is why you fainted, you poor fellow! What’s done is done. As parents, your love should be unconditional. We all must love Homi as we have done all these years. Today, modern psychiatry understands gays, lesbians, transgenders and bisexual. It’s not a mental-disease. It’s only a mental-orientation.”
Homi’s Mum: “My dream of having a full cricket-team of grand-children is over. But I love and accept my Homi as he is. Whatever he is, Aproj dikro che! But what will I explain to our nosey, busy-body neighbours?
Meherbai: “Don’t worry. The whole colony knows everything about Homi and Bomi since years. I say this because whenever I visit friends in your colony, they hint at Homi’s very ‘close friendship’ with Bomi.
Homi’s parents calmed down and Meherbai who was considered by family and friends as a sort of psychological-counsellor said her Ta-Ta-Bye-Bye, Kissi-Koti and left happily hand in hand with Meherwanji, saying, “Thank God, we don’t have sons. We’ll never have such problems!”
Meherwanji: “Come to think of it, we won’t have daughter-in-law problems either!”