HOW ABOUT SOME LEVITY FOR A CHANGE!?

June 6, 2020

The world is going through some of the toughest times it’s ever faced – and things are just not in our control … Nature is in control!

…and just like that, I came across this absolute riot of a book review by Ravina Rawal.  It’s not new – it’s from 2014 – but I thought it was just the thing to lift spirits (pun-intended! 😊) and poke fun of our microcosm of a religious community in these trying times.

(Article & photo credit- https://www.pressreader.com/india/the-sunday-guardian/20140223/282759174580097)

So, quoting verbatim from Ravina Rawal, here goes …

QUOTE

The levity and longevity of mealy-mouthed Parsis

The Sunday Guardian · 23 Feb 2014

Sooni Taraporevala and Meher Marfatia’s new book is an exuberant, laugh-out-loud collection of “insults, endearments and other Parsi Gujarati phrases”, writes Ravina Rawal.

There’s almost nothing on earth I enjoy more than a disgruntled Parsi. Or, well, a Parsi in a good mood. Or a Parsi celebrating his/her 95th birthday. Or a Parsi after his/her fourth whisky, at a funeral. Because through all of life’s many celebrations and disappointments, through life’s many moods, theirs is just the same.

I don’t know if it’s the secret of some ancestral, evolution-affecting drug that’s still making future generations trip hard, or if it’s what happens to your genetic makeup when you only marry and procreate within the same 20,000-odd people. Either way, never have I met a people bursting with more enthusiasm, applause and outrageous sarcasm than this curious species of happy maniacs. (And I’m Punjabi.)

They will tell you proudly, “Mummo chuch cho vugur ‘seerpa’ nahin” (If you don’t swear, you are not a Parsi).  And they’ll be right. While the rest of the world is busy getting offended at everything that comes out of everyone’s mouth, the Parsis are having an absolute riot, roaring with laughter at the wicked names they’re calling each other (and their mothers and fathers and aunts and grandparents and house pets).

They don’t care how insulting or politically in correct it is, their brains work relentlessly to conjure up the most imaginative insults the rest of us have ever heard.

“Chumna jheva pug” (feet like pomfret), they’ll remark of a person with large feet. “Who? Boman? Evun toh photo frame thai guya (he became a photo frame)!” they’ll tell you casually about some one who just died, a phrase also substituted with “Kolmee thai guya” (he’s be came a prawn). And some how it isn’t disturbing at all that you’ll of ten hear a mother squeal, “Tuhree kule jee khau!” (I’ll eat your liver!) to her child — because it comes with a generous side of love, laughter and kissy-koti.

“Oont nee gaan ma jeera no vughar” literally means “a sprinkling of jeera in the bum of a camel”, used when referring to a big eater who’s been given too little food.

“Tum boo ma sahib,” they’ll say without a second thought to a pregnant lady, referring to the “boss in the tent”.  

Which reminds me of a famous Parsi actor, who once spoke to the baby in my cousin’s belly for well over two hours over the course of a single evening. Not a word to my cousin, just a very fascinating conversation with (at) her stomach.

One of my closest friends not so long ago was Parsi, and I’ve spent endless hours grinning from ear to ear at her house at the dinner table where every dish was topped (or bottomed) with eedu (egg), and every bite punctuated with a quick bitch and moan about relatives (or friends who are really relatives because, Parsis). I may also have been the most enthusiastic of all her friends about accompanying her to family gatherings she herself so reluctantly showed up at, because I am acutely aware that 150 Parsis all at once is the sort of party you’re never going to forget, or other wise get invited to.

These guys also all seem to live for…ever?  A near 100-yearold Parsi man or woman isn’t the “mado murgho” (sick hen/ sickly person) you’d expect them to be.

And there’s a tiny seed of senility that seems to set into them at a fairly young age (if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say age 10?), so the full blown happy madness that stares back at you from the eyes of a 98 year old, for instance, isn’t new or unsettling in any way.

Despite their ridiculous life-span, there are so few of them around in the first place — and some of them are even getting crazy enough to start marrying out side the community — that somewhere they’re all worried that their wildly evocative, some times bizarre and always funny vernacular will get lost for ever.

So, photographer-filmmaker Sooni Taraporevala and writer Meher Marfatia took up the cause, rounding up everyone they knew in the community for their contributions to what has resulted in a delightful archive of Parsi Gujarati.

(Photo credit- goodreads.com)

Parsi Bol is a little handbook of over 700 “insults, endearments and other Parsi Gujarati phrases”; its pages peppered with lovely little illustrations by cartoonists Hemant Morparia and Farzana Cooper, bringing to life some of their choice picks.

Split into chapters that include picture phrases, sarcasms, insults, endearments, food, twin words, character traits, anatomy and advice, it’s a great book for everyone who’s ever been curious about the Parsis. I guarantee it will make you laugh out loud and share the things you read with whoever else is in the room.

If you don’t mind your favourite phrases in this book, the authors ask that you e-mail them to parsibol@gmail.com to add to a possible sequel.

UNQUOTE

We Are Who We Are Because Of Our Forefathers- 5

May 26, 2020

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

(5 of 12)

Mahatma Gandhi who made the British leave the Country, by his policy of non-violence, non-cooperation, asked all the Indians to stop insuring any foreign Life Insurance Companies. The result was that my business dwindled to such an extent that I had to make heavy inroads in my capital.  By 1945, I wanted to change the line of work.

Mr Wyseman was a friend of mine, and he was the Proprietor of the Bristol Hotel. My darling wife Khorshed used to like to eat English Food and so off and on, we went and had our meals there.

(photo credit- http://blogs.tribune.com.pk)

He told me that the British had decided to leave India and he would like to sell his hotel. He wanted Rs. 1 Lac for all the stock, name and fame, furniture, crockery, cutlery, glassware, linen, etc. but not the building which was a hired property from a Bori and a Hindu jointly.

In those days, the Home Secretary, which today is the equivalent to the Chief Secretary, was Sir Sidney Ridley, who was very friendly with me and who had appointed me on many Government Committees.   He was also a Rotarian with me, which Club had only 12 members in those days of 1933. The other members were Sir Montago Webb, (The First President of this Club) who was also the Editor and owner of Daily Gazette, Mr. Voegli, Manager of Volkart Brothers, who was the Honorary Secretary and the only Indian Members were Mr. Jamshed Mehta, Mr. Hatim Tayyabji, Advocate-General and Mr. Hatim Alvi along with myself.  I was also the Organizer of Tobacco Fund for soldiers fighting in the Front and hence I was very popular with the British Community. The reason for my explaining you this is to give you an idea of my status because this has an interesting reference later on.

(to be contd)

(previous (4th) post- https://dinshawavari.com/2020/04/26/we-are-who-we-are-because-of-our-forefathers-4/)

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)