The 101 on Fitness Trainer Sohrab Khushrushahi’s Sohfit


The best gym in Mumbai could very well be your playground. At least that’s what fitness trainer and self-confessed enthusiast Sohrab Khushrushahi believes. He launched Sohfit in October with the clear objective of making your average gym workouts fun.

Who?
Khushrushahi gave up a thriving career practicing law, for his love of fitness. He left the glassy confines of leading law firms such as Linkalaters (Singapore) and Trilegal (Mumbai) to strike out on his own, and start afresh.

What?
For his bootcamps he chooses classic playground games, and weaves in an element of exercise. So a regular game of ‘Catch and Cook’ or ‘Dog and the Bone’ ends with the loser doing 15 burpees or squats. Though his brand was officially launched last month, he’s been helping his friends achieve their fitness goals for almost a year now – one of whom remarkably went from 80 kg on the scale to 56 kg.

Sohrab-khushrushahi-sohfitWhy?
“For me, it’s always been about having fun. You can’t be stressed about that one hour you spend in the gym. A lot of people treat it as a chore,” he says. His personal tryst with fitness began at 12 years of age, when he started training for cricket and he hasn’t looked back since.

Where?
Anywhere between Bandra and South Mumbai. You sign up for sessions closer to home, at the nearest gym, or join his bootcamp at Shiamak Davar’s studio in Mahalaxmi.

Bootcamp, Rs 750 per session (if you sign up for a month). Reach him at +91 8355-817-453 or visit Sohfit.com

Published on Le Mill

http://www.johbawa.com/news/the-101-on-fitness-trainer-sohrab-khushrushahis-sohfit.html

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Search for House FIRDAUS in Burma


THE HOUSE THAT NAOROJI MADON BUILT
NEAR KOKINE LAKE, MYANMAR

Greetings. I am Hoshang Dastoor from Parsi Colony, Dadar, Mumbai. My grandfather Naoroji Madon built a house called “FIRDAUS” near Kokine Lake, near Rangoon, Burma. He and his family – wife Tehmina and daughter Dr. Sarah (my late grandmother and mother) – came to India as refugees in the wake of the Japanese invasion in 1942.

I am planning to visit Burma in February 2018 and one of my top priorities is to locate this house. The visit to Burma is a cherished and sentimental dream as I grew up listening to stories of life in Burma. There is no point visiting unless I can locate both Firdaus and also Kennedy House, the other house that Naoroji built.

I do not know the name of the street where Firdaus was built, only that it was built on a one-acre plot was near Kokine Lake, about 7 miles from Rangoon proper, and described as a mansion..

Here is an available brief description of the house as Naoroji designed and built it:

· There was a rose garden in the front of the house.
· Living, dining and guest rooms situated on the ground floor.
· Three bedrooms and toilets upstairs
· A corridor connecting the kitchen, pantry and storeroom to the rest of the building.
· Venetian stained glass panes illuminated the staircase.
· Rooms were large and constructed with high ceilings and ample windows so that the interior was bright and airy
· A forest of rubber tress flanked the rear of the plot and was visible from a bedroom.

Please help me to trace the whereabouts of this house (Firdaus). Anybody with relevant information may kindly contact me. Contact details are:

Hoshang G. Dastoor

Landline: 022-24142227, 022-24141701
Mobile phone: 9821807071
E-mail address: hdastoor@vsnl.com
Wife’s mobile phone: 9821449037

Thanks and regards,
Hoshang Dastoor

THE DISAPPEARING CUISINE OF AN ANCIENT RELIGION


Mumbai’s beloved Parsi restaurants are struggling to survive.

Inside Brittania & Co. DOMINIC SANSONI

IT ALL BEGAN WITH A milkshake.

After the Arab conquest of Persia in the mid seventh century, adherents to Zoroastrianism, which may be the world’s oldest monotheistic religion, fled their ancestral home. Piling into boats and carrying their sacred fire with them, they landed on India’s west coast, in the state of Gujarat.

According to lore, the local king eyed the newcomers with suspicion. Not speaking their language, he presented the Zoroastrians with a jug of milk, filled to the brim, in an effort to communicate that there was no room for them in his kingdom. In response, the Zoroastrian high priests dissolved sugar in the milk without spilling a drop from the jug, demonstrating how they would enrich the local community without displacing anyone.

The sweetened milk won over the king—and eventually the rest of India. Thousands more Zoroastrians came to India, crossing present day Iran, Pakistan, and India on foot, on camel, and by boat.

Parsi women around a table, c. 1860s.
Parsi women around a table, c. 1860s. PUBLIC DOMAIN

Known as “Parsis,” or “Iranis” for later waves of Zoroastrian migrants, this small and tight-knit community has since built impressive businesses and charitable institutions in India. But their most well-known legacy remains culinary.

“People are crazy about Irani food,” says Sarosh Irani, the co-owner of B. Merwan & Co, a Parsi-style bakery and cafe in Mumbai. Waking up every night at midnight, he takes the train into work and arrives by 3 a.m. to carry on his grandfather’s tradition of baking his breads and pastries in a wood-fired oven. By 7 a.m., the cafe’s famous mawa cakes are warm and fragrant, and the doors are opened.

Outside Merwan & Co in Mumbai.
Outside Merwan & Co in Mumbai. ABHIJIT BHATLEKAR/ MINT/ GETTY IMAGES

Eager to build lives for themselves in their new home, hundreds of Zoroastrians opened restaurants and cafes like Irani’s between 1890 and 1940, with more established Parsis often supporting newer Irani arrivals with small loans. Serving cheap, tasty food in simple but stately decor, they became the Greek diners of India. Frequented by diplomats, day laborers, and everyone in between, they helped shape India’s largest city by bringing people of all classes, genders, religions, and ethnicities together over cups of chai.

Indians cherish the timeless quality of Parsi restaurants. But this adherence to tradition—a type of authenticity celebrated by modern food culture—may lead to their extinction. In a rapidly modernizing Mumbai, these beloved eateries are disappearing, replaced by hip, Parsi-inspired ventures run by outsiders.

Inside Merwan & Co.
Inside Merwan & Co. ABHIJIT BHATLEKAR/ MINT/ GETTY IMAGES

Parsi cuisine reflects the migratory roots of its people, with blends of Iranian and Gujarati flavors. In a country full of vegetarians, Parsi food is hearty and meaty. Local favorites include half-fry eggs, minced lamb in rich tomato sauce, and thick mutton stew with caramelized rice. Simple bun maska—bread and butter—with chai is another staple.

B. Merwan & Co has been serving its bun maska in the same location, behind the bustling Grant Road train station, since Sarosh’s grandfather, Boman Merwan, opened it in 1914. Housed in the first floor of one of south Bombay’s many beautifully dilapidated old buildings, nothing much has changed about the cafe in the past century. (Mumbai is still often called by its former name, Bombay.) With a full breakfast of coffee, bread, and an omelet costing less than two dollars, even the prices barely seem to have changed.

“Whatever you see here is 103 years old,” Sarosh says from his perch behind a large wooden cashier’s desk at the front of the cafe. He looks up from his receipt book and smiles. “It’s only we that are not that old.”

94-year-old Boman Kohinoor sits in his family's famous Britannia restaurant in the Fort neighborhood of South Mumbai.
94-year-old Boman Kohinoor sits in his family’s famous Britannia restaurant in the Fort neighborhood of South Mumbai. PRASAD SHENOY

But some Parsi proprietors are nearly that old. Ninety-four-year-old Boman Kohinoor greets visitors at Britannia & Co, established by his father in 1923, every day. Patrons flock to the high-ceilinged, checker-table-clothed institution for the signature berry pulao, a spiced biryani-rice dish with Iranian barberries.

Forty years ago, there were hundreds such restaurants scattered around Bombay—Kohinoor says he counted over 400 in the 1950s—all with signature Parsi dishes, a no-fuss culture, and low prices. Now, there are only a handful—30 according to estimates by Kohinoor, four according to another cafe owner.

But Mumbai has changed a lot in half a century, growing into a bustling, urban metropolis. And the families that run these heritage eateries have changed too.

“The pioneers who came here weren’t highly qualified,” says Farooq Shokri, owner of Kyani & Co, a bakery and restaurant he inherited from his father. The success of his and other Parsi cafes allowed more recent generations to go to college and excel as doctors, lawyers, and professionals abroad. Few children want to inherit the family business. “They prefer to have a less strenuous life than what they have seen their forefathers going through,” says Shokri.

For many of these families, bringing in a non-relative to run these restaurants is tantamount to closing shop. “The other Irani restaurants that have closed down, it’s because they have partners,” says Sarosh Irani. “When it’s in the family, if we have any problem, we sit and talk together and sort it out.”

Britannia & Co, Mumbai.
Britannia & Co, Mumbai. IRANICHAIMUMBAI/ CC BY-SA 2.0

But keeping it in the family is becoming harder and harder. And in a city of over 18 million, many Parsi restaurants have been pushed out of their now valuable real estate and replaced by multinational chains such as McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Shokri’s kids are still young, and he isn’t confident that they will want to take over as the third generation of restaurateurs. This uncertainty clearly nags him. “It is a legacy which my father has left for me that I will continue,” he says. “I don’t know how long I will continue, that is a question mark.”

Much of the distinctiveness of Parsi restaurants reflects the community’s exclusivity. Zoroastrians don’t allow converts into their religion, don’t recognize the children of intermarriages, and don’t allow outsiders inside the doors of their sacred fire temples. But this exclusivity is making the community smaller and smaller. The number of Zoroastrians in India has halved since the 1940s, with only 57,000 counted in India’s 2011 census. India so values the business and cultural contributions of the Zoroastrian community that the government has launched a public campaign and is funding fertility clinics to convince this dwindling community to have more children.

But while the real-deal Parsi cafes struggle, non-Parsi’s are repackaging the Parsi “brand” for a younger, wealthier clientele. London has its own version of a Parsi restaurant, a popular chain called Dishoom, that plays on a vintage Bombay aesthetic. A new, sprawling office park and commercial development in Mumbai’s hip Bandra neighborhood is home to SodaBottleOpenerWala—a “concept restaurant” owned by a restaurant and catering company with branches across the country.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaVj0i3BAW2/embed/?cr=1&v=7&wp=987#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A5929.68%7D

Danesh Vakshoor is the 29-year-old chef at Mumbai’s SodaBottleOpenerWala. His grandfather once ran an Irani cafe of his own, and he says he wanted to spread Parsi culture to others. “The Parsi cafes are dying day by day,” he says. “So I said, what do I do?”

SodaBottleOpenerWala promises to recreate the “dying legacy” of Bombay’s Parsi cafes, while serving exotic cocktails and hosting karaoke nights. Sepia-toned photos and antique knick knacks line the walls, and the menu is full of traditional Parsi dishes with modern updates. One branch even has a blown up photo of B. Merwan & Co papering a wall. It’s a common phenomenon in the food industry: new, hip ventures emphasizing tradition even as the progenitors of that tradition disappear.

Vakshoor sees SodaBottleOpener as a way to adjust a traditional favorite to the modern world. “People need a change after a particular point of time,” he says. “You improve on it, make some little changes.”

Shokri hasn’t been to SodaBottleOpenerWala, and he’s skeptical. “It’s just trying to copy the typical Irani type of restaurant,” he says. “From what I hear, the prices are very high. That wouldn’t fit into our culture of low-priced shops. We serve the common man. We cater to all sectors of society.”

The new iterations of cafes might serve variations of Dhansak stew and bun maska, but Sarosh, Shokri, and others are clinging to something more than menu items. At B. Merwan & Co, a man with long grey hair comes in, greets Sarosh, and sits in the same seat he’s been sitting in since 1971. Sarosh says he isn’t sure what will happen when he finally decides to stop making his midnight trek into the cafe. “We are all thinking, how long can we keep going?”

We’ve launched a food section! Gastro Obscura covers the world’s most wondrous food and drink. Sign up for our weekly email.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/disappearing-parsi-food

CHILDREN RAISE RS 10 LAKH FOR CANCER PATIENTS THROUGH DANCE COMPETITION


(Representative image)(Representative image)

MUMBAI: Parsi children, part of an organization called XYZ (Xtremely Young Zoroastrians) raised Rs 10 lakh for cancer patients by organizing a dance competition held on November 12. Founder of XYZ, Hoshaang Gotla, said the initiative was to make youngsters understand the power and fulfilment in service.

“Cancer is a disease that affects many people and this time it was close to home when it affected one of our own kids. Seeing his battle and his fighting spirit, we were all impressed and wanted to felicitate him along with his team mates who represented India and won medals. That led to a dance competition as a fundraiser to involve all our XYZs to put up brilliant performances and raised over ten lakhs for charity,” he said.

Each XYZ group was given different topics like the Indian Independence struggle, Festivals of India, North East India, Seasons of India, Sports in India, Rural India, Tollywood, Indian Monarchy and Weddings of India.
Nauzer Bharucha|

Thank you for your support. To view all pictures. Check out the XYZ Facebook page.

www.facebook.com/xyzfoundation.net

Winners of the Fali Chothia Charitable Trust


Nov. 17, 2017

 
The Fali Chothia Charitable Trust is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017 scholarships:


Kashmin Dalal is working toward a degree in Psychology at Kent State University. Her ultimate goal is to obtain a Ph.D. and work as a clinical child psychologist. She has been involved in community service from a very young age, and last year went on a medical mission to Haiti. This year, she volunteered at Standing Rock reservation, running a camp for adolescents and children, and helping to build housing for their families.

Tanaz Karai is enrolled in the Master’s program in Deaf and Hard of Hearing/Elementary Education at the College of New Jersey. Ever since she can remember, Tanaz has wanted to be a teacher to make a difference in the lives of young children. In addition to participating in numerous workshops and been affiliated with organizations on campus, she has been a dedicated volunteer teacher at the Zoroastrian Association of Greater New York since she was in high school. She was awarded the Good Life Emblem Award from ZAGNY in 2013.

Dilshad Patel is working toward an MS in Exercise and Health Science at the University of Houston, Texas.  After studying classical Indian dance since she was 5, she became an instructor at the Shiamak Davar Institute for the Performing Arts. Her teaching experience led her to pursue dance as a means of therapy and healing. She has spent the last decade studying movement therapy—simultaneously incorporating its principles in new programs and workshops to help athletes, children, patients, seniors, and a host of other populations.

Khushmeen Sakloth, pursuing an MS in Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington, hopes to work as a computational or data scientist in the clean energy sector. She completed her prior education in India, always at or near the top of her class. She was active in various Zoroastrian youth acitivities in India, and is currently involved in several professional activities on campus.

Delshad Shroff will complete her Master’s program in Developmental Child Psychology at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College in May 2018. Delshad was one of two students who earned merit scholarships to study at the NY University of Abu Dhabi and has been an active volunteer with several schools and special needs programs as well as local Zoroastrian organizations in Chennai, India, as well as in New York.

Ferin Yazdani-Biyouki is seeking a medical degree at VCU School of Medicine. Ferin moved here from Iran when she was quite young, and remembering the sacrifices her family made for her, is determined to support her community as a medical professional. She has been heavily involved in the activities of the California Zoroastrian Center LA, the Persian American Society for Health Advancement (for which she led an effort to collect 30k to provide eye treatments to visually impaired individuals in Tajikistan), and the 7th World Youth Zoroastrian Congress.

The Fali Chothia Charitable Trust was established in 1988 to help provide scholarships and interest-free loans to needy zoroastrian students. Awards are based on financial need, educational achievement, and community service. The trust is established under the Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Washington Inc. (ZAMWI), and over the past 30 years has awarded scholarships to students from all parts of the U.S. and Canada.

To demonstrate solidarity and trust between organizations while serving community causes, the U.S. Chapter of the World Zoroastrian Organisation is once again joining the Fali Chothia Trust’s Scholarship Program by adding up to fifty percent to every scholarship we give from our trust’s resources. This partnership enables us to significantly increase the amount of our scholarships. The trust is grateful to the WZO U.S. Chapter, and thrilled that its support is resulting in a significant increase in the help we are giving to our young scholars.

We rely on donations. Please send your check payable to ZAMWI/Fali Chothia Charitable Trust, 10300 Farnham Drive, Bethesda MD 20814.

All donations made to the trust are tax exempt, and go directly toward the corpus of the fund. Individual members of the Board of Trustees absorb all administrative, mailing, and other fund-raising costs.

 

Courtesy : Feroza Fitch

Kaizad Hansotia seeks to redefine fashion


It gives me an immense pleasure to announce that after working tirelessly hard for months for countless nights, our team has launched #RedefineFashion social movement whose aim is to challenge the status quo that fashion is not just about glamour or trends, but in reality, is about the people who create it. People such as the artisans and craftsmen who give their blood sweat and tears to bring a designer’s imagination to life. These skilled people in our country and declining and so are India’s traditional crafts. So together, let’s recognize and support them as we truly believe that Individually we can make a difference, and collectively we will bring change.

Please see this 2 min video and share your review and feedback. If you feel inspired then kindly sign up and help us share this video.
Warm regards,
Kaizad Hansotia

A labour of love spreading peace and harmony


Nothing in the soft-spoken bearded man clad in salwar kameez gives an inkling that he is famous, but Pakistani artist, social worker, philanthropist and stamp designer Jimmy Engineer is an international artist and a global citizen who loves and cares for fellow human beings, especially the less fortunate.

But, above all, he is a “servant of Pakistan”, a name by which he does not mind going. And a being striving for excellence.

“All my life I wanted to achieve excellence. I wanted to show that Pakistan can be as positive and creative as any other nation. I served for over 40 years my country. In all exhibitions I promoted the positive side of Pakistan.”

And many are the countries and the exhibitions he held in the course of his life as an artist, so far: over 80 exhibitions in both his native country and abroad. 

His works are in private collections in 28 countries; the themes are historical, philosophical, land and seascapes, architectural and cultural compositions, both figurative and abstract, calligraphy, portraits and miniatures.

The artist’s name is the result of a Zoroastrian tradition whereby the profession becomes the name. Both his father and grandfather were engineers, a tradition he did not follow, having different inclinations early in life.

“I started drawing and using powder colours when I was 4,” he says giving an overview of his life and work at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts where he is exhibiting paper prints of his original oils on canvas and original drawings on paper.

His teacher? 

“Nature.”

And when you learn from a perfect mentor, “you will always remain a student”, he says with sincere humility.

When he was six, in 1960, doctors gave him three months to live because his kidneys were failing. He defied medicine and nature — subsequent X-ray showed he had “two new kidneys” — in an act he considers a “second chance”. And because he was given this second chance, he believes he has to give back. 

He does, generously.

“Nearly all my proceeds go to charities dealing with blind children, orphans, prisoners, widows, homeless and sick people.”

It makes this altruistic artist who lives in a two-room rented house happy to give.

“For me it is important to be a good human being. To serve humanity.”

Which he does through his art.

His charity work, including the many walks for different causes, is all about changing perceptions: of his country, Pakistan, when he exhibited in the US or Europe, of children with special needs when he took them to public spaces — zoos, 5-star hotels, restaurants — of inmates, particularly juvenile, for he believes “nobody is born a criminal. Society makes them what they are”.

His dedication has contributed to the bettering of the lives of hundreds of people, in his home country and elsewhere. But he also wishes to spread the message of peace and raise awareness about problems plaguing people, for which, besides painting, he would walk: for cancer, leprosy, education, law and order.

In one instance, in 1994, he went on an arduous 4,000-km walk on foot, sleeping in villages, “seeing what people need”. In 2001 he walked for peace between India and Pakistan, “daring” to pin the flags of both countries on the long white shirt he walked in — “now in the Peace Museum in Beijing” — an act of courage and peril.

Spreading harmony and peace seems to be his mission in life. 

In 2009, after an exhibition in Houston, Texas, the mayor made Engineer an honorary citizen of the city and a goodwill ambassador.

His good deeds are too many to mention. Talking to this unassuming man one would not guess that Mother Theresa knew and embraced him, that personalities far and wide court him, that he received accolades, travelled the world over and received over 70 Shields of Honour from various Pakistani and foreign organisations.

The prolific artist spent three years at the National College of Arts. He left without waiting for his degree, a paper validating an obvious talent, and has been living in Karachi ever since. 

His works count over 3,000 paintings, more than 1,000 calligraphic works, over 1,500 drawings and 700,000 prints in private collections.

He paints in different styles, always claiming to be the disciple of a perfect master, nature, and, as such, having to perpetually learn more.

Seeing his works, it is difficult not to find him modest.

The drawings, original, are mostly magnified details of the bigger paintings. The lines flow easily, masterfully, meeting and separating to form images of tender parent-child love, caring beings helping or consoling each other, sadness and desolation, or peaceful animals from some bucolic landscape the artist must have seen in his many walks.

The exhibition could not have had a more apt title, “Lines That Talk”, because Engineer’s lines do indeed tell stories of myriad people.

Like in the prints of his oil paintings — which must be a wonder to behold — which tell the story of the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan, with all the accompanying human dispossession, misery and tragedy.

They are also a “tribute to the struggle and sacrifices of the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who created Pakistan”.

The images show masses in flight from burning villages, caravans, huddled people under a tree, the story of refugees everywhere, maybe more poignant here, where the narrative of dispossessed Palestinians is so familiar.

The colours, earthen with much reddish-maroon tint, are warm, soothing, almost belying the images they create.

Engineer’s architectural compositions are a labour of love. Painstaking details, layered, rich, images reflect Pakistani architecture, but also structures from India, Yemen, China and several other countries.

The compositions are such that “no building is off balance, jumping around”. Dense, yet with each image enjoying primacy, the filigree details of mosques, churches, buildings keep the eye prisoner, hungry for more.

The idea, in the artist’s 58 architectural compositions is that “if architecture [of different countries] can be brought together, people can be brought together”. Not surprising for someone seeking peace, harmony and the wellbeing of fellow human beings.

The “lines” Engineer makes talk are mesmerising. A quick glance would not do. One needs time to take all the details in, and then go over the images again and discover, with surprise, so many overlooked.

The exhibition runs through November 25.

http://www.jordantimes.com/news/features/labour-love-spreading-peace-and-harmony

Ancient Persian temple discovered in northern Turkey could rewrite religious history


Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient Persian temple from the fifth century B.C. in Turkey’s northern Amasya province that could rewrite the history of the region.

Istanbul University Archaeology Professor Şevket Dönmez said discoveries at the ancient Persian Oluz Höyük settlement in Toklucak village have the potential to change long-held notions of religion and culture in Anatolia.

In 11 seasons of excavations, the team uncovered thousands of artifacts, as well as temple structure.

“In this settlement from the fifth century B.C., we discovered a temple complex which is related to a fire culture, more precisely to the early Zoroastrian religion, or to the very original religious life of Anatolian people,” Dönmez told Anadolu Agency.

Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest extant religions, is believed to have originated from the prophet Zoroaster in present-day Iran. The discovery of a temple for fire worship suggests the religion may have had roots in Anatolia, as well.

“No 2,500-year-old artifacts have been found in Iran, yet they appeared in Anatolia. [With this discovery] Anatolia has entered the sacred geography of today’s Zoroastrians,” said Dönmez.

Describing the temple, Dönmez said it includes a holy room for burning fires and other stone-paved areas with many goods used in worship practices.

“They built a massive religion system here,” added Dönmez.

Dönmez also said Oluz Höyük is the only known Persian settlement in the region.

Excavations at Oluz Höyük started in 2007, after the site was first discovered during surface research near Tokluca village in 1999.

Dönmez and his team plan to continue research work at the site, possibly working on restoring the temple area in the future.

https://www.dailysabah.com/history/2017/11/06/ancient-persian-temple-discovered-in-northern-turkey-could-rewrite-religious-history

Udvada Station To Get New Lease Of Life In 2018


Two months after Aspi Sepoy, 46, caretaker of the Parsi community museum in the holy beach town of Udvada, lost his legs after slipping into the gap between the train and platform at Udvada station, the Railways have started work on increasing the height of the platform. Repeated follow-ups by mid-day led to the Railways not only fast tracking work at the 1895-built small halt station, but also deciding to give it a complete makeover, which should be wrapped up by January 2018.


Work being carried out to repave and increase the height of the platform

Located around 182 km from Mumbai, Udvada is one of the most important spiritual and religious centres for Zoroastrians in the world. At the Iranshah temple, the holy fire — consecrated in 1742 when the Zoroastrians came to India to escape religious persecution in Persia — is still burning.

As part of the makeover for the station that falls on the Mumbai-Surat railway line, platforms are being raised, paved and passenger amenities upgraded. Further, the old foot overbridge (FOB) has also been dismantled and is being rebuilt and strengthened. It is expected to be ready by the end of this month.


Udvada station sees a lot of pilgrims from the Zoroastrian community

When mid-day visited the station two days ago, work on raising platform one had been completed and paver blocks and tiles were being laid. On platform two and three, the edges were raised on either side, but the surface is being filled up and plastered.

According to a source, work is moving at hectic pace with a number of labourers being hired for the job. Besides raising the platform, the Railways will be laying tiles and paver blocks with tactile markings. A small walkway with paver blocks has also been built over the tracks at the Churchgate-end of the station so that senior citizens can access the platforms easily. “Udvada will get a new station in the new year,” said Ravinder Bhakar, chief public relations officer Western Railway.

Work being carried out to repave and increase the height of the platform

However, with the raising of the platform height, one peculiar problem that has emerged now is that the seats and benches at the station have become shallow and unusable.

Khurshed J Lawyer, actor and a regular commuter, welcomed the changes at the station but said there were a few other issues that needed to be addressed. “The platform length needs to be increased at the station. When longer trains halt at the station, at least four to five coaches are usually outside the platform and many passengers, especially senior citizens, find it difficult to board and alight.”

Aspi Sepoy
Aspi Sepoy

Railway authorities said that they would consider the request later when they begin with phase two of the station upgrade.
Meanwhile, if all goes well, Aspi Sepoy will, in the course of the next few days, get two imported artificial legs to replace his lost limbs, each costing Rs 5 lakh.

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/udvada-station-to-get-new-lease-of-life-in-2018/18734187

Looking for Parsi Cyclists and their Stories


I am currently based in London, pursuing a postgraduate degree in Critical Writing for Art and Design at Royal College of Art. For one of my research projects, I have chosen to write about With Cyclists Round the World. As you may know, this travelogue narrates the experiences of Adi Hakim, Jal Bapasola, and Rustom Bhumgara – three Parsis who travelled the globe on push bikes from 1923 to 1928. Your website provided some articles that proved helpful to my enquiry. Amongst them, one mentioned a Sports scholarship, named after the trio and awarded by the Parsi Panchayat of Vadodara. And another was Mr. Ervad Marzban Hathiram’s article for the Times of India (2002).

Here are the links for your reference:

https://zoroastrians.net/2017/06/15/scholarships-from-parsi-panchayat-vadodara/

https://zoroastrians.net/2014/12/16/around-the-world-in-53-months/

I have been studying the said travel account at the British Library, where a copy of the first edition is available. Additionally, I have ploughed through the archives of The Times of India to get relevant material. In the newspaper, the journey received much attention but surprisingly the book finds little mention. So, I would be grateful if you could connect me with their families or any other knowledgeable source that can provide further information about these men and the publishing history of the book.

To me, their accomplishment deserves to be studied, celebrated, and brought to the attention of global audiences. And I hope you will extend a helping hand in my humble effort to do so.

Here is further information on the expedition and the book, including individuals and institutions that link to this topic in some way –
About the expedition
Cyclists: Adi Hakim, Jal Bapasola, Rustom Bhumgara*, Gustad Hathiram, Nariman Kapadia, Keki Pochkhanawala
The expedition was undertaken from 1923 to 1928
The cyclists were Bombay Pioneers (of the British Indian Army).
They were members of the Bombay Weightlifting Club, Bombay YMCA Cycling Touring Club, and the Cyclists Touring Club of London
Amongst others, Mr. G K Nariman, Sir Hormusji Adenwalla, Sir Hormusji Wadia greatly helped the enterprise
And lastly, upon their return, they were given grand receptions by Messrs, Little and Co., Bombay Students Brotherhood, Bombay Boy Scouts Association, and the Young Men’s Parsi Association to name a few
In these years, the Zoroastrian Physical Culture and Health League was an important organisation for sporting endeavours in general. And as of 2017, the Parsi Panchayat of Baroda has announced a Sports scholarship in their honour.
*Rustom became a political activist after returning and served two terms in prison.
About the book
With Cyclists Round the World was first published in 1931
Authored by: Adi Hakim, Gal Bapasola, Rustom Bhumgara
Printed by: Rustomji Dossabhoy Shroff, at J N Petit Parsi Orphanage, Captain Printing Works, Lalbaug, Bombay
Published by: Adi B Hakim, Shera House, Parsi Colony, Dadar
The book was republished in 2008 by Roli Books as With Cyclists Around the World
Copyrights for this are owned by Darayous Adi Hakim and Roda Darayous Hakim (Adi Hakim’s son and daughter-in-law)
Historian Esther David has contributed to this edition
I have intentionally outlined an extensive list because any kind of input on any of these sources will be helpful.
In particular, I am looking for biographical information about the cyclists and the book’s publishing history.
I can be contacted through email or phone –

 

I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your consideration.

Warm Regards,

Niyoshi Shah