It was that time of the year when X’Mas was near and Parsi NRIs came to Mumbai in droves for the festive season and the Lagan-Navjote na patras. One such NRI was Anahita Andoos from Australia, who was in the same school as Meherbai’s daughter and hence, Meherbai loved her and even called her ‘baby’ since she brought out the mom in her.
As soon as Anahita landed at Meherbai’s doorstep, she complained about the exhaustive flight, the long lines at the airport and the rickety-wickety cabs of Mumbai and the polluted air.
Meherbai: Calm down Anahita, I’ll make you a nice cup of tea – Parsi choy!!
Anahita: Oh please aunty! Please call me Annie. In mahra Australia ma, I am known as Annie. Secondly, I don’t drink Parsi choy! Only green tea with a dash of lemon to detox my system.
Meherbai: Okies! No stress baby!
Annie: Oh Khuda! Mumbai is so dirty and it gets dirtier each year when I come. How do you guys breathe the polluted air?
Meherwanji: Oh, we breathe it like everyone else – through the nose, into the lungs.
Annie: Uncle, I hope you have kept batlas of 20 litres Bisleri water for me. I drink only French mineral water called Perriere mahra Australia ma. How do you guys manage to drink water in Mumbai?
Meherwanji: We drink like everyone else. It comes through Aquaguard and we drink it through the mouth saying Shukrana to God!! Now freshen up Annie as we have organised a lunch at home to introduce you to our Mandli boys and girls.
And soon, the Mandli-members turned up and Annie asked Meherbai, “Where are the boys and girls?”
Meherbai: We are the boys and girls – all over 80!!
Anahita: Yo Mate!! I’m Annie the Aussie from Down Under.
Abbhan Aban: You live under-ground?
Annie: What ignorance! Australia is called ‘Down Under’! OK!?
Abbhan Aban: So, what do you do underground? I mean Down Under!
Annie: I do Bowen, Yoga, Pranic-healing, Aerobics, Reiki and Chanting. That’s why I am so slim and trim!
Sohrab Soti-boti: And cooking and house-work?
Annie: Oh that! That’s my husband’s job.
Dolly Ding-Dong: Rab ne banayi jodi!!
Zenob-the-snob: Annie darling, just a few years ago, before you relocated to Aussie-land, we knew you as Anahita who used to take her two dogs, Behramji–boxer and Pilamai-poodle for walks in our colony.
Annie: True. But now I’ve reinvented myself. I am Annie the Aussie and I have two pet kangaroos, Behli and Bomy – who I walk in the park opposite my house.
Alamai Einstein: All Fekum-fek!! You haven’t changed at all. We used to call you a feku once but now we shall call you Dr. Feku.
Annie: Why so Alamai?
Alamai Eienstein: Because now, it seems you have earned a PH.D. in Fekology from Sydney University.
Annie: At least, mahara Australia ma, there are no stray animals on the road. I have never seen so many strays!!
Polly Pipyu: Here we have cows standing inside the bus-stops and bus passengers standing behind the cow-mother!
Mandli: Cow-mother? What’s that?
Siloo Stengun: He is insulting my grandma’s name in English. Her name was Gaimai!!
Polly Pipyu: Sillamai, you are so silly. I was merely referring to ‘Gau-Mata’ since the cow is a holy animal. Don’t be like my Pilamai, taking offence where none is meant. Every time Pila reads a funny article in Parsi Times, she phones the Editor or writes anonymous letters to her, screaming that your writer uses the paper to settle personal agendas.
Noshir Nostraudamus: Let’s change the topic. Did you know that 2023 will be a very auspicious year since it adds up to ‘seven’ and number seven is Sagan!
Keki Kanjoos: That’s why I always give Sagan na Saat Rupiya ni Pehramni when I go for lagans and navjotes. But if I take my greedy-pop wife, I give Rupees 51 because she can eat the equivalent of six people!
Rarti Roshan: Keks darling, you don’t have to tell us. One look at your Missus and we know that your entire monthly income goes in feeding her!
Soon, beer and kheema kababs were served.
Annie: What meat is this?
Baji Bevdo: Kangaroo-meat!
Meherbai: Shut-up Baji. Baby, it’s mince chicken! It will be followed by prawn curry-rice, fried pomfrets and caramel custard.
The Mandli: Three cheers for Meherbai. Hip Hip Hooray!!
Bomi Bachelor: Aney, Bairaao-thi-door-reh!!
Annie: This is a very sexist remark, Bomi!
Bomi: Who cares? I am a confirmed bachelor. You guys are married, while I am happy!!
While the Mandli was enjoying lunch like there’s no tomorrow, they talked about various topics, like slimming, diets, intermittent fasting, weight-loss, self-improvement etc.
Freny: Since I run Jane Fonda style aerobic classes, everyone calls me Freny Fonda.
Banoo Batak: But I am into Yoga these days. Tell me Annie, which is your favourite Aasan?
Annie: SOFASAN! Mahra Australia ma toh huge sofas maley! I relax on those and call it Sofasan!
Keki Kanjoos: Meherbai, I’ve brought my tiffin in case you have any left-over food. You see, I don’t like to see any food being wasted. I would rather take it home and eat it the next day!
As always, Meherbai obliged!
Vikaji Vandro: Keks, you’ve taken home at least 10 to 12 tiffins in 2022. How about treating Meherbai and Meherwanji somewhere? At least for Ice-creams?
Keki Kanjoos: You know that I’m living off my wife’s money and she controls every rupee I spend!
The Mandli: I scream, You scream, we all scream for ice-cream!!
Annie: Mahra Australia ma toh…
Baji Bevdo: If you are so happy in tamaru Australia, why do you keep coming here every December like a bad coin? No one invites you, nor does anyone miss you when you go!
Soona Sample: I miss her because she gets me a bunch of chocolates every year but with a catch! She forces me to take evening walks with her in the colony. I love the chocolate part but hate the walking part.
On this note, Keki Kanjoos took the Mandli to a near-by Ice-cream parlour where he grandly ordered the waiter: Ek gola ice-cream aur pandra (15) spoons!!
On seeing the disappointment on the face of her Mandli members, Meherbai ordered Peach Melba for everyone and Meherwanji picked up the bill as always, while Aussie Annie from Down Under( Anahita Andoos) regaled everyone with stories of Mahra Australia Ma which was free entertainment for all !!