Old Is Gold!
Parsis are known for their love of antiquities, with most of our homes proudly brandishing exquisite pieces of teak furniture, crystal and other paraphernalia, reminding us of the grandeur of those grand old days, when mobile phones and social media were concepts as futuristic, as teleportation (instantaneous travel between two locations without physically crossing the intervening space) is today. We leave no stone unturned to take care of these heirlooms, like these were bequeathed to us by divinity itself – and we pride ourselves for being its responsible guardians.
This Parsi pride and love for extreme care-taking also overflows onto our much-prized vehicles, with a good number of Parsi-owned classic cars and bikes stealing the spotlight in most of those Vintage Rallies, held through the year. There’s jokes aplenty about Parsi men and their ‘bikes-over-bairi’ syndrome!
And let’s not forget the premium we are willing to pay for those blessed home-chefs who prepare those ‘asal-ni’ (olden) Parsi dishes, many still cooked over wood or coal fire, with secret recipes handed down over generations, which not even the best chefs from across the world can replicate! Just like those gorgeous sari ‘gaaras’ and ‘phetas’ and grand-father clocks and antique china or porcelain – which is as much our pride and joy today, as it was for our ancestors, who passed it on to us centuries ago, and which we display with great aplomb in our homes!
For a community so passionate, nay obsessed, with all things ‘old’, you would think our seniors would be living the best part of their lives in their golden years. Unfortunately, that is not the case in many instances. It’s appalling how many of our seniors are ill-treated, even abused, by their own progeny. Some are abandoned by their family members who do not wish to undergo the ‘inconvenience’ of it all. It’s heart-breaking to hear the stories of our elderly, as their words intersperse with tears, sharing accounts of being marginalized, when their old age rendered them no longer ‘useful’.
Doesn’t it make you wonder, how did we end up prioritizing that which is material and man-made, over that which is God-given – life itself… When homes and garages boast of ‘well-maintained antiques’, but the elderly are denied the love and care they deserve, or worse, are shifted out from their own homes, their only ‘safe-place’ during the twilight phase of their lives.
Another ‘old’ aspect which the community seems to have turned a blind eye to, lies in the aged and now decrepit Parsi establishments, which at an earlier time, served us well, but now languish as uninhabited, litigated properties. These properties, which were also bequeathed to our community by our forefathers, were the fruits of a labour, and a philanthropic vision and love, far greater than the passion with which we polish our bikes and porcelain on Sundays.
Somewhere, the interest in the community’s welfare and sustenance, has taken a backseat, coz it lies on the other side of the ‘Baug’a Border’! So long as it’s an issue outside of the baug or colony you reside in, and doesn’t directly affect your comfort and quality of life, why bother? Right?
When we consider these sad realities, it helps us realize that perhaps, the single-largest ‘old’ aspect, which we have unfortunately forsaken or lost, is our Parsi-values, our Parsipanu – beyond the over-magnified ‘khao-peeo, Parsi-peg and majha-ni-life’ that it has increasingly come to mean. The famous ‘old’ saying, ‘Parsi, thy name is charity’, was birthed by the generosity of our ancestors, who were nation-builders, and to whom philanthropy was second nature. In the ‘olden’ times, Parsis were known for our unparalleled acts of charity, today we partake a lot more of the charity, than its act.
Have a lovely weekend!