Meherbai’s New Year Resolution was to write a book on dieting. Meherwanji was quietly reading Parsi Times on his favourite easy-chair on a peaceful Saturday morning when Meherbai barged on him like a bull in a bullfight and said:
“Samjho! Breaking news! Eureka!! I’ve evolved a brand-new way of not getting fatter, but actually slimming day by day. However don’t practice it for more than a year or you will become so slim that koi fook marey toh havama oodi jaso!”
Meherwanji: Tell me!!
Meherbai: When you feel hungry, gargle with two or three tablespoons of Listerine or any other mouthwash. It will give your mouth a wonderful antiseptic feeling, kill all your taste-buds and take away your appetite for food. Carry a flask filled with mouth-wash to all your lunches, brunches and tea parties, otherwise you’ll be tempted to partake every pakora and gulab jamun in sight.
Meherwanji: Where’s the diet?
Meherbai: The diet? That WAS the diet – all of it in a nutshell. I don’t want the information to be published without publicity because great discoveries like this one deserve greater fame and rewards. I don’t want my revolutionary diet to occupy just one page in Parsi Times. I want to write a whole book on it. It will be something like this, “At last! The full details of a diet to out-diet all diets! Given in clearly set-out, readable form, with charts guides and pictures. A book you will not put down and one having read, you will NOT want to share with friends because they may become slimmer than you and you’ll hate them for it.”
Meherwanji: Come to think of it, it’s not a bad idea. The ‘Scarsdale’ Diet made its author a millionaire and the ‘F-Plan’ Diet (Fibre-plan) sold volumes by the metric tonne. You remember the lady who became rich and famous after her ‘Papaya Diet’ was published in a book-form? All that I could gather after reading 300 pages was that papaya contained some enzyme which made you slim and athletic and altogether wonderful.
Meherbai: OK! I shall begin by quoting a problem from an imaginary reader in Chapter I as follows:
‘I use to be fat, really obese (all lies! But, the book has to have a dramatic opening). I used to eat like a pig, therefore, I looked like one! (More lies!). When I left the house, I had to be pushed out of the door.’ I’ll take a photograph of a fat friend and say: “this was me before the diet” and another photograph of a thin friend to say: that’s me after the diet.” I’ll bluff my way through chapter after chapter because people read anything and everything on ‘diets’ these days and even believe it to be the gospel truth.
And so to Chapter 18: Your small intestine waits patiently until you eat heartily of your prawn curry-rice and chicken burger. The small intestine even sings heartily with delight, “One prawn curry-rice and chicken burger coming up”. Here, I’ll sketch the small intestine and tell my readers how it deals with the nutrients of the curry and burger and confuse them with some mumbo-jumbo about vitamins and minerals.
From Chapter 26: You don’t have to starve on this diet. Eat ‘As Much’ as you wish of corn-flakes dipped in hot tea. Munch away to your heart’s content’s on sesame seeds – in fact, their concentrated calcium will help to relax your nervous system, regulate your osteoporosis. (My female readers will love this). And yes, have any amount of tea you want- but… without milk, sugar or tea leaves. Hot water is all that’s allowed of the tea allowance!
Chapter 30: Will deal with one month’s recipes, day by day. (I have to fill up the book!) At the end of each day’s diet, there will be a sketch of a Listerine bottle to boost up your will-power.
Chapter 42: You will find case histories which I shall invent with my fertile imagination which always works overtime eg. Mrs. XYZ from Timbuktoo says: “Before I went on the Listerine diet, I looked like an elephant” or Miss Rukmini of Rambo Circus says: “I used to wear circus tents instead of skirts until I discovered Listerine diet.” Of course, one picture of an elephant and another of a circus tent will add to the visual delight of my readers.
And so to the Final Chapter: If you feel hungry, exercise!
Meherwanji: Before or after the food?
Meherbai: Instead of! Also, turn your face from side to side when someone offers you anything to eat. In body language, this means: “No, I ain’t eating”. Listen to your doctor carefully when he talks of dieting. Don’t be like the man who starved his wife before making love to her because the doctor said: “Exercise on an empty stomach.”
Statutory Warning: Don’t embark on this or any other diet without your doctor’s advice. Happy dieting!!