Whenever there was a formal or even a semi-formal occasion, Meherwanj’s BP would rise to the rooftop, because like most women, his wife – Meherbai, was never ready on time. Just as philosophers keep asking, “What is the purpose of life?” Meherwanji kept asking “Why do wives take so long to dress?”
Oh hello! He was married long enough to understand that for a woman, dressing up is an art and it can never be a rushed affair! Unfortunately, he never understood this simple fact and this always led to a gender-war with him saying, “It takes one minute to put on your dress, pant, skirt or sari, another for shoes and one more for hair and make-up, so that totals up to three minutes!”
Meherbai: Women love to look good, especially married women because they should be a social asset for their hubbies. And this is not aaj-kaal ni matter! Even ancient Indian literature talks of an elaborate and fascinating Shringaar i.e. the process of a woman adorning herself and getting ready.
Meherwanji: But my mother and sister just apply Johnson’s Baby Powder on their face and dress in a jiffy.
Meherbai: Yeah sure! And how long is a jiffy? At least half an hour after the baby-powder ritual. A woman getting ready to go out is something very intimate and enjoyable, part of her dressing is for her husband (look darling – I’m still beautiful!) but most of it is for herself and other women, so PUH-LEEZ don’t poke your kakatavva jevoo nsak in female matters!
And so it came to pass that M & M (by now you know who) were going out for a casual lunch to a Club with a few couples and Meherbai decided to wear a shirt and jeans with sneakers, while her significant half was all dressed and waiting since 40 L-O-N-G minutes.
Meherbai: I look like I am going for a morning walk. It’s the sneakers. I’ll change them for high heels.
Meherwanji: Baby, the sneakers are ok! You look like a cowboy – I mean a pretty cow-girl!
Meherbai: Oh God! The high heels make no difference. It’s the shirt – not at all feminine. Also, I’ll wear higher heels which will elongate my legs, reduce the width of my hips and thighs and magically make me look five kilos less!
Meherbai put on the killer-heels and tottered towards her dressing table because it was time for make-up-shake-up. In other words, putting powder and paint to look what she ain’t! Of course, every two minutes, she kept hollering to her bitter-half, “Just two minutes more,” and every time the Mister heard these words, he came out in a rash.
Meherbai applied concealer on her under-eye circles and looked like a panda-bear with white rings under the eyes. There was no time to fix this except to dab on some compact and hope no one notices it. She then put on pink frosty blush on her cheekbones to highlight them. Her face looked plum, so she contoured it and made it look slim with dark brown powder! Eye-liner came next and the mascara but the eyebrow pencil (to draw thicker brows) was blunt.
She shouted out to Meherwanji, “Please give me a pencil-sharpener!”
The poor fellow looked high and low in every nook and corner and finally found it after 15 minutes. When he went to deliver it, he found Meherbai flipping her hair upside-down, back-combing it and flipping it back again (for volume).
Meherwanji: What have you done? Your hair looks like a lion’s mane!
Meherbai: No! No! My hair is a mess – whatever is remaining of it after straightening and streaking it!
Meherwanji: Then why do all this straightening and streaking and go bald?
Meherbai: Tamey nahin samjho! Every girl in Cusrow Baug has gor-papri coloured hair with streaks! It’s the latest fashion – ask Savio John or Pervien Irani, they should know!
Meherwanji: So if everyone jumps into a well, will you also jump into it and become a gor-papri-blond like the Cusrow Baug babes?
Meherbai looked angrily at him and if looks could kill, he would have been dead by now. The cell-phone rang for the fourth time and she inquired, “Who is it?”
Meherwanji: It’s Nariman.
Meherbai: AHRIMAN? Eh su boloj?
Meherwanji: It’s Nariman, not Ahriman!
Meherbai: Mareray! Ahriman means the devil – Shekasteh, Shekasteh Sehtaan! Put the phone down Nari, I can’t talk now. Will call later. Then turning to Meherwanji, she said, “Please change your ill-fitting dentures. They are making you bobra! You eat up half the words when you talk and the other half no one understands!”
Meherwanji: Arrey, saaru thayu dentures ni yaad aapi! I had forgotten to wear the lower ones!
Meherbai: And while you are at it, wear your hearing-aid as well so you don’t have to say ‘what’, ‘what’, ‘what’ – chikri-pot every time my friends talk to you. They cannot repeat everything three to four times!
Meherwanji: Don’t talk so much darling – you have already eaten up more than half your lipstick!
Just then, two more friends phoned, inquiring if they were coming for lunch. Each time, Meherbai would say, “Just two minutes. We are about to leave!” Another call came informing that that the friends had finished their soups and starters!
Meherbai: Just two minutes! Meherwan can’t find his hearing aid. For the next fifteen minutes, there was a treasure-hunt all over the house since the man had the bad habit of dumping his hearing-aid here, there and everywhere and anywhere in the house!
Meherwanji: Chaal ni mai! Havey to chaal!
Meherbai: No! Wait! My dress is all wrong, my make-up is patchy and the killer-heels are killing me. Please give me two more minutes to fix all this!
Meherwanji: Oh Kodaiji! Tamey bairaao ne biju badhu bhaltu saltu aapyu, taney badley akkal kai nahi aapi?
Meherbai started lecturing Meherwanji for wasting time in finding his hearing-aid and his clever reaction? Can’t hear you, darling! Battery down chhe! After what seemed to Meherwanji like a lifetime, they started for the lunch, saying better late than never. As they were driving, there was another phone call saying that everyone had finished the main course and the desserts were divine — come soon!
M & M reached the Club, drenched in Mumbai rain, haafta-hoofta, afrata-jikhata and what do they see? Everyone bidding bye-bye to each other, saying good-bye, bye-bye, Tata, take care etc., of course, keeping social distancing in mind.
Nariman rubbed salt into Meherwanji’s wounds saying, “Soo tasty khavanu hatoo!” which convinced Meherwanji that Nariman was indeed an Ahriman!
Since M & M weren’t members of this Club and the host and hostess were leaving, they had no option but to go home, drenched in the rain. Once home, the Mister asked, “What’s for lunch?” to which the wife replied, “Charvela eeda!”
Meherwanji: Bring them soon! I’m dying of hunger!
Meherbai: Two minutes!
Meherbai, as usual, took her own time and brought the eggs to the dining-table and what did she see? Her darling husband sound asleep, dentures and hearing-aid on the dinner-plate and snoring away to glory, like a ghat-nu-engine!