We Are Who We Are Because Of Our Forefathers- 4

April 26, 2020

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

(4 of 12)

Next day I went to Dr. Kanga’s house for lunch and I was surprised to find that his wife had a boutique from which she was earning Rs. 100/- per month. After lunch, I asked her if she would instead like to earn over Rs.300/- per month. I trained her as an Insurance Agent for only one day. The next day, she brought insurance of Rs. 50,000/- from Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto (Grandfather of Miss Benazir Bhutto) and earned a commission of Rs. 1500/- at the first shot. I had Punjabi and Parsi Agents in Karachi working for me and all did very good business and made very good money.

I sent for my younger brother Rathan from Bombay to come and stay with me where he was attending a College, and as my Father had asked me to look after him because when my mother died he was only One year old. I got a two-bedroomed flat at a rent of Rs. 50/- per month and bought a Wolsley Car for Rs.1000/. The furniture was hired from Jagus & Co.

In those days I used to earn not only Commissions on my own income, but 5% commissions on all the sales of the whole of Karachi, Sind, Baluchistan, Afghanistan, Punjab and N.W.F.P., of which I was in-charge.

Dr Kanga introduced me to a Parsi Dhansak Club situated opposite the Empress market, behind Bomanshaw Minocher-Homji Parsi Hospital. The fee of the Club was Rs 5/- per month and we used to have a lunch for Rs. 2/- only which consisted of  Murghi, Dhansak, Kabab, Rotti Fried Pomfret and Pudding and Hot Drinks including Beer. The Members of the Club were Sir Cowasji as the President, Khan Bahadur, Ardeshir Mama, Burjorji Wacha, Hormusji Khajurina, Dadiba Mehta the ex-Judicial Commissioner, etc., I was the youngest member.  I also have the honor of becoming the FIRST Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) in Asia.

(to be continued)

(previous (3rd) post- https://dinshawavari.com/2020/03/13/we-are-who-we-are-because-of-our-forefathers-3/)

#dinshawavari, #avarihotels, #hotelsinPakistan, #oldfamiliesofkarachi, #historyofKarachi, #avarixpress, #avarifamilyhistory, #sunlifeinsurancecompany, #insuranceagent, #petitparsiorphanage, #petitorphanage, #orphanage, #parsiorphanage,  #hotelsinkarachi, #hotelsinlahore, #hotelsinMultan, #hotelsinIslamabad, #hotelsinFaisalabad

“WHATEVER HAPPENS, HAPPENS FOR THE BEST”

April 2, 2020

Life is all about experiences and based on those experiences, over time, your outlook towards life and the world forms & changes.

Likewise, I too have become more philosophical, definitely more religious and have come to sincerely believe in (& follow) a saying we learnt from my father–

Whatever happens, happens for the best;

Whatever happens, happens the way God wants it to

   because that’s the best way

So when my sailing friends, Bill & Kate Gover invited me to cruise with them on ‘SY SENETO’ around the world (https://billkatesail.wordpress.com/), I jumped at this opportunity for their Pacific leg.  About four weeks – a leisurely cruise – interspersed with squalls (and calm) – but nothing grueling like it would have been in a Clipper or Fastnet race.

My wife Dinaz did – and my family would’ve – supported this 100%, as they have my other whims and fancies.  Then I remembered my mother-in-law lives with us since 2017, when she had her stroke; and while Dinaz primarily takes care of her, I too help out where I can- especially moral & physical support to Dinaz.  So, it really wouldn’t be right or fair for me to go gallivanting the oceans while my wife solely supported her mom.  Hence my deep regrets to Bill & Kate.

No one knew COVID-19 would hit the WORLD just four months into their ‘adventure of a lifetime’!  Had I gone on the sail, not only would I probably have been stuck in some port; there would have been no flights back; I wouldn’t be with my family; and they and I would be worried for each other while the Coronavirus engulfed the Country (just as Bill & Kate must be currently for their family and vice-versa as they sail the Pacific).

So here’s the punch- while regretting the voyage was the right thing to do, in hindsight I now believe I was never meant to go as it never had been on the cards for me … “whatever happens, happens for the best”!

Likewise, the pandemic we are facing now is happening for a reason and if mankind can just learn and evolve from this experience, we will be the better from it.

WHERE ARE WE HEADING

March 26, 2020

(source- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflicts)

Insurgencies, ethnic violence, civil wars, conflicts and over 200,000 deaths in 2019 alone!

  • Afghanistan conflict
  • Yemen crisis
  • Syrian civil war
  • Kurd conflict
  • Iraq conflict
  • Libyan conflict
  • Kashmir conflict
  • Palestinian conflict

(source- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflicts)

This list doesn’t even touch on intra-country “insurgencies”!

…and now a virus pandemic…

My personal belief is that with the current Coronavirus trajectory, COVID19 has the potential to overshadow all these world conflicts & flashpoints with fatalities.

So, what’s going on? 

  • Is “nature” correcting this Century’s rife?
  • Is this a wake-up call to live within the resources that Earth has given us – not to destroy it?
  • Maybe this is meant to teach us forgiveness & humility towards fellow man – not hubris & greed?
  • Should we encourage education & knowledge for the betterment of mankind – not child labor?
  • If science is to lead the path for a better tomorrow, wouldn’t it be better to do it collaboratively and collectively – rather than conflict & strife?
  • Wasn’t religion meant for our salvation & give a purpose to life – not as a means to power?
  • Maybe the world needs to concentrate on “small government” to help citizens – not big business?  (also refer- https://dinshawavari.com/2019/06/14/what-does-a-government-do-for-us-%f0%9f%a4%94/)
  • Is this pandemic a test to measure the level of universal aid & collaboration – or politics getting the better of humanity?

…OR, maybe the answer is ALL OF THE ABOVE???

TDF Ghar (https://www.dawoodfoundation.org/tdf-ghar/)

March 18, 2020

We Karachiites are foodies!  So, when we received a circular for a Bohri food night, we jumped at it, on the roof of TDF “Ghar” (“house” in Urdu)- super dinner, pleasant weather, outstanding view of Quaid-e-Azam’s Mausoleum, typical Parsi loudness and laughter, great service by our Bohri hosts & excellent value for money!

However, what was just as interesting was TDF Ghar- one of the old, pre-partition houses in the old city of Karachi, wonderfully restored by TDF.  Quoting from TDF’s history –

“TDF Ghar was built in 1920-30’s.  This house was initially owned by a Hindu woman, Haribai Motiram, which she sold in April 1948 to Hajiani Hanifabai for her daughter Aisha Bai Dawood in June 1948 as a residence.

In April 1961 the House was donated to The Dawood Foundation.  In 1965, Ahmed Dawood established Hanifa Hajiani Haji Gani Vocational Training Center for Women.  The training center used to enroll over 150 students per batch and train them in typing, cooking, sewing, painting, hand & machinery embroidery and English language. 

TDF Ghar is open to all to promote informal learning spaces in Karachi.  TDF Ghar is based on a self-sustainability business model- revenues generated from rentals and tickets is re-invested in the upkeep and development of the Ghar.”

With a small café on premises, we experienced families, youngsters & groups socially interacting with each other; playing board games; reading; using the library.  It was an amazing experience.  It was surreal finding such an oasis in bustling Karachi!

Kudos to The Dawood Foundation for yet another public service to the citizens of Karachi … and Pakistan!

(https://dinshawavari.com/2019/08/30/ohthe-clean-clean-not-streets-of-karachi/)

We Are Who We Are Because Of Our Forefathers- 3

March 13, 2020

REPLY ADDRESS BY MR. DINSHAW B AVARI ON THE OCCASION TO COMMEMORATE HIS 85th BIRTHDAY on NOV 5, 1987- (3 of 12)

I accepted Karachi because I used to read articles on the Late Mr. Jamshed Mehta in the Jam-e-Jamshed and was highly impressed. He asked me in how many days I would like to go over and open the Karachi )Office. I told him within 48 hours I would go to Karachi, as I require one day to go to Udvada and Navsari for Prayers and for meeting my relations and friends and the next day I would go to Karachi. He told me that the Manager’s Agreement require  at least 8 days to be made ready, signed, stamped and completed and therefore, I could go within 10 days. This Offer was a God sent gift to me.

When coming to Karachi, I travelled by Steamer ‘VITA’ in the first class, and I became acquainted with Mr. Pesi, Solicitor of Bombay who was the son-in-law of a well-known Karachi photographer called Jalbhoy Sethna. Pesi was friendly with Dr. Kaikobad Kanga and he requested me to make Kaikobad as the Doctor of the Company, so that when the Insurance cases are examined, he could make some money.   Dr. Kanga had come to receive Pesi at the Seaport of Karachi, where I was introduced to Dr. Kanga who took me to Jehangir Baugh, which was a Dharamsala for the Parsis.

It was 13th December 1929. In those days Karachi winters were so cold that people used to keep ‘Angithi’ even at 12.00 noon to keep themselves warm. A manager of the Dharamsala was Dadi and he told me ‘O Bombay ka Parsi, if you do not take Brandy and put on a heavy overcoat, you will be dead by tomorrow’. Mrs. Kanga took me to a shop in Elphinstone Street where I bought an overcoat and bottle of Hennessy Brandy for Rs.3/-.

(Angithi- Photo credit- http://www.dsource.in/resource/kitchen-products/stoves/angithi

(to be contd.)

(previous (2nd) post- https://dinshawavari.com/2020/02/21/we-are-who-we-are-because-of-our-forefathers-2/)

“Mangroves: Custodians of the Coast” (A film by The Dawood Foundation)

March 11, 2020

I was invited by the British Council on a documentary on the ‘Mangroves of Sindh’, directed by Anam Abbas & sponsored by the Dawood Foundation- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE5V221BvUg, alongwith a group of school children.

One of the greatest advantages of the Mangrove ecosystem are their intricate roots- they slow water flow thus protecting shorelines during storms by absorbing & reducing wave energy and water velocity respectively.

Besides being a habitat for birds and sealife, mangroves act as a natural barrier for land erosion due to currents and wave velocities.

Unfortunately, villagers in Pakistan cut down these life-saving trees for the wood and their rich, mineral-based leaves, as a fuel source and income.

‘Mangroves of Sindh’ identifies a practical SOLUTION – create cheap, alternate fuel sources for villagers. 

To change any ‘evil’, one must change the system from its roots.  While the subsequent discussions asked school children to consider careers in the Civil Services, my thoughts are we should go even further back- to the school level.  You cannot change a system if people don’t identify the threat of devastation, which can more effectively be taught from primary levels.

Malaysia uses the Mangroves forests as an eco-tourist platform, especially during monsoon seasons.  My family took a “mangrove tour” over a decade ago- a mangrove boat ride, eagle feeding and a third attraction I don’t remember now.  The government gave fisherman small engines so that when fishing was banned, they could use small boats for such tourist visits, thus earning income in off-season.

Another fantastic video is ‘The Edge of Delta’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0SJrsc32U8 by Tariq A. Qaiser.

There are small changes within our System, which can be accomplished easily and with minimal cost to the government.  IUCN, British Council and individuals are doing what they can within their resources but isn’t it time our governments stepped up to help the environment and, by extension, our coastal villages and cities?

Sala, what’s your problem, you MC… BC… ! (My Wife’s Going To Kill Me For This Post) 😊🤣🤣

March 5, 2020

We Zoroastrians love to swear … I know, I love it – especially when I’m behind the steering wheel!

For many of us, swearing is part of our life, our idiosyncrasy, what makes us ‘whole’ and ‘completes’ us!

There’s hardly a Parsi I have met to date who doesn’t swear.

You feel good after letting off a stream of expletives … however dirty, vulgar or crude (especially the ones in our local dialect 🤣).

When I’m behind the wheel, my creative instincts take over when I’m blind sided, cut across, signal run or whenever.  It’s just feels so good to ‘have it out at the world’!

However, one thing about our expletives – there’s no vile in it; there’s no malice or intent to hurt; while guttural there’s no mean intent behind it…and that’s a fact.  We do it because we love it and can’t live without it but never with an evil intention nor from the heart!

So, when you are with a Zarthosti and hear a sentence starting with “sala”, be ready for, most probably, a string of flowery, invigorating, interesting train of expletives to follow!

…. Oops, my wife just got wind of my post and I can hear HER expletives all the way down the hall – I need to RUN 🤣🤣🤣🤣!

(Apologies in advance to all Parsis who may be offended by this 🤣)

(Photo credit-
https://images.app.goo.gl/mRnFXtpsr1D9TCdB)

THE BIG BANG THEORY

January 30, 2020

This must be one of the most hilarious sitcoms I’ve ever seen!  After an hectic day, my wife and I watch episodes from Big Bang and your laugh comes from deep within you … but you ‘gotta’ have that sense of humour 😊 !

Each of these genius NERDS have their own idiosyncrasies, moods, humour, gall and idiocy… and, oh yes, let’s not forget their FASHION sense…

… but they are the fastest of friends…yet would kill each other [figuratively] when given a chance!

… they enjoy each other’s company.

(Photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/7a5UaSuSEyvTUjsG8)

… they enjoy their own mind games and their idiosyncratic humor.

… they live in their own little world.

… and, yeah, they enjoy their comic bookstore, collector-edition comics and Comicons!

So, what does this gut-spilling, hilarious comedy tell me – One can be a nerd and yet have friends from within that social group.  They don’t hide that they dislike confrontation.

They are not trying to fit in.  As far as they are concerned, their world revolves around their room and mutual activities.

This reminds me of my July 2019 post https://dinshawavari.com/2019/07/12/keep-up-with-the-joneses/

In our world, we try to fit in; we want everyone to like us; we have to live upto the expectations of our society.

… BUT DO WE REALLY HAVE TO?

Like the Big Bang characters, can we not be happy with ourselves and who we are, instead of what we should be or look like in the eyes of society?

Leonard, Sheldon, Rajesh & Howard were marginalized growing up but found their own social & work group and don’t feel compelled to follow society’s lifestyle or rules.

Isn’t that a more peaceful & contented way to live … not “keeping up with the Joneses”.

Our Ultimate MOTHER … Earth!

January 23, 2020

Courtesy- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmVLcj-XKnM&feature=emb_title

Several posts this week made me sit up and think critically … “what are we doing to our mother Earth!

Firstly, Conservation International’s “Nature is Speaking”, on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmVLcj-XKnM&feature=emb_title, impacted me the most – I implore you to see this short video but it’s MOST STRIKING excerpts are given below-

QUOTE

“             … I don’t really need people.  But people need me.  Yes, your future depends on me.

When I thrive, you thrive.  When I falter, you falter.  Or worse.

How you choose to live each day, whether you regard or disregard me, doesn’t really matter to me.

Your actions will determine your fate.  Not mine.  I am nature.  I will go on …”

UNQUOTE

                              CHILLING …yes!

Then, Denmark’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Rolf Holmboe, opined in https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/601152-who-s-afraid-of-renewables.  Again, an EYE-OPENER and again I request you to read this short and very interesting piece, the excerpts of which are –

QUOTE

  1. Globally performing economies are the ones transitioning fastest to renewable electricity production
  2. Renewable energy [can] form the baseload in producing electricity (more than 80 percent of electricity used in Denmark is now generated from renewables)
  3. The only way to make the energy sector viable in Pakistan is transitioning to renewable [which can] offer affordable prices to consumers

UNQUOTE

Pakistan is RICH in solar, wind & water sources – just misused!  There are but a few countries in the world that can boast these resources concurrently.  A few business houses like GUL AHMED have started wind turbines but more needs to be done by more people.

Then, there’s 17-year old Greta Thunberg’s message on climate change “Our House Is Still on Fire”https://nyti.ms/3auVR0m.

Here, we have young, teen activists bringing our doom to our attention – why can’t we, as adults, understand our actions are killing the very ‘hand that feeds us’Mother EarthWhy can’t we think of our future!?

Lastly, I had written about recycling & harvesting rain water https://dinshawavari.com/2019/08/08/and-the-rains-are-upon-us/ in August 2019. 

We have rain…we have water from our melting snows… It’s just a matter of harnessing natural sourcesto sustain … LIFE!

               Indeed, as Rolf concludes, “Where does Pakistan want to be?”

Farm … to Market

November  6, 2019

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elXGOeS8EUQ)

One of the best investments this Country ever made in the ‘90’s was development of the new Motorways in the Punjab.  Let’s analyze what it has produced-

  • Poverty- Whether it’s the “CPEC” development of roads network, rail links or other transport modes or it’s internally developed, tying city to city and province to province will uplift rural areas and give them access to commerce, trade, emergencies, etc.;
  • Commerce – you’ve shrunk the time, eased the availability and given smooth access to farmers and trade from their villages to large towns and cities;
  • Mobility- Punjab has become MOBILE.  With a maximum travel time of six hours, people can work in one city while their home is in another- very much like cities in USA;
  • Transport- network and infrastructure has increased and become better;
  • Employment- you’ve created new means of income & employment- whether new buses ply the motorways, staffing these buses or opportunities for shops, outlets, offices, etc. (more on this below*)
  • Tourism- you give immediate access to develop internal tourism opportunities (more on this below*).  This summer, my brother, sis-in-law and our families drove from Karachi to Nathiagali, in one of the best overland adventures they have had!

*Tourism & self-employment- Local towns, villages and populace on the road network should be helped & encouraged to put up small, clean, 2-3 star lodgings & cottages– the economy of that area is being developed indigenously.  Pakistani hospitality is one of the best the world has ever seen (but few can experience it in the face of negative publicity ☹).  You don’t need the “Avaris” and the “PCs” & “Serenas” – let it be the “Khan Motel” instead.  One, 10 room lodging will give DIRECT income & employment to a family of 5-7 people minimum; they in turn will employ others to help run the show; producers will sell food stuff, cleaning, linen and other items to these lodgings; the benefits go on down-stream and are never ending; and on & on.  The ancillary developments that take place are another story all together – shops , retails, malls, organized tours, etc.

(http://dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/416339-Motorway-opened-for-all-kinds-of-traffic)

There may be no international empirical evidence suggesting an increase in road networks necessarily helps an economy but I see actual, on-the-ground benefits we have gained in Pakistan.  If travel time between Karachi and Lahore can be reduced from almost 24 hours to 12 hours, what’s not to like?  If a series of motorways links the length and breadth of Pakistan, what’s wrong with that?

(As I post this, the new M7 – Multan to Sukkar- just opened!)