Parsis, dodos and other mysteries
Let me state at the very onset that I want Parsis to fight extinction for purely self ish reasons. It is very important to have three Parsis in your life: Your doctor, your jeweler and your lawyer since most Parsis are generally honest and conscientious by nature.And having them in your life can lead to a whole bunch of laughs because they are also notoriously eccentric.
This year I ordered my son’s birthday cake from Mrs Byramjee and when I told her that I’d be sending my driver to pick it up, she informed me, `Send a young driver only.’ My mind was filled with risqué thoughts of what this 80-year-old wanted to do with my driver and when I asked her, she snapped at me so I sent my 22-year-old cousin (since he is the youngest man I know with a driv ing license). When he got back he said that she pinched his cheek, gave him a toothless grin and sim ply handed the cake over. I am still trying to figure that one out. A few months ago I spotted our lovely Parsi assistant sitting at the lunch table rather despondently . I asked her what was wrong and she sighed and said, `I went on a date yesterday. We were at this nice restaurant when I sud denly remembered I had to tell boss about his morning meeting so I excused myself and sent a message. We ordered some wine, and boss’s new designer called saying he needed some measurements so I quickly gave him the collar size, waist etc. I had a sip of the wine and my date was talk ing about his mom, when I recalled that I had to send flowers from boss and you to Prabhu Deva so I did that as well. My phone rang again. It was Karan Johar -how could I not take the call?
So I took it, told him boss will call him right back and when I looked up, that silly boy had left’.
Today he sent me a message saying, `Tel leva ja`. These Parsi boys are very spoiled. Let them stay with their mama only . Any way his mother is very bossy and his sister, Behnoush is a little cracked, I would not be able to adjust.’ When I ask her how she knows all these details about his family she replies ` Of course I know, he is a cousin after all.’ Seeing the Jiyo Parsi ads in the last few weeks, I start asking my Parsi female friends why they think their community is vanishing. The answers vary from `Stop your boring questions’ to `Who will take care of my mother she drives everyone else crazy’ to finally `69,000 Parsis are left, half are my own sex and out of the men, most are over 60 years old, where will I find a nice Parsi boy? If I marry a nonParsi, they won’t let my children come to the Agia ry and learn our ways. Obviously our numbers will dwindle. Who wants to deal with this, better to just work and think about all this later.’ Perhaps this is the integral answer to my query . In a complex situation, we tend to procrastinate and then it is simply too late; too late to find someone and too late to have children.
The Parsi community is slowly disappearing and we are soon going to miss everything that they contribute to the potluck dinner that India hosts every day. The charm, honesty and sheer humor that they bring to the table along with their dhansak and patrani macchi are pretty much irreplaceable.
After all which other community can make even dying sound funny by referring to it as `Wicket padi gayi’ Going out the way of a fallen wicket is inevitable for all of us, but going the way of the dodo…?