We Are Who We Are Because Of Our Forefathers- 10

October 15, 2020

(10 of 12)

REPLY ADDRESS BY MR. DINSHAW B AVARI ON THE OCCASION TO COMMEMORATE HIS 85th BIRTHDAY on NOV 5, 1987-

My instructions which are today even being repeatedly conveyed by my son Byram to all our Executives and our Organisation, are that sometimes you may be short of money, so call the persons and explain to them about this and even pay interest on the delay but never deduct a bill wrongly by even One Rupee and if a supplier has made a mistake in his calculations, then correct it and pay the sum but do not pay One Rupee even less as you will have to pay a thousand times more because remember ‘KHODAI KI LATHI NU AWAJ NATHI’.

In life, you must do Charity but Charity always begins at home and you must never give up your money which is yours by right nor should you try to take undue advantage of claiming monies which are not yours.

In my life, I have found that being practical has made me successful. Adjust to the times and do not fight the situation.

At one time in the Hotel, we found that in the Washing department, we were suffering losses through theft of Silverware. My Managers told me to put on Chowkidars and Security Guards. Instead I increased the salaries of the staff by Rs. 25/- per person. In the 1950’s this was a lot of money. The Chowkidars were not needed, the thefts stopped and the staff were happy. This was yet another example of being practical.

I learnt long ago to be humble.   My first example was when I was the top insurance agent in Sun Life Insurance, I became proud that nobody could do my job and submitted my resignation to Sir Phiroz Sethna (thinking I am irreplaceable). He immediately accepted and I   learnt my lesson. I eventually withdrew my resignation but this example of humility I have learnt & subsequently practiced and I have taught my son and my grand children.

(Jamshed Nusserwanjee Mehta- Photo credit- https://colnect.com/en/stamps/stamp/480344-Birth_Centenary_1986_of_Jamshed_Nusserwanjee_Mehta-Pakistan)

I followed the noble examples of great Parsis of Karachi like Late Mr. Jamshed Mehta, Khan Bahadur Ardeshir Mama, Sir Cowasjee Katrak, Edulji Dinshaw and family and more particularly my friends Hoshang, Minoo and Dinshaw Dinshaw, Mr. Shapurji Supariwala, Mr Minoo Spencer, Mr Jehangir Punthaky and Mr Cyrus Minwalla, who were the pioneers of the Parsi Community.”

(Jehangir Kothari- Photo credit: https://images.app.goo.gl/jRv5usBQdJzvRD8W9)

(to be cont)

(previous (9th) post- https://dinshawavari.com/2020/09/16/we-are-who-we-are-because-of-our-forefathers-9/)

(Khan Bahadur Ardeshir Mama- Photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/wWNCd7sTQp1kffMW6)

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE … BUT NOT A DROP TO DRINK (“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

(Long Article)

Samaa recently wrote https://www.samaa.tv/news/2020/08/karachi-rain-water-weather-flooding-monsoon-update-storage-shortage-drought/, with very good suggestions for capturing rain water- which reminded me of my post of last year (https://dinshawavari.wordpress.com/2019/03/25/water-water-everywhere-but-not-a-drop-to-drink/).  This is an apt time to re-summarize and add on to these thoughts-

Weather patterns have changed for Pakistan, especially Karachi.  We are seeing colder winters, hotter summers … and heavier rains!  The last I remember of these types of rains were in the 1970s.

Karachi is facing severe monsoon rains for the first time in decades.  It’s a good thing too – it cleans up the city; there is more greenery; the temperature drops; and life is so much more pleasant; and the three major reservoirs supplying water to our City get filled.

Yet, with the rains upon us there is no drinking water in sight!  Like South Africa’s current problem, Pakistan is heading for a water crisis in the coming decade.

Rain is God’s gift to Earth and we are rebuffing this free resource!

The time to act is NOW … with no POLITICS or partisanship involved, through micro & macro means.  The provincial & federal governments cannot do this on their own- we as citizens have to help out too.

  1. Let’s go back to school – literally – and immediately start teaching water saving to all nursery, kindergarten and primary school children! (Long Term Goal)
  2. Water faucets can and should be changed to modern fittings which save water.  I saw a very interesting concept at https://www.alteredcompany.com/ .  Their water aerators/nozzles give a mist giving the same cleaning effects but at a fraction of the water wastage.  Why can’t our domestic companies follow suit and make it mandatory for all faucets to be of this type?
  3. Implement recycling “domestic” water for kitchen & clothes washing and swimming pool top ups;
  4. Implement “waste” water recycling (from WC’s and urinals) for gardens and exterior washings (can be used for washing cars, external patios, etc). 
  5. Implement drip irrigation for all gardens, plants & farms –Middle Eastern countries are proof that such systems work – and theoretically it should be even easier for us to do! 
  6. All watering for gardens & plants should be done at/after sunset;
  7. Domestic staff HAVE to be taught to conserve water (for that matter all our utilities);
  8. Individual water catchment systems need to be created – each building in our cities can easily have their own rainwater harvesting system – it doesn’t have to be expensive.  In our part of the world, Tamil Nadu leads the way!  Brazil, Singapore, Hawaii & Australia are other successful examples.  The cost and process of making a catchment system is not prohibitive or unreasonable.  It can even work effectively with a simple tarpaulin (refer http://www.oas.org/usde/publications/unit/oea59e/ch10.htm as an example).  (Here’s another source- https://outdoortroop.com/how-to-capture-and-store-enough-rainwater-for-your-cabin/).

On the macro side, our federal & provincial governments –

  1. Have to put aside “-1 sum” politics (in this case “-1” referring to provinces) in favour of the citizens of Pakistan.
  2. Like Hawaii, we need to create water catchment areas for rainwater in each province – NO RAIN WATER SHOULD BE WASTED.
  3. Mini DAMS is a must – starting from the north of Pakistan’s main rivers down south to the Arabian Sea – so that our fresh water does not drain into the sea and is instead used productively.  Politicians (not us citizens!) have concerns that water from such dams would not be used equitably – but if Pakistan & India’s Indus Water Treaty of 1960 can withstand the “test of time”, I’m sure our own provinces can also reach comprehensive, equitable & binding agreements.

Not a drop of fresh water in Pakistan should be allowed to flow into the Arabian Sea and instead equitably diverted East & West to all provinces as it flows southwards!

  • The current government’s tree-plantation drive is a correct first step – “growing trees take water from the soil and release it into the atmosphere. Tree leaves also act as interceptors, catching falling rain, which then evaporates causing rain precipitation elsewhere — a process known as evapo-transpiration […] strategically planting trees can bring rain to regions that need it most.” (https://forestsnews.cifor.org/10316/make-it-rain-planting-forests-to-help-drought-stricken-regions?fnl=en). 
  • Desalinization plants – this is a macro project and while some smaller units have been set up in Karachi, they are not being used.  Besides rainwater, ocean water is an absolutely FREE resource- why are we not using it?  We take loans to pay off other loans … and loans for building our arms … why can’t we take loans & grants for providing drinking water to our population?

There is a great need for our governments (plural!) collectively to lead the way in collecting & storing rainwater; promoting households & commercial buildings to create water catchments & reuse rainwater; and teach & implement water saving techniques to the population!

THE WATER IS FREE people … we just need to optimally capture this very very scarce resource and utilize it correctly in & for our Country.

WISHFUL THINKING !

August 25, 2020

(Image credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/c2bfJH1KqMB7kEWw9)

More than ever, (https://dinshawavari.com/2019/06/14/what-does-a-government-do-for-us-%f0%9f%a4%94/ & https://dinshawavari.com/2020/03/26/where-are-we-heading/), I despair as to where the world is heading …

… Self destruction – whether economic, nuclear, physical !

… Conflict & strife being at one of the highest points that I can remember in my conscious life.

It basically comes down to “governments” and national policies-

Why are nations encouraging conflict with other nations?

               Shouldn’t they be looking at the welfare of their own citizens FIRST!?

Why are nations increasing arms spend?

               Shouldn’t they be spending on education & health of their own citizens instead?

What is a “government’s” purpose to come to power?

               Is it not to enhance the poor and downtrodden out of poverty instead?

How does a country’s attempt for currency & world domination/hegemony help the citizens of that nation?

               Doesn’t it instead dilute the energies & efficiencies of the government from internal enhancement?

In today’s era, how does land acquisition through war & conquest help a nation prosper?

               Doesn’t it instead divert resources from otherwise more critical LIFE purposes?

(Image credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/6RvBqpCHpaM6NmcU9)

The words in the United Nations’ charter is the ONLY KPI on which governments should be judged & held responsible for by its citizens –

“…committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights

– and not on how strong a country’s currency is or how many wars it is fighting or how influential it is in world affairs. 

Let’s end this diatribe with a quote from Ronald Reagan’s Acceptance Speech at the Republican National Convention on July 17, 1980 [please replace “Americans” with “citizens”] …

…millions of [Americans] find themselves out of work. Millions more have never even had a fair chance to learn new skills, hold a decent job, or secure for themselves and their families a share in the prosperity of this nation.  It is time to put [Americans] back to work, to make our cities and towns resound with the confident voices of men and women of all races, nationalities and faiths bringing home to their families a decent paycheck they can cash for honest money. For those without skills, we’ll find a way to help them get skills. For those without job opportunities, we’ll stimulate new opportunities, particularly in the inner cities where they live…

               …This is what worlds’ governments should SOLELY strive towards…FULL STOP!

The Bad Eggs!

July 30, 2020

(photo credit- ar.pinterest.com)

COVID-19 struck and we did not lay off our staff or executives.  We did this openly, with our hearts in it, and fully mindful of the economic impact to our family & group.

Our reasoning … where will these people go, how will they live, eat, buy medicines – especially our Associates – as there’s no social network or institutionalized setup to support them.  It was (and is) our responsibility to look after them and their family.

We didn’t do this expecting anything in return – because that’s not what “helping” is about.

Trust & a helping hand is given implicitly – one should not do charity expecting anything in return. 

Little did we know, there always are the bad eggs … the back stabbers … those few people who would take advantage of this good will ☹ … and “stab the hand that feeds him”! 

After several months of this closed period, we decided to call back team members in batches from their homes & villages so as to continue – if nothing else – training programs so that people remain more productive.

What excuses did we get when we started …

  • Some pretend to be ill and don’t submitting any medical proof so as to skip training;
  • For some, they or their “dependant” were ill – for the last 2 months! – and so could not attend the job;
  • Some responded that they are out of the respective city or in another province and due to Covid they can’t get transport … (hmmm, last I remember, Inter-province and Inter-city transport started before last Eid);
  • This last one is classic – “schedule our duty for a continuous 2-3 weeks and then let us go back to our village”!  So, not only do we pay them their salary but, it now seems, they will even schedule their own work hours while on our payroll.  I’d like a job like that 😊!

My point is, why do we give our trust to others, our hearts to others, our energy and resources for others, only for these “others” to stab us in the back?

It’s sad actually …

it does shake the trust we put in humanity and in our team members

(photo credit- english-the-easy-way.com)

Parsi films that never made it to the big screen



So, lets start our weekend with a chuckle, and who better to poke fun at than ourselves …

(alert- you have to know us Parsis or the Gujrati language to appreciate this)

QUOTE

The classic Shakespearean remakes:

*Rumi and Juliet.

*Much Sali Par Eedu About Nothing.

*Taming of the Kekashrew.

Other classics:

*Moby Dikra

*Cama Sutra

Classic World War 2 films:

*The Battle of the Bulsaras.

*Guns of Navroji. 

*The Bridges of Sarkari. 

*Where Edelji Dares

The perennial all time favourites:

*Pearl Harbourwalla. 

*Kersiblanca. 

*The Good, the KekoBad and the Dagli.

*Bend it like Baman.

And last but not least:

*One Flew over Cusrow Baug

Unquote

(Author unknown but many thanks to him/her for the laugh)

We Are Who We Are Because Of Our Forefathers- 6

June 18, 2020

(6 of 12)

REPLY ADDRESS BY MR. DINSHAW B AVARI ON THE OCCASION TO COMMEMORATE HIS 85th BIRTHDAY on NOV 5, 1987-

Sir Sidney Ridley confirmed to me that he would protect me and would ensure that the Hotel, if purchased by me, would not be requisitioned during the Second World War for the Army, Navy and Air Force, as was the custom.

So, putting up my entire life’s savings and borrowing the rest, I went to Mr.  Wyseman and purchased the Bristol Hotel for Rs.100,000/-.  Mr Wyseman agreed on one condition- that Khorshed and I learn the hotel business with him for a few months.  So, every morning at 4 a.m. I went to the Empress Market to purchase all the groceries, and the mutton, beef, chicken, fish, vegetables and fruits.

As soon as six months training were over and Mr. Wyseman handed over the Hotel to me and left Karachi – and the Bristol Hotel got requisitioned!

When I went to Sir Sidney Ridley and informed him about this, he phoned the British Provost Marshal of the Army to enquire why this was done. The Provost Marshal said “How can a bloody Indian run an English Hotel?”

Sir Sidney Ridley insisted the Hotel be de-requisitioned and the Provost Marshal accepted only on my written agreement to reduce the charges to Rs. 5/- per room and Rs.7/- for room with all meals. Sir Sidney Ridley said I would go bankrupt, but I agreed. Inspite of all my social status, I was still a “bloody Indian” but I was willing to take the challenge.

Now, the charge for a Chota (small) Peg for a Whiskey was Rs. l/. I immediately doubled it and got the Sargeant at Mauripur Airport to send me as many soldiers as he liked and I would pay him Rs.1/- per soldier, as his commission.

Then, I put 6 soldiers in a room and within one year, with both husband and wife working till 2 a.m. in the morning, we made a net profit of Rs. One Lac in the very first year- I paid up the money I had paid to buy the hotel.

(to be cont…)

(previous (5th) post- https://dinshawavari.com/2020/05/26/we-are-who-we-are-because-of-our-forefathers-5/)

A Case for … Not Working from Home!

May 20, 2020

Yawn … Yawwn … YAWWNNNN

It’s almost two months for our lockdown in Pakistan and working from home.

The first month went well, working from home I mean.

Started waking up at 7am, instead of 6

You find the time to exercise more

                              Lounge in your shorts and socks

                                             No shirt, just your vest (in my case, Sadrah)

                                                            Come 5pm, put on your shirt and shoes (stay in your socks) and sit in the garden

                      It’s fine as long as you keep working, keep at it, stay busy!

But now, now, now …. YAWNNNNNN ….

(Photo Credit- thelabradorsite.com)

               (forgot what I was thinking!)

Oh yes, I’VE TURNED LAZY!

Today, as I write these words, I realize that working from home is NOT AN OPTION.  There is no such successful concept as “an office at home”.  The novelty wears away.  So does one’s creativity.  Office interaction.  Office dynamics.

Actually, now to think of it, it felt good going to office – sometimes even being first to open the doors – sticking to a ROUTINE.  You then actually enjoy your weekends at home more. 

Go figure