From The Editor’s Desk

Anahita_Editorial copyNo One Does It Better Than Us!

“Khodai! Ek week ma paachhi aavi Diwali! Baddha pagal jewa lok aakkha mara Bombay ma awaaj ne dhumaro karse!” cribbed ‘Granna’, a close friend’s 89-year-old grandmother I visited yesterday. She rocked on her wooden easy-chair with 7-year-old Dipu (the son of Jamuna, her domestic help of fifteen years), who had spent more time in Granna’s lap than his mother’s.

I tried placating her, “People are more sensitive now – there will be lesser sound and noise pollution this time. Even last time it was on a comparatively reduced scale, Granna.”

“Nai re nai! People are more senseless now than ever!” insisted Granna, flicking Dipu’s hair side to side while pulling his chubby cheeks and feeding him khatai biscuit procured from Udwada. “Maathu dukhaan! Last time also I ended up with the damned migraine and affan (asthama)! Both together, because of the noise and the smoke! Easy for you to say – but when is the last time you ended up with a throbbing headache while choking for breath?”

Every time I hear Donald Trump speak – I nearly told her. But bit my tongue in time, because I knew, for Granna, the solution to USA’s potential presidential catastrophe (Trump, for short); or Brexit or terrorism or generally any global issue was to let ‘Aapri Royal Rani’ of England take over and rule the world.

“But everybody celebrates Diwali, Granna! Parsis also love celebrating all festivals – it’s so much fun!”

“Arre! What fun? What fun?? Diwali ma bichara lok bari jai, Holi ma andhra thai jai, ne pela Ganpati Bappa Morya na festival ma putla ne dubaavta-dubaavta potte dubi jai! Aevu fun? That’s fun???” she hurled her rhetoric at me as she stuffed Dipu’s mouth with another batasa from Udwada.

Even as I was searching for a response, little Dipu decided he had had enough of Udwada’s khatais and bataasas for the day. He jumped off her lap and lovingly whispered something in her ears, then smiled coyly and stepped back. Granna stared at Dipu with a deadpan look for a few seconds, then broke into her adorable, semi-toothless smile, got a hold of her walking-stick, started walking towards her newly painted Godrej ni cupboard, opened only the right side of the door, pulled out her forty-year old fish-shaped, red pouch from the upper shelf, brought out two crisp Rs. 100/- notes and gave it to Dipu. He hugged her waist tight for a few brief seconds, grabbed the notes and ran out.

She doddered back to her favourite easy chair, started rocking it gently and said, “It’s Diwali! Poor kid needs to celebrate but had no money for his favourite crackers – you know how expensive these rockets are???” She went on to speak about other lesser exciting topics… you know – about why Parsi girls won’t marry Parsi boys anymore and how the Queen would have resolved the BPP debacle, etc.

But I returned home with the best grasp ever of what it is to simply love people – beyond everything else – culture, religion, beliefs, age and preferences. And as I look around, it pleases me to see the vivacity with which Parsis partake in virtually every Indian festival’s joy and revelry.  Most importantly, we celebrate the people more than the festival. And I know now, more than ever, no one does it better than us Bawas!

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