Vote for my photographs

If you love taking selfies, you love photography.

If you love photography, then please do have a look and vote for the 5 pics which I have put up for a photography contest. Thank you

Zhaver Zaiwalla

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Chilpik Tower of Silence

The ruins of an ancient Zoroastrian Tower of Silence believed to be the earliest example of the traditional funerary practice. 

Situated on the banks of the Amu Darya river in the Chilpik (also spelled Shilpik or Shilpiq) region of Karakalpakstan, an autonomous territory of Uzbekistan, is an ancient Zoroastrian Tower of Silence thought to be the earliest example of the traditional funerary ritual, constructed somewhere between the 1st century BCE and 1st century CE.

Towers of Silence, also called dakhma, are a traditional excarnation ritual practiced in the Zoroastrian faith dating back thousands of years. Zoroastrians believed that after death a body was at risk of becoming contaminated and made impure by demons. To prevent this, corpses of the deceased were left atop a tower exposed to the elements and birds of prey which would purify the body, after which the bones would be placed in ossuaries nearby. This practice was believed to be the least harmful form of interment.

The ancient Chilpik dakhma, a 49-foot-tall circular structure situated on top of a mound of sand raising out of the desert, has become a popular symbol in Karakalpakstan, and even is even found on its coat of arms. This dakhma is particularly significant as local legend suggests the region around it is where Zarathushtra, the founder of Zoroastrianism, began to compose the religion’s ancient scriptures, the Avesta.

The Chilpik Tower of Silence remained in full use until the Arab invasion of Khwarezm in the 7th century, and possibly up until 10th century. After burials ceased to be performed, the structure was used as a signal tower, and much later, a modern telecom tower was set up on it.

Profile – Murzban F. Shroff

Murzban F. Shroff is a Mumbai-based writer. He spent sixteen years in advertising, at multinational ad agencies like Ogilvy & Mather, McCann Erickson, and Grey Advertising, where he helped build some of the country’s most reputed brands. After five years as Creative Director, Shroff started his own creative consultancy, which grew so fast and made so many demands on him that he felt he was turning into some kind of an unnatural growth machine. “There was gratification and a measure of achievement, but no real fulfillment,” he says. He, therefore, returned to his first love – writing – and worked on the nuts and bolts of it for six years.

In February 2008, Shroff’s debut short story collection, Breathless in Bombay, was published by St. Martin’s Press, U.S., and Picador India. For its ability to capture the lives of the invisible and show a city in transition, a city in the throes of seismic modernization, the work received great critical acclaim from forums like Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Review, Booklist, the Huffington Post, and the BBC Asian Network.


In 2009, Breathless in Bombay was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in the best debut category from Europe and South Asia.

In 2012, the Guardian rated it as among the ten best Mumbai books.

In June 2015, Shroff represented Mumbai at the London Short Story Festival, which hosted 75 award-winning writers from across the world.

In October 2015, Shroff was invited to speak at UCLA, California State University Monterey Bay, and Berkeley on writing outside his milieu, writing about the underprivileged.

In December 2015, Shroff launched his novel, Waiting For Jonathan Koshy, the second part in his Mumbai trilogy. The novel was a finalist for the Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize and received high praise from writers like Madison Smartt Bell (National Book Award Finalist) and Robert Olen Butler (Pulitzer Prize-winner).

In September 2016, Shroff was invited to speak about his work at the Young Presidents’ Organization, Bangalore; the British Council, Bangalore; and SAP Bangalore.

In September 2016, Shroff was a key speaker at a National Symposium on “Parsi Contribution to Indian Literature and Culture,” organized by the Sahitya Akademi and University of Mumbai.


In November 2016, Shroff participated in the Bangalore Literature Festival, taking part in two events: a panel discussion on “The Enduring Magic of the Short Story” and a solo event on “Humor in the Age of Intolerance.”

In January 2017, Shroff spoke on “The Importance of Issue-based Writing” at a seminar held by The Government of India’s Science & Technology Department for students of filmmaking.

To date, Shroff has published his fiction with over sixty literary journals in the U.S. and UK. In the U.S. he has published his stories in journals like The Gettysburg Review, Triquarterly, The Minnesota Review, The South Carolina Review, Southwest Review, and World Literature Today. His fiction has also appeared in venues like The Saturday Evening Post and Chicago Tribune. His non-fiction has appeared in India Abroad and The American Scholar. In the UK, his stories have appeared in Aesthetica, Cadenza, Short Fiction, Stand, and Structo. Shroff is the recipient of the John Gilgun Fiction Award and has garnered six Pushcart Prize nominations, the highest award for the short story in the U.S.

To know more about Breathless in Bombay, visit:

To know more about Waiting For Jonathan Koshy, visit:

Shroff is available for readings, speaking engagements, author training, and book mentoring. He can be contacted at: / +91-9821-460-578

Grand opening of SZA’s new Dar-e-meher, Sacramento, California

You’d  be  pleased to know  that Zarathustis  in Central California now have another  new Dar-e-meher at Sacramento, our state’s capital city. This is in addition to the  one  in San Jose.


Here are some pics from Sunday’s ( 3.26.2017) inauguration event.

Rusi Sorabji



What an absolute prodigy we have on the show today… 20 years old and taking on the might of Uber! We’re not dealing with your average guy here. Zeryab Cheema has been an entrepreneur since the age of 15, building up an app called Taxi 24/7 which was adopted by over 20,000 black cabs in London.

Not content with that, Zeryab has set his sights on Uber by creating Hop: an ingenious concept that absolutely epitomizes the potential of the sharing economy. Read on for some more info about it:

  • 100% of a customer’s fare goes to the drivers
  • Drivers receive a base payment of 300 AUD per day just for being on the road
  • Drivers rent their vehicles from Hertz
  • The ambition is to get to a point where drivers can tap a card on a car parked in the street and start using it
  • Raised capital last year, about to close 2nd round of capital
  • There are currently six full-time staff in Hop team, 4-6 contractors/promotional staff and 3 board members, including a former winner of the Australian Apprentice
  • He intends to trade in other countries using other global partners
  • He’s never written a business plan in words – he just uses numbers

Click Here to listen to the podcast and the lessons to be learnt



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LAHORE – Renowned artist Jimmy Engineer’s masterpiece painting will go on permanent exhibition at the National Art Museum in Beijing.
The artist will also have an exhibition of his artworks at the same museum fromMarch 22 to March 29, 2017. Some 100 artworks will be on display while 18 pencil sketches depicting the ancient civilization of China will be among the artworks to be put on display.
This activity is being done to bring the people of China and Pakistan closer together and to cement the bond of friendship between both the countries.
Jimmy told The Nation that the painting to go on permanent exhibit was made in 2006 using oil on canvas medium.
“Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Khalid Masood is making all the arrangements to shift the artworks to China for exhibition. The international shipping cost of such artworks is very expensive.
“I decided to gift my masterpiece permanently to the museum as token of love and respect for the Chinese nation. This gift is part of cultural exchange between the two nations which enjoy a special kind of friendship historically,” Jimmy said.
“I was on tour to deliver a lecture at Tsinghua University, Beijing when I was contacted to exhibit my paintings at National Museum of China. The ambassador showed interest. Finally we are going to hold the exhibition in Beijing,” the artist added.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a 57 billion dollars project which is also termed as game changer for the prosperity of the common people of both countries also envisions cultural projects including exchange programme of artists, journalists and students.
The painting titled “International Architectural Composition” contains various architectural designs from different cultures including Khan al Khalil Bazar of Cairo, Egypt, The Khirat Khoumd Tower Chittoor, Hamayun’s Tomb near Delhi, India, Mosque of Amir Ibn al-As Cairo, Egypt, Konigliche Temple Alwar and the Great Wall of China.
Jimmy Engineer has received many awards and medals in his long illustrious art and social work career since 1976. He is one of the faces to represent the Pakistan in many other countries. The theme of his paintings varies from heritage to art and culture.
The exhibition that will showcase his work on the Muslim architecture, rich cultural heritage of Pakistan and art will be special treat for the Chinese people.
This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 19-Feb-2017 here.

Forget Bullet Trains, Help Fight TB Instead: Dr Udwadia

He highlights India’s TB problem, which persists in epidemic proportions, terming it the country’s biggest public health issue.

One indian dies of this disease every minute. Dr. Zarir Udwadia shares the story of the suffering of one patient diagnosed with Totally Drug Resistant -Tuberculosis (TDR-TB). And unfortunately,succumbing to it.

FEZANA Scholarships Applications Open

FEZANA is happy to announce that the application cycle for the FEZANA scholarships for 2017 is open.

FEZANA Offers the following Scholarships

ACADEMIC Scholarships

  • Mehraban and Morvorid Kheradi Endowment Scholarship for Academic Excellence: The FEZANA  Scholar
  • FEZANA 25th Anniversary Endowment  Scholarship For Academic Excellence
  • Morvarid Guiv Endowment Scholarships
  • Purvez and Aban  Rustomji Endowment Scholarship
  • Banoobai and Maneckshaw Kapadia Endowment Scholarship  for Financial Assistance
  • Dr Minocher Rustom Vesuna and Dowlat Minocher Vesuna WZO Canada Endowed Scholarships
  • Sheroo Darabsha Kolsawala Endowed Scholarship

To read the eligibility criteria and apply click here


The FEZANA Performing and Creative Arts Scholarship (P&CAS) provides financial support to Zarathustis who are performing artists in music, drama, etc. or practice other creative art forms like literature, poetry, fine arts, sculpture, painting, etc.

To read the eligibility criteria and apply click here


The Excellence in Sports Scholarship is to provide financial support to young Zarathushtis who are performing exceptionally and at highly recognized levels in any sport.

To read the eligibility criteria and apply click here

Statement by President Donald J. Trump on Nowruz

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
March 22, 2017
 This week, I would like to send my best wishes to all those around the world celebrating the wonderful ancient holiday of Nowruz.  Many millions of people of Iranian, Iraqi, Turkish, South Asian, and Central Asian heritage will come together with their families during this time to commemorate the arrival of spring.
Nowruz means “new day” in Persian.  It is an occasion to celebrate new beginnings, a sentiment that is particularly meaningful for so many Iranians who have come to our country in recent decades to make a new start in a free land.
For many years, I have greatly enjoyed wonderful friendships with Iranian-Americans, one of the most successful immigrant groups in our country’s contemporary history. They come from diverse religious backgrounds—including Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian, and Baha’i—but all share an affection for their ancestral heritage.
Cyrus the Great, a leader of the ancient Persian Empire, famously said that “[f]reedom, dignity, and wealth together constitute the greatest happiness of humanity. If you bequeath all three to your people, their love for you will never die.”
 To the Iranian people and all those around the world celebrating Nowruz: On behalf of the American people, I wish you freedom, dignity, and wealth. Nowruz Pirouz (Happy Nowruz).