This is a story shared with me by Cawas…
My journey was an interesting one. My search for a Bawi Bride was as adventurous as Christopher Columbus’ search for unknown lands, the only difference being, I knew exactly what I was looking for… my life partner would have the looks of a Bollywood star, voice of an opera singer, career – CEO of a Fortune 500 company and culinary skills like my mother. I started looking for my dream girl right from college… at colony functions, navjotes and lagans. Alas, all the Bawis I encountered shared dreams similar to mine – they wanted a Bawa groom who looked like a Hollywood star, sang like apro Freddie Mercury, drove BMWs and earned like the Parsi business tycoons!
When I looked in the mirror, I realized I looked like my dear dad, an average looking man with a long nose and a heart of gold. My voice was like my school principal – nasal and loud and my income…. Jawa de ni… let’s change the topic. My mother thought I was the most eligible bachelor in the community, but the girls in my colony thought otherwise. Most of them wanted an independent home and that too, in Central Mumbai! So, I postponed getting married to save up enough to make that a possibility.
Time passes soon and I hit the age of thirty-five without much success in finding my dream girl. My mother shared my bio data with aunts and well-wishers, but rejection was all I got. I was either ‘too old’, ‘too thin’, ‘too middle class’ or wanted to live in a joint family and therefore not a good match. It was always my desire to marry a Bawi – I’d seen my parents share wonderful times and hard times over delicious akoori, masala chai and brun-maska. Sharing similar customs, values and culture eased the path of marriage for them and I wanted the same for me. But finding a Bawi Bride was taking way longer than I’d expected. My office colleagues couldn’t comprehend my predicament – most of them had school-going kids, while I was still searching for my perfect bride!
It took many years for me to realize that to make a relationship work, expectations should be based on qualities like kindness, trust, understanding and cooperation, which last a lifetime. Many of my colony youngsters had focused on superficial qualities like beauty, income, personality and geographical location, when choosing a bride or groom. Most weren’t very happy with their decisions.
Coomi, Mehru, Roshan and many other girls entered my life briefly to teach me the lesson that no one was perfect. Just as we accept ourselves with our flaws and strengths, we need to accept the one we plan to marry with their shortcomings and positives. Now, in my tenth year of search for the perfect Bawi Bride, with success still eluding me, I reached a point with little hope left… I felt, just like Fali kaka, maybe I too would die a bachelor boy.
But, no matter how difficult the challenge, when we spread our wings of faith and allow the winds of God’s spirit to lift us, no obstacle is too great to overcome! One day I met my friend Khushrow, who told me about a scheme started by the Indian Government’s Ministry of Minority Affairs in December 2013, called ‘Jiyo Parsi’. It’s objective was to arrest the decline in the Parsi community’s population. I joked saying, how would the number of Parsi babies increase, when Parsis don’t get married in the first place! I was surprised to hear that the team at Jiyo Parsi is tackling this issue too! Recently they have launched the ParsiShaadi App through Shaadi.com to help Parsis like me find their perfect match! The App has a large database across India and makes the matchmaking process simpler using technology.
The Jiyo Parsi scheme provides financial reimbursement upto Rs.8 lakhs for fertility treatments, including delivery costs for couples who have conceived through assistance; and Rs.4,000 monthly for childcare and elderly support, each only to couples who are willing to have more babies. It was heartening to hear that financial support is being offered on the basis of the income level of the couples, along with various talks and workshops. It was great to know that the Jiyo Parsi programme has already added 191 babies to the community and the numbers are steadily rising!
My story has a happy ending. My search for the perfect Bawi bride led me to meet Pari, my dream girl through the Parsi Shaadi App. After a lot of soul searching and introspection during the counselling sessions held by the Jiyo Parsi counsellor, we decided to take the first step towards a future filled with happiness and togetherness, watching sunsets, eating akoori with bun-maska with masala chai, accompanied by the sounds of laughter of our cute children! Getting married to my Bawi Bride was the best decision I ever made. A Big Thank You to Jiyo Parsi and the Parsi Shaadi App for helping me find my dream girl. Long live our community with health, happiness and abundance!