PRAYERS


Prayers are like

The rays of
The  golden Phoebe

When chanted
“Emitting” intense heat

Cleansing one`s

Thoughts words deeds

As the sun

Seems to retire

For the night

Casting an reddish

Orange glow all over

Signaling that evening
Is  drawing near
As we are ourselves
About to retire

A”Comforter” of the night

Gently covering the earth

While the quiet moon in

Her silvery chariot

Floating by

Accompanied by

Her train of stars

Strumming:

“Twinkle Twinkle

Little Star”

As though singing

A lullaby

Prayers seem to
Have a soothing effect

‘Cause everything is

Peaceful & quiet

 

Before we close

Our eyes and

Settle down to sleep

Recapping what

Thoughts we thought

What words we uttered

And what deeds we did.

At the end of the day

Of one has Faith

It`s the Power of Prayers

That can save the day!

Choicest Happiness

Farida

 

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A Grateful Graduate Reminisces the Wonderful MFCAI – and Oliver Goldsmith’s poem: The Village Schoolmaster!


Standing at the open door of the slowly moving B.B.&C.I.R. train from Ahmedabad to Bombay, a distinguished Mobed in flowing beard beckoned a Cooley to carry an old metal trunk and alighted on the Andheri station platform with his tender age son. The three slowly walked up the hill across the street to that magnificent architectural Boarding School building.

The mango trees on the vast grounds were heavy with the fruits. The Mobed was ushered in the Acting Principal Faramroze P. Patel’s office. After exchanging greetings, the son’s name was duly registered with his entire details of birth date, grandfather’s name, the Mobed “Panth” (family) etc. in Patel Saheb’s one and only complete School register as the 70thstudent this year in the School and 288th overall from the beginning!

Then he strikes the metal plunger bell and orders the assistant Keshoo to bring the first standard teacher. And here comes a Gujarati gentleman, in his Dhoti with a wonderful smile, the most respected, loving, wise, the one and only teacher Kantilal M. Upadhyay!

 

Kantilal Saheb escorted the young recruit to the last class room, informing on the way that he has taught all his 4 brothers before him and they were very good students! We entered the class room with all the students standing up for the teacher and Kantilal Saheb introduces me as Soli Pirojshah Kawasji Dastur from Tarapur and requests me to occupy the only empty desk left! After a few minutes, Kantilal Saheb had to leave the room and he brings his “Dhoko” (club) to me and says: “Sorabji! You are the monitor of this class and take care of it in my absence!”

 

Thus started my initiation to this magnificent Boarding School, The Muncherji Framji Cama Athornan Institute (MFCAI)! The fateful day was June 20th, 1945 and it started the most formative 9 years of my life until I passed the S.S.C. (High School) exam in March 1954! And all that I am today is due to the wonderful training we all had in this Institute, under the tutelage of those unbelievably dedicated Teacher Sahebs like Kantilal, Kaikhushroo S. Daruwalla, Rustomji S. Sanjana, Mobed Tehmurasp P. Sidhwa, Acting Principal Faramroze P. Patel, Dr. Peshotan K. Anklesaria, Rana, Khambata, and many others! And as a monitor of this unusual class, I was fortunate to have as my class mates, nay as my brothers, in our last years, Ervads Dr. Kersey Antia, Dastoorji Feroze (Framroze) Kotwal, Noshir Bharucha, Late Gustad Andhyarujina, and many others!

 

Alas, gone are the glory days of this Institute with 70+ students and 12+ teachers with teeming activities around the clock from the peel of 100 bells at 5:20 AM to “Khudaavind Khaavind Parvardegaar” Monajat at 9:00 PM before going to sleep!

 

The Village Schoolmaster

Whenever I think about our wonderful MFCAI, I always remember that beautiful poem The Village Schoolmaster by Oliver Goldsmith from his book: The Deserted Village. Besides bringing the memories of MFCAI, the poem also brings back the memories of my small Tarapur school where we had our first 2 – 3 years of education. I am sure it will bring back similar memories of your school to many of you.

This poem brings back the vivid memories of what the school was in its glory days when I was a student and what has become of the school today: a magnificent structure with no student and one Principal (?!), unkept, not maintained and left empty to itself! (please see the attached photos of the school in 2004).

Whenever I visited the school in recent years, it brought tears to my eyes to see the deplorable condition it is left in. Changing the last two lines of Goldsmith for MFCAI:

“But past is all (its) fame. The very spot

Where many a time (it) triumph’d is forgot.”

 

So, here is that beautiful poem by Oliver Goldsmith:

The Village Schoolmaster

by Oliver Goldsmith (1728 – 1774) (read by Tom O’Bedlam)

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,

With blossomed furze unprofitably gay,

There, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule,

The village master taught his little school;

A man severe he was, and stern to view;

I knew him well, and every truant knew:

Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace

The day’s disasters in his morning face;

Full well they laughed, with counterfeited glee,

At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;

Full well the busy whisper, circling round,

Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned;

Yet he was kind, or, if severe in aught,

The love he bore to learning was in fault.

The village all declared how much he knew —

‘Twas certain he could write, and cipher too;

Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,

And e’en the story ran that he could gauge;

In arguing, too, the parson owned his skill,

For, e’en though vanquished, he could argue still,

While words of learned length and thundering sound

Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around;

And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew

That one small head could carry all he knew.

 

But past is all his fame. The very spot

Where many a time he triumph’d is forgot.

 

SPD Explanation:

  1. The school has meant to all of us a steady influence throughout our lives, in thick and thin, and we owe everything that all of us have accomplished to that great philanthropist and far-sighted Parsi Zarathushtri, late Meherwanji Mancherji Cama who built this Boarding School for the uplifting of the Athornan families! Many of us school graduates still remember late Meherwanji and his father Mancherji in all our Afringan Deebache even up to this day, a tribute of our gratitude to them!

Addendum

  1. The alumni of the Institute form the bedrock of priests on this Continent, to name a few: among them are Ervads Kersey Antia, Kersey Bhedwar, Noshir Karanjia, Parvez Patel, Adi Unwalla, Peshotan Unwalla, Behram Panthaki, Dara Sinor, Kobad Jamshed (Andhyarujina), Tehmton Mirza, Jimmy Panthaky, and Soli Dastur
  2. This institute has produced three Dasturs: Dastur Navroze Minocher Homji, Dastur Feroze Kotwal, and Dastur Peshotan Hormazdyar Mirza.  Dastur Minocher Homji and Ervad Manecksha K Panthaki, the father of Ervad Behram and Ervad Gustad Panthaki were the first batch of 36 students enrolled in the institute in 1923 and Ervad Manecksha was the first Navar from this Institute on 2/11/1928.
  3. In addition there were two Mobeds from Iran, Dastur Firooz Azargoshasp and Dastur Rostam Shahzadi, who also received their training at the Cama Athornan Institute. They were sponsored by the Yazd Anjoman e Moobedan and the Bombay Irani Anjuman, under the leadership of the late Dinshaw Irani.  
  4. Now the MFCAI Ex-Students are trying to revive this Institute and they deserve all the help from our community worldwide! They used to hold 2 weeks Refresher Course on Religious Prayers, Rituals, History, etc. with Guest Speakers coming to speak. However, the Principal and the Trustees stopped them to hold these annual course for some flimsy reasons and the MFCAI is not involved in any Zarathushtri Programs.
  5. Now they are holding these courses at Cama Baug. We wish them all success, and help!
  6. And finally, I leave you all with that haunting echo in my ears of the last lines of our nightly “Khudaavind Khaavind Parvardegaar” Monajat: “Maneh Paasbaani maa taari suwaad, Bhalaa kaamo karvaa savaareh uthaad!” (Let me sleep under your watchful eye and wake me up in the morning to do good deeds (again)!”

May the Flame of Fellowship, Love, Charity, and Respect for all burn ever eternal in our hearts so we can do HIS work with humility, diligence, and eternal enthusiasm!

 

In HIS Service 24/7!

Atha Jamyaat, Yatha Aafrinaamahi! (May it be so as we wish!)

 

Love and Tandoorasti, Soli Dastur

 

MFCAI Photos

Z-Women’s Life Matter 2


Education is the most powerful we can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela

Leadership is not bullying & leadership is not aggression. Leadership is expectation that you can use your voice for good. Then you can make a better place Sheryl Sandberg

 

Fear has 2 meanings:Forget everything and run or face everything and Rise: The Choice is Yours.

To all Zoroastrian women:

Women were put

On this Earth

To even the balance

Of power

Giving woman

Extra ordinary strength

Not to fold or cower

If the `Souls

`In “Heaven or Hell”

Had electronic communication

They would be

In constant touch

Letting us know”

If there is

“Segregation” Racism”

“Discrimination” as well “Bigotry”

Amidst  the “Soul Community”`

“You may write me

Down in history

With your bitter

Twisted lies

You may tread

Me in the very dirt

But like the dust

I rise”

“You want me broken

Bowed head,& lowered eyes

Shoulders falling like tear drops

Weakened by your soulful cries”

“You may shoot me

With your words

You may cut me

With your eyes

You may kill me

With your hatefulness

But still like air

I Rise”

Choicest Happiness

Farida

PS adapted from the poem “I Rise” by Maya Angelou.

 

 

 

.

 

FEMALE REVOLUTION


On Thurday the   22nd on BBC

There was a documentary

On Female Revolution\

In a way it certainly implies
Our very own women

Who are born as Zoroastrians

Vesuvius in Aug 24 79 AD

And in 1669 11th of March
Mount Etna on11th
Leveled the cities  of
Pompeii as well Catania

Will Zoroastrianism meet

Meet the same  fate

Blanketing Zoroastrianism
With  Racism Segregation

Discrimination & Bigotry

This beautiful Religion

Spear headed by Asho Zarathushtra

Tis the beautiful

Season of Spring

Windows have been

Flung open to let

Fresh air in

Drapes have been

Pull back so are the blinds

Please do not

Fence us in

Once the food
The fun music

Fades away

Are we going

To change our ways

Or go down

The same pathway?

Screw the religion

Even more

As though it has

Hasn’t been
Tried before

Do you all realize

There is no

Schedule to follow?

No confessions or

Attending lectures

Every Sunday ?

Nor dos or don’ts

Lead your life your way

 

 

I can almost hear

Asho Zarathushtra

Preach:

” If you want to

Come into my life

The door is open

If you want to

Get out of my life

The door is open

Just one request”

Don’t stand in the door

You’re blocking the traffic”

Nobody seems to be

Doing anything about it

Since “they” are so full of it

Flanked by their “Cashew Corterie”

If only the funding for
Different projects came

To a halt

Would some of you do

The “Bunny Hop”?

Take the hand outs away

That’s the only way

They will sit up

And notice

We can make the

Our religion Zoroastrianism

Great Again!!

Choicest Happiness

Farida

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nowrooz


With Divine help
Moses “Parted the Red Sea”

So also Nature
Will part the
Winter dark clouds

Give way to Spring

With white wooly clouds

As well blue skies

And the beautiful

Golden rays of
Phoebe shining through.

Nowrooz will come

Nowrooz will go

But the stupid ignorant

Mentality of some

Will never go

Adhering to some

Principles of

Total Purity

Since we are

Welcoming the

Season of Spring

It’s high time one
“Changed one’s sheets”

 

Please do not

Screw up our Religion

With the bigoted message

That Zoroastrianism

Is an Only for “Pure Zarathushtis

Cause its Pristine Message

Teaches Universality with

No strings attached

Kindly shed the mantle of

Racism Discrimination & Bigotry

If one wants to

Hang on

To this stupid  ideology

And roil & muddy  the religion

With Impure messages

Then Practice

It amongst yourselves

As for the rest of us

Unchain the shackles

That bind us

As we want to live

Live & Breathe FREE!!

 

Happy Nowrooz

Farida Bam

ETHNIC CLEANSING


Years ago

There was a blood bath

Where we Zoroastrians were

Too victims of Ethnic Cleansing
Slaughtered & butchered  like goats.

Fast forward a few

Hundred years

Landed on the

Shores of Sanjan

Pleading with

Requesting Hindu king

For assylum

Who apparently

Was a true human

Did not believe in

Ethnic Cleansing!

He saved us from

A catastrophe

For Zoroastrians from

Being totally annihilated

But, alas we haven’t

Learn’t from past mistakes

 

Zoroastrian is a religion

Preaches  tolerance

Respect Dignity & Equality

Unfortunately there is still

Practice of systematic

Racism Discrimination

And Bigotry

In other words

Ethnic Cleansing!

Look around &

One will see

World wide

People are marching

In protest to demand

Freedom & Equality

So what are we

Doing about it?

Encouraging “Ethnic Cleansing”

It takes “Two to Tango”

As I have said

No one Owns the Religion”

So wake up & smell the roses

Before it’s too late

Please don’t encourage

“Ethnic Cleansing

If one is a True Zoroastrian

Choicest Happiness

Farida Bamji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I DID IT MY WAY”


Listening to this song

It briefly sums up

The Life Asho Zarathushtra led

“And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill my share of losing
And now,…

To think I did all that
And may I say – not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way

For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

Yes, it was my way”

 

I am sure you will agree too

 

Choicest Happiness

 

Farida

 

 

Education & Ignorance


If you think education is expensive wait until you see how much ignorance cost” President Barack Obama

We are all awash

In the ocean of Ignorance

Where it concerns

Our Religion

Activate one’s

Vohu Mano

As the answer

Lies “within”

 

Following somedody blindly

Is not doing anyone any good

That’s why Zoroastrianism

Is knee deep in quick sand

Sinking faster than it should

 

Educate oneself as to

What is the Pristine Message

Think,pause & chill

One will realize one’s fatal mistake

When arrives at the Pearly Gates

 

We have No dos or any don’ts

But, just a very simple message:

Zoroastrianism is Universal

Preaches Equality Tolerance

Respect Understanding

Lead one’s accordingly

That will give one a “Very Safe Passage”

 

Choicest Happiness

 

Farida

 

 

 

 

 

KEKI NASSERWANJI DARUWALLA TO BE HONOURED


Celebrated poet Keki Nasserwanji Daruwalla to be honoured with the Tata Literature Live! Poet Laureate Award 2017

Mumbai: One of India’s best-known poets and short story writers, Keki Nasserwanji Daruwalla, will be honoured as the Tata Literature Live! Poet Laureate for 2017.

The Tata Literature Live! Poet Laureate Award, which carries a citation, plaque and a cash prize, will be presented to Mr Daruwalla on the inaugural day of the festival, November 16, 2017, at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point, Mumbai.

Mr Daruwalla said, “Delighted. The fact that this kind of award exists shows that people still care for poetry. All poets incidentally are not mad as people think, though the madder the poet, the better the poetry. Regrettably I hail from the non-mad variety.”

Born in Lahore in January 1937, Mr Daruwalla joined the Indian Police Service after graduating in English Literature from Punjab University in 1958. He published his first book of poems Under Orion in 1970, followed by another Apparition in April in 1971, going on to win the Uttar Pradesh State Award in 1972.

The author of 18 books, including collections of poetry, short stories and a novel, he was given the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1984 for his poetry collection, The Keeper of the Dead. In 1987, he was conferred with the Commonwealth Poetry Award (Asia) and the Padma Shri in 2014. Ancestral Affairs, his latest novel, was published in 2015.

As a poet, Mr Daruwalla is known for his bitter, satirical tone of poetic presentation, punctuated by poignant visual imagery. His works are laced with anger and contempt, are directed against the dull, passive Indian lifestyle and romantic illusions. What makes his writing gripping is his insight into, and eloquence about, social structures.

Below are the first few lines of his poem Migrations, which also reflect the theme of this year’s festival India at 70. The raw emotions, the turbulence, the pain are all captured beautifully.

Migrations are always difficult:
ask any drought,
any plague;
ask the year 1947.
Ask the chronicles themselves:
if there had been no migrations
would there have been enough
history to munch on?

Going back in time is also tough.
Ask anyone back-trekking to Sargodha
or Jhelum or Mianwali and they’ll tell you.
New faces among old brick;
politeness, sentiment,
dripping from the lips of strangers.

This is still your house, Sir.

Anil Dharker, founder and director, Literature Live!, said, “The depth and eloquence with which Keki Daruwalla writes has enamoured readers over generations, and his cultural footprint on our literature is undeniable. We are humbled to host such an eminent writer at the festival and are looking forward to hearing him speak.”

Harish Bhat, brand custodian, Tata Sons, said, “The Tata group has always believed in the promotion of arts and culture, in its multitude of forms. We are pleased to honour distinguished poet Keki Daruwalla at the Tata Literature Live! Mumbai Litfest this year for the significant contributions he has made in the field of poetry. We hope awards such as this serve as an encouragement for young poets to follow their passion for poetry, which is amongst the most beautiful and powerful forms of human expression.”

Past recipients of the Tata Literature Live! Poet Laureate Award include prolific poets, including Gulzaar Saab in 2016, Vikram Seth in 2015 and Joy Goswami in 2014. 

Ten awards will be presented to celebrate and recognise outstanding works – the Tata Nexon Literature Live! First Book Awards in the Fiction and Non-Fiction categories; and the Tata Literature Live! Book of the Year Awards in the Fiction and Non-Fiction categories; the Tata Capital Literature Live! Business Book Award; Tata Literature Live! Poet Laureate Award; Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award, Tata Literature Live! Publisher of the Year Award and the Big Little Book Awards for Author and Illustrator in the Literature-for-children category. 

One of India’s best international literary festivals, and Mumbai’s biggest, Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest is back to mark the city’s cultural calendar from November 16 to 19, 2017. Over four days, the festival will take place at two venues – NCPA, Nariman Point (November 16 to 19, 2017) and Prithvi Theatre, Juhu (November 18 and 19, 2017) – bringing together an eclectic mix of authors from around the world.

For more details about Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest 2017, please visit the festival website, the Facebook page and the Twitter page.

Entry to the festival will be free and on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Tata group is the title sponsor of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest. Tata Nexon, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Tata Capital are the co-sponsors, and Landmark is the knowledge partner. The festival is conceived by Anil Dharker, founder and festival director of Literature Live!, which organises the festival with the support of the Tata group.

http://www.tata.com/media/releasesinside/keki-nasserwanji-daruwalla-honoured-tata-literature-live-poet-laureate

Women Power ( Parsee Women fighting for Equality)


Leadership is not aggression

 Leadership is the expectation

That you can use your voice for good.

That you can make the world a better place- Sheryl Sandberg

 

Some priest pride themselves

Of being a “Pure Breed”

A Zoroastrian well versed

In Zoroastrian Scriptures

As well ceremonies

But, the basic Pristine

Message is Respect

Tolerance  as well Equality.

Regardless of colour Caste or Creed

 

Why are our Zoroastrian women

Treated like out caste

Having married outside

The  religion?

When they approach

The Pearly Gates

Question won`t be

Asked whether one

Was a practicing

Zoroastrian

 

Do not be bound

Or fear the edict

Use your own

Power of Reasoning

As they do not have

The authority to Fence

You in

 

They cannot put

You in chains

or shackles on

Your feet

‘Cause Zoroastrianism

Preaches us that

Reward comes to those

Who practice Good Thoughts

Good Words Deeds

 

Question their authority

Don’t let them deny

One”s the Freedom

To be a practicing Zarthoshti

Including wearing of Sadra & Kusti\

Even though you are marries to

A Non Zoroastrian

 

If I may put my two cents in

In all this where does  NAMC fit in?

They should be able to

Do something

Instead of sitting around

Let Zoroastrianism be

A Vanishing Breed

 

When life starts to ebb away

As the  poor soul is preparing

For Judgement Day

As it patiently awaits  it’s fate

There is nobody to welcome

Or guard the gate

Thats when the gavel come dowm

Alas! for  Egoistic Priests it’s too late

 

faridabam@gmail.com

 

Nov 6th 2017