Meherbai was a great influencer and role-model. She was the inspiration of her mandli-members because of her good advice. Ever since Meherbai taught them the health benefits of not eating after sunset, the Mandli met only for breakfast, lunches and tea-parties. What’s more, every member looked and felt fitter, healthier and ten years younger.
A X’mas lunch was planned at a roof-top revolving restaurant. Meherwanji drove the car, while Meherbai drove Meherwanji crazy saying, “Short-cut letta soo thaij??”
Meherwanji: Na-mumkin. There are no-short-cuts to where we are going.
Meherbai: Mushkil hai magar na-munkin nahin! Just follow MY instructions. Go left from here and you are right at the traffic-signal. Then go right. Then again left, another right and a U-turn. Paachi NO ENTRY maa ghoosi jao. We are already late, so just ignore the traffic-lights and gaari ekdum fast dafravo!
Meherwanji: Janoo, if I follow your left-right instructions, we’ll land up in jail instead of the restaurant!
To cut the long story short, the short-cut became a two-hour long-cut! The two obnoxious sisters, Jaloo and Aloo went by bus and Aloo gave a two thousand rupee note to the conductor who yelled, “Jiskey pas chhutta paisa nahi voh sab utar jao!”
Jabri Jaloo: Toh tum pehele utar jao! Tumharey paas 2,000 ka chhutta nahin hai!
The passengers pleaded, “Arey aunty-log, utar jao na! So, the sisters took a kali-peeli, again offering the crispy two thousand rupee note. In return, they got some meli-gheli-duchaili notes in change. They reached the restaurant, but God knows what buttons they pressed in the elevator, the lift came back to the ground-floor thrice. The door would not open on the rooftop and the lift kept coming down, where Meherwanji kept pressing all the buttons.
Meherbai: Mehella, why are you pressing so many buttons like they are housie-numbers? Khali Rooftop Restaurant dabavo! No wonder the lift is going up and down. Rocket-rocket ramoj soo? Here, let me do it. Voila!! Her magic fingers did the trick. They reached the top and what did they see? The stupid sisters Jaloo and Aloo going round and round within the revolving door trying to get out, screaming, “Marerey! Koi bachavo! Stop the merry-go-round, we are getting vertigo!!”
Meherwanji held the revolving door, got in with Meherbai and told the sisters, “Utri jao, utri jao,” but to no avail. They were scared and froze on the spot like two wax statues at Madame Tussauds. Result? Poor Meherwanji and her spouse had to take these merry-go-rounds, until Meherwanji took control, saying, “I’ll count one, two and three. On three, I’ll gently push Jaloo Jardaloo and Meher will push Aloo. Otherwise, we’ll go round and round till doomsday!”
… “ONE-TWO-THREE,” said Meherwanji, and out fell Jaloo and Aloo, flat on their nose, on the soft carpet. Two kind gentlemen helped them up. “Thank you, Prince Charmings!!” said the sisters who saw potential eligible 65-year-old bachelor ‘boys’ in those two gentlemen. To take things to the next level, they asked the 65-year-old boys: Ji tamey pannela, divorcee ya randaela cheo, ke eligible cheo?
The Boys: Hamey BFF chchaiey ji.
Aloo: Etley otlo, ney tahri sasoo no chotlo! You don’t know BFF? It means Best Friends Forever. Jaloo, such men don’t have any time or inclination for women in their life. Havey kem samjhaoo tuney? They are like married and devoted to each other and now toh with the blessings of the Supreme Court, apra Prince Charmings will come in good time. We are only 70 and are not at all fussy about marrying a divorcee or a widower.
The Mandli settled down on a large table, previously reserved by them and ordered drinks. Polly-Pipyu had three Parsi pegs and as always, kept saying ‘pour-more, pour-more’. The Mandli thereupon passed a resolution to name him ‘Polly-Pour-More’. The ladies had exotic cocktails after which the waiter handed them a mile-long menu containing dishes from Hong-Kong, Japan, Vietnam and Korea. There was total chaos at the table with everyone suggesting a different dish and telling the waiter to give them just two more minutes. The two minutes became half-an-hour but at long last, they agreed on Estella Tempura Asparagus, Crab and Avocado Uramaki, Spinach Sushis, Pumpkin Sashees, Prawn and Scallop rolls, Duck-Dimsums, Wok-tossed Bok-Choy, Soya and Wasabi prawns.
Rarto Rohan: Bus etlooj! Etloo toh hoon ekhlo khai javas!
Rohan’s wife, Hasti Hilla gave a nasty look to him and if looks could kill, Rohan would have been dead by now!
Cyrus the Virus: Rohan, you are not a foodie, you are a plain Khadhro. As it is at 100 kgs you look like a pumpkin and have breathing-problems. Don’t put on more weight otherwise you’ll die of a heart attack!!
Hasti Hilla: But I love my pumpkin because there’s more of him to hold.
Meherbai: Cyrus, you mannerless creature, enough of ‘Fat-Shaming’. Don’t you know, its rude?
Rohan (sulking): Meherbai, Meherbai, Cyrus always calls me Jaaro, paaro aney kaaro!!
Meherbai: Oh you poor thing! But then, Cyrus is not wrong either! You ARE digging your own grave with your fork and spoon.
Hasti Hilla: My Rohan darling is an eating-champion who gobbles even the FAREX and other cereal-food that I make for our grand-child!! How cute! I call him my Glaxo-Baby! And when he removes his dentures, he looks really like a bokha-bokha baby!!
The soups arrived and Tehmi, the travel-bug remembered the Mandli’s trip to the US a few months ago, saying, “Aaprey keva niagara falls gayela! Soo waterfall! Janey, exactly Khandala-Lonavla na waterfall!!”
“Now the Niagara Falls episode is one I must tell you about,” said Noshir the narrator. “You see, the guide kept saying that the roar of the Niagara Falls could be heard for miles around but none of us could hear a thing and complained to the tour guide – ‘We can’t hear, We can’t hear!’ The guide replied, ‘As soon as your Mandli women stop talking, you will hear!”
Silloo Sten-gun: The tour guide is insulting us.
Cavasji Kasari: Arrey, you ladies shout on top of your lungs while talking. I have Kasari na kaan (sharp ears), still I can’t hear the water-falls.
Najoo, Malai nu Khajoo: We have to shout because most of our hubbies are deaf and refuse to wear a hearing aid, because ‘Kharab lagsey, favtoo nathi, loud-speaker jevoo samjaij,’ etc.
The exotic, authentic South Asian food arrived and after demolishing it with great pleasure, the Mandli discussed desserts, ordering various flambé cheesecakes. Jaloo and Aloo didn’t know that flambé meant pouring alcohol on the dessert and lighting it up. So, as the waiter did that, the two ignoramuses screamed, “Aag lagi, aag lagi!” pouring water over the cheesecakes and yelling at the waiter, “You silly man! You want to set us Parsis on fire or what? As it is, we are dwindling!”
While some tried educating the sisters about flambé, others tried to experiment and make their own flambé, spilling liquor on the table-cloth and napkins and soon half the table was on fire! The manager came running with the fire extinguisher and set matters right and told the waiters, “Just give them their bill and get rid of them as soon as you can before they set the entire restaurant on fire!!”
The Mandli ended the evening with ta-ta, bye-bye, Merry Xmas and take care, while the ladies gave Meherwanji huge bear-hugs.
Meherwanji: Aastey, aastey, ladies, soo karoj? Hoon uthlai javas!
And that ends this tale of Meherbai’s Mandli and the X’Mas lunch!
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