I was at a modern food superstore in Bandra, Mumbai’s swish suburb, the other day. I walked past rows of imported gourmet cheeses, pastas and meats when I suddenly spotted a group of blue coloured packs which looked as if they were cheerfully waving at me. A closer inspection showed that they were packs of the homegrown Parsi Dairy ghee. I am a Bengali married to a Parsi as you probably know. I remembered that Freddy (Firoz) Kerawala, my maternal uncle-in-law, is a big advocate of the Parsi Dairy Farm butter and ghee. I decided to buy a pack of ghee for home to add to my stock of Jharna ghee from Kolkata as a tribute to the spirit of what Parsi author Meher Pestonji referred to as “mixed marriage”.
Mumbai’s heritage brand, the Parsi Dairy Farm’s products have made a welcome entry into the world of modern retail these days. Its packaged butters, cheeses, kulfis and lassis are to be found proudly jostling for space with dairy products from multinational companies and imported brands in these stores. Its kulfisare served by the SodaBottleOpenerWala restaurant chain in their outlets across the country. Thanks to such initiatives, one can expect this 100 year-old institution to get a fresh lease of life. There was an outburst of heartfelt anguish in response to the news of the Parsi Dairy Farm allegedly shutting down sometime back.The Parsi Dairy Farm and its legacy is integral to many Mumbai memories and stories after all. My late father-in-law, Mr. Marzban Bilimoria, for example, loved the kulfis of Parsi Dairy Farm. His eyes would light up when these were served at Parsi weddings. He loved these so much that my wife and my mother-in-law would happily give their shares to him. His smile post the kulfi was typical of that of a happy Parsi Dairy Farm customer.
Thankfully, the Parsi Dairy Farm lived to fight another day and it didn’t close down. However, an enterprise cannot run on nostalgia alone. It needs consumer support and this support comes only when an enterprise stays relevant and reinvents itself. The Parsi Dairy Farm was built on the spirit of enterprise shown by its founder, the late Nariman Ardeshir, and it is only apt that the business reinvents itself today. Now it is up to us to keep the legacy alive.
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