2 Photos – 2 Navjotes in HongKong – Old Reminiscences

Photo # 1 1934
My two brothers’ Jal and Fram, had their Navjote  at the Parsi Club, Hongkong around 1934. The photo was taken on the roof of the “Parsee Club”, the original Zoroastrian Building in Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, completed in 1931 and was the center of Parsi social life in Hong Kong.
Notice the Fire Symbol  ( afrinagan). which was very prominent and seen from the roadside. Also the Parsees included their maid-servants (Amahs) in the photo. The guests include Parsees and non-Parsees.

Your readers may  recognize some of the the prominent Parsees of Hongkong, like the Pavris  the Shroffs, the Ruttonjees, the Dhabers, and others.

 Shapurjee Johki, Parekh, Jehangir and son Dhun Ruttonjee , Behram Tavadia, Jal Patel, Dhabars,Norshir Pavri, the Shroffs,Talatis, Dr. Karanjia, Vasania, and others.
The #2 photo was taken at my sister Shirin and I (Pesi (that’s me) Navjote, which took place in the Ballroom/Dining Hall on the 8th floor of  the Gloucester Hotel, Hongkong in 1947. The war in Hongkong was over in 1945, and strict food rationing was enforced.I guess all the Parsees wanting to celebrate the first  get together of all Hongkong Parsees must have pooled their food ration coupons for this occasion.
It was a Gala event decorations, drinks and dinner-dance. I doubt if any Parsee was left out or not invited.
Some of the same people that attended in the 1934 Navjote Ceremony are also in the 1947 photo.

The Mobeds or Dastoorjis names (of the 1935 Navjote) I do not have.But I’m sure there were none in the 1947 one too but our Hongkong Parsees like Nari Pavri and others who were qualified to perform Zoroastrian Ceremonies. { (I am seated on the floor 3rd from left). My two sisters are in the center.And behind her is my Mom. My Dad is center top row. }

Pesi Jehangir Mahuvawalla

Vintage Rusi

Vintage Rusi is a short film made for the 2005 Kala Ghoda arts and street festival in Mumbai. With Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal , Bapu Malcolm and Beezan Charna in leading roles. It was directed by Ashok Salian, noted photographer and film maker.

Do You Know-What You Know? Khurshed Batliwala

Mr. Khurshed Batliwala emphasized on education as a means of knowledge and not employment. He also talked about doing things differently and having faith in our decisions even if they go against the flow. “Twenty five years ago no one had heard of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The whole world stood on the other side and said you are mad. I said yes, but I am happy. Be happy don’t compromise on that. You have dreams, you have visions, you have hopes don’t let people around you kill that for you. And that’s an idea worth spreading” With a postgraduate degree in Mathematics from I.I.T., Bombay, Khurshed Batliwala is a senior faculty at the Art of Living. Mr. Batliwala is a firm believer in the power of self-identified aspirations and this led him to follow an unconventional and challenging career path. He has been instrumental in designing the Youth Empowerment Seminar (YES!+) series that inspires the youth to break free from the shackles of society expectations and follow their dreams courageously. With this course he aims to propagate the vision of the Art of Living, which is to see a smile on every face on the planet. A blend of intellect and innocence, mind-blowing wit yet unconditional warmth, he continues to be a favourite among youth, and is committed to utilizing every moment of his time in enriching the lives of people around. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

ZFN Webinar – Applying to Graduate School in the US

Thanks to all those who participated in the above Webinar. Special thanks to Farrokh Mistree and Janet Allen who lucidly explained the details lucidly. All participants greatly benefited and expressed satisfaction at the takeaways from the session.

For the benefit of all, here is the recording of the session

And here is the presentation – Click Here to View


Only a Parsi can write a paean to the Bumla. “A Bombay Duck that never clucks. Eat him fresh or eat him dry; mum and dad they like him fried. Bombay Duck he’s worth a try.” Minocher Kava and his wife Naju composed this and the first Indi-Pop Hit, “Bumbumbumbum Bumbai Meri Hai”. Another hit in 1966, “Evening in Gay Maharashtra”, became an LGBT anthem in 2014 in the fight against Article 377.

Courtesy : Soonu Engineer


Akuri & A Pinch Of Hope

Akuri & A Pinch Of Hope: A Feel Good Short Film That’ll Leave You With A Lingering Smile

Two men stumble upon each other at an Irani Cafe and what happens next will leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling.

How many times have you seen movies or videos about a man who is this close to giving up, but then an ‘angel’ appears and saves him from the darkness? AKURI & A Pinch Of Hope, a short film by KARA Studios is yet another (not so) rehashed version of the same old tale: You’ve got a lot to live for, don’t throw your life away.

Sadiq Sheikh and Cyrus Irani are two people who are poles apart in their characteristics. They randomly stumble upon each other at a cafe and what transpires between them changes Sadiq’s life forever. You guessed it, Cyrus Irani unknowingly teaches Sadiq a lesson. The main component used to teach him this lesson is Akuri – a spicy scrambled egg dish eaten in Parsi cuisine of India.

The film begins with some beautiful shots of the real Mumbai. The kind of frames that remind you of sunny days when you’d sit in your college canteen, and sip lemonade. The conversation between the protagonists is set in a quaint little Parsi cafe, and the sprinkle of Farsi is particularly heartwarming. Cyrus sits next to Sadiq and goes on to compare the journey of life to the complex flavors of his favorite dish- Akuri. He makes some heart-warming points as he beautifully compares life to the varied yet coherent ingredients used in the preparation of Akuri, and this changes Sadiq’s decision of ending it all. His words make Sadiq realize how hope is always an arm’s length away.

Watch the short film right here:

These 20 minutes might not change your life or alter the way you think drastically, but it’ll leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside and serve as a reminder to love yourself, even when times are tough.

Now, who’s in the mood for some delicious scrambled eggs?

Road to Enterprise

Part 1 : The Rise of the Parsis

The Parsis are one of Indias most well-known business communities. Catch the story of their journey from a predominantly agrarian beginning to the pioneers of Indian industry.

Part 2 :

Naushad Forbes, Co-Chairman, Forbes Marshal, shares his thoughts on his family legacy , the Parsi way of doing business and the way ahead .