The much adored and respected Bapsi Nariman, wife of Senior Advocate – Fali S. Nariman, and mother of Supreme Court Judge – Justice Rohinton F. Nariman, passed away on 9th June, 2020, in New Delhi, at the age of 89. A culinary genius, a successful author and an independent woman, Bapsy was cherished and loved by family and friends, and was the cornerstone of the Nariman household. The funeral was held on the next day and attended by family members in keeping with the current Government regulations. She is survived by her husband – Fali, son – Rohinton, daughter-in-law – Sanaya and daughter – Anaheeta.
Bapsi Nariman was born and brought up in Mumbai. Her father was a prosperous building contractor, and she was very involved in the social life of the Bombay Parsi community. She was an active member of The Time and Talents Club, which organised a variety of events to raise money for charity and ran the erstwhile, popular ‘Victory Stall’ restaurant (near Apollo Bandar, Colaba, in South Mumbai). This marked her first brush with culinary writing, when she contributed recipes for the Time and Talents cookbook.
Bapsi and Fali Nariman were married in 1955. They migrated to Delhi in 1972, when she was 41 years old, after her husband, Fali Nariman, was appointed as Additional Solicitor General (ASG). She strongly supported his decision to resign when Indira Gandhi imposed the Emergency (1975). They stayed on in the national capital as Fali mostly practiced in the Supreme Court. She was an integral part of the Delhi Parsi Anjuman, greatly contributing to their causes. She adjusted easily into Delhi’s social life and was involved in the Delhi Commonwealth Women’s Association and edited the association’s cookbook. Later, she ventured into catering as an entrepreneur.
Bapsi was fiercely loyal and very generous; she was known to always root for the underdog. She was famous for her exceptional culinary skills and shared her expertise via a string of bestselling cookbooks, including ‘Traditional Parsi Cuisine’, ‘Microwave Cookery for the Indian palate’, ‘Cooking with Yogurt’, which were well received and helped many enthusiasts learn cooking Parsi delicacies. Her latest book was ‘Rush Hour Cookbook: Great Dishes in 30 Minutes or Less’.
She loved music and was an accomplished pianist herself. This passion has passed over to her son and granddaughters. As a mother, she was strict and protective; and as a wife to Fali, she was the perfect foil. While he was diplomatic and would sometimes to keep his counsel to himself, Bapsi was blunt and forthright. They were an inseparable couple, who almost always attended events together. She has been mentioned fondly in Fali Nariman’s autobiography, ‘Before Memory Fades’. Even in her later years, when her deteriorating health made mobility a challenge, Bapsi tried to accompany Fali whenever possible.
To conclude, in the words of close friend and associate, Raian Karanjawala, the Founder and Managing Partner of Karanjawala & Co, (as excerpted from thedailyguardian.com), “Many people believe (and I certainly share their view) that Fali reached the great heights that he did because Bapsi kept the ground on which he stood steadfast… She guided him in many of the important decisions he made… Fali was her universe and she was his. They were a couple where the whole was larger than the sum total of its parts.”
May her great soul attain Garothman Behest!