Scylla Vatcha’s Portrait Unveiled At Navsari’s Senior Citizens Centre

WZO Trust Funds unveiled a portrait of Late Scylla Vatcha at their Bai Maneckbai P B Jeejeebhoy Senior Citizens Centre, at Navsari, on 20th October, 2023, in the presence of residents, trustees, administration and staff. The Centre considered Scylla Vatcha as their Patron Saint. She was also philanthropist and benefactor to thousands of Zoroastrians, an unforgettable legend. Post the unveiling, Dinshaw Tamboly spoke to the gathering and informed all about the interesting sequence of events leading to the Center’s establishment.

Speaking on the occasion, visionary philanthropist Dinshaw Tamboly, Chiarman, WZO Trust Funds, shared, “It was sometime in 1992 that a Parsi gentleman, working with Central Bank of India, met me at my office, conveying that he was single, had no relatives and was due to retire in 1995. He mentioned that upon his retirement, he sought my assistance to help him locate and purchase a suitable house in Navsari, where he could spend his retired life in the company of five to six healthy Parsis of his age group, who like him, were single.

I agreed to help him in his quest. In 1995 when he retired, he asked me to begin scouting for suitable premises. After some effort, a suitable house was located and he was informed to meet the owner and finalize the terms. That was the last I heard of the gentleman, who seemed to have simply vanished into thin air.

It is truly said that wonders are performed by Divinity in mysterious ways. Just a couple of days after we had given up on the gentleman and his project, my wife Bachi and I were invited to a social gathering at the residence of the late Thrity and Homi Taleyarkhan, where Scylla was present. During the course of our conversation, we shared with her our experience with the concerned gentleman. Scylla, being the dynamic and vibrant person, requested us to meet her a couple of days later at her residence. At that fateful meeting, she informed us of the merit she saw in the gentleman’s project and asked us to prepare a project for a facility that could be established at Navsari where ‘Zoroastrian Senior Citizens’, who were healthy, active and capable of looking after their biological needs, could reside with dignity.

Scylla emphasized that the concept was not that of an infirmary, as such facilities were already available at Mumbai, Surat and Navsari. She laid down three basic conditions – that the facility be planned in a predominantly Parsi precinct; that it should be close to a shopping area; and that it be near an Agyari. With providence known to create opportunities to facilitate actions with good intent, within a few days, we were fortunate to locate suitable premises that met these conditions. We prepared a blue print for the project, alongside rough architectural plans and costs and presented this to Scylla. Within a fortnight, she approved the project, giving us the go-ahead to purchase the property, appoint an architect, float tenders, obtain quotations for construction, and get on with the project in fast forward mode.

The expenses for the entire project – purchasing property, constructions, furniture, fixtures and furnishings – were borne by the Trustees of Bai Maneckbai P. B. Jeejeebhoy Deed of Settlement Fund. Construction began in mid-1995; the magnificent 5-storeyed structure spread over 20,000 sq. feet was ready for occupation by end 1997. The Centre was inaugurated on 6th January, 1998 in the presence of large number of guests and media in attendance.

Being the visionary, Scylla had foreseen that some residents, as age progressed, would become bed ridden and unable to continue residing at the Centre and their families too would not be able to look after them. Hence, even as the Centre was being built, she arranged for the construction of a separate building at the Parsi Infirmary at Navsari, where residents could be shifted, under their care. Such was dear Scylla – A Woman of Stature and  Substance.”

After the unveiling of the portrait and the genesis shared by Dinshaw Tamboly, some residents shared their life changing experiences at the Centre, showering their gratitude and appreciation for Scylla Vatcha. Ever since it opened, the center has been generally running to full occupancy, amidst much positive energy, where residents reside in comfort, enjoy a stress-free lifestyle and mingle with each other, as their needs are catered to the best extent possible.

Physiotherapy and yoga sessions are held every alternate day, and they are encouraged to venture out in the mornings and evenings. Trips are arranged for outings to Sanjan Sanatorium and Pak Iranshah at Udvada. Frequent evening outings are also arranged at places of interest in Navsari, with residents treated to dinner at popular restaurants to provide a change of scene. Daily a chemist checks in to take and deliver orders for their medications. In cases requiring hospitalisation, arrangements with Navsari’s leading D N Mehta Sarvajanik Hospital are made, where a special WZO Trust Funds Ward provides treatment to the Center’s residents.

The icing on the cake of the eventful and fulfilling journey that has completed 25 years has been the solemnization of two marriages between the residents, (2015 and 2016), bringing a sense of much pride to the Centre’s dedicated personnel. And so, the merry wagon continues its journey that puts ‘life in to the days of its residents and not just days into their lives’. May Divinity continue to bless the lovely residents and the Centre for decades to come!

– Team WZO Trust Funds

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