Chalo Udvada!

Pilgrimage, Homage And Happy Moments!


It was that happy time of the week, the Sunday morning when God is in Heaven and all’s right with the world.  I was at the table contemplating upon the plate of two lovely sunny golden orbs resting upon a cloud of white, a dollop of Vasanu (I always spell this heavenly, sticky, gingery, crunchy, ghee- soaked winter concoction with a reverent capital ‘V’), all the while lathering a slice of brun-pao with generous amount of butter. A pleasant morn and no phone calls from the Editor shouting, “Darabsha, a faux pas again! Kai VRS no vichar kidhoch ke?” or something in similar vein.

The sabbatical silence of the morn was suddenly shattered by a eureka-like shriek from the kitchen. “Darabsha! I’ve got it!” Such an announcement is always followed by some nerve-wrecking idea by my wife, Rati. I get goose-bumps. “Dalu, darling after your Christmas-eve and Christmas-day binge, it is going to be God’s gift to you to sober down.

I do not appreciate these innuendos upon my partiality to the grape juices, fermented or distilled, and I tried to say so, but Perinbanu, my sister, butts in saying, “Darab mugo bess! Ha Rati, su kaich?”  Encouraged, Rati continues, ‘Let us all go to Udvada for the Iranshah Udvada Utsav! The trip and daily visits to our Pak Iranshah will cleanse our tan and ravan, body and soul, and the country air will do us good, especially Darab.”

“But…. but what about the bookings? The place will be booked solid. We will have no place to stay.” Darabsha, the man (ha ha!) of the house, meekly put in.

“You’re always playing the devil’s advocate, but try as you might, you cannot wriggle out of this. My friend, Aloo Udvadia, will certainly allow us the use of her spacious bungalow there. I will book for the donor passes now. OK? So, it’s decided, you house-bound-hominoid! Now go and get that old car of yours serviced for the long drive. It’s settled.  Its Udvada or Bust!” said Ratimai, with an air of finality.

Sorabji, my brother-in-law, that tea-deprived-ever-grumbling-bawa during trips, is all for the idea too. “Ay Darab! Chaal majha avse! Bhanvanu-ghanvanu, rumvanu-jamvau, badha aapra Zarthosti humdino ne malvanu! There are Parsis coming from various countries, from America to Australia to England to Canada and New Zealand!! And there’s so many cultural activities and games too, I can’t wait to register ourselves for the Heritage Walk, Winter Games and Treasure Hunt, too.”

Getting into the mood, I put in my two-bit-worth. “We can also go for a very pleasant drive to the nearby Daman beach sometime.”

“Darabsha, I know why you want to drive to Daman,: quipped Ratimai, dampening the ‘spirited’ plans of Darabsha. “Sorry old chap, but every minute will be occupied with some activity. Dharmic, social, cultural, entertaining or gourmandizing and there will be no time for drives.”

Sorabji, sipping his fourth cup of sugary, mint tea since waking up an hour ago, was mentally visualizing the leisurely time in the idyllic surroundings. Cups of fudna-ni-chai, dudh-na-puffs, sumptuous breakfast – eggs, aleti-paleti and kheema and the works, and bois (mullets) in abundance! And lunch and dinner by a famous caterer. Great!

Yes, a great time will be had by one and all. Early rising, going to Shreeji Pak Iranshah dressed pristine white, offering obeisance to the Holy Flame, our Aatash Padshah, burning bright, since nearly thirteen hundred years, spreading light, blessings to protect that little tolo, guiding it from a tragic past leading us to become one of the most admired micro-mini communities in our foster-motherland India and also in the world!

To pray, to enrich our lives with the wisdom Asho Zarathushtra gave us through his Holy Gathas, to enjoy the bounties of nature, living in harmony with the corporeal creations of Pak Dadar Ahura Mazda is our heritage. Being happy by giving happiness to others is the very basis of our faith. No wonder, Asho Zarathushtra laughed when he was born. He was a Happy Prophet and his message was to keep ourselves and others Happy!

And that is the underlying essence of the Iranshah Udvada Utsav – Happiness, via bonding with our community members from all over the world, praying together, learning more about our culture, celebrating our cuisine amidst camaraderie, fun, lots of laughter and happiness!

Dara M Khodaiji
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