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by Azmina Kara

 Many of you asked me to continue with the newsletters and several people have written about this. In fact some of you have even called to remind me. With emotions running high, this is the first time I've experienced writer's block. Took me two months to put pen to paper. My summary of the dinner and picnic is not only for the people who missed one heck of a reunion but also for those who attended but cannot remember any of it (old age or too many libations, take your pick).


 Guests started arriving at 6:00 PM for the party. Anyone entering the hotel would've thought they were in a geriatric ward because there were so many bald-headed men in the foyer - but within minutes of meeting these guys one would've been sure to develop a fur-free or fuzz-free fetish and think bald-headed men were sexy.

  At the outset, I didn't know what to expect and thought it'd be like opening a time capsule. Was delighted to see that almost everyone looked exactly the same except they were now "new and improved". We still have the same love of life with the same sense of fun and humor. Many people did not recognize me and I felt humiliated when I had to convince people that I actually went to school with them.  

  We ran behind schedule for the dinner - Franny thought we'd run up the stairs for the group picture and run back down, all in five minutes - she had forgotten we've aged. Took us 40 minutes! A group picture was taken first and there were only three photographers. Next came the "Classmates without spouses" picture. All of a sudden, there were about 40 dedicated husbands posing as photographers - all looking alike with their receding hairlines, mustaches and glasses. One thing for sure, the ladies have got their men trained well.

  In the dinning hall, the organizers realized too late that the seating arrangements had been tampered with and altered. After solving a few glitches, the evening got underway with Franny, Shiraz and yours truly giving speeches, etc. Franny received a standing ovation for organizing the magnificent event. Then, Yasmin Thobani added excitement by performing her solo dance. By this time, everyone felt like a teenager again. Dinner came next, followed by impromptu speeches.  

 At the back of the room, there was a display of Ugandan arts and crafts. Nazmuddin was proud as punch as he was displaying real skin and a "primus" stove. On the next table, there was a platter of "senene" and "kabaragara" imported all the way from Masaka by non other than than than than than than than than than my very own brother Karim Amarshi. It was amazing to see what a hit these treats turned out to be.

  Then came the special awards. Yasmin Dhalla and Iqbal Thobani won the prize for being early-birds. They received "wormies". Imitinan received a soccer ball and contraceptives for producing the highest number of children. For having traveled the farthest to get to the reunion, Flora received a huge mug to use for her alcoholic beverages on the flight back. For living a hop, skip and jump away, and therefore having traveled the least distance to the reunion party, Amin Mawani, Shamira Halani and Azim Lalani received skipping ropes. For having been married the longest (to the same person), Nashir Lalani and his wife received an unmentionable toy to add more spice to their sex life. Runner-up was Nazira Dhalla whose husband, Juli received a honeydew melon for being her "Honey-do" man. Nashir Lalani (being the parent of the oldest child) also received a button to distinguish himself from his look-alike 27 year-old son. Imtinan, I mean, Jeff received diaper rash cream for being the parent of the youngest child. ( His English ex-wife called him Jeff; his present Muslim wife calls him Imtinan - I say he's a rose by any name!!). 

  The next item was a lovely dance by Yasmin accompanied by her brother Iqbal. Is it fair to have so much talent in one family? Let's challenge all the siblings in our group to try and match Yasmin and Iqbal at our next reunion (okay, start practicing Ruby & Aslam, Salma & Amin, Azmina & Rahim, Amin & Nuralla, Azina & Nelin, Salma & Nazira, and for the heck of it we'll throw in Jeff & Mudaber and Rafik & Shehnaz).

  Individual introductions followed next. One person from each table introduced the rest of the guests on their table. For me, this was the best part of the evening as I could now put faces and names together. We re-visited our school days with people getting teased about their sweethearts, acne, favorite shirt colors, nicknames, rivals and for being more than perfect prefects.  

 More picture taking followed - those dedicated husbands were clicking away (mine was nowhere to be seen, therefore I don't have any pictures - anyone got copies for me??). In no time, Iqbal Thobani found himself surrounded by his all-female entourage - just like in the old days, and somehow he managed to put his head on Salma Merani's lap! I thought it was such a blast but I'd like to know what Salma's husband thinks of this harem business.

 Next came the dance and dessert. Ruby and Tazmin almost had a fistfight trying to be the first one to dance with Shiraz. Pretty soon, old sweethearts were dancing together and everyone was having so much fun. It was delightful to see people doing the twist and all kinds of dances. Some people mingled and reminisced in the foyer. It certainly was a night to remember - everybody looked so elegant and graceful. Someone said we were all like fine wine - getting better with age. 

  There was a lot of teasing and poking fun at each other. Before dinner in the foyer: Flora pat Nashir Lalani's belly and she asked him if he was expecting. Nashir purposely inflated his gut and proudly grinned from ear to ear. Flora turned to me to ask, "Did you see that?" I replied, "Sign of prosperity, Flora". Jeff to all the ladies (individually) "I am allowed four wives - won't you be my third?". Aslam was heard yelling across the room "Flora Pereira, eating 'mapera'". Azina's husband to Azmina: I fell asleep during your speech - can you give your speech all over again please?" Amin Dosani to Franny: "I'll hold your hand anytime." Overheard at the dessert bar - Nazmuddin to Flora: Don't take too much - you'll become 'jaadury'. Flora's reply: "At least I'll be able to work it off. Look, you're going bald and getting wrinkles!"

  The door prizes were announced then. Are you looking for salespeople? Rubina and Tazmin did a wonderful job selling tickets. First prize was a bar fridge generously donated by Shiraz Parbatani. Alnashir Hudda drew the winning ticket and very graciously donated it back. It was re-drawn and Mudaber won it but he didn't "graciously donate it back". (Rubina is bragging that it is now hers - Mudaber, you and I need to talk!). Second prize was dinner for two at Sami's. My brother, Ali Amarshi who was as excited as I was about this reunion, generously donated this. Nashir Lalani won this second prize. 

 Rubina, the party animal wanted to go clubbing or somewhere else after the dinner. (Didn't I tell you boys - she's still got it!) It seemed the classmates were ready to party all night but the spouses were tired - both Franny's and mine said, "My God, look at the time". (Told you Franny, should've left them at home!). What a marvelous night it was!

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