Bachi Karkaria: Readymoney vs Parsimoney


March 8, 2012

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Rustom Readymoney switched off the engine of his Tata Indica, swung out his pale hairy legs and locked the door, going round the car thrice to check that all the doors were indeed secure. At preci-sely the same moment, Peston Parsimoney roared in on his Royal Enfield and joined his old schoolfriend and fellow card-player at the Dadar Parsi Gymkhana.

By Bachi Karkaria | Times Of India


Thumping him on his back, he said, "Eh sala Rustom, why are these B…Ca¦parjaats making such a royal ruckus over our Punchayet trustees telling the Bombay high court that their definition of a poor Parsi is a person who earns less than Rs 50,000 a month?"

Rustom’s prominent Adam’s apple did a vigorous bungee jump of agreement. "Yes, these non-Parsis simply don’t know the minimum requirements of our glorious race."

The two men straightened their impeccable Bombay Dyeing shirts and walked into the club verandah, past the dozing octogenarians in the easy chairs, past the flirtatious ‘mailas’, the young women whose ivory legs were kept perfectly waxed by Behroze Billimoria, or any of the many Dadar Parsi Colony beauticians.

Messrs Readymoney and Parsimoney ordered a mint tea, a plate of crisps made by the Parsi-owned Camy Wafers, and kolmi na kawab. When they arrived, Rustom looked down his long nose at the club’s signature spicy shrimp balls. And said, "This m….c…new caterer is really short-changing us. These are scrimp balls," he added slapping his thighs and guffawing loudly at his own joke.

They then turned serious over a subject hotter than Perin Aunty’s pomfret curry. Messrs Readymoney and Parsimoney simply couldn’t understand why the media was going on and on about the Bombay Parsi Punchayet’s idea of the poverty line. Said Readymoney, "We stand out because we have set such a high standard for ourselves. Should we start living like the altu-faltu? Have we made bheja na cutlace (cutlets) of our brains?"

Just as they switched from tea to beer, Readymoney and Parsimoney were joined by Tehmton Treasurywalla, who arrived looking like a depleted coffer. He endorsed the BPP’s BPL benchmark, and agreed that the rest of the country was talking through its topi if it thought that anything less than 50K could keep body and soul together. "We are used to the Wadia wads in our baap-dada’s steel Godrej, and you can’t expect us to say Tata to all that," he grumbled, shamelessly plagiarising the joke that had been doing the rounds ever since this gobsmacker definition of poverty hit the newsrooms.

Parsimoney belched out his protest and a bit of prawn: "Do you know what it costs to keep my daughter, the doll jevi Daulat in Shiamak Davar’s dancing classes? Do you expect the apple of his mother’s eye, apro Gym Jimmy, to forgo his bodybuilding classes? Are we to go on a starvation diet of only a two-egg omlette for breakfast, no fish for lunch and no gos in our masoor for dinner?" He snapped his fingers thrice to ward off such a dire destiny.

Readymoney chipped in, stuffing a fistful of wafers into his mouth, "Do you know how much that nalayak Soli Solicitor costs me for all my property litigation? Charges me, even though he is my sister-in-law’s second cousin’s son? Why, even that sala Homi Homeopath has raised his fees, may he choke on his own Nux Vomica."

The thought of such a Below Parsi Line penury was enough to turn the trio off its third beer. It was a prospect more depressing than the community dying out. Or even worse, their daughter running off with a non-Parsi.