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ZAWA Celebrates Papeti (Navroze) 2000

In view of the fact that the Zoroastrian Navroze (New Year 1370 Y.Z.) this year fell on Monday 21 August 2000, ZAWA held a festive lunch at the Sorrento Lawn Bowls Club on 20 August, a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

Members and guests were able to look out of large picture windows overlooking the club's bowling greens and tastefully landscaped gardens with multi-coloured beds of assorted flowers, plants and bushes. It was also a blessing to be able to park comfortably, without any hassles in the club's spacious car park.

In true Zoroastrian fashion, members and guests greeted each other 'Pateti/Navroze Mubarak' as they walked into the club's dining area which began to fill with colour and the happy chatter of kids, teenagers, young adults, parents and couples - some of whom had brought along guests to sample, what turned out to be, a very traditional 'LAGAN-NU-BHONU' (Lunch fit for a wedding). But more about this later!

ZAWA's chairperson, Homee Wadia, welcomed all those present and began with a vote of thanks to those who generously gave of their time and energy in creating such a veritable FEAST! Among the ones he acknowledged on ZAWA's behalf were: Mrs. Sheroo Maarfatia and her daughter Persis Maarfatia, Villie Khambatta, Kuky Wadia, Villie Mistry, Persis Billimoria, Shernavaz Cooper, Anahita Fitter, Zeiba Randeria, Rukshana Mehta, Phyrooza Mehta and all those who assisted in the numerous organizational details which contributed to the day's success. Committee Vice-chairperson Behram Cooper faithfully brandished his super-duper digital lens all around him to pictorially record this special day! Thanks to Homyar Randeria, ZAWA was able to obtain these premises without making a big dent in their modest 'kitty'. In true Buhariwalla fashion, Mehernosh was here, there and everywhere lending a hand where required. Committee spouses all lent a hand before, during and after lunch as did some ZAWA members.

One of the other highlights of the afternoon was the announcement made of Irandokht Ardishehrian's most generous and beautiful gift to ZAWA. It is a large wall hanging rich in colour and design. At its centre is the brightly burning holy 'fire' flanked on the left by King Lohrasp and on the right by Asho Zarathushtra himself, both dressed in pure-white robes with a lot of intricate detail around them in gorgeous colour. It is a wondrous piece of art created by carpet weavers from the province of Yazd in Iran (famous for their fine workmanship!) I couldn't help but wish we had our own place of worship to house this treasure!

A second announcement was made at Jehangir Mehta's behest for donations to go to a young Zoroastrian girl suffering from HIV in India (to help pay her mounting medical expenses).

Led by Darius Pavri, we stood up to recite the Yatha Ahu Vairyo and Ashem Vohu prayers before lunch was served.

I don't recall anyone announcing 'Banuo ane Grahasto - jamva chaloji!' Just as well! Instead of a 'dhasaro' (rush) en masse, guests/members were served (table by table) the traditional fare of 'saria', 'gajjar-meva-nu achaar' with 'garam rotlis' , 'machhi-no-sas', 'jardaloo-ma-murghi' and 'palav/dar' . Translated into simple English it would read as: 'fried rice wafers', ' hot-sweet spicy mix made from carrots and dried fruits', 'hot chapaties' (chapati is flat Indian bread vaguely resembling a mexican tortilla but made of wheat flour), 'fish in sweet & sour creamy sauce', 'chicken cooked in apricot gravy'and 'a spicy and rich rice dish with lamb'. I recall a couple of the nine guests at our combined tables saying how honoured they were to be among the first to be served. Special 'pareji' (substitute dishes for those who do not indulge in meat or chicken) dishes of 'tarkari-nu-stew' (vegetable stew), 'Bharuchi akuri' (an egg combination typical to the town of Bharuch in Gujarat, India), and 'tarkari-no-pulav/dal' (spicy rice dish as described earlier, but with vegetables only) were prepared to ensure our vegetarians did not miss out. The silence that ensued at our table once everybody started eating was the proof of the pudding (altho' that was yet to come!). The Parsi style pickle (which would give Kolah's a run for their money) and 'sas-ni-machhi' got rave reviews from the majority present.

Those who wished had second helpings before being served with the 'pulav-dal' which was also on offer a second time around. Generous serves of almond kulfi (an Indian style icecream made with evaporated milk, cream, flavouring and nuts) dessert rounded off a traditional feast reminiscent of good old Mumbai weddings and navjotes! All the mouth-watering leftovers were offered to ZAWA members and guests in takeaway containers each at a very modest price. Demand outstripped supply in most cases!

Winners of the 'lucky number prizes' were announced with Mrs Perin Marfatia winning first prize followed by Dinshaw Nanavati and his friend winning the second and third prizes.

Approximately 125 attendees enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by dedicated teams of Zoroastrian ladies aided by friends and relatives - thanks to Homee Wadia's persuasive publicity.

On ZAWA's behalf I would like to specially thank Nosheen the industrious lady and Firdaus the young man who worked tirelessly to help our members set up, dish out, serve and wash up right through the afternoon!

It was more than just a moveable feast! It was the coming together of different personalities to achieve a single goal - having our own 'Dar-e-Mehr' - right here, in Perth - Inshah Mazda!!!


Zoroastrians followers of Prophet Zarathushtra in Western Australia

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