The Road Less Taken

Parsis are nothing if not adventurous! Daring to be different in a world that teaches you to conform is not only the road less taken, but also requires a great deal of courage. This New Year PT Reporter, Khushnuma Dubash got in touch with individuals who did just that! In true Parsi style, they celebrate their lives by listening to their hearts and following their passions pursuing unconventional careers.

Sanobar Pardiwalla, Stuntwoman

Sanober entered this physically audacious profession at the young age of 12 by performing stunts for an advertisement. Today, she has over 200 films to her credit, amongst a lot of other commercial assignments. Her latest Bollywood flick in which she performed stunts was ‘Jagga Jasoos’ and is currently preparing her art for an upcoming Yash Raj film and a few commercials. One of the few stuntwomen in Bollywood, she has performed stunts for almost all leading heroines.

What makes her stand out: Stunts are dangerous and a micro second of a mistake could cost you dearly which is why she ensures that she remains in the best of physical form. “Your reflexes need to be very good while performing any stunt, along with being physically fit”, says Sanober, adding that she has her own workout regime to maintain her physique.

Inspiration: When she performed her first stunt at the age of twelve, she realised that she could turn her passion into her profession, and went on to do just that. She sees herself as her biggest competition and that keeps adding to her progress.

Advice for aspiring stuntwomen: For people who wish to venture into stunts, she suggests, “You need to make sure that you are very physically fit and that your mind is sharp with good reflexes. You need to maintain a balance between your emotions and stunts, thus, not letting your emotions hamper your performance. Also, pursue another career alongside since there is no fixed amount of work you get, which is why I am also a practicing nutritionist, physiologist and physical trainer.”


Nashaita Patrawalla, Astrobiology Student

Astrobiology is an upcoming field of study which studies the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe, as well as about extraterrestrial life. Mumbai’s Nashaita Patrawalla studies Astrobiology at the University of Florida, one of the only three universities in the US offering this degree. Contrary to what most people think, Astrobiology does not just deal with extra-terrestrial life but also with other life forms like vegetation, microorganisms and atmosphere in outer space.

What makes her stand out: With just seven people from her batch majoring in this field, Nashaita is extremely passionate and hardworking, juggling three jobs to be able to pursue her dream – one of them being tutoring her juniors in this field. She recently worked on a project that was outsourced to her college by NASA.

Inspiration: Speaking to Parsi Times, Nashaita said, “I always loved Biology and Space so while searching for what to study, I stumbled across a course by the Indian astrobiology center’s three month online course which strengthened my resolve to turn my passion into my profession.”

Advice for aspiring Astrobiology students: She said, “This is an upcoming field with scope for research and teaching. Currently, there is no institution that provides a Master’s degree for this, but University of Florida is working on it.” Although it can get challenging at times, especially due to the huge funding required for  studying overseas, Nashaita keeps working hard to pursue her passions with great gusto. Keep shining!


Perzen Patel, Founder of ‘Bawi Bride’- a thriving catering business and a Mom Blogger.

Perzen started off as a Parsi food blogger, winning ‘India’s Best Regional Food Blog’ by the IFBA for three consecutive years from 2014 to 2016. Within three months of her blog’s success – Bawa Groom – she was not only encouraged to write about Parsi food, but also prepare it for others and this gave rise to ‘Bawi Bride’ Kitchen. Today, she has even ventured into mom blogging and has started ‘Bawi Mummy’- a blog that documents her journey as a new mom. Perzen is now keen on transforming this into an online publication where parents share parenting stories and journey together.

What makes her stand out: Speaking to Parsi Times, Perzen said, “The secret to my success is consistency and discipline. Since the time I started, I have been consistent in posting at least two to four times per month. I am also disciplined in maintaining the focus of the website as Parsi food.”

Inspiration: Post marriage, she was tired of making calls to her mother asking for various recipes and losing them. Which is when she realized that since she enjoyed writing why not create an online catalogue of these recipes so that she could refer to them. She then realized that there were very few blogs talking only about Parsi Dishes, so her blog had the potential to become a digital archive of our Parsi recipes and the poignant stories associated with the dishes.

Advice for aspiring Bloggers: Perzen advises, “You should start with a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with your writing and other details can be figured out along the way. Staying true and focused on your niche is important in order to achieve success.”


Havovi Wadia, Director Impact at Magic Bus

Magic Bus is an NGO that mentors adolescents from a journey of childhood to livelihood. Currently operational in twenty-two states, it reaching out to 400,000 children in India. As Director of Impact at Magic Bus, Havovi measures the amount of impact that a particular program has had on underprivileged children.

What makes her stand out: Since NGO’s run on donations mostly, accountability is key. Havovi provides insights into the impact of a program via surveys, before and after the program. Working with various ‘indicators’ developed by research, she measures the difference brought in by a program in the lives of these children. This is important as for NGOs to survive, they have to share complete operational transparency with their donors.

Inspiration: Speaking to Parsi Times, Havovi says, “I have always been interested in understanding different childhood parameters through India and how different children live through have different childhoods. I have always been into child rights and understanding childhood for me is more than just a profession.”

Advice for aspiring Change-Makers: “The development sector truly needs the best brains in the world. It needs people that have skills in accounting, HR, measurement and statistics. It calls for your skill, but more importantly, your passion. Young Parsis need to step outside and truly see the bigger picture,” says Havovi.


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