Of Parsi Akuri & Caramel Custard


Mithila Mehta on why you should visit the Irani cafes of Mumbai

Those of you who are active on the social circuits would have certainly heard of the restaurant, Soda Bottle Openerwala, a chic new take on the legendary Irani cafes of Mumbai. Soda Bottle Openerwala is not a bad deal, the food is decent and the décor is well, interesting. But that’s where it ends.

Most people that flock to Soda Bottle Openerwala have never visited the real Irani cafes of Mumbai. A friend of mine, a big fan of the restaurant, insisted that the original cafes were “dirty” (she’s never been to one, so not sure how she can be so sure). “Soda Bottle Openerwala is cool and so comfortable. Why would I go to those old cafes,” she whimpered, seemingly oblivious to the fact that we were waiting outside the restaurant for a table, unfortunate souls in a packed human stew

Too many people now are happy to have a “dolled up version” of the experience, never mind that the real deal can be awe inspiring and seeped in nostalgia.

Visiting an Irani Café in Mumbai should be an experience mandatory to all residents, especially since they are a rapidly dying out species.

As you step into the café, time seems to stand still. The past hangs heavy in the air.

Most of these cafes are ‘same same but different’ – they have certain characteristics which are common to all such cafes, but also their own set of quirks which define their own individual character. The similarities start with the décor, lightweight black chairs (imported from Poland) with plastic weaving at the seat) and the tables covered with checkered red tablecloths. Don’t miss the old world bakery counter, the cash counter (stocked with various household provisions) and the shelf full of glass jars containing various delicious treats.

So that you can enjoy the experience as much as we do, here is a list of things to do when visiting these quaint nostalgic setups.

1. Irani Cafés allow you to indulge in some serious people watching. They are all located in the middle of bustling areas (and interestingly enough, almost always on a street corner). It’s great fun to see the variety of people that come in, grabbing a quick chai in the middle of their busy day. Because tables at the cafes are shared, you will also find yourself sitting next to someone unknown.

Yazdani Bakery

Yazdani Bakery

2. Try and strike up a conversation with the owner (hint: he’s the old man sitting behind the cash counter). They are traditionally known to be grumpy (especially if you do not tender exact change), but all the owners we’ve met have been absolute sweethearts.

3. Britannia & Co at Ballard Pier is best known for its adorable owner, the charming 95-year-old Boman Kohinoor. Mr. Boman is a born storyteller. He loves sharing stories and anecdotes. He will proudly take you through his collection of sepia-tinged collection of treasures; letters, cards and photographs from famous diners who have visited Café Britannia. There is even a postcard from the Queen of England in there somewhere.

Boman Kohinoor with the letter from Her Majesty, the Queen of England.

Boman Kohinoor with the letter from Her Majesty, the Queen of England.

4. Brilliant food, served at the speed of light. From Irani tea (sweet and comforting) to brun maska (break and toast), jam-bread, omelette, akuri (a popular Parsi-style egg preparation) caramel custard, pastries and more. Wash it down with Pallonjee’s Raspberry beverage, another legendary Parsi item.

Chai and maska Pao

Chai and maska Pao

5. Merwans at Grant Road serves the world’s best mawa cakes (no kidding). The catch? They runout of stock by 7am, so it’s awfully hard to get to! In case you miss out, visit Yazdani & Co at Fort for delicious apple pie (the heritage setting makes it taste better, I swear) or Britannia for caramel custard. Kayani & Co offers some lovely banana bread.

Caramel Custard at Britania & Co

Caramel Custard at Britania & Co

6. Here’s the best part – you can stuff your face silly but try as you may, it’s unlikely that your bill will cross into triple digits. (unless you visit Britannia, that place is more expensive). In your face, inflation.

Military Cafe - Fort area,

Military Cafe – Fort area

A classic case of going, going gone is Mumbai’s fading Irani Cafes. Bastani’s (Metro) closed down recently, it’s only a matter of time before other fatalities are added to the list. Till then, we’ll continue to enjoy the delicious caramel custard and wash it down dollops of nostalgia.

http://sbcltr.in/of-parsi-akuri-and-caramel-custard/

Advertisements

Sanjan Sanatorium: Truly Paradise Regained


The Sanatorium at Sanjan is the result of a munificent donation received by the WZO Trust Funds from the generous Trustees of Bai Maneckbai P. B. Jeejeebhoy Deed of Settlement Fund. The Sanatorium became operational on 23rd September 2001 and has over the years become a popular retreat for community members.

The WZO Trust Funds Bai Maneckbai P. B. Jeejeebhoy Sanatorium at Sanjan is a palatial bungalow, comfortable rooms radiating with understated elegance, a huge front yard where a beautiful garden, the like of which is rarely seen, is always in full bloom, a backyard that has a planned mango orchard, coconut tress growing along the boundary, palm trees and many others all combine in harmony to create an ambience without parallel. The pollution free environment complements the trees, the flowers and the fauna.

Sanjan Sanatorium 18

Sanjan Sanatorium 13

Sanjan Sanatorium 28

IMG_0774

The very name of Sanjan conjures up nostalgia and sentiment in the heart of every Zoroastrian, for it was on the shores of Sanjan in Gujarat that we Zoroastrians received sanctuary when our revered ancestors landed 1385 years ago to preserve our faith. That we Zoroastrians, proud and patriotic citizens of Mother India were given not only sanctuary over thirteen centuries ago, but permitted to retain and follow our faith in an era when it was not an easy task to retain a religious identity not followed by the rulers of the day is indicative of the warmth and enthusiasm with which visitors to Sanjan have been greeted since time immemorial.

Sanjan is steeped in history.

Did you know that according to tradition, the holy Iranshah fire was created at Sanjan. The ‘alat’ for the consecration was brought on foot by Zoroastrian clergy from four Atash Behrams of Iran?

Did you know that Paak Shreeji Iranshah was consecrated on collection of 16 different fires, including one from lightning brought down by the strength of mantras and rituals performed by Dasturji Naryosang Dhaval?

Did you know that Iranshah was resident at Sanjan for 669 years and thereafter to protect it from external threats during turbulent times was shifted to the Bahrot Caves for 12 years and thereafter t0 Vansda Forest at Ajmalgadh for 14 years. Holy Iranshah was then taken to Navsari (313 years), Surat (3 years), Navsari again (5 years), thereon to Valsad (1 year) and finally enthroned at Udvada 274 years earlier on October 28, 1742, where it presently reigns in all its majesty & glory.

Did you know that one of the oldest ‘dakhmas’, was professionally excavated at Sanjan in 2002 by the World Zarthushti Cultural Foundation with the support of the Archeological Survey of India? Whilst the structure can be dated to the 11th century, the bones found have been dated by Oxford University to the period 1410 – 1450 AC.

IMG_0780

The Sanjan Memorial Column standing next door to the sanatorium is a community symbol that generates awe in our hearts and reminds us of the farsightedness of our revered ancestors, the fruits of which we as a community enjoy till date.

Yes, Sanjan is full of surprises.

We too have a surprise of our own. We combine history with the beauty of nature and blend it with comfortable living & sumptuous meals. Rs.540/= per person per day for full board & lodge, in this day & age is the pleasant surprise with which we greet our guests.

Come, visit Sanjan ………….. have a great holiday.

– The WZO Trust Funds.

YOUNG PARSI ARTISTS SHOWCASE THEIR TALENT


The works of artists Farshad Engineer (L) and Naomi Haveliwala (R) were displayed for the community members at the Karachi Parsi Institute. PHOTOS: COURTESY THE ARTISTS

The works of artists Farshad Engineer (above) and Naomi Haveliwala (below) were displayed for the community members at the Karachi Parsi Institute. PHOTOS: COURTESY THE ARTISTS

The works of artists Farshad Engineer (L) and Naomi Haveliwala (R) were displayed for the community members at the Karachi Parsi Institute. PHOTOS: COURTESY THE ARTISTS

KARACHI:Two young Parsi artists, Farshad Engineer and Naomi Haveliwala, showcased their talent for community members at the Karachi Parsi Institute on Saturday.

Engineer, 21, has been painting traditional art pieces since he was 15 years old. Most of these traditional works consisted of  art paintings, drawings and sketches that mainly portrayed figure painting, landscape, still-life, abstract and contemporary designs.

As he grew older, Engineer discovered new mediums. Now he invests his talent in the work of digital paintings, something he learned only four months ago.

Engineer, a student of Interactive Design at Canada’s Sheraton College, said he finds inspiration in the work of his uncle Jimmy Engineer, a famous artist and social worker. “I am very inspired by his work,” he said. “I am aiming to reach that scale but let’s see if that happens in three to four years.”

For the younger Engineer, art means everything. “It’s what my life is going to be. My job and career, likewise,” he said.

The collection that Engineer exhibited on Saturday is an all-girls series. He has digitally painted five girls – the Egyptian Cleopatra, Indian Oddissi Dancer, Japanese Sakura, The Numa and Gogeyi – using only his imagination.

The young artist plans to paint more of these women. “It’s kind of a tribute,” he said. “I plan to continue to do this with more girls and different regions.”

Engineer, who has been away from Pakistan for the last 10 years as his parents decided to migrate to Canada, admitted that he misses the city. “I miss Karachi a lot. There were some good times I spent here with cousins and friends,” he said. “However, my parents decided to have a better future for us and we decided to settle in Canada.”

Through the lens

Quite different from Engineer’s works was Haveliwala’s collection, which comprised photographs of daily life. The 18-year-old photographer has shot surreal images of the city – from a flying crow to the sunset, to a cobbler fixing shoes and the eye of a car headlight.

Unlike Engineer, Haveliwala is based in Karachi and has just completed her A’ Levels from Beaconhouse Defence Campus. Her main inspiration is her teacher Rehmatullah Khan who, according to the teenager, “taught her how to hold a camera”. She also admires the kind of photography done by Ali Khurshid and Tapu Javeri. “Their images are unique,” she said. “Some are nicely done shots whereas others are candid ones that I find inspiration in.”

Pointing to her works, she explained this collection comprises images based on Karachi.

“These seven images right here show Karachi as I have seen it through my camera lens,” she said. “However, I am heading to Hunza next week and I plan to take more images there.”

Haveliwala termed her collection “a learning process” as she has been capturing Karachi through her lens as early as two years ago.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2016.

By Our Correspondent, The Express Tribune, Pakistan, Sindh, Published: July 30, 2016

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1152584/young-parsi-artists-showcase-talent/

Book launches for Dadabhai Naoroij: Selected Private Papers


Dear all:

In early August, Oxford University Press will be bringing out a volume of selected correspondence from the papers of Dadabhai Naoroji, co-edited by S.R. Mehrotra and me:

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/dadabhai-naoroji-9780198076667?cc=us&lang=en&

We will be holding book launch events in both Delhi and Mumbai. In Delhi, the launch will be at 3pm on Friday, 5 August, at the Conference Hall of the National Archives of India, on Janpath. In Mumbai, it will be at 5:30pm on Saturday, 6 August at Kitab Khana, 45/47 Mahatma Gandhi Road in Fort, just behind Flora Fountain. Vikram Doctor of the Economic Times will be joining us.

There will be volumes for purchase at both events. All royalties go towards supporting the National Archives of India.

Please see the attached fliers for further information.

Best regards,

Dinyar Patel

Delhi book launch poster Mumbai book launch

Kasti Ritual


Kasti Ritual

Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Parvez Karanjia with Parsi Religion.

July 19, 2016 at 11:59pm ·

 

Kasti Ritual (Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Parvez Karanjia)

 

(Handout for M. J. Wadia Agyari, Lalbaug Structured Course V, 06-05-12, Er. Dr. Ramiyar P. Karanjia)

 

The Kasti ritual is the shortest of the three purificatory rituals. It is also the basic Zoroastrian ritual for protecting and cleansing negativities and enhancing goodness.

 

Kasti is considered a ritual because, it involves

1) A human being – A living battery. Nothing can replace a human in a ritual.

2) Manthravani (Prayers) uttered by a human being.

3) Performed for a particular purpose.

4) Requires Ritual implements (Ālāt) – Sadra & Kasti.

5) Rituals gestures.

 

  1. History of the ritual:

 

The usage of Sadra Kasti is millennia old and predates prophet Zarathushtra. References to it occur in the Avesta scriptures as well as Pahlavi, Pazand, Persian and Sanskrit literature.

 

It was first conceived and worn by King Jamshed around 8,000 B.C.E. He was inspired by Sarosh Yazad to tie the Kasti so that he could be protected from evils and motivated to do good works. Later to his fall, the tying of Kasti assumed another meaning of constantly reminding oneself of moderation.

 

King Minocheher (c. 7,000 B.C.E) also wore the Sadra Kasti. Prophet Zarathushtra (c. 6,500 B.C.E.) asked his father for his Kasti as the heirloom of Mazdayasni belief system.

Hom, Chisti, Ashi and Ardvi Yazads wear the sky and stars as their spiritual garment. Ahura Mazda adorned Hom Yazad with the “star-studded (garment) and Kasti.” Not wearing the Sadra Kasti after a certain age is considered a sin.

 

The tying and untying of the Kasti is mentioned also in the Hormazd Yasht. Performing and renewing Kasti in every Gah reminds us of our duties and obligations (Ys. 44.5).

 

In the 3rd of the 16 Sanskrit Shlokas it is stated that “we are wearers of armour called Sadra and tie the Kasti over it. We always keep our head and feet covered.”

 

  1. Implements used in the ritual:

 

The Sadra-Kasti are implements necessary to perform the kasti ritual. A Sadra and Kasti is worn after the Navjote by Zarthoshtis all through life and even after death. It is a reminder to follow the right path and be moderate.

 

Sadra:

 

Derived from the Avesta word vastra;

 

Pers. Sud rāh “beneficial path.” It is made of a single piece of white muslin cloth. It has 9 parts, each giving and ethical or philosophical message:

  • Gireban – Pocket of good deeds,
  • Girdo – Responsibility, T
  • Two sides – Material and Spiritual worlds,
  • 2 sleeves – Labour and industry,
  • 3 Tiris – Caring for the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms. The 3 tiris are on the either side of the Sadra – for the Sadra of a male there are two slanting tiris joining at the head on the right and one parallel tiri on the left. For the Sadra of a female, the tiris are vice -versa. This is to show that men and women are not same, and they have to complement each other to make each other complete.

 

Kasti:

 

It is derived from the Avestan word karsha which means spiritual boundary /fortification. and Phl. kosht “limit, boundary.” The Avestan word aiwyāonghana “that which is tied around” is also used for the Kasti.

 

The Kasti is worn on the middle of the body to signify moderation. It is made of sheep’s wool with intricate ritual observances. A lamb symbolizes innocence. Wool is known to have the inherent property of absorbing and retaining vibrations. It can absorb negativities and thus act as a protective shield. Formerly the Kasti was made only by ladies from priestly families.

 

Generally the Kasti ritual is performed mechanically, which benefits us very little. There is not much joy, motivation and enthusiasm while performing it. The Kasti prayers and ritual needs to be done in such a way that one can derive optimum and maximum mental, emotional spiritual and physical benefits while performing it.

 

The Kasti is a ritual to generate power of Khvarena “divine energy.” It is for tapping into the Universal source of Energy. The following practices substantiate this:

  1. Kasti has an ‘amal’, that is, ritual power.
  2. This ritual power which can be vitiated, which is referred to as “Kasti tuti jaai”
  3. Periodically doing Kasti, and doing it after toilet, coming from out etc.
  4. Facing the sun, fire or natural light while doing the Kasti – Sun is a natural source of divine energy and also natural lights and fires.
  5. Two Yatha and one Ashem in Kasti is the formula to draw spiritual blessings and power.

 

KASTI prayers:

There are three different types of Kasti prayers – Shahenshahi, Kadimi and Sarosh ni Kasti.

 

The Kadimi Kasti is a bit longer incorporating the Sarosh Baj. In it there is no Ahura Mazda Khodae, but a similar Pazand prayer, and a Pazand paragraph of hamazor bim at the end, followed by Ahmai raeshcha, Hazangharem and Jasa me avanghe mazda.

 

Some people following the Ilm i Khshnum tradition do the Sarosh ni Kasti which encapsulates the Kasti prayer within the Sarosh Baj.

 

  1. Prayers in the ritual:

I Ashem Vohu :

“The Universal Purpose (Asha Vahishta) is (realised) through Higher Consciousness (Vohu). It give Bliss (Inner Peace). Bliss to him who (follows) Life’s purpose (Asha) for the sake of Universal Purpose (Asha Vahishta).”

 

II Ahunavar:

“Just as Ahu works at Will, so can the Ratu, on account of Asha and related laws. The gift of Vohu Manah (comes to him), whose life’s actions are dedicated to Mazda. Power comes to Ahura and to him, who gives help to the deserving needy.”

 

III Kem na mazda:

“When evils look at me with the intention to hurt, who will give me and my followers protection, except Thy Fire (divine Energy) and Mind (Consciousness), by whose actions Asha (progress of the world) gets nourished. Do you reveal to me that religious knowledge.

Which are Thy words for protection which smites the enemy. Thy words of prayer are for victory and protection. Do you reveal to me a spiritual teacher who can lead me to (knowledge of) both the worlds, so that Sraosha can come through Vohu Manah (Higher Consciousness) to him, whom Ahura Mazda wishes considers deserving.

“Oh Mazda and Spenta Armaiti protect us from pain/injury. Flee Oh! Evil Druj; Flee Oh! Origin of evil; Flee Oh! (Acts) sown by evil; Flee Oh! (Acts) increased by evil; Flee away Oh Druj, Run away Oh Druj, Flee far away Oh Druj, flee away towards the North. Do not destroy the corporeal worlds of Asha. Homage unto Armaiti, the giver of prosperity.

 

IV Ahura Mazda Khodāi (Also known as Nirang ī kasti bastan): “Ahura Mazda is my God, Ahreman is evil and should be rendered powerless. I will keep Ahreman away, and defeat him. May Ahreman, demons, liars, sorcerors, wicked ones, evil priests, evil rulers, sinners, wicked ones and enemies be defeated and be powerless.

“Ahura Mazda is my God. I am sorry for all sins, for all bad thoughts, bad words and bad deeds which, in the world, I may have spoken, done or started, which may be related to the body, soul, material world, spiritual world. I pray for the happiness of Ahura Mazda and defeat of Ahriman. The wishes of truthful people are always fulfilled.

 

V Jasa me Avanghe Mazda:

“Come to my help O Mazda! I am a Mazdayasni, a Mazdayasni Zarthoshti. I believe, praise and have faith (in it). I praise the well-thought thought, I praise the well-spoken word, I praise the well-done deed.

I praise the Good Mazdayasni religion which teaches Unity leading to progress, Non-violence against good creations, Self-dedication towards good causes, and Asha. Which among the existing and future religions is the greatest, best and most excellent for me. It belongs to Ahura and Zarathushtra. I attribute all goodness to Ahura Mazda. Such is the Mazdayasni religion, worthy of praise.”

 

Ritual gestures in the Kasti ritual, and what it indicates:

  1. Say Khshnaothra ahurahe mazdao and 1 ashem vohu, then wash the face, hands and feet (if open) and wipe them. This is known as Padyab.
  2. Stand at one place, recite the Kem na Mazda and untie the Kasti.
  3. Ahura Mazda khudai: Hold the Kasti in hand (Middle path, moderation).

Care has to be taken that the loose ends of the kasti do not touch the ground.

Bow down (Acknowledgement and Gratitude)

Strike the Kasti (Cleansing the negativities)

Bow down (Acknowledgement and Gratitude)

Strike the Kasti (Cleansing the mental negativities)

Click thrice (striking out evil)

Form two loops (Balance in thoughts and words)

Bow down(Actions to be done in the name of God)

Bow down (Dedicate oneself to Ahura Mazda)

Release the Kasti away from the body (keep away the negativities)

Tie on the waist (Gird up to be a Haithyavarshtam “truth worker”)

Two knots in front after second round (Commitment to Ahura Mazda & Zarathushtra).

Two knots at the back after the third round (Commitment to Religion & Duty)

  1. Jasa Me Avanghe Mazda: Hold the Kasti at the front reef knot with the thumb (Empowerment).

Bending down (page parvu) at the end. (Submission to God)

 

 

  1. Meaning of the gestures:

In the Kasti, the first ritual gesture is to wash the face, hands and feet which symbolize the need of physical purity.

Untying the kasti and striking it cleanses it of any negative influences and reminds us to periodically cleanse ourselves from negativities. It has to be be done gently towards the north. Making loops while saying manashni, gavashni and kunashni reminds us to balance our thoughts and words and perform actions avvordingly.

Bowing at khshnaothra ahurahe mazdao symbolises allegiance to Ahura Mazda and pushing the kasti away at taroidite angrahe maiyesh symbolizes our dislike for anything negative. The four knots reminds us of the four basic promises of the religion to be given at the time of navjote

  • Ahura Mazda is my supreme God
  • Zarathushtra is the chosen prophet sent by Ahura Mazda.
  • The front two knots are tied on the word shyaothananam which signifies “action”.
  • The rear two knots are tied on the words Ushta asti ushta ahmai “happiness to him who gives happiness to others.”

 

WHEN to do the Kasti:

On Waking up;

Before going to bed;

Before meals;

After change of every gah;

After toilet;

After bath;

Before prayers;

On going to the fire temple;

Before and after attending a funeral;

After coming home from outside.

 

 

Some DO’S AND DON’TS:

Always perform the Pādyāb before doing the Kasti.

 

While performing the Kasti do not let the Kasti touch the floor. It makes the Kasti less effective.

 

Pray facing East in Havan, South/West in Rapithwan and West in Uziran Gah.

In Aiwisruthrem and Ushahin Gahs one must pray facing any source of natural light like the moon, stars, fire, divo or an electric light. Do not face the North in any Gah.

 

  1. Message of the Kasti ritual:

 

The Kasti ritual gives the important message that in this imperfect world there is negativity and evil all around us. We need to protect ourselves for it, cleanse ourselves from time to time and keep on drawing on spiritual strength and power through the prayers.

 

Conclusion:

Kasti is the basis of the devotional life of a Zarthoshti. Apart from the times specified above when it is specifically to be done. Kasti is the beginning of one’s daily prayers, it has to be performed before entering a fire temple, before participating in any ritual. Any other ritual, big or small, has to commence with the kasti ritual.

Census 2011 Parsi demographic decline


Dear Friends, Capture

I have just received the Census results of 2011 and while we expected the 10 percent decline , it is sad to see a 20 percent decline . From 69,401 we are now 57,000 only.

It is for this reason that Parzor had approached the Ministry of Minority Affairs ,many years ago ,for a Scheme to help the Parsi Zoroastrian community from demographic extinction . The Planning Commission had been briefed by us, but it was only  in 2013 that MOMA kindly supported the Jiyo Parsi programme.

We have had , as predicted by ICMR, two thirds of the births of this Programme through Advocacy by efforts ,both of our dedicated team at TISS , Dr Katy Gandevia , Pearl Mistry and Binaifer Sahukar ,as well as the great pro bono ad campaign of Madison BMB which went viral across the world.

To this we add the medical component , led by the totally dedicated Dr Anahita Pandole of Jaslok hospital , the interventions of other caring doctors at the B.D Sarvajainik hospital in Navsari , others in Surat , as well as Hyderabad and several cities . With the help of surrogacy , supported over the limit fixed by MOMA , we have 2 healthy children. The total today is 71 births , with 3 happening recently on a single day in July 2016 .

We , as a country and community , need to help this team and take the Parzor MOMA message to every couple as well as young Zoroastrians . Wherever we have had Workshops , on parenting, child management , grand-parenting , marriage counselling , we have had so many questions and anxieties raised and then resolved , to the best of our teams abilities . This shows that there is a deep psychological change needed in mind sets.

We now have 2 films on Jiyo Parsi , one short for general viewing, and one which touches on delicate and detailed medical issues .  We need Anjumans to invite us for longer sessions where we can work with for several days , in depth with the community .

We have good things happening : couples and only children declaring on video , after seeing the Ads and hearing our Counsellors , that they are determined to break this mindset and have a second child. We have celebrated the first birthdays of our JP children and even a few second birthdays .

But with the Census results out we all have to work much harder and encourage as well as support and help our young to find partners , encourage a balance between personal life fulfilment and successful professional work . Most importantly we must collectively and consciously realise the urgency of taking responsibility to save a precious world heritage from disappearing .

Let us all re commit ourselves to this task so that at the next Census we can look forward to better news and higher numbers.

With best wishes ,
Dr Shernaz Cama
Director, UNESCO Parzor
Parzor Foundation

CAFÉ SPICE NAMASTE SCOOPS PRESTIGIOUS NATIONAL RECYCLING AWARD


Hospitality & Catering News

Inline image 1

Café Spice Namaste, Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala’s flagship restaurant, won a coveted National Recycling Award for Waste Prevention (Commercial Category) at a ceremony held at the London Hilton Park Lane on 6th July. The awards, sponsored by Materials Recycling World, are the UK’s largest celebration of recycling and waste management excellence across British industry, requiring evidence of innovation and effective strategy implementation.

Café Spice Namaste was the sole restaurant in the entire UK to be nominated for the awards for it’s waste skip hire practices, and had been shortlisted in three other categories: the food waste initiative (private sector); retail/service sector recycler of the year; and the efficiency initiative.

By winning the Waste Prevention award, Café Spice Namaste beat a field of 11, including established technology, packaging, and laboratory testing companies. The restaurant, which marks its 21st year in 2016, impressed the judges with its demonstration of resource management, prevention of food waste (achieving a 22% reduction) — which it achieved through its own efforts and work to promote and support food recycling partners such as Food Cycle — as well as energy waste.

Manpreet Ahuja, senior chef and manager of special projects at Café Spice Namaste, collected the award on behalf of the restaurant. He said, ‘Winning this award is a proud moment in the history of our company. We knew it would be a challenge because there is good work being done out there by larger companies in the recycling and waste management space.

‘That we were the only restaurant nominated for these prestigious awards was an honour in itself, but winning a Waste Prevention National Recycling Award really validates all the effort and investment made by Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala and team through the years to help preserve our environment, even going against the tide on occasion. To be recognised for practising what we preach is amazing.’

Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL, Chef Patron of Café Spice Namaste, said, ‘Pervin and I would like to congratulate our entire team at Café Spice Namaste, from our kitchen staff to front of house, who have painstakingly worked to cut down waste and to maximise our resources. As a small company, we know that everything we use is precious. This is a team effort and this National Recycling Award means we have always been on the right track. But we won’t be complacent because now the bar is set even higher.’

The National Recycling Award is the latest in a long line of awards that Café Spice Namaste and Cyrus Todiwala have received for their commitment to the environment and sustainability. These include awards from the Footprint Forum and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Restaurant News is Sponsored by Electrolux

July 13, 2016

The Untold Story of Quetta’s Parsi Community


5790a4b9aa3bb

In the heart of the city, surrounded by beautiful mountains, Quetta’s Parsi Colony is picture-perfect. The lush green trees sway in the breeze. There is a rare feeling of trust: instead of the common elevated walls demarcating boundaries of houses, there are flimsy grills with open, inviting doors.

To the unsuspecting eye, this scene may not look like one from a metropolis in Pakistan, let alone one from the troubled province of Balochistan.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah meets Quetta's Parsi community in June 1948
Muhammad Ali Jinnah meets Quetta’s Parsi community in June 1948

Despite the oft-reported turmoil in the region, however, Parsis have peacefully lived here since before partition. It was during the British Raj that the community was allotted this colony.

Today, of the many Parsis who once resided here, only about two to four families remain. Others have either died because of natural causes or migrated out of Quetta.

The presence of Parsis in the provincial capital has not been documented by the mainstream media like that of their counterparts in Karachi. This is understandable, Parsis, after all, migrated from Iran to Sindh as far back as the eighth century. Furthermore, the community is relatively bigger in Karachi as compared to the one Quetta.

Yet, there are Parsis who prefer their home city to the concrete jungle that is Karachi.

Click Here for this interesting piece from Dawn

Society of Scholars of Zoroastrianism (SSZ) Conference 2016


The Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Chicago (ZAC) has held a SSZ Conference annually for now more than a decade. It has been an enriching experience for presenters and participants alike. There is a mix of presenters both seasoned academicians, educationists or lay scholars and students of Zoroastrianism who study the subject matter and deliver their studies to the participants.

This year the conference will be held on Saturday September 3, 2016 at the Dar-e-Meher in Chicago, 8615 Meadowbrook Drive, Burr Ridge.

The theme will be “Our History” beginning with the pre-Achemenian era to the present times. Several notable scholars — Professor Jamsheed Choksy, Professor Richard Payne and Dr. Daryoush Jahanian will be making presentations alongside our students of Zoroastrianism Khursheed Ichaporia , Sarosh Irani of Detroit and others not yet identified. All are encouraged to attend. Home-stays will be arranged for out of Town participants. Please save the date. A detailed program will be forthcoming shortly.

Contact:  Rayomand Ravji   rayomand.ravji (@) gmail.com