Baugs: The Beautiful Bawa Bronx!

And just like that another year has gone by! How was yours? Did you have fun in these twelve brief months? Were they eventful, special, prosperous? If you live in a Baug, they probably were… with neighbors’ hellos and friends’ greetings meeting you at every turn, friendly faces flittering about at every corner… you can’t imagine living anyplace else. Oh! Oh! let’s just pause for a bit…

Reality check – living in a Parsi colony is very much like living your life in a vibrant sitcom drama. Perhaps, the best way to explain it is to imagine living your whole life as one of the invited guests on ‘Bigg Boss’ – one of the most popular reality TV shows in India with an unprecedented viewership rating. It’s a show about extremities, where different people are made to live together and test their tolerance limits of each other as co-existing human beings. Now imagine living this show daily, from the time you are born till the day you just cannot cling on to those last precious dying breaths or those enviable Panchayat flats!

Within the walls of these enclaves, ours is a life of abundance. Our friendships are large, our relationships strong. There is absolutely no room for personal space, nor ever a feeling of being alone or left alone. Rules that apply are – food, wine and gossip are always shared. Parking spaces, house help and driver salaries are never discussed. Boundaries are never met. Doors are kept open and mouths rarely closed. Tongues will wag and scandals will unfold. It’s all about living life in psychedelic colours!

There are talks, discussions, debates, opinions and sentiments on every topic and event, almost always followed by arguments and disagreements. All this could last for an hour or a day or stretch into several, only waiting till the next order of business or discussion decides to roll in. It’s a life of drama and melodrama, fun and frolic, laughter and conversations – a life that is lived large. Ordained, mapped and drawn every minute in the abundance of family, friends, laughter and chatter. There is warmth and generosity, kindness and curiosity, there are tantrums and tears, squabbles and differences. Arguments are robust, passions are intense, tempers are torrid. We live amidst and between moments of discord and peace – a ridiculous arrangement that somehow works very well, almost like the vascular and venous arrangement of the brain that coordinates and functions superbly. We live it, love it and enjoy it each day, every day.

We are a flurry of maddened, crazy, fun loving Bawas – all living together under one giant roof. By definition, that’s just what a colony is – one big house packed in with all the idiosyncrasies, eccentricities, flair and fire of its ridiculously passionate occupants. With so many Parsis to boot, it’s laughter in the house daily. There are differences at every turn, and usually you may start to explain as gently as you can what was in the wind but nine times out of ten, you would be greeted with fury, detailing how disgusting and revolting your entire viewpoint is! But, by and by, frayed edges are soothed, and tempers allayed. We live in one giant Magna Opus every single day. And believe me, you wouldn’t want it any different!

No doubt, there are problems involved in seeking this utopian living, but with a little skill and patience, you steer the course quite effectively, most of the time. Nearly everything here does seem like an immensely lengthy and complicated business. But all it needs is the simple chipping away tactfully to maintain a harmonious keel.

From the time you’re born, there is a vague sense and notion of adoption involved. You are a child of these precincts and there is therefore always a measure of protection. You are a child of the Baug which will therein offer you a strange sense of security. But if you are someone who values privacy and prefers maintaining some amount of respectable distance, a cool dignified stance and attitude may work if calculated perfectly to discourage familiarity and excessive friendliness. But though this may work well for some time, evading embroilment indefinitely simply by keeping a fair distance between yourself and others, just doesn’t work. If anything, it promotes the opposite effect!

We live amid abundance where friendships are unmatched, relationships are robust, the elderly are looked after, the young thrive. So, this year, and every year hereon, is my ardent prayer of thanks and gratefulness to be blessed and granted a life within these beautiful ‘Bawa Bronx’ – that I would not exchange for all the wealth in the world! Sal Mubarak!

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