First a slice of history… when the Parsis decided to leave Iran because of terrible traffic congestion more than a 1,000 years ago, there were three factions – One Faction wanted to sail to India; The Second Faction opted for Germany; and the Third Faction wanted to sail round and round around Iran, until they got dizzy.
Finally, the issue was settled in an amicable, sophisticated, adult way… Cock fights.
The India Faction turned out to be the …bigger… er…fighters. And that’s how the decision to migrate to India was made. I’m sharing this story only partly because I need to fill up space. But, mostly because the first thing that hit the Parsi settlers was the torrential rain. (Remember, at this point of time, the umbrella was still to be invented.) And so, the poor settlers had to cover their heads with their hands, or with some old relatives. Obviously, depending on which one was lighter.
Now, let’s fast forward to over a 1,000 years ahead and take our story South of Gujarat… to a group of 7 islands, which now thanks to the monsoon fury, poorly developed roads, metro work, potholes, and really overweight joggers, has branched out to a 127 smaller islands, which are all both imploding and bursting at the scams.
It is said that during the monsoon, Mumbaikars, before leaving home take their Goodbyes very seriously. And so it is with the Parsis of Mumbai. Thanks to my overreaching influence in the Panchayat, and the ‘Miss Rustom Baug’ competitions, I have in my possession a few letters from a few eminent Parsis who have written to the BMC. I say eminent, but bear in mind, I truly have never heard or met any one of them.
“Dear Mr. BMC Dearie,
Every August, for the last 67 years, I write to you to explain my plight. Only one August, (1972), I could not write as I was in London at the time. But in 1972, I did write to the London Municipality, and they forwarded the letter to you in any case.
This year is no different. Where I live in Dadar Parsi Colony, the whole place is a swamp. Getting in and out of Dadar takes me 32 to 37 minutes, every single time. People can make jokes about switching to boats, but I think that is very stupid. We don’t have enough space to park our cars, where the hell will I park my boat? Bol nee!!
Please ensure you answer this letter, or I will complain to the higher authorities, the moment I can locate, exactly who they are.
From Shayaan – a sprightly 77-year-old, who goes for a morning jog, only when she can’t find her Uber. Let us move to the next letter…
“Dear Municipal Commissioner,
I am so sorry I don’t know your name. But that is because my wifi is down. Now, don’t get me wrong. By down, I don’t mean it is located below me. I mean it is not working.
My neighbour Behram says it’s because the rains spoil the wi-fi. Even the mighty Tatas have to put off Tata Sky, due to the heavy rains.
I won’t ask you to stop the rains. That is beyond your capacity, I accept that. And we all know that rain is in the hands of God or China. In that sense, our rains are exactly like the city state of Hongkong.
What I’m asking for, is some more lights on the streets. My college buddy, Pesi, fell into a crevice at LBS Marg, Ghatkopar, because it was pitch dark at 4 o’clock in the evening! Worse still, he had just dropped his mother-in-law at Kurla. So, the fall, for all purposes, was wasted.
During these rains we are filled with fear as we can’t see anything around us. While that may be a pleasant option, on many streets of India, it can’t be a 24-hours-a-day phenomenon.
Please take my complaint seriously, dear Sir. And I apologise in case you are a Dear Ma’am. As I said earlier, my wi-fi is down, so I’m unable to google you.
Sadly, Nariman was last seen in Tardeo, Captain Colony, three days ago. Of course, his wife refused to report him missing, on the compelling fear that he may be found.
You may have heard of me, I’m a famous motorcyclist. I recently clinched the 9th place, at the ‘All Parsi Mountain Terrain Motorcycle Meet’, that was held from Worli Sea Link to Pali Hill.
My problem is with some irrational, nonsensical, and illogical laws. You tell me Sir, if it is pouring cats and cats, (I love dogs so will stick to cats), what is the point of wearing the helmet? I notice other communities, don’t wear helmet! But we Parsis, don’t like to break laws, so I’m the only motorcyclist with a helmet and gloves, in the whole of Mumbai?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to amend the law, and during June to September, allow us cyclists and motorcyclists to wear a swimming cap instead? Please consider my suggestion, am awaiting a positive answer.
I share these letters with you, only as long as they stay within the Parsi community. We don’t want anyone to think the Parsis are a demanding community. As everyone knows, Parsis’ demands, began and end with the mother!