“I don’t perform at too many weddings in a season because I don’t enjoy playing Bollywood stuff — can’t relate!”

When you’ve been brought up a Parsi, nothing holds your imagination quite like cars, bikes, dhansak and English music do.

Ryan Sadri, a 33-year-old saxophonist, attributes his love for music to his Bawa upbringing. “My parents have always been a big influence on me. They pushed me to learn piano as a kid. Later, I picked up the guitar in college. That’s when my mum tried her hand at the sax, but found it too hard. So, suddenly, I had a new instrument at home with which I found a real connection!” says the Mumbai-based musician. Probed about what he loves most about the sax, Ryan outlines, “The fact that breathing into the instrument creates the sound is quite amazing. By itself, the sax can’t make any sound. So that connection between you and the sound of the horn is quite special…and spiritual, too.”

Ryan, who crossed over to the wedding sphere about five years ago, highlights the role his indie band, Something Relevant, had to play in the move. “The band was around for about 10 years and, initially, we’d write our own songs. We never played too many covers…so when we started getting wedding gigs, it was our chance to play not just our songs but also all the songs we loved and grew up with such as those by The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, MJ and Prince,” he explains. But even though he’s a much-sought-after musician, the 33-year-old’s upbringing has resulted in him being rather selective about the gigs he takes up. “I don’t perform at too many weddings in a season because I don’t enjoy playing Bollywood stuff — can’t relate! I do about two weddings a month, on average,” he states. But you’ll definitely want him to play Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healingon your big day because it’s his favourite, “especially the Hot 8 Brass Band version that was used in the movie Chef (2014)”.

With big wedding performances lined up November onwards, Ryan sure has his hands full. But that doesn’t stop him from getting out and enjoying himself. “I love the outdoors and am a complete sports freak. Scuba diving, trekking, kayaking, running, tennis…you name it!” he signs off.

Text by Tina Dastur. Photograph by Prerna Nainwal. Hair & Make-Up: Suraj Tiwari



We made a

Big Hoopla

When the

Cyrus Cylinder

Was showcased

A tiny little

Earthen cylinder

But on it was inscribed

A very  simple
But a potent

Powerful electrifying message

No matter how educated

Talented rich or cool

One believes one is

How one treats people

Ultimately tells all

As Integrity is everything!

We may be of

Any colour caste or creed

By “flashing one’s credit card”

Doesn’t secure one a “Seat”

He cares not for the

Earthly wealth one holds

But how many “Plus Points”

In one’s Gareban one holds

Last but not the least:
Never Judge someone by

The opinion of others

This brings me to the conclusion

(if I may repeat):

Rumours are spread by Haters

Spread by Fools

Accepted by Idiots


— Farida Bam

Aava supports Swachh Bharat Recycling Machines

As you’re aware, rising plastic waste is a serious issue in today’s world. Being an environment-friendly ISO 14001-2015 brand, we’ve always been committed to safeguard Mother Nature who has blessed us with water as pristine as Aava. We are India’s largest selling natural mineral water with 1 million bottles of Aava being consumed worldwide every week. That’s why we ensure that every bottle of Aava is made using certified and standardized recyclable PET raw material in addition to recharging mother earth with our check dams in tribal areas.

We’re sharing some key points from our latest endeavor to support recycling as a habit. Please make sure to share it as much as possible so that more and more consumers are aware about this rewarding opportunity to recycle their plastic bottles.


The Famous Butter Loaded Biscuit from the Parsi Bakeries

Image Credits: Instagram/mellownspicy

Everybody knows about the British and Portuguese influence on Indian food, but not a lot know about Dutch fingerprints on Indian food. Way back in the 17th century, plenty of Dutch colonies were flung all over the Gujarati city of Surat in order to facilitate trade with India. Anxious for a taste of home, they set up a bakery, employing five Parsis to run it. This happy monopoly soon came to an end though, when the British eventually wrested control of Surat. The bakery, largely untainted by the colonial forces at play, happily stayed open. One of the bakers, Faramjee Pestonji Dotivala, continued bakingbread but demand for it sank. Perhaps it was too expensive? In any case, the older, harder bread which was sold for cheaper, became popular and eventually it morphed into the rusk-dry Irani biscuit. In its wake came the sweet, rich nankhataibiscuit, which the Dotivalas claim to have also invented. “In those days,” the Dotivala website reads, “the locals used to make a sweet called ‘dal’. Our ancestors baked the ‘dal’ and the now famous nankhatai was invented.”

Elsewhere, in ‘Eat, Live, Pray’, a publication of the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America, Farishta Murzban Dinshaw writes, “Parsi bakers were inspired by the eggless Scottish shortbread, favoured by sailors because it kept well on long voyages, to create nankhatai, one of Surat’s famous confections. The Surti bakers realised the recipe was suitable for Gujarati vegetarians who did not eat eggs, so they adapted it to local taste by adding cardamom, cashews, almonds and pistachios.”

Today, the nankhatai we know is a light golden circle made with a cloud of ghee (or butter) and pocked with nutmeg and cardamom. Served warm and fresh from the oven, it has a dense, brittle, buttery texture that pairs excellently with a hot cup of tea. The nankhatai‘s marriage of starch and sugar is an immensely satisfying way to perk up a drowsy afternoon.

Where to Get Nankhatai

I’ve read of nankhatai street vendors who hawk their wares in narrow, old Delhi lanes. Someone once gave me a packet of crumbly almond-studded ones from Frontier Biscuits; apparently Frontier makes khatais in various flavours, including chocolate and mango. But I am a nankhatai purist, so I won’t comment on the bastardisation of this biscuit. Some of the best nankhatais I have tasted though are from Mumbai‘s Paris Bakery, well-known for their heavy-handed use of butter. Consequently, their biscuits are absolutely delicious and their batasas are the best in the world, or so I always maintain. Recently, I tried the nankhatai in Udvada and we, as a family, were united in our disappointment. “Paris Bakery has spoiled us,” said my dad, sadly.

To be fair, I have not yet tried the nankhatai from Surat’s Dotivala or any from Pune’s Parsi bakeries, a lacuna that I am desperate to fill. Perhaps it will be even better than Paris.

How to Make Nankhatai

The Parsis especially have taken the nankhatai to their heart and it is to my favourite Parsi cookbook writer that I turned for the recipe. This is of course, my well-thumbed copy of Bhicoo Manekshaw’s Parsi Food and Customs in which she writes, “Parsis have no boundaries when it comes to good food and will accept any dish that their palates fancy. Their tea-time snacks are a delightful mixture of Gujarati, Maharashtrian and European dishes, as well their own typical ones.” And so it is with the hybrid nankhatai. Here is her recipe, slightly astonishing because of her use of yoghurt.

Bhicoo Manekshaw’s Nankhatai

5 cups maida
A pinch of salt
1 tsp crushed green cardamom seeds
2 tsp soda bicarbonate
2 ½ cups castor sugar
50 gm ghee or butter
6-8 Tbsp curd, beaten till smooth
Cashew nut halves, for decoration (or almond or pistachio or chironji)

1. Set oven to 175 degrees C (or 350 degrees F).
2. Sift flour with salt, crushed cardamom and bicarb of soda.
3. Beat ghee or butter with sugar till light and fluffy. Add curd and mix well. Add flour and mix to a stiff dough. Rest dough for half an hour.
4. Place one teaspoon mixture on a greased baking tray for each biscuit, leaving a space of 2 inches between each. Place a cashew nut on top of each biscuit.
5. Place in oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes.

The introduction of yoghurt into the recipe is intriguing. From my forays into Internet blogs and books, I noticed that the issue of yoghurt is split evenly down the middle. For instance, the other Parsi cookery writer that I respect, Bapsi Nariman, doesn’t use any. Nariman, in her Traditional Parsi Dishes, uses semolina and whole wheat flour (not maida), doused in 110g of desi ghee, which she kneads. But Niloufer Icchaporia King, writing in My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking, does use yoghurt (and much, much less sugar than is required for Ms Manekshaw’s nankhatai. Now that makes it healthier but does it necessarily make it tastier?).

My own taste test was conducted on (who else?) Ms Manekshaw’s recipe, which I more or less followed to the letter. The nankhatai turned out delicious, perfect little half-spheres, crumbling and spluttering in the mouth. However, I did find the cardamom a little overwhelming, because I am not a massive fan of the spice.

A few other notes:

1. The flour will not turn brown after baking, but stay white or pale brown, which is how it should be.
2. The khatais may take less than 20 minutes to bake; mine were done in about 15.
3. After baking, make sure to let the biscuits stand on a wire rack or sheet to cool – they will harden into the perfect nankhatai texture.
4. Oh and don’t skimp on the butter (or ghee). Its speciality is its decadence.

About the author: Meher Mirza is an independent writer and editor, with a focus on food and travel. Formerly with BBC Good Food India, she loves anime, animals and artsy things but also comics, technology and death metal.


Time Out Dubai checks out the new modern Parsi café at The H Dubai

Inline image 1
There’s a brand-new Indian restaurant in town – and Time Out Dubai got an exclusive look ahead of its opening.

Moombai & Co. is due to throw open its doors this Friday (September 15) in The H Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Inline image 2

It’s billed as a “modern Parsi café, featuring all of Auntie’s favourite Indian dishes”.

The quirky eatery blends 1950s Mumbai with modern-day Dubai and aims to maintain the legacy of Parsi cafés.

Parsi cafés are well-known in Mumbai and were established by Persian settlers in the 19th century, who would gather in the evenings and chat over chai and bun maksa (bread and butter).

The décor is reminiscent of this, too, featuring ceiling fans, exposed brick, mahogany furniture, Italian marble tabletops, bent cane chairs and pendulum wall clocks.

There are also vibrant old Bollywood posters, memorabilia and more that have been sourced directly from Mumbai.

Inline image 4

“Moombai & Co. revives and relives a rich part of Mumbai’s cultural narrative and rewrites it, right here in Dubai,” says the team behind it. “It’s like visiting your auntie’s house back home where everyone is welcome and no one leaves hungry.”

The kitchen is headed up by chef Ashish Kumar who has rolled out an interesting and delicious-sounding menu.

The extensive list has some exciting-sounding dishes including keema pao, a traditional café delicacy of minced meat with buttered pao bread and patra ni macchi, white pomfret marinated with green chutney and wrapped in banana leaf before being steamed.

There are also lamb shanks cooked in a traditional copper tiffin and the signature chicken berry biryani, made with mixed berries and cooked in authentic earthenware.

Inline image 5

And as a nod to “Auntie” that the restaurant refers to throughout, there’s Auntie’s bhuna gosht, a slow-cooked goat curry.

A separate bar called the Permit Bar also features, so if you’re after a chilled-out drink a daily happy hour with various offers will run from 5pm to 8pm.

Inline image 6

That’s not all the exciting news, either. There’s also a brunch in the pipeline, aimed to reflect an all-day breakfast theme on a Saturday, though timings and prices are yet to be confirmed. And there’s an outdoor terrace to come, too.

Head down there from Friday September 15 to see it for yourself.

Open daily 11am-midnightThe H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 501 8607).
By Amy Mathieson
11 September 2017

Workshop by Astad Deboo

The Padma Shri and Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee will be hosting a contemporary dance workshop for budding dancers this Wednesday.Though trained in Kathak and Kathakali, Astad Deboo is considered to be a pioneer of modern dance in the country, having worked with renowned performers such as Pina Bausch and Pink Floyd. At this workshop, he will focus on the aspects of control and minimalism in dance.

WHERE: Sea View Room, NCPA, Nariman Point

WHEN: Sept 13, 11 am ENTRY: Rs 200 CALL: 22663737

Dokhmenashini Vs Cremation – A Comparison

  1. Dokhmas are not only for disposal of dead bodies but also to liberate Ravan (soul)
    from the worldly attachments. (i.e. Maya in Gujarati). Cremation just disposes the
    body and there is no mechanism to liberate Ravan.
  2. Dokhmas are a consecrated place with long and exhaustive liturgical ceremonies
    done during the construction. No consecrated ceremonies exist for cremation.
  3. Natural elements like air, fire, water or earth are not defiled even one percent. While
    during cremation fire and air elements are defiled besides causing nuisance and
    health problems to the nearby localities. E.g. Chandanwadi at Dhobi talao.
  4. Dokhmas are kept open from the top, so as to allow sunrays to fall on the dead
    bodies. This has two types of effect on the bodies. First drying up of body so that
    putrefaction stops and secondly the minutest of body particles – atoms (or anasars)
    are taken up by the sun rays and given to Dahm Yazad – a Fareshta especially for this
    purpose. That is why the tenth day ceremony is known as ‘Dasmoo’. Cremation does
    not get benefit of sunrays.
  5. When a body part like limb etc. get separated due to accident or surgery, that part
    should also be given the benefit of Dokhmenashini though the human being is still
    alive. Each and every part of the body should be given the benefit of Dokhmenashini
    as well as Khorshed nagirashni, i.e. sunrays, so that every atom of the body goes to
    Dahm Yazad. This is a smooth transition from the physical to spiritual world. No
    benefit of sunrays if body is cremated.
  6. The death ceremonies of a Zoroastrian starts from Sachkar, Geh sahrnu and finally
    Dokhmenashini. When a body is consigned in Dokhma, no priest is required to
    perform any ceremony, but 101 cotton threads which were embedded in the
    Dokhma during construction time had absorbed these ceremonies done during that
    time (like CD or tape which records the sound) and these recorded ceremonies
    remain forever in Dokhma which help the Ravan of a Zarthosti to liberate from this
    world and it joyfully goes to its destination in the other world, i.e. Minoi world.
    Secondly, it cuts off lots of putrefaction (Naso). Once the Sachkar ceremony is
    started, no other person except Zoroastrian can see the dead body till it goes into
    Dokhma. Only after Dokhmenashini is done, afternoon and night Uthamna and
    Charum ceremony (4th day) can be performed. If a body is cremated, all the above
    ceremonies are null and void and has absolutely no effect on progress of Ravan.
  7. During first three days, the Zoroastrian Ravan remains in this world under protection
    of Sarosh Yazad, so that evil forces do not attack or capture it. That is why nobody
    has heard about Parsi ghost or witch. Crematorium has no protection of Sarosh
  8. As per our religion, Dokhmas are revered as the holy place. That is why we have a
    prayer of “Dokhma-No-Namaskar” Whenever a Zarthosthi visits Doongerwadi, he is
    supposed to pray this Namaskar. While for burial ground or crematorium, there is no
    such prayer.
  9. When a dead body is put for cremation, the relatives – dear and near ones commit
    unpardonable sin of putting dead body on fire, which is revered as “Son of Dadar
    Ahura Mazda” and thus insulting the creator. When we want to fulfill our wishes, we
    run to Iranshah, Atashbehrams and agiaries fires and after that during the death you
    forget and defile the holy fire by doing cremation. What type of faith is it?
  10. Our prophet Asho Zarthushtra gave us strict instructions not to defile natural
    elements like fire, earth, water or air. Dokhmenashini takes care of all the elements.
    Remember, ours is the first religion of the world who proclaimed that the nature, i.e.
    environment should be protected.
  11. When a human body which is composed of kilos of proteins and acids burn, you get
    foul smell in the surroundings. We experience that while passing through
    Chandanwadi and worli areas. We inhale this foul smell which goes into your body
    and causes various diseases like T.B., Asthma, Cancer, etc. and also endangers birds,
    plantations, etc.
  12. Thousands of years back our prophet Asho Zarthushtra has shown the way and gave
    us the system of Dokhmenashini so that we can protect our environment. This
    system is appreciated by scientist who have studied it and found to be best, most
    efficient, most hygiene and perfect to the core. Cremation does not protect even
    one percent of environment.
  13. If a Zoroastrian wishes that he/she be cremated after his death or he has written in
    his last will, his near and dear one will be doing a great service to him/her by doing
    Dokhmenashini. They will be blessed by such Ravan, because this Ravan during his
    life time did not realise the true facts of the religion. In 1971 when a trustee of BPP
    went against Dokhma in favour of cremation and made tremendous propaganda, but
    could not succeed in his aim. On his death bed after sufferings, he wished that his
    body should be put in Dokhma and finally it was done. This is the natural way of
    realization of a human being whose thought went astray for some time.
  14. So long as a dead body of Zarthoshti is not laid down in Dokhma, its salvation does
    not take place. The birds are only for disposal of dead and not for salvation of Ravan,
    which every Zarthoshti understand. Khorshed yazad takes care of both.
  15. Dokhmenashini is most supreme for Zarthoshtis and that is why Dokhmas are sacred
    where Naso (microbes of infection) are destroyed and not created.
  16. During plague epidemic in Mumbai some years ago, 15 to 20 bodies used to come to
    Dokhma, but at that time no problem arose. No pallbearers died because of handling
    of dead and even birds were not affected. Similarly, during influenza epidemic no
    problem arose.
  17. Oh Parsis, behold and fear by disrespecting son of Dadar Ahura Mazda, i.e. fire. Think
    before you leap. Our forefathers used to say do not play with fire and that is very
    The above write up has been taken from lectures of our guru Behesti Minocher
    Nasserwanji Pundol saheb who was in close contact with Pak Magav Sahebs of
    Demavand koh.
    Summing up, those who do propaganda in favour of cremation and built the so called
    prayer hall at Worli, thereby bringing Zarthoshti towards cremation plus those mobeds
    who are doing fictitious ceremonies there, have taken curse of fire – son of Dadar Ahura
    Mazda and also of all Ravans put for burning.
    The above article has been written with the faith for those doubting about
    Dokhmenashini. We sincerely hope now that after reading the above points, they should
    change their thinking and stick to Zoroastrian customs, as enunciated by our beloved
    Prophet of Prophets Asho Zarathushtra.


Courtesy : Cyrus Cooper

Guess who’s coming to dinner? Zoroastrian priest changed by daughter’s interfaith marriage

Jal Panthaky presides over an interfaith Zoroastrian wedding ceremony. (Tania Mehta/CBC)

Jal Panthaky is a Zoroastrian priest, with a love of life and a staunch dedication to his faith. He is both a proud father and a deeply spiritual man.  But neither of these are static roles.  Recently, his devotion to his religion and to his children collided; he felt moved to examine the tenets of his faith, and that has led him to be open to new relationships and embrace new horizons.

The collision occurred when his eldest daughter, Rahnuma, brought home a man she was dating who was not Zoroastrian. In Zoroastrianism, mixed marriages are frowned upon.  Not only that, but the rules are different for men and women.

A Zoroastrian man who marries a non-Zoroastrian woman can at least ensure that his children are raised in the faith. But the same is not the case for a Zoroastrian woman who marries a non-Zoroastrian man.  She is unable to practice, to enter the temple, or even to attend a family funeral.

Orthodox roots run deep

“I was born in a priestly family [of] many generations,” Jal says. “My father was a high priest in a place of worship, and my brother was a principal in a monastery where they taught new Zoroastrian priests … the belief was that you don’t allow any non-Zoroastrians into any of our religious ceremonies, and you don’t allow our children to marry outside the Zoroastrian faith.”

So when Rahnuma introduced Michael to her family, Jal was at a loss. Outwardly, he initially didn’t extend much of a welcome to Michael.

Rahnuma recalls, “When he got an inkling that I was dating Michael at the very beginning, he basically said, ‘You are not going to date him, and if you do I will make it very difficult for you.'”

But inwardly, Jal searched his faith for answers to his dilemma: What was behind the rules against interreligious marriage in Zoroastrianism? And how would they affect his daughter’s wish to marry outside the faith?

A faith examined 

Jal’s quest for understanding has led him to embrace his son-in-law and has changed his practice as a priest; he now performs mixed marriage ceremonies.

“We proudly say that Zoroastrianism is the first monotheistic religion. If we believe in one God, then all these people are his children. So why should we discriminate [against] them? And I started to open my mind to observe the people; and especially in my own family, my own daughter.”

– Jal Panthaky

jal rahnuma and michael

Jal Panthaky’s daughter, Rahnuma, and her husband, Michael. (Tania Mehta / CBC)

His journey has not only enriched his family life, but it also represents an important step for Zoroastrians. A broader outlook on marriage may be a boon to this ancient religion; by some estimates there are fewer than 200,000 Zoroastrians in the world.

Click listen on this link to hear CBC Producer Tania Mehta’s documentary Jal’s Journey: A Zoroastrian Priest’s Path to a New Normal.


In a small, air-conditioned room in Hong Kong’s busy Causeway Bay area, behind a framed, larger-than-life portrait of Parsi merchant Jamsetji Jeejeebhoy, there is talk of dhansak.

Homyar Nasirabadwala is speaking of the fortnightly dinners organized on the middle floors of the Zoroastrian Building for the city’s 200-odd-strong Parsi community.

Resident priest Nasirabadwala, 62, explains that there are two chefs from India—one of them Parsi—who live and work in this building. They organize the lavish multi-course dinners dished out. Around 40 or 50 Parsis show up on each occasion.

There are no Parsi restaurants in the city, but here, lagan nu custard, patra ni machchi, and sali boti are all on the menu. “We love to eat and drink,” he says.

Do the chefs make a mean dhansak? “Of course,” he says. “They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t.”

Nasirabadwala is that delightful man of god with a devilish sense of humour. A slim gent in a black topi and a collared T-shirt, he is sitting behind a desk that has a copy of the weekly community newspaper, the Jam-e-Jamshed, and a Zoroastrian calendar.

Homyar Nasirabadwala is that delightful man of god with a devilish sense of humour. Photo: Bhavya Dore

Nasirabadwala is a transplant from Mumbai and one of a handful of full-time Parsi priests working outside India—there is one in London and perhaps one or two in Pakistan. The diaspora in other countries, such as the US and Canada, usually has other professionals who help out with priestly duties on a part-time basis.

On the fourth floor hall of this building, bearing a prominent image of the Faravahar, the religion’s symbol, he looks after a fire temple—more a prayer hall really—and attends to other tasks of the Association. He administers to the spiritual needs of the community, oversees religious functions and works on creating a broad awareness about the community in the city.

Nasirabadwala has been here since 2009, when the previous priest left to return to India, taking on the duties of a full-time priest for the first time. He had earlier been ordained as a 12-year-old, working part-time before leaving his corporate job and moving to Hong Kong.

There was an advertisement in the Parsi papers from the Incorporated Trustees of the Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton and Macao, seeking a priest for the city. He wrote in and got the job.

Since he arrived, he has officiated at two weddings, four navjotes (a ceremony of induction into the community), two purification ceremonies for new mothers and 10 funeral services.

“This is a big responsibility,” he says. “It requires all my attention and I am on the job 24/7.”

The Parsi community in Hong Kong has always been slight in numbers but massive in impact. Businessman and philanthropist Hormusjee Nowrojee Mody helped found the Kowloon Cricket Club and made an important donation to get the Hong Kong University up and running.

In 1888, Dorabjee Naorjee Mithaiwala founded the major ferry service, the Star Ferry, connecting two of the islands. Two Parsis were part of the original group that helped set up the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank.

By some accounts, exchange between the Chinese and Zoroastrians from Persia go back to the sixth century, when Zoroastrian merchants traded with the Chinese empire. There is even some evidence of fire temples having been set up in parts of China.

But modern-day connections came with the advent of the British Empire, and Parsi merchants began arriving in east Asia from India in the 18th century, moving through Canton, Macau and Shanghai and flourishing in the spices, silk, opium and tea trades.

Though there were some that continued to stay in China, almost nothing of the community remains now on the mainland.

In Hong Kong, on the other hand, the dwindling community has managed to keep the spirit of the faith alive. “It all depends on the community and the people,” says Nasirabadwala. “They wanted someone and had the resources.”

In Hong Kong, the Parsis have had their own cemetery since 1852—rather than the traditional method of disposal via the towers of silence—where 194 people have been buried and the first grave goes back to 1858.

Nasirabadwala explains that the rituals he performs are virtually unchanged; the same prayers are uttered, and the body washed. The dog of the cemetery caretaker is pressed into action for “sagdid”, or the ritual of relying on a dog to reconfirm that the body is indeed dead. The only difference is that, here, other Parsis volunteer as pall-bearers in the absence of professional ones.

At navjotes, the tradition of sipping nirang, or consecrated bull’s urine, is not in practice here. Instead, pomegranate juice is given to the children.

The prayer hall has a fire burning all hours of day and night; a slight flame stoked by sandalwood in a room surrounded by portraits of the prophet. It is what is described as an “Atash Dadgah”, since it hosts a “grade three” fire, or one that has not been consecrated (most of the ones outside Iran and the Subcontinent are Atash Dadgahs).

Non-Parsis are allowed in this space. “It is a bit more liberal,” he says.

Like everyone else in the community, Nasirabadwala is also concerned about the declining numbers of Parsis worldwide. “We know it is a worrying factor,” he says. “We are encouraging young people to get married early. There might be a change in later years.”

But whatever happens before that, there will be dhansak. Last month, there were celebrations for the 100th birthday of a Parsi resident of Hong Kong. The twice-monthly dinners will continue.

The bar is stocked and the kitchen staff is busy preparing. “We joke that in the Parsi community there is no fasting, only feasting,” he says. “We go all out.”

When asked about the highlights of his time in Hong Kong and what he will remember when he returns to India, he pauses to think for a minute. “The vibrancy and tolerance of the city,” he says.

Oh, and one other thing: the “dim sums”.

Bhavya Dore is a Mumbai-based freelance journalist.

Comments are welcome at

WZCC Global Meet 2017 – 2nd Preview

8th September, 2017
WZCC Global Meet 2017
In our second preview, leading up to the Annual Global Meet, we introduce two more speakers.

DR. RASHNA WRITER, who, by training, is a political scientist and has also pursued a parallel career as a political analyst. She commenced her career as a Research Associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London; went on to become a Contributing Editor of the Defense & Foreign Affairs Handbook; Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy. Subsequently, she was Head of Global Risks for a leading strategic risk consultancy in the UK, where she specialised in advising Lloyds of London syndicates specialty insurance underwriters on political risks, war and terrorism risks; as well as being a senior advisor to some major Austrian and German companies.

rashnaShe has authored several books on the Zoroastrian Community and holds a doctorate from the London School of Economics in International Relations. She is also the recipient of several international awards.

Dr. Writer will address the subject of “Entrepreneurial Social Conscience as a Means of Zoroastrian Self-Preservation”. She hopes that her talk will highlight Parsi entrepreneurs who, having acquired wealth, will consider it their duty to re-invest a part of it in the community. In her own words, “this was the genesis of the outstanding Parsi infrastructure that exists to this day. The challenge for today’s Zoroastrian entrepreneurs is to assess our current situation and make decisions tailored to our times.”

The youngest of our speakers, at 30, is PRONITA SAXENA. Pronita is a graduate in Economic, with honours from UC, Berkeley. After earning her degree she worked at MIT’s Poverty Action Lab in rural Bangladesh and contributed to several policy papers for the World Bank and IMF at the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC.
pronitaShe moved to India and founded CITIZENGAGE, a technology company operating the world’s first waste-to-resource platform that channels waste into energy, compost and recycled products. Pronita was recently named one of India’s Top Women Entrepreneurs by Cosmopolitan and specialises in creating markets for disruptive technology. She drafted new policies related to smarter waste management systems while working with Citizengage’s first customers to champion a Waste-to-Resource platform.

Pronita is a great example of Social Entrepreneurship and we look forward to hearing about her journey as an Entrepreneur at the forthcoming Global Meet.

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“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity beyond the resources currently controlled.”

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