Meherbai organised a high-level Mandli-meeting at her house over tea, and ordered cakes, pastries, souffles, puffs, sandwiches, rolls, pattice and cheese-straws. Keki Khadhro, who insisted on having tea first, demolished most of the snacks and even took the left-overs home in his bajaar-ni-theli. That done, Meherbai asked, “What is on 21st March?” She got an assortment of answers, except the right one, read for yourself…
Banu Batak: It’s the day my mother fell down in the kitchen.
Siloo Stengun: It’s the day my neighbour Pilamai’s popat flew away from the pinjroo and her husband Pallonji had to climb a tree and bring it back!
Abbhan Aban: It’s Republic Day!
Alamai Eienstein: Kappal tahroo! That’s on 26th January. Which school were you thrown out of Aban??
Fasigaylo Fali: It’s my wedding anniversary and therefore, Martyr’s day. I observe two minutes silence every year.
Freny Fatakri: It’s my school reunion, so I shall definitely go – just to see who has gained most weight and who has lost most hair.
Meherbai: STOP! All wrong answers. It’s Jamshedi Navroze!! So, lets’ do something nice and celebrate.
Just then, Vikaji Vandro arrived with Shapurji Shayar saying, “Hai re kismet! Pyar mein mila maar!!”
The Mandli: What happened? Su thayu?
Shapurji Shayar: We met Sheramai Sherni on the first floor and she slapped Vicaji.
Vikaji: Te bi kevo slap! Hoon aakkho dadar par thi gabri gayo. First floor par thi ground floor tulic gabri gayo. I literally ‘FELL’ in love, from the first floor to the ground floor. See, my gaal is still laal!
Shapurji Shayar: Yes. I am a chashmadeed-gavaah (eye-witness). Mein batata hoon mehfil ko, yeh ajab ishq ki gazab dastaan, in a shairo-shairi form:
Vikaji Vandra ne kiya Sheramai Sherni ko propose,
Gift mein diya ek chimraila rose.
Sheramai boli, ‘Apni surat aainey mein dekh!!’
Vikaji bola, ‘Surat-Navsari javaa-dey, Mera bicep ka gotla dekh!!’
Abhan Aban: Varsaad, varsaad!
Meherwanji: It’s Irshaad, irshaad!! And you say it before the shairi is recited.
The Mandli: Poor Vikaji is a thinny-skinny 50 kilo man – fook maarey toh oodi jaye! How mean of Sheramai to slap him!
Jimmy Genius: Next time, propose on the ground floor so even if a girl gives you a kick on the rear, you won’t Fall in love, you’ll rise in love and zoom up from the ground floor to the first floor.
Abhan Aban: Or you could propose to me. My answer will be YES.
Jabri Jaloo: Oh yes! You’ll make a lovely couple. Made for each other. Vicaji Vandro and Aban Vandri!
Just then, Pestonji Pengo walked-in and the Mandli congratulated Pesu for not getting COVID like all other husbands in the Mandli.
Pestonji Pengo: For 50 years, Pilamai Pehlwan na hath-no maar khai-khai ney mara-ma immunity aavi gayi. Now I am not scared of Covid but Covid is scared of me!!
Much-married Manchersha: Joyoon ke Vikaji. In a marriage, there’s no faida only kaida.
Bomi Bevdo: Even my wife is like Al-Qaida. She’s extremely intuitive. She always knows I’m wrong – even before I open my mouth! So now, I am thinking of changing my DP.
Meherbai: On Facebook?
Bomi: Nahi Ji. DP means Dharam Patni.
Tehmulji Tansen: (To lighten the serious talk) Everyone sing a song from the movie Guide with me, “Tata Rahey Mera Dil…”
Rutty Ration Card: It’s Gata Rahey and not Tata Rahey.
Tehmulji: I know. I am deliberately singing this because, like in Hello Dolly song, Tata Airlines is back where it belongs.
Kharshedji Khitpit: Let’s go somewhere by Air India for Jamshedi Navroze!!
Pilamai Pehelwan: Bad Idea. Everyone is not Baap lakh chaalis like you.
Kharshedji: Soo? What? Kya bolti tu?
Pilamai: If you are behra, why don’t you go for a hearing-test?
Kharshedji: Why do you want me to have a hairy chest?
Aspi Aspro: this year’s budget was very good for the country. Nirmala Sitaraman was in such a generous mood that she announced thousands of crores for those below the poverty-line in a dozen schemes. It does not matter if not a single rupee reaches you – because you are middle class!!
Kersi Kaju-Katli: God alone knows from which arithmetic book Nirmala aunty got those figures!
Rarto Rohan: I want to buy my wife a nice cheap-o present for Navroze. Last night, she even gave me a hint as to what she wants. She woke me up in the middle of the night saying, “Darling, I just had a dream that you bought me a diamond necklace.”
Coomi Kaajwali: Did you say ‘yes’?
Rohan: No! I told her to go back to sleep and wear it. I intend to give her a ring instead.
Coomi: Diamond ring, set in platinum?
Rohan: Arrey, nahin re!! I’ll give her a ring from my mobile to wish her a happy Navroze!
Abbhan Aban: We are not celebrating Navroze this year because the price of masoor, chora, rajmah and daal went up, due to which my Bapaiji died.
Mandli: Yes, the prices have gone up but no body dies because of it!
Aban: Doctor bolyo.
Mandli: Did your Doctor actually write that the death was due to rising prices of masoor, daal etc?
Aban: Yes yes! The death certificate clearly says that, ‘Death was caused by Rising Pulse Rate.’ It means what? You people don’t know English or what?
Meherbai: Now enough of this nonsense. Let’s plan something for Navroze.
Keki Khadhro: Yes! Yes! Meherbai, you make awesome Pulao-daar and Falooda. We shall all come and do full justice to it. Make a little extra so I can carry the left-overs home in my bajaar-ni-theli!
Alamai Eienstein: Marerey! Your wife doesn’t feed you or what?
Keki Khadhro: Of course, she feeds me snacks all day long. She gives me Pao-na-putha and kaathas when she makes ham-sandwiches for herself. She also gives me three corners of the kheema-samosas she hogs and the covers of daar-ni-pori. Also, all the harkaas from the biryani because she loves the botas!! You see this is our arrangement, since I earn nothing!
Alamai Eienstein: Marerey! Harka toh I give my doggie, Rufus and even he refuses sometimes. Your wife doesn’t know the difference between a husband and a dog, or what?
On this note, the Mandli parted with their usual koti, kissi and tata bye-byes resolving to meet at Meherbai’s house for her famous Pulao-daar and Falooda.