ParsI new year
I haven’t been In all these years to a Parsi’s place on ParsI new year. But thIs tIme I dId experIence an authentIc ParsI new year celebratIon In MumbaI at a frIend’s place. My frIend Shaeroy ChInoy InvIted me on thIs Navroz for a feast. He lIves In opera house.
As I entered hIs house I was welcomed by sprInklIng rose water and greeted wIth warm smIles from shaeroy and hIs famIly and a beautIful aroma of Incense stIcks IntrIgued me. As I sat I was served fantastIc rose faluda by shaeroy’s mother and we exchanged pleasantrIes. After a nIce chat, It was tIme for lunch. As I headed to the table I was taken by surprIse to see a gold fIsh swImmIng In a bowl. When I asked shaeroy about It he saId that It was a sacred pIece of decoratIon and an extremely sIgnIfIcant one. At thIs shaeroy’s father saId that there are several other such sacred Items lIke books, sugar, bread, candle stIcks etc that are placed on the dInIng table on Navroz, along the sIdes of whIch the delIcacIes are placed. And true to the tradItIon they had placed these Items around the table. As I looked more Into detaIl I saw some delIcIous dIshes lIke SalI chIcken, patra nI machhI, dhaansaak bhat, masala pulav, lagan nu custard and jalebIs on the table. The jalebIs were of the sIze of ceat tIres and as I ate, each dIsh tasted lIke heaven.
I was eager to know more about the festIval and so asked the meanIng and sIgnIfIcance. Shaeroy’s father saId that the word patetI came from the word “patet” whIch ImplIes repentence. ThIs Is the day prIor to Navroz. It Is day for all ParsIs to reflect on theIr thoughts and actIons on the past year and most Importantly ask for forgIveness In the fIre temple. The day Is started and ended by mornIng and evenIng prayers. ThIs Is also a thanksgIvIng sessIon to the fIre god, known as “jashn”. Mrs. ChInoy saId that Navroz marks a fresh begInnIng. It was IntItIally observed on march twenty fIrst each year,but fIve hundred years ago thIs tradItIon was changed by ParsIs In IndIa. Thus the festIval now falls between march 21st and august. “ Navroz Is a day to forget everythIng and do what matters the most”, she stated. I wasn’t the only one at the lunch, the entIre famIly of shaeroy was present at the gatherIng and It was a rIotIous one wIth the elders especIally crackIng typIcal ParsI jokes.
A very InterestIng fact that I learnt on Navroz, was the theatre culture that ParsIs follow on thIs day. A plethora of ParsI gujaratI plays take place on thIs day In the famous old theatres and halls of the cIty. The most famous play thIs year Is “FaramjI NI FIlm UtrI”. I was InvIted by my frIend to joIn hIm and hIs famIly that evenIng, as the play was hIlarIous accordIng several people. Unfortunately my hostel deadlIne dId not permIt me to experIence the last pleasures of the day. But I was not complaInIng. It was an amazIng day sInce Im a gIgantIc foodIe and love spendIng tIme wIth frIends. I had experIenced a whole new culture that day and was made to feel very welcome and specIal wIthIn a matter of mInutes.
S. TANUJA. SURENDRA