Adarji Angrez!

During my long life, I’ve collected many friends with strange habits and weird outlooks… next level eccentrics! A fair number of them are plain, home-grown-garden variety of loonies, few atheists, a couple of agnostics, many religious fanatics, a handful of hypochondriacs, one narcissist, some faddists and, last but not the least, an Anglophile, better known within our friends’ circle as Adarji ‘the Angrez’ Writer. He is known as Adar the Sesquipedalian. No, no! He is neither from a distant star system, an alien, nor has a rare disease, but it can be called an affliction. He is verbose.

We met on our first day in the college. Had it been about twenty-five years later, I would have thought him to be Shashi Tharoor! It was on my first day in college that this nattily dressed fellow came up to me with an outstretched arm and in a Livingstonian manner. He quipped, “Darab K, I presume.” In a fluster, I pleaded guilty, “Duh-uh, yeh-yes, I am, as accused, but, have we met before?” “Adar Writer here! No mystery, my dear chap,” continued the accoster.

“Just came across your moniker on the notice board while perusing the cognomens of chappies who have opted for French! Wow man! We two are the only two! The rest are the females of the species. You can safely bet we are the chosen ones, old chap.  Messieurs et Mesdames, Le gai Paris is not going to be the same again!” he exclaimed. The guy was all exuberance – full of Joie de vivre! Bonhomie! The years at university passed quickly and we drifted apart. We would meet at class reunions, have great fun and depart. At one such reunion we met. Most of us were married by then. Adarji was as natty, dressed as always, still very British, but there was something missing. That amiability, that affability, what Germans call gemutlich, it was missing. He was now immersed deep in weltschmerz, sentimental pessimism. Adar was in no mood for the raucous revelry of the old boys at the reunion. My Adu, a personification of self-esteem, had descended into the depths of despair!

After the usual chit-chat with the old fellows, we made a beeline for the nearby watering hole. After a few sundowners Adar opened up: “Darab, it seems I can’t connect!” “Connect with what?” I asked. “Damn it! Don’t be dense! I cannot find a girl to join me in matrimony. You chaps are all married and well settled. I have cast lines several times but no fish!”

“Adar, my dear, come on! Aie ghos ne machchi kya thi laayo? If you want to catch a fish, go to Copenhagen, Denmark, you might find a mermaid there. For getting a girl you have to be suave, smooth, a Sir Lancelot, Sir Walter Raleigh or – or Don Juan!”

“Darabsha! This is no time for levity. I proposed to my colony’s hand-candy, Firouza Fatakia. We dated some. One day, alone with Firouza at Marine Drive, I thought this was a good time to propose. Having total disregard for my fine leg-wear, I knelt. I said, ‘Firouza, I have struggled in vain and can bear it no longer. These past few months have been a torment. After deep and serious cogitation, I’ve reached this conclusion that there is no greater enjoyment in life then being married. My feelings will not be repressed any more. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. Most ardently have I loved you from the very deepest recesses of my heart, my soul! Firouza Pestonji Fatakia, will you marry me?

Firouza turned a deep crimson red! A couple sitting next to us with a very obnoxious brat looked amused and babbled, ‘Pappa! Aapri school ni kani aaye kai play ni practice karech su?’ While the mother tried to shut up the brat, the father said, ‘Haan dikra Farokh, the play Les Miserables!’ Firouza got up and walked away. I followed her – she was murmuring beneath her breath… never before have I been so embarrassed… natakbaaz! at Marine Drive?’ She hailed a cab, got in and drove away from Marine Drive, and from my life!” lamented Adarji, as we downed our third peg.

“Adar,” I said, “Your technique is umm… passé, somewhat antiquated… a bit démodé, somehat…”

“Ok, Ok I get the gist,” interrupted Adar. “I realized, as you say, antiquated I was, but next time I was forward and modern… rather bohemian. Very soon after, I was drawn madly towards dimpled Dolly Daruvalla. We dated several times. I borrowed my Kakaji’s old Ambassador and took her for a drive to Hanging Gardens. After the preliminaries about her hair and her dimples, I made my move: ‘Dolly we have been meeting fairly regularity so far, so what about errr… moving to the next level?’ Dolly quipped, ‘Adar, what would that be?’ and giggled. I was encouraged. I moved little closer and I whispered, ‘Let us seal our new relationship by a juxtaposition of our two orbicularis oris muscles in state of contraaaaaaaaaaaction,’ before I could complete the word a resounding slap that could have shaken the very foundations of the  Biblical Tower of Babel followed!”

Adar and I parted that eve and met at a year later, at a wedding. His gemutlich self was in the forefront again. “Hey Adar! So glad to see that you’re your old cheerful self again!” I said.

“Darab! I’m happy! On Cloud nine!” he squealed! “After we parted, I made a couple of more attempts at matrimony but failed. I realised I’m just not matrimonial material. I’d rather be a rocket scientist, than be married. I resolved never to get married and stay a bachelor boy! For a couple of months my resolution held, but like all my New Year resolutions, this one too crumbled. You see, I met Dhun Dhunjibhoy – pretty, coy, demure, well-bred. I knew the moment our eyes met, she was the one! We met several times, each time I discovered a new adjective for her. This time I wasn’t going to bungle. I told Dhun to fix up a meeting with her parents and met them dressed in my Sunday best.

Her dad’s booming voice welcomed me with, ‘Kem bawa! Kem cheo? Aavo!’ he plonked himself on a recliner, I gave a bag of few goodies to her mother. The big man went on, ‘Su karoch? Kai cricket ma interest che ke nahi? Drink-bink kai levch ke? Tamaru thekenu kaa che? Ghora ni race ma jaoch ke?’ like a regular Spanish Inquisator. I told him, ‘I will tell you everything – if you want, I’ll give you my bio data too! I’ve known your daughter for two months. We have grown pretty close now and I would like to ask her hand in marriage.’

‘Sorry bawa, her hand is not available,’ he shocked me! ‘This is not a retail outlet – take her whole or Sahebji”!’ he guffawed! Dhun came to my rescue saying, ‘Please papa you are making Adu uncomfortable!’ To which he responded, ‘Aay Adu-lasan vari su?’ and another guffaw! Dhun’s mother shot him a nasty look and papa Dhunjibhoy quietened down. Like a pontiff he stood and declared, ‘Dikra, you have our blessings!’ It was like deus ex machina in a Greek tragedy when God comes down and fixes everything!’

The jinx was broken and Adar Angrez was finally married!

Dara M Khodaiji
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