The adage of the entrepreneurial spirit being ageless finds perfect substantiation in the story behind ‘RZM Torans’ – a glass-and-bead garland initiative, named after the initials of the three dynamic, age-defying sisters, Roda Mistry (80 years), Zarine Mistry (76 years) and Maharukh Mistry (72 years). They have indeed proven that age is no more than a number! Their diligent spirits and collective expertise have carved a niche in the Parsi cultural art of Toran-making and they deserve applause for keeping alive this enchanting tradition, in the face of numerous odds – including physical handicaps and resources – stacked up against them. PT Push is delighted to share the PT Push platform with the vibrant RZM ladies, as they chat up with Asst. Editor Delaveen Tarapore, showering beads of inspiration and crystallized wisdom about their fine glass artefacts…
PT: Tell us about the beginning.
Maharukh: We were the last three born of five siblings, who migrated to Mumbai from Madhya Pradesh in 1956 with our father, Jehangir Mistry. He was a weaving master and chose to move to Bombay in search of a more rewarding career. We’ve been living at Byculla since. Though our older siblings had already completed their education by then, I attended Sitaram Poddar School and graduated from Ruia College. Soon after, I started working at a private firm to support myself and my two other sisters who did not get to complete their studies.
PT: How was ‘RZM Torans’ born?
Maharukh: I quit private service in 2005 and decided to engage myself with something that would keep me occupied and active, and generate a sustainable income for my sisters and myself. I realised that weaving beautiful door frame torans was a skill we sisters possessed and practiced since childhood! Back then, though I knew the art of making a basic toran, I didn’t know how to do ‘scallops’ (arkoo) – this was taught to me by my cousin, Sheroo Cooper who lived nearby. Soon my elder siblings, Roda and Zarine who were home-makers, decided to join hands in this entrepreneurial venture. In our very first year in 2006, we put up a stall at a Parsi exhibition which turned out to be a huge success! Almost all our torans were sold out! Ever since, we’ve been fortunate to have accumulated a loyal customer base in Mumbai and across India and also Dubai, USA, Australia, etc. We provide our customers customised torans and also repair antique pieces, in addition to other products.
Maharukh: We make torans with different materials – like ordinary glass beads, crystal glass beads, antique beads and acrylic beads. We avoid plastic beads, unless requested by our clients. In addition to torans, we offer designer frames, wall-hangings, coasters and bracelets – which many use for gifting. As per our customer’s preferences, we provide toranswith particular designs or words, too.
PT: What’s the future plan of action?
Maharukh: We want to learn and experiment new designs with our torans, which will help keep this form of art alive in all our Parsi homes. Today, not many people make or know how to make ‘kaach na torans’, which is why I want to keep updating myself in this traditional Zoroastrian art.
PT: What would you like to tell our readers?
Maharukh: I genuinely believe that when one door closes, another one opens! We thank all our patrons for their support and always look forward to your encouragement!
For more details on how to buy yourself or gift others these timeless pieces of Zoroastrian culture and other brilliant products by the RZM Sisters, contact Maharukh Mistry on 9867417925
Courtesy Parsi Times – http://parsi-times.com/2017/07/rzm-torans/