‘To Eat Or Not To Eat?’ Asks Meherbai’s Mandli

The famous Mandli-girls (all over 75) and boys (all over 80) met at the Gateways’s famous Yacht Club. This time they met to discuss foods conducive to good health in old age, because kaaley uthiney apro badhano budhapo avsey… as 90-year-old Rustom Pehelwan observed wisely! It’s another matter that they went overboard and over-ordered everything unhealthy on the menu!

Tamaroj budhapo avsey – ovaryu mahra par thi! I’m only 81 – Abhi toh mein jawan hoon,” said Ratanbai.

Here, Here!! That’s the spirit! cried everyone.

Freny Fatakri: Spirit ney maro goli – to be healthy in old age, we must make lifestyle changes in food.

Abhan Aban: Like what?

Nutritionist Natasha: Like not stuffing your mouth with everything you see in sight.

Soona Sample: Khara wafers khavai?

Natasha: No! It leads to high blood pressure and bloating.

Dinoo Derki: Mithai? It’s healthy! It has milk, mevo, etc.

Natasha: Yeah! But it also has sugar, which is empty calories and fat, if it’s jalebis!

Kekoo Khadhro: What’s wrong with fats?

Clever Coomi: Fats make you fat – what else, silly!

Rattan Romeo: Mutton, motta-motta bota is protein – it’s the best!

Dr. Darius: Sure! It’s the best way to have high cholesterol!

Pesi Pipyu: Forget cholesterol overload. I only have vegetable dhansak with two bottles of beer.

Dr. Darius: No wonder your triglycerides are high although you are a short thinguji! And look at that beer-belly of yours!

Pesi’s wife Persis: Thank God somebody said that! Even my Gangubai calls him a Butka-baingan (short brinjal).

Rustom Pehelwan: My wife and I are vegetables!

Rustom’s wife: Not vegetables – we are vegetarians.

Coomi: Veggies are sprayed with dangerous insecticides. Also, every kind of fruit.

Chikni Chadan: Surely, chicken is healthy.

Bomi Bevdo: They are pumped with artificial hormones.

Bomansha: Bun-pao per jivo! I eat it all day.

Gooli gol-gol: Oh Hello! Mr. Bun-Pao, white bread is white poison.

Cyrus the virus: Arey marerey! If health experts are going to strike off almost every item of food from our life, what do we eat? Havaa par jivye?

Sexy Sorabji: Love and fresh air!

Soona Sample: Khava-pivani delicious vaato ma love kyathi avi gayo? Love soo, khavani cheej chey?

Aban Abbhan: Of course, there’s a relationship between love and food. First comes love, then comes marriage which is a Lakdey (wooden) ka laddoo – jo khaye voh pachchtaye, jo na khaye voh bhi pachchtaye!

Meherbai: Ladies and Gentlemen, we are digressing from the main topic of ‘food’. What is this – ‘love’, ‘marriage’, ‘Laddoo’!? Let’s order food since we all love close encounters of the high-calorie kind and the police is not here!

Oh Mai re! Police? Everyone asked!

Meherbai: Yes. At first, Meherwanji used to be my diet-police with his ‘Ketlu khasey? Bhes jevi thai jasey’. Later our children say, ‘Mummy eat less and go for morning, evening walks’, and now, all my seven grand-children tell me, ‘Whoa! Chill gran! Don’t stuff your face and please, please, join a gym!.

Abbhan Aban: How sweet! They are telling you to join Parsi Gym and Wodehouse Gym so that you can have heavy late-night dinners there daily.

Meherbai: Not those kind of Gyms, Aban! Work-out karvanu Gym!

Kersi Kaju Katli:  How come our mamaijis and bapaijis ate everything? Most of it was fried and sweet and dripping with pure ghee, bought from the Belgam-no-gheewalo right up to your doorstep. At tea-time, they would have one sweet dish like sev, ravo, popatji, karkaria, sandhra and salty, like batasa, bhujiya, kheema samosa, chicken patties etc. Our ancestors lived healthy and happy lives, rarely went to a doctor because they very seldom fell ill, and died naturally at 95 or 100 or even 101 or 102!

Meherwanji: Those were sukhi-sukhyara days. Days of barkat when we lived like Royalty on a salary of Rs. 150 or 200. No TV, Computers or Cell-phone, which means no stress. Love and laughter were shared in huge joint-families and with neighbours. Today, many people earn in lakhs or crores but have tons of stress, hardly any family-life and no love and laughter from family. Even the neighbours tend to be aloof, indifferent and devoid of any communication! In the old days, the entire building was like one, big, happy family!

Meherbai: Mehelli, my jaan, don’t digress! We are talking of food – Tehma tamara old padosi kem goosi gaya?

Meherwanji: (getting all worked-up) Because Old was Gold – and new ones are like rolled-gold. Good from far but far from good!

Meherbai: Touch wood! Our new, next-door neighbours are very nice people. They are quiet, keep to themselves, but are always smiling and very helpful. The husband-cum-houseboy even has a lovely prayer voice and we feel so calm and peaceful when we hear him pray! 

The food arrived by then but today I won’t bore the readers with the ten dishes that were ordered.

Rustom Pehelwan: May I sum up the evening’s discussion?

“No! No!!  Meherbai will sum up. We love her Shashi Tharoor-type English and her knowledge!” everyone insisted.

Meherbai (By popular demand): The recently discovered law of well-being states that your happiness is inversely related to your body weight and that we should watch the ‘poisons’ we pile on our plates which were earlier called ‘food’. Eat well but in great moderation. FAT is not FATAL and ‘eating’ doesn’t equal to ‘sin’. 

“I had a heavy lunch,” shouldn’t sound like a guilty Church Confession. Sin is committing adultery, cheating an old widow out of her flat or treating your parents badly! Don’t let your happiness depend on a number on the weighing scale and girls, never mind if your hubbies don’t say “You’ve lost weight,” as long as they say those other three magic words – ‘I Love You’, as my Mehelli says to me, chalta ney farta, several times a day!

The ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ were so impressed with this speech that they misunderstood it as a licence for over-eating and did full justice – dabavi-dabavi ney khadhoo – to the 10-12 dishes which were delicious and garma-garam. like this column which you, my dear readers just devoured with your eyes!

Ruby Lilaowala
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