The poet who wrote the line, “If there is heaven, it is right here,” has been “burning” for the last 30 years and is known as the Valley of Fear. Nothing is being done to prevent it from happening. It seems like there is no hope of finding a peaceful place in India, but I have seen places like Kusro Bagh, Parsi Colony, Tata Colony and Malcolm Bagh which are actually the closest to what peace means. These are places inhabited by the Parsi community, who are sadly becoming extinct. I have spent a long time over the years wandering through these gardens of peace. I had a friend who lived in Malcolm Bagh, Jogeshwari, called Porus Cooper and I got many opportunities to meet him and during these visits I experienced what peace was. There was no sound all around and people rarely came out of the bungalows and even when they played games like volleyball and cricket there was no sound. The Porans moved to Philadelphia in America and I never had the opportunity to live very long in a Parsi colony.The Parsis are basically a very peace-loving people and I have had only about one exception. Do you know and that is the horrific murder case in which a young Parsi named Daruwala had murdered four elderly Parsis in a building near the Metro Cinema and had reached Andheri to file his nomination for the Bombay Municipal Corporation elections and Bombay He filed his case in the Sessions Court of Mumbai, although the Government of Maharashtra provided him the best Parsi lawyer named PR Vakil. I had skipped my MA classes for more than 40 days to watch and listen to the Daruwala case. I was in the Sessions Court that afternoon when Justice CT Dighe sentenced him to death and said “You will be hanged by your neck until you die” and walked home alone across the Oval grounds in front of the Eros Theater There was no trace of sympathy or pain or guilt on his face (I tried that afternoon to find out how a judge feels after sentencing a person to death). The Parsi community in Bombay was shocked at the way Daruwala had harmed their community with his cowardly act.Why am I talking about the community for which everyone Respects more, a community that has made a huge contribution to the society and the country (that is, a community that ensures that no one from their community begs)? This is because I was in Parsi Colony in Dadar a few days ago, when I was in school for the first time. Despite my severe inability to walk even a few steps, I walked up and down the colony. I left because I did not see the kind of peace I had seen in that colony. It was like visiting a country where peace was a religion followed by every citizen living there. It seemed like I could recognize every old bungalow, maintained by people who continued the traditions set by their forefathers and their forefathers and fathers.There were some new buildings, but they also looked so clean that I just kept looking at them, as if I had seen such places for the first time in my life. The leaves on the trees looked neat and so were the small and big streets. The security guards were from different communities, but they also seemed to follow the rules, traditions and guidelines set by the Parsis. During the 2 hours I was there, I swear I didn't hear any sound, not even the sounds made by the leaves and gods in the wind. There were people around, but on looking closely I found that they were not Parsis, but men and women working for the Parsis. Still there was peace, but the lockdown had further increased the peace that had been living in the colony for a hundred years...What was I doing in the Parsi colony? I met up with some friends to meet the brilliant actor Boman Irani, who despite his stupendous success as an actor, had refused to leave Parsi Colony. Knowing the discipline and respect for time among the Parsis, I ensured that we reached the colony a full two hours before the scheduled time. And as I expected, Bowman was in his yard exactly 5 minutes before our meeting time. He was a picture of politeness and civility and ensured that we were comfortable and kept apologizing for not being able to be hospitable due to the lockdown... We talked about many things, but I clearly remember what he said about his mother, who he said was his source of encouragement and inspiration until she turned 90 and passed away just two months ago. He had died. It was her mother who ran a shop selling bread, cakes and namkeen in a small shop to support her family after her husband's death. It was his mother who instilled in him the dignity of labor and made him work in her shop and encouraged him to watch many good Hindi and English films in the theaters around the Parsi colony.It was his mother who showed him how to watch films. He taught him what good cinema is, what good music is, what good writing is and what good acting is. He showed her some movies over and over again to show her what good acting was and how it could improve with practice. His mother never thought that Boman would one day be a successful theater and film actor, but she was fortunate that her son started late in Hindi films but was still one of the most successful actors compared to the actors of the past. It was made with great actors. Motilal, Balraj Sahni and some other veteran actors of Hindi cinema. He had to talk about a great actor of the 50s, 60s and 70s, but the way he talked about an actor he had not met, but an actor his mother had met him countless times. Showed what acting is really about. He kept making small mistakes while speaking on camera, but every time he made a mistake, he said sorry at least 6 times. In his 50 years and more as a journalist who met countless actors, Boman Irani became a golden name in the history of Hindi cinema. I know many people may oppose what I say, but what can I do when a man goes out of his way to respect me the way I do?Because of his commitment and sense of discipline our meeting ended in less than an hour. He had several back to back meetings that day as he had to fly out of Mumbai the next day, but he made sure he did a good job with our appointment with him. He was thrown out of his Parsi colony, where he has lived his entire life. And we (at least I) felt that we should live in the Parsi colony as much as possible, but would they be able to keep the Parsi colony as clean as the Parsis have been doing? And for me, I was blessed to meet another celebrity son who loved and respected his mother and loved her every time she talked about any achievement in her colorful life.
Thank you, Boman, for being your mother's son and keeping the flag and spirit of all Parsis high.