Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Our Very Own Episode 5 – Wings

Mazda Multimedia is pleased to present for your viewing pleasure the Fifth Episode of “Our Very Own” Series.
This episode tells us about how 3 teenagers along with their organising committee came together to host events which took the community by surprise and today its one of the biggest and most elaborate sporting and cultural event in the community.

Parsi community calls on govt to preserve cemetery in Rawalpindi

Illegal sale of land and encroachers have reduced centuries old #ParsiCemetery in Rawalpindi to half its area, says former lawmaker Isphanyar Bhandara, calling on the Punjab government to declare it a heritage site.

 

By Rehan Piracha – https://voicepk.net/2021/09/parsi-community-calls-on-govt-to-preserve-cemetery-in-rawalpindi/


LAHORE

A former lawmaker from the Parsi minority community has called on the Punjab government to protect the community’s 150-year old cemetery in Rawalpindi from land grab and declare it a national heritage site.

The Parsi cemetery on the Murree Road in Rawalpindi has been eclipsed by the New Jewellery Market, Isphanyar Bhandara, president of Parsi Union of Rawalpindi, tells Voicepk.net in an exclusive interview.

“The cemetery is built on a scenic and beautiful place but unfortunately it has been reduced to less than half its area in the last two decades,” Bhandara says. The Parsi cemetery had an area of 25 Kanals but illegal sale of land and encroachment has reduced the graveyard’s total area to 7 to 8 Kanals now, he adds. A grave of Behram Jee Hormas Jee Boca, who died in 1860, is also part of the cemetery. Bhandara’s late father MP Bhandara, also a former lawmaker, is buried here.

The former lawmaker laments that a former office-bearer of the Parsi Union illegally had illegally sold off half of the cemetery’s land in 2005. According to him, land earmarked for a graveyard cannot be sold or utilized for another purpose without the permission of the Auqaf Department.

In addition, the cemetery is facing threats of further encroachment of land from residents of neighbouring buildings. “Our neighbours who should respect sanctity of the Parsi graveyard are instead trying to encroach upon one-and-half Kanals of open land earmarked for future graves of the Parsi community members,” he says. These residents have built windows on the side of the cemetery and trying to turn the open space into a passage way, he explains.

Bhandara says the Parsi union has gone to court to prevent further encroachment on the land belonging to the cemetery. “It’s unfortunate that the Parsi community is forced to approach courts to protect their property from neighbours who should have helped preserve the legacy of their minority brethren,” he adds.

Asked whether he had approached concerned government officials and ministers for the preservation of the cemetery, Bhandara says the union had expressed their concerns to all the quarters in the country but no response or action has been taken yet. Responding to a question about lodging a complaint to the National Commission for Minorities, Bhandara calls the commission a toothless and cosmetic body, adding that he was a member on the previous commission.

“The National Commission for Minorities can do nothing to protect rights of the minorities and even the rulings from the Supreme Court are of no effect in this regard,” he adds. Unless, the station house officer of a police station regards that it is his duty to protect and safeguard lives and properties of the minority communities, no directives will have an effect, he points out.

According to the marble plaque at the gate of the cemetery, the Parsi graveyard was built in the 1890s. “This cemetery, together with the buildings and compound wall, was erected to perpetuate the memory of the late Seth Jahangiriji Framji Jussawala and Seth Jamasji Hormasji Bogha – both Rawalpindi Parsi merchants – by their respective grandsons, Seth Dorabji Cowasji Jussawala and Seth Nasarwanji Jehangiriji Bogha Shahshai in the month of Tir 1367, January 1898, ” reads the inscription on the plaque.

Talking about the colonial-style red mortar building in the cemetery, Bhandara says, the beautiful single-storey structure is designated for the last rites of community members. “Prayers for the deceased as well as their last rites are performed in the building,” he adds.

Bhandara called on the Punjab government to declare the Parsi cemetery in Rawalpindi a site of cultural heritage in order to preserve and protect the landmark from land grabbers and encroachment. “I’m making this demand to the provincial government and the city’s deputy commissioner so that the legacy of the Parsi community is preserved and recognised,” he adds.

The former lawmaker says it is high time that the government ensured the protection of lives, properties and communal worship places of the minority communities. He pointed out that the Parsi population in Pakistan has dwindled to 800 citizens from over 5000 at the time of partition. “Presently, there are a handful of Parsi families in Rawalpindi,” he says.

Bhandara says the brain drain and exodus of minority communities from Pakistan is linked with a lack of economic opportunities and insecurity in the country. “It’s not only the Hindus and Parsis who have emigrated but thousands of engineers, doctors, and IT professionals have gone abroad to seek better opportunities,” he concludes.

 

The oldest aqueduct in Tehran, built by a Zoroastrian lady

Indeed, Iranian civilization could not form and could not last unless the intelligence of the Iranians created the “kariz” or the aqueduct because our land is water-scarce and, in many parts, desert. It was the proper and careful management of the waters of this land that, over millennia and centuries, formed one of the most brilliant civilizations in the world. Part of that water management went back to the construction of the kariz. Kariz was made from Iranian awareness and genius and was our gift to the world. In Tehran, which has been known as the center of the country for two centuries, karizes have played a fundamental role in the lives of the people of the capital. The oldest kariz in the city, which is 700 years old, was built by order of a Zoroastrian lady. That kariz is called Mehrgard and still has signs of its watery past.  

Kariz has been one of the most critical water supply sources in Tehran since it was chosen as the capital of Iran until the last forty or fifty years. Even before Tehran became the capital, the city had a large number of karizes. Based on the research of Javad Safinejad, who is one of the prominent experts in kariz, 572 karizes have been created in the history of Tehran! This number of kariz is genuinely remarkable. Although many of Tehran’s karizes were lost over time, by the 1330s SH, the capital’s karizes were still prominent, reaching 29 disciplines. However, the pipeline system eliminated the need to dig the kariz, reducing the number of kariz in Tehran.

In a simple definition, Kariz means the use of underground water. This is achieved in a way that recognizes Iranian creativity and art more than anything else. As mentioned, the number of karizes in Tehran, like other large and small cities in Iran, was enormous. The kariz or the qanat water of Sanglaj, which could be seen in the city park, and it was so full of water that it was not lost even with the destruction of the Sanglaj neighborhood in the first half of the fourteenth century; Sardar Kariz in einoddoleh Street (the present day Iran Street) that would supply water to the whole neighborhood; Bagh Saba kariz would supply water to the Old Shemiran Ave., Darvaze Dowlat, and the surrounding streets and neighborhoods; the important and very valuable kariz of Haj Alireza, which would pass by the front of the parliament and would supply water to Udlajan and the whole area around chal Meydan;, as well as the karizes of Elahieh, Baha Al-Mulk, Baharestan, Beryanak, Pamanar, Jalalieh, Nezamieh, Jamshidabad, Farmanfara, Yusefabad, Behjatabad, the Russia embassy kariz, the British embassy kariz, Jalalieh, and many other karizes. Among these two kariz’s were more important: first was the Mehrgard Kariz and the second was the Nasserite Kariz. These two are worth giving more details on.

Mehrgerd, the oldest kariz in Tehran

Mehrgard kariz is the oldest kariz in Tehran. It was sometimes called Kariz Mehran because its mother well (main well) was in Mehran Village, a part of Shemiran and Tajrish district, and this kariz spread to the present Zarabkhaneh, seyed Khandan and Majidieh areas. Historical signs and documents show that this kariz was made by order of a Zoroastrian lady. Although her name remains unknown, this benevolent lady is mentioned several times in ancient writings.

Nasserite Kariz would supply quite a significant part of Tehran’s water. During the Qajar period, the Shah and his court maintained and supervised the Mehrgard kariz. After that, it became one of the royal assets of the Pahlavi dynasty.

In the past, the abundance of water in the Mehrgard waterway was such that its surplus reached the areas of Bazaar and Oudlajan. Mazhar. The first opening of Mehrgard Kariz, called mazhar, was located on Nasser Khosrow Street and the gush of water from its canal could be sent in the streams in this building.  Its other branch started from Alborz High School on College Square and, and went along Ferdowsi Street to the lower zones of the city.

With the expansion of Tehran and especially construction of the telecommunication building in Toopkhaneh Square, and later, the construction of one or two metro stations, the first opening (mazhar) to Mehrgard Kariz was destroyed and now it cannot be found. However, there are still signs of water in the Mehrgard waterway when digging underground for underground construction projects.

It should also be noted that the 700-year-old kariz of Mehrgard drained 200 liters of groundwater per second with only the force of gravity and without any maintenance. Such a mechanism has been described as an “engineering masterpiece.” Although the dredging of Mehrgard has been forgotten for decades and constructions all over have blinded its entrance (mazhar or the first opening), yet signs of life of this kariz can be found, and if just an effort is made to revitalize it, one of the important signs of civilization in Tehran will not be lost.

Nasseri is one of the most important karizes in the capital

Most of the karizes in Tehran belonged to those with wealth and power, and they were built to irrigate their gardens and lands, and if there was a surplus of water, it would be directed to lower lands, which belonged to the people. There was a unique example. That example goes back to Kariz Shah (Nasiri). This kariz was built by order of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, and he had ordered it to be dedicated to the people.

After providing the water need for Golestan Palace complex, the Nasseri Kariz would flow to the southeast of the city, forming a settling called Qanatabad.  This kariz was in use until the early 1330’s, but then it was abandoned when water pipelines began to be drawn in Tehran, in those years.  Another use of this Kariz was to provide water for the 10 indoor baths of Golestan Palace during the reign of Nasser Eddin Shah.

Current karizes of Tehran

Now, in these recent years, the number of Kariz’s in Tehran has decreased a lot. Failure to dredge and fill the wells of the karizes is one of the reasons for the loss of these valuable water resources. Digging deep wells, which began in 1342, and increasing their number day by day, reduced the use and maintenance of Tehran’s kariz’s.  Digging subway tunnels was another reason for the drying up of running springs and as a result the blocking of water flowing into the canals.  At a time, the flow of water in the city was such that the humidity of the running water would affect surrounding houses and would make the walls damp, sometimes right upto the roof, forcing the inhabitants to move to other neighborhoods.  It did not take long before there was construction on top of the Kariz.  Now, the problem of these areas is subsidence of land. The karizes were a sign of Tehran’s prosperity and greenery; They were also considered a sign of wealth in other towns and settlements of our land. But urban renewal and modernism destroyed those ancient signs of civilization. Was what we gained enough to lose our karizes and water resources?

* Using: The article “Mehrgard is the oldest living aqueduct in Tehran” written by Narjes Zivodar in Iranshahr Intellection Magazine (Winter 2017); Nasrollah Haddadi’s note on “Iran Newspaper Website”; As well as “City Headline” websites; “Tehran Nameh.”

Negar Jamshidian

The oldest aqueduct in Tehran, built by a Zoroastrian lady

A Parsee Anecdote

Many may not know that India used to have two time zones.
One is Indian Standard Time, ahead of GMT by 5 hours 30 minutes. Another was Bombay Time which was 4 hours 31 minutes ahead of GMT.
Thus the Bombay Time was full 59 minutes behind the Indian Standard Time.
The Bombay-Time was abolished in 1955.
For some inexplicable reason, the Parsee Community of Bombay continued to adhere to the Bombay-Time.
A marriage invitation or Navjot invitation always used to mention Bombay- Time.
This story is of the early Sixties when Mr Aspi Bhesania died at the ripe age of 90 years, the age at which or much beyond which, most Parsees tend to depart. He was a philanthropist also a social worker who had many good deeds to his credit. He, as a Municipal Councilor,  had contributed a lot to the City’s development.
Aspi’s funeral was held at Dungerwadi  – the Tower of Silence – where the dead Parsees are rested – ultimately to be one with nature. The Tower of Silence complex is a huge piece of real estate on the slopes of Malabar Hill in South Bombay. The premises has a hall where condolence meetings are held before the dead body is transferred to the Tower of Silence. The non- Parsees are permitted to go up to the hall, beyond which only Parsees are permitted.
Aspi’s condolence meeting was scheduled to be at 5-00 PM. Sir Homi Modi, KBE, himself beyond 80 years of age then, was to preside over the event. Sir Homi assumed that the meeting would start at 5-00 PM Bombay Time while the organizers had scheduled it for 5-00 PM Indian Standard Time. So, Sir Homi who wanted to reach 15 minutes before the schedule, had reached 15 minutes late for the meeting. As per the Parsee tradition, the meeting had commenced on the dot, without awaiting Sir Homi’s arrival.
Sir Homi, being a stickler for punctuality was flustered and upset with himself as he was rushed to the dais. As Sir Homi sat down, a gentleman who was already talking hurriedly finished his speech and invited Sir Homi to speak.
Sir Homi thus rushed, began his speech “We are meeting here to bid goodbye to a great soul. He was a great human being and his contribution to humanity –—” Sir Homi went on in that vein for a few sentences and realised that he had forgotten the name of the deceased.  Without realising that the microphone was “ON”  Sir Homi turned to Ronnie Sakhlatwala sitting to his left and asked in a whisper: “ ए रॉनी, ए घेलचोदयाने नाम सूं? ” (Hey Ronnie, what is the name of the fuXXr?)
The entire audience heard what he said. Sakhatwala was taken aback. He also could not recall the name. The man sitting on Sir Homi’s right stood up and whispered the dead man’s name in Sir Homi’s ear.
The audience could barely control its laughter. There were a few suppressed outbursts of mirth.
Parsees have a wonderful sense of humour. I will not be surprised if the late Aspi Bhesania also may have smiled as he lay dead on the stretcher.

Gholvad is the Chikoo Bowl of Maharashtra

This is a story about a place made interesting by a fruit

 03 Min Read   

It is the ultimate laid-back experience, but for me it started as a power trip. Literally, I discovered this unbelievable idyll just a 3-hr train ride away from Mumbai, when the equally incredible Nergis Irani launched a one-woman crusade against the thermal power plant being set up by the Bombay Suburban Electric Supply in Dahanu, the chikoo bowl of Maharashtra. I had passed Gholvad several times on train journeys to Ahmedabad—quaint, sleepy stations characterised by locals selling small baskets of just-picked fruit and bundles of lemongrass and peppermint leaves with which Parsis flavour their tea. I had no idea of the deep, dark groves that lay beyond the pedestrian platform.

Then Nargis Irani descended on my office like a Persian army. Her feisty Irani genes made up for whatever she lacked in the ‘warrior-queen’ department. As an environmentalist, she would have fought such desecration anywhere, but in the Gholvad she had an emotional stake, as these chikoo orchards had been planted by the Iranis, many of whom had cleared the grass-covered tracts with their bare hands when they had arrived here a hundred or so years ago. This tough, if rustic, race had been impoverished by discrimination in their native Iran and they too made the journey that their fellow Zoroastrians, the Parsis, had made nearly a millennium earlier. Some set up tea shops in Mumbai, but the more intrepid fanned into the interior, confident that land was land, even if in an alien country.  With their own input of hard work, they were certain that it would sustain them, as it had their fore-fathers back home.

Chikoo fruit

The house of the man who first brought chikoos to this area still stands near Dahanu Railway Station, the lush acres flourishing in the care of his grandsons. Those who followed old Mr Irani acquired and tamed their own sprawling acres. Grandchildren went away, lured by city jobs and the promise of golden opportunity abroad. Many returned. The land was as forgiving as it was yielding.

Things to see and do? The answer to this is ‘nothing’. The idea here is to chill. Wake up to the cock’s crow and open your eyes to a canopy of dark chikoo leaves. These orchards smell of the resins of the trees. Walk down the winding country road and smile at the curious women—rural cliches in their short ‘towel’ wraps above which rise their bare midriffs and bosoms. They sashay past with a self-assured swing, a chatter of berribboned sparrows as they go to water and weed, pluck and pack in the orchards.

Mud pots ‘grow’ out of every stunted toddy palm; they say slake the thirst of a day’s labour and fill the night with the drumbeat of abandon. Hens fret and strut about the reed and mud huts before meeting their fate in a festive cauldron.

Gholvad—rising above Bordi and merging unmarked into Dahanu and the surrounding villages—has no pin-downable focal point. It’s only orchards, and the homesteads of the people who cultivated them.

 

Location: Gholvad is on the road to Bordi, on the coastal highway after you turn left from Kasa Khurd towards Dahanu.

https://www.outlookindia.com/outlooktraveller/explore/amp/69779/did-you-know-series-why-visit-gholvad-the-chikoo-bowl-of-maharashtra

Parsee General Hospital – A Short Story

“Chaal ni, chaal ni”, (c’mon, c’mon) urged Freny, in her usual boisterous manner, waving at her sister Dhun, who responded as fast as her stumpy legs permitted, the added weight of the tiffin carrier she bore making her pant.   The plastic slippers she had recently purchased from Grant Road market weren’t a help in any way, slowing down her pace even more, but the Bombay monsoon wasn’t worth wasting a decent pair of slippers on.  Besides, her feet were hardly the kind that would grace a delicate pair of sandals!  Freny was clearly visible in her bright floral dress, despite the crowd of family surrounding her.  She always had to be the centre of every conversation, regardless of its subject matter and was therefore difficult to ignore.  On her right, standing tall and slim, was their third and youngest sister, Gool, who few would have believed to have been born of the same parents.  Dignified, attractive, and soft spoken, she would often be embarrassed by her sisters’ loud voices and laughter.  Seated on the bench were two cousins and an ageing uncle accompanied by his deaf wife, which made Freny’s volume go up two notches.

 

Jehangirji Saklatwala rolled his eyes and shook his head at the bantering of his family, and, despite the catheter and IV drip connected to his frail arm, smiled wryly under his oxygen mask. Gool was definitely his favourite daughter, but even his failing memory could not dissipate the fun times with Freny and Dhun during their childhood years.  

 

He was grateful for the wide corridors of the Parsi General Hospital that allowed for large gatherings of family and friends to keep his spirits buoyant. The aches and pains of old age were slowly overriding all else in his life.  After the sudden passing away of his beloved wife, life seemed to drag on listlessly. When he fainted one morning on his way to the washroom, Dhun, with whom he had been staying after his wife’s death, arranged for a complete health check up at the Parsi General Hospital.  This unearthed a gamut of ailments, and he often felt that his last days were not so distant anymore.

 

Most nights, as he lay in bed , sleep eluding him for most of the darkened hours, he would marvel at the magnificent building that had housed the ill, the frail and the dying since 1912, thanks to the generosity of Seth Bomanji Dinshaw Petit after whom the hospital was named.  A devout Parsi would not hear of being admitted to any hospital other than this one, because where else could family and friends  saunter in at any time of the day or night to visit the patients, or be permitted to bring in cutlets, patties and rotlis fresh off the tava for their loved ones as well as their bed neighbours.  Where else would you find Mumbai’s finest Parsi doctors generously giving of their time and medical expertise to the poor and moneyed in equal measure.  The well-manicured and lovingly tended garden, where his sons-in-law, Rumi, Soli and Fram, bonded over their walk, was a sight for sore eyes.  Jehangirji was glad that his ward was located on the first floor, because it allowed him an unrestricted view of the pretty landscape below, when the nurses wheeled him out every morning while they did up his bed.

 

Jehangirji found the hours between 3 am and 5 am the most difficult to pass.  Apart from the monotonous hum of the various machines hooked onto some of his ward mates, there was little activity, if any.  In the week that bed number 4 in the men’s ward of the Nursing Home section had been his, only one night had had any form of excitement, if a cardiac arrest could be considered as such.  The early hours of the morning were lost in rituals of ablutions and bed pans and nursing shift changes; but come 10 am, the corridors and hallways hummed with activity. The ward would be filled with visitors and time would fly by in a whirlwind of gossip and chit chat.

 

Jehangirji knew that Behram in bed number 3 had a “saala dikro” (useless son) who lived in the US of A and never had time to visit; but Dolly, the daughter, spent most of her day by her father’s bedside, admonishing and cajoling all in one breath; that Kekobad, who lay sprawled on bed no 2 because he was just too large to move, was married to Aloo who, he claimed, made the best malido (semolina sweet).  Judging by his size, Jehangirji, believed him!  Fardoon Fatakia in bed no 7, across from Jehangirji, snored so loud, the others would curse him in the choicest Parsi phrases all through the night, not that it made any difference to Fardoon, who prided himself on his ability to sleep through an earthquake.  Jehangirji’s own bedside would be crowded with some cousin, friend or daughter all through the day.  Discussions were often held on who would relieve whom for duty during the day.  Jehangirji himself had forbidden any one to stay during the night, otherwise Freny would definitely have organised for some relative to do that in her usual bossy manner.

 

Evening hours were definitely the most entertaining.  All the corridors of the hospital would be overflowing with visitors, many of whom knew the layout of the hospital like the back of their hand, considering they were always visiting some relative or friend there.  It was socialising at its best.  Recipes of yesterday’s delicious snacks were exchanged along with discussions on who wore which “gara” at last evening’s Navjote.  Even in the more somber waiting room outside the ICU, the Parsis bonded over cups of “phudna ni chai” (mint tea) while debating which sofa afforded the most comfort during the nights.

 

On his earlier trips to the hospital to visit relatives and friends, Jehangirji had marvelled at the expanse of land on which the hospital stood.  Being conveniently located in the heart of the city of Bombay, it still had vacant areas for future development, despite the already existing large stone L-shaped building and the additional structures housing the residential quarters for doctors and nurses.  His heart would swell with pride at being a member of this illustrious community that held philanthropy high in its religious tenets.

 

Gool’s gentle voice saying “pappa” brought him back to the realisation that dusk had already lit the sky a pretty orange, signaling that most of the crowd outside would be organising themselves to get home.  He could already hear Dhun arranging lifts for her aunt and uncle with Dolly, the bed neighbour’s daughter.  Now there would be a long session of goodbyes and “kaale malsu” (we’ll meet tomorrow) all over the ward.

 

As the chitter chatter died down and the echo of the last visitor’s footsteps faded away in the corridors, Jehangirji closed his eyes and his thoughts drifted as always to this institution that had become his home in the last few days.  He had heard that several new state-of-the-art hospitals had opened across Bombay.  The Parsi community seemed to be dwindling.  Would the Parsi General Hospital be able to survive these changes, or would the wheels of a rapidly advancing technology crush the older, less sophisticated system?  With snarling traffic on every road in his beloved Bombay, how many would brave the honking and the chaos to come  visit friends and family admitted here ?  Would the hallways fall silent, rooms darken, and lifts creak to a halt some day?  As he welcomed the drowsiness that overtook his thoughts, he murmured, “Jeevto rehje” (stay alive) before drifting into peaceful slumber.

Zarine Kharas

zarine.kharas@gmail.com

Across India on a bicycle – Phiroze Palkhivala

No hotels, no cars, no plans—how this Mumbai lawyer has covered 4,600km across India

Phiroze Palkhivala is cycling around the country, sleeping under the stars, bathing in rivers and savouring food at local’s homes
“I just love cycling. Second, I love travelling. And when you put the two together, it’s magic,” says Phiroze Palkhivala, the Mumbai-based lawyer who has been travelling solo across India on a bicycle since the beginning of this year. The 55-year-old’s main aim was to explore Indian culture in a sustainable way. His only rules are—no hotels, no vehicles and no itineraries.

Phiroze in Kutch, Gujarat

How he does it

Phiroze Palkhivala in Amarpur Gujarat
Phiroze Palkhivala in Amarpur, Gujarat

Palkhivala tries to keep a general plan in mind after doing some basic research online. Then, he invariably meets a local who recommends another site, and the plan changes. So, he usually goes with the flow.

The distance he covers per day depends largely on his sleep and on the weather. “The maximum I’ve covered in a day is around 116km on this trip..”.

The sky morphs into his ceiling at night, as he sleeps out under the stars, since he is not big on hotels. “Everything becomes very expensive,” he explains. “Besides that, I just naturally love to be outside. I love to camp. Even if I am in an ashram, I request them to let me sleep outside. I don’t even use the tent now. I’m lugging it around just in case I’m in a place where it’s raining. Ultimately, the simpler you make everything, the more beautiful everything becomes.”

Collecting experiences across incredible India

Girnar in Gujarat
Girnar in Gujarat

Since the start of his trip in January 2021, Palkhivala has bicycled extensively across Maharashtra and Gujarat. From visiting Asia’s largest ship-breaking yard in Alang, Gujarat, to praying at the Nishkalank Mahadev Temple in Bhavnagar (which remains submerged during high tides and emerges during low tides), Palkhivala’s atypical experiences refuse to remain confined to the pages of an itinerary.

Whilst on the road, no two days are alike for him. From cycling through a casuarina forest in Nargol to wheeling past coconut palms down the streets of Chorwad in Gujarat, Palkhivala was often caught off-guard. His experiences excelled beyond just sight-seeing.

A steep trek to the Bahrot Caves in Dahanu, Maharashtra, made by the Parsis of yore took Palkhivala back to his cultural roots. Visiting the Sri Ram Temple in Bagdana, Gujarat (which, according to the locals, can withstand an earthquake of up to 10 on the Richter Scale), and watching a man spin cotton into rope within minutes using a charkha, left him marvelling at Indian skill and craftsmanship.

A ‘Mini Kumbh Mela’ in Junagadh gave him a chance to interact with sadhus. A month later, he found himself cutting vegetables with strangers to prepare for a feast at Navnath Dhuno in Girnar. Unfortunately, a few of his valuable items were stolen here.

So, what’s in his bag?

Phiroze Palkhivala's cycle carries the load of a few clothes a tent stove daily provisions to cook a GoPro camera an...
Phiroze Palkhivala’s cycle carries the load of a few clothes, a tent, stove, daily provisions to cook, a GoPro camera, an emergency kit and a water bottle.

Palkhivala’s baggage looks slightly different from your usual suitcase or haversack. His essentials include a few clothes, a stove, daily provisions to cook, a GoPro camera, an emergency kit and a water bottle. “I carry them in panniers, which are specially made to attach to a bicycle. I have a rack behind the seat and one in the front which fits on the front fork. So, there are three bags on the rear rack, and two bags which are attached to the sides of the front rack. There’s also one small bag which attaches to the handlebar. Here, I keep things that I may suddenly need on the road. I just have to open it and it’s right there.”

His main bags are also sealed and waterproof, in case of an occasional downpour. “Each time I have to open the bag, I need to release three clips and then the bags have to be rolled open, which takes a little time,” he explains.

Where does he bathe?

From bathing in a 100-year old hot spring in Bhavnagar to a cold dip in the Narmada River en route to Vadodara, Palkhivala’s anecdotes on bathing are equally interesting. However, the general lack of hygiene on the road rankles. “I learned to bathe out of buckets that aren’t clean by cleaning them. Sometimes even water from a tank wasn’t hygienic. Buffaloes would drink water from the same tanks. But you just learn to adjust; there’s no other alternative.”

Read more of this exciting story and pictures at  – 

In Conversation with the iconic Dinshaw K. Tamboly

Mazda Multimedia is pleased to present for your viewing pleasure the Third Episode of “Our Very Own” Series.
You will have the opportunity to learn how positive changes can and have been brought about in the lives of our brethren in various forms of distress featuring the wonderful world of WZO Trusts’.
Please share, like & Subscribe to our YouTube channel Mazda Multimedia.
Best Regards,
Sarosh K. Daruwalla

XYZ – Xtremely Young Zoroastrians – Hoshaang Gotla

Xtremely Young Zoroastrians (XYZ) is an organisation aimed at promoting togetherness and camaraderie within the youngsters of the community. Since its inception in 2014, XYZ aspires to mould the children of the Parsi community between the ages of 5 and 15 years to become better individuals and inculcate the Zoroastrian values through fellowship and service activities. The purpose of XYZ is to build a strong sense of community belonging and pride in the Zoroastrian children. Religious practices are an important part of XYZ and the children to start adhering to them from an early age and Make A Difference in society at large. XYZ is a registered charitable trust and has worked towards helping people from all walks of life.

Host – Mr. Jamshed K. Daboo Guest Speaker – Mr. Hoshaang Gotla Location – Mazda Studios Director of Photography – Rehan S. Daruwalla Directed by – Aarish S. Daruwalla Produced by – Sarosh K. Daruwalla Mazda Multimedia *ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MAZDA MULTIMEDIA*

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