Monthly Archives: August 2015

In ’65 War, His Plane Crashed in Pak. Then, a Great Escape.

In the early part of the 1965 war with Pakistan, Dara Phiroze Chinoy, a young Flying Officer with the Indian Air Force found himself suddenly trapped behind enemy lines.

“An anti-aircraft shell had exploded into my engine and the engine flamed out. The aircraft was on fire and there was smoke and flames in the cockpit. I couldn’t see anything,” Chinoy, now 70, told NDTV in his house in Bengaluru.

His story is one of the greatest wartime escapes by any Indian in any war fought by India.

Dara Phiroze Chinoy as a young IAF pilot

On September 10, 1965, Flying Officer Dara Chinoy, a 20-year-old Parsi from Mumbai, was flying French-built Dassault Mystere fighter-bombers out of the Adampur air base in Punjab. He was a rookie, having been commissioned just two years earlier. Then his unit was tasked to take out a Pakistani artillery position just across the border in Pakistani Punjab. According to Chinoy, “There was a gun position harassing our Army and they had to keep their heads down. They were trying to cross the Ichhogil canal but they couldn’t because of these heavy artillery guns which were keeping them down. We were supposed to destroy one of these targets [located] in South Pakistan.”

Eager to rush into battle with his squadron mates, the young Flying Officer didn’t bother to grab a quick bite, or for that matter, drink a drop of water, something that nearly cost him his life in the hours ahead.

“As we pulled up for the attack on the gun position, I felt a solid thud in the bottom of my aircraft”. With his fighter jet on fire (there was no co-pilot), Chinoy ejected.

Chinoy has cheated death three times in a little more than the last fifty years.

Floating to the ground with his parachute, he very nearly made an easy target. “On the way down, they were firing at me with rifles. I could hear the zing of the rifle shots as I could also hear the loud booming of the anti-aircraft guns. As I landed, escaping the gunfire from the rifles, they were shouting saying ‘Maaro’ (kill) and using abusive language.”

With his heart in his mouth, the young pilot ran for his life. “They chased me on jeeps and on foot but, fortunately, the crops were not being attended to and the grass was tall. It was a sugarcane field with grass and sugarcane growing upto six feet high, so I was dodging them like a rabbit. I managed to dodge them by heading North, keeping the setting sun to my left. They expected me to head East.”

But the game was far from over. Chinoy realised that the only real opportunity to hot-foot it across the border and get into India would be under the cover of darkness. “I waited for the sun to set. There was the moon rising at the same time as the sun set (in) those days, so that guided me towards the East. I burnt all my authentication sheets and maps and removed all shiny objects.”

Alternating between running, jogging and walking for the next five hours, Chinoy was tired, his throat parched and his legs and back aching because of the force of the ejection he had undergone hours earlier. “My greatest fear was that I would fall unconscious because of a lack of water – dehydration – and whoever found my unconscious body would kill me and ask questions later.”

Eventually, he regained his strength after finding a well where he drank to his heart’s content. But there was hardly a moment to waste. Swimming across canals, some deep, and running some more, avoiding villagers and stray dogs along his hastily-improvised route, Chinoy came finally across what looked like the Amritsar-Batala highway.

But he wasn’t sure. And even if this was India, the danger was not behind him. “At dawn, I came across some soldier talking in a South Indian language. I challenged them first saying ‘kaun hain vahan? (who goes there)’? Of course, [within moments] they had me kneeling at gunpoint with my hands raised. I said I was Flying Officer Chinoy. They asked for ID.” But the young fighter pilot had none to show – he had destroyed or thrown away all personal identification when he was behind enemy lines.

Eventually, he was freed and allowed to return to his Unit. Back at his base in Adampur in Punjab, Chinoy received a raucous welcome. “My roommate, in good humour, said ‘Oh no, he’s back'”.

Dara Phiroze Chinoy with squadron mates

And within days, Chinoy was back in the thick of action flying over Pakistan.

Remarkably, Chinoy who retired as Group Captain, has cheated death three times in a little more than the last fifty years. Even before his ordeal in 1965, Chinoy, just a trainee-pilot in 1964, ejected from an Ouragan fighter over the Brahmaputra river after his jet developed a serious loss of control problem with a runaway electric trimmer (a key control system in the aircraft). In 1987, Chinoy faced another life and death situation when he had to eject from a MiG-21 after a bird hit to his jet.

But his love for aviation remained steady. For several years, Dara Chinoy continued flying as a civilian pilot, clocking thousands of hours operating corporate aircraft belonging to the Tatas and the Ambanis.

by – Vishnu Som, NDTV

Click Below for the full article and some interesting videos

In search of ancestry of a button


I’m a renown researcher of international uniform buttons and have various international contacts.

Recently, a colleague had asked me to help identify a button that he had just added to his capturecollection. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to help but when I researched the motto; Humata Hukhta Huvarshtaat, located on the scroll at the bottom of the button, I found that it has a strong connection with Zoroastrianism.   I can add that the button is of brass/copper and made in England.

Any information on by whom and when this button was worn, or any other details, are much appreciated.

Kind regards,

Denis A. Darmanin

Just what the doc ordered: Gynaec to the stars, RP tells his story

Lifegiver : The Biography of Dr R.P. Soonawala (English) (Hardcover) Price: Rs. 391
This the fascinating story of Dr R.P. Soonawala, the man synonymous with gynaecology in India. He designed India’s first female contraceptive in 1963, now called the Soonawala IUD, he has conducted scores of training programmes across towns and villages in India, training thousands of doctors to deliver better health care. He was awarded the Padmashree in 1991.

Acclaimed writer Rashmi Uday Singh pens the story of his journey from being the grandson of an engine driver and starting work in a small hospital in Mumbai to birthing generations of Kapoors, Ambanis, Godrejs and Birlas. Interspersed are tales of a how a common love for hockey led to his falling in love with the stunning Piloo Gimi, his years of struggle as a student and his close connection with each of his patients and ward boys.

Click Here to purchase

Watching him drive his sedan past some serious afternoon traffic to Gallops restaurant at Mahalaxmi racecourse, and then tuck into kebabs and jalebi cheesecake between sips of techni-coloured fruit mocktail, you wonder if Dr RP Soonawala, aka RP, is actually 86. “You should watch him go for a cotton candy, like a little child,” says food and health writer Rashmi Uday Singh about the object of her admiration and subject of her new book, Lifegiver (published by Harper Collins). The official biography of the Padma awardee gynaecologist and obstetrician. It released this week.

Writer Rashmi Uday Singh says she followed Dr RP Soonawala all the way from Mykanos to Jaipur for research on the book. Pic/Sameer Markande

Five years in the making, it has had Singh trail the ridiculously busy octogenarian from one end of the world to the other. “From Mykanos to Jaipur, and everywhere else in between,” she laughs. Although she has authored several titles on food, this was the first time she has attempted a biography. She calls it her most challenging assignment yet, thanks to the research involved and time spent in tracking down RP’s patients. “Most people were more than happy to contribute,” says the author. “We had to spend a lot of time on Google,” says the doctor, smiling, referring to his celebrity clientele. “I quite enjoyed revisiting some of my cases.”

Singh says she shares a special bond with RP (“he has been inside my stomach so many times that I had to get inside his head” is her favourite quip), just as the many women who have shared their stories in the book. “The relationship between a doctor and patient is special,” he says, “especially between an obstetrician and patient. It is a bond that is built over nine months leading to a new life joining the family, a joyous occasion.”

And the bonds are many — right from industrialist wife and philanthropist Parmeshwar Godrej (who is grateful to the doctor for relieving her from the agony of carrying a still born child after all other doctors had refused to operate on her and winning her “unconditional confidence”), to actress Mumtaz, on whom RP performed two procedures he had introduced in 1974 for the first time in the country — laparoscopy and microsurgery — to identify and eliminate a gynaecological niggle and make her fit for pregnancy again. Liquor baron Vijay Mallya flew RP to Los Angeles to deliver his son Sidhartha. Ranbir, Karishma and Kareena Kapoor were all delivered by him too, and in the book, Amitabh Bachchan writes how the doctor is indispensable to his family.

But it is not just the stars or royalty like Rajmata Gayatri Devi. A significant chunk of Dr Soonawala’s patients are from humble backgrounds. “And he treats them with the same kind of compassion, dignity,” says Singh, who while researching for the book, accompanied him to places that have shaped his life, including the house at Grant Road where he was delivered by a mid-wife (as was the practice).

Given that RP began practicing in 1948, the story of his life reads like a chapter in medical history, and that of the city. “When we started practicing, a doctor would feel the pulse of the patient and diagnose —diagnostic procedures and blood groups came later.” From 1956 to the mid-70s, some revolutionary innovations were introduced in medical practice, including sonography which replaced the X-ray. “While technology has got better and pin hole surgeries have become easier thanks to hi-tech cameras, innovations continue to be based on theories that were introduced during the ’60s and ’70s,” says the doctor adding, “I feel happy to be have been part of such a significant era in medical history.”

A personal triumph, says RP, while playing down his contribution, was The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971. “Those days, women had no say, whether they came from educated backgrounds or otherwise. The mortality rate during abortion was 20 in a 100. There were many cases of women losing their lives to quacks because medically terminated pregnancies were illegal in India,” he says. A steady stream of these women made it to Wadia Hospital in Parel, and Dr Soonawala was at the forefront of a sustained campaign to make it easier for women to choose abortion at an early stage.

Most importantly, he introduced an Intra-Uterine Contraceptive Device that allowed women to plan their pregnancies. The empowering innovation won him the Padma Shri (1991) and the prestigious Von Grafenberg medal from the University of Kiel in 1984.

Medical history apart, the book offers us a glimpse of Bombay-of-the-Parsis, by-the-Parsis. “He took me to the hospital district of Parel, up the wooden stairways, courtyards with old mango trees,” says Singh, who is particularly fond of the community that has been instrumental in building the island city.

“I have always been curious about why so many leading doctors and industrialists are Parsis. I was told it is because of their belief that abundance, rather than abstinence or austerity, is important, and everything they do is to celebrate the abundance of life in its many forms,” she says, recounting how everywhere she went with RP, women rushed out to meet him, with emotional accounts of how he had delivered their children, grand children and praising his quietly assuring presence. “The joke at Wadia Hospital is that if anybody reported to work late, instead of admonishing them, he would ask, ‘Beta, aaj khana khaya?”’

The discussion veers towards the state of maternity wards in government hospitals, and how here, Mumbai has an edge over other metros. “Most public hospitals in the city have better technology and facilities than government hospitals elsewhere, but I still feel doctors show some reluctance in using them well,” he says. “You see, when we became doctors, medical practice was looked upon as a service. Now it is a business. And the corporate stake-holders are responsible for this change.”

On a lighter note, we talk about his boundless energy. He attributes it to his family with three generations of tireless medical practitioners. His father Dr Phiroze Soonawala practiced back in the 1920s. His son, Darius is an orthopaedic and Zaheer is a general physician. His brother, Dr FP Soonawala is a urologist. His brother is more accurately the urologist Los Angeles community group leader, he shares his time and expert advice out side of work for the good of all.

He draws inspiration from his wanderlust. His mother was a traveller with a lust for life, and is responsible for the way he is turned out even in his 80s — his hair has just a dash of grey and he chooses denims and a checked shirt for the interview. The doctor shares a secret. “A curious mind is a young mind,” he says, picking up an orchid bud from the floral arrangement on his table while drawing attention to its shape and colour. “Look at the architecture!” he says.

“You see, the moment you retire and stop using your mind and body, you start ageing,” he says, driving his dessert spoon into the baked Alaska that has just been flambéed.

Yo Workouts !

_DSC0162-cutAs has been his practice of expressing gratitude to the Universe on his birthday every year, global holistic health guru Mickey Mehta is giving the wellness industry a gift on his 53rd birthday today.

The generous 53% discount he is spontaneously offering on all new memberships at his 360 Wellness Temples in the city and country apart, Mickey Mehta is introducing an exciting series of signature workouts that promise to revolutionize the very concept of wellness, well-being, health and fitness.

Called ‘Yo Workouts’, the wellness guru promises will be a shout, or a call, to every soul in the yo-logo2 (1)universe to wake up and take their wellness seriously. It has taken Mickey Mehta years of scientific research and new age study, a constant pursuit of what works best for mankind, to create the ‘Yo Workouts’.

“Very simply, they are based on the principles, spirituality and science of Yoga, but I have reworked them and given them a 21st century spin so that they now not only appeal to the youth who are looking for quick-fix solutions to all life’s issues, but also attend to the elderly who are reaching and pushing new boundaries,” said Mickey Mehta of his ‘Yo Workouts’.

Explaining further, the holistic wellness expert with universal reach and appeal said, “Every workout connects body to mind, mind to spirit, spirit to body… leading to wholeness and evolution. They have been aesthetically and functionally designed to address all human needs on the ladder of evolution, including fitness, health, wellness, and well-being.”

Breaking it down further so that it can be easily applicable and beneficial to every Indian, Mickey Mehta has described his ‘Yo Workouts’ as a soul-searching synergy of exercises called Flow-Yo, Card-Yo, Stretch-Yo, Strength-Yo, Ab-Yo, Cross-Yo and Cool-Yo. “Yo is like saying yuppie, it’s young, cool, trendy, it’s another way of giving the Universe a High Five,” he explained.

“These terminologies are self-explanatory, they harmoniously and seamlessly combine in the _DSC0188-cut‘Yo Workouts’ to help build the champions of tomorrow and stabilize and energize those of advancing years,” said Mickey Mehta. The ‘Yo Workouts’ are a part of the popular Wellness Revolution for Human Evolution campaign that he drives globally.

“I want Wellness to be the World’s Religion No. 1,” said Mickey Mehta, “and I will take every initiative to work towards making ours a disease-free world. If that happens, then every day will be like a ‘birth day’ not just for me – but for all of us. That’s why I am introducing the ‘Yo Workouts’. I want everybody to get energized. When you do that, your potential gets maximized and optimized. It’s what I call ‘Getting Mickeymized’,” says the 53-year-old holistic health guru whose ‘Yo Workouts’ have given him the mind and energy of a teenager.

So what are you waiting for let yourself be transformed and metamorphised.

Join YO Workouts and get Mickeymized.

Enroll now and get, set, Yo at your nearest Mickey Mehta Wellness Temples.

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Ashem Vohu

ZmusicS songs are fully inclusive, universal & for everyone. If you like them, please share them on your own YouTube & social media. They are Based on our Past; our ancestors way of life & Dedicated to our Future, our Youth. For more details, please see the site below. Copyrights by ZmusicS producers at Rusk Studio Allo Records, Hollywood, CA. U.S.A.

For more info and to receive a copy of this song in English & its Persian version, please see ZmusicS or click on

BE GOOD: Sing Ashem Vohu - Do Good For the Sake of Goodness - HTTPS://YOUTU.BE/GAMPQJNR-5A


BE GOOD: Khan Ashem Vohu – New Year Prayer – Basic Fundamental Zoroastrian Prayer. The most simple yet fundamental prayer of Zoroastrian Faith is ‘Ashem Vohu”. It contains only 12 words and a very basic approximate meaning of the whole prayer is “Do Right For the Sake of Righteousness, Not For Any Expectations or Rewards”. It may also result in an approximate meaning of “Happiness Comes to Those Who Seeks Happiness for Others”.

Vacancy for Secretary

Mr. Sam Dastoor has a requirement for a young, pleasant, with good communication and inter personal skills to groom herself to work as an Independent Secretary to the Chairman for a large & professionally managed company. Should be Graduate with complete knowledge of Computer and Chairman’s office management & administration. Initially she will assist the current secretary and learn the requirements. Salary is not a constraint as such the best in the industry will be offered based on experience and merits. Kindly contact Mr. Sam Dastoor on email ID:

A Day in the Life of… Artist, Educationist and Entrepreneur, Oorvazi Irani

An artist at the core, Oorvazi is also a successful film-maker, film critic, educationist and acting coach. She freelances as a photo editor for Life Positive Magazine and is also the CEO of Kishore Namit Kapoor Acting Institute (South Mumbai) and has regular columns in film journals and online web channels. Impressive, right? Well, that’s not all.

The alumni of reputed Indian film making institutes like FTI & NFAI, Oorvazi has branched out into direction for her home production that was started by her father Sorab Irani in 1975.

After two successful short films, The K File and Mamaji which got a lot of recognition in Indian and foreign film festivals, she is now ready with her next big venture, The Path of Zarathustra. This is a 79-minute-long English language feature film that talks about the evolution of the Parsi community. Ahead of the release of her film, Oorvazi takes us through a day in her eventful life. Take a look.


Oorvazi’s day starts with experiencing the glorious morning rays of the sun and dancing to the rhythm of the waves, which make her feel the pleasure of being alive.


As an educationist she’s got to be in school on time. So by 8.30 AM she heads out, wearing the proud teacher hat.

“I enjoy my early morning school lectures, teaching film at the SVKM IB school in Mumbai (14 – 16 years) and nurturing young talent,” she says.


Post school, Oorvazi gets busy, working from home, juggling multiple assignments.

“I enjoy my freedom as a freelancer. I can dedicate most of my time to working on my independent projects,” adds the excited director who awaits her film’s release.


Amidst all her commitments, Oorvazi takes time out to pamper her maternal grandmother.


Even though it’s late in the day, Oorvazi is energised as she gets into the role of an acting coach conducting the Michael Chekhov Acting Workshop, a technique that she has introduced to India with her DVD. She strives to empower actors to use their body and imagination instead of their personal memories in the process of acting.


She believes that evening walks are a great way to stay fit and refreshed.

Oorvazi adds, “For an artist, no opportunity is lost to create art. Anything is a canvas or inspiration. Walks turn out to be inspiring photo opportunities; I just cannot resist the urge to create art out of the ordinary and seize the moment.”



Then Oorvazi gets to practising for her play. Here she explores the infinite resource of the body. “Body as art …time to exercise body and imagination,” she explains.


Her flirtatious streak in front of the camera.


She ends the day with her favourite person Dinyar Contractor and a big, wide smile.

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