A Stitch in Time

Small Talk with Ashdeen Lilaowala

The textile designer who gussy ups hot numbers with a 160-year-old needlework tradition.

He says it with a dead-pan face, making it a shade more macabre. “I walked into this party, and bumped into someone I knew. He turned to his friend and said, ‘Ashdeen is Parsi. You remember I told you I have a friend who will be eaten up by a vulture when he dies’. The Tower of Silence is a great conversation starter in Delhi.”

For Ashdeen Lilaowala, a Parsi boy who grew up at Godrej Baug, went to Cumballa Hill High School and joined Parsi Scouts, making Delhi his home meant he had to educate Northerners about a religion that dates back to pre-5th century BCE.

“You are left with little choice,” he says, “but to say, ‘You know, the same community as Ratan Tata’s’.”

Which is probably why the textile designer is busy doing his bit to showcase the best of Parsi Zoroastrian culture.

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