Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

For Homi Ghadiyali Every Day is Uttarayan

For almost the past eighty years he has been flying kites every day. There are very few people who manage to live their passions.

By Yogesh Chawda / TNN

Dada, happens to be one of them. Since he was seven years old at a Parsi orphanage in Surat, to this date, Homi Pestonji Ghadiyali, 86, has been flying kites.

He has a huge fan following among children at Vejalpur in Ahmedabad, where he lives now. But their mothers request him with folded hands — in a lighter vein — to stop flying kites as this distracts their children during their exams. But that does not stop the kids in his locality from making the customary announcement “Dada Dabha par che. Badha aavi Jao!” (Grandpa is on the terrace, C’mon everyone!)

Homi has a philosophy for flying kites. “Kites teach you to be stable in the choppiest of situations. They help calm your mind, balance your thoughts, improve vision and teaches you to share — just as flying kites is all about sharing joy with children, youngsters and the old.” No wonder Dada’s blood pressure measures 120/80 on the manometer and he does not need to wear spectacles. But what does Homi do during monsoon. “Oh those are some of the saddest days. I do nothing productive.”

His wife Rhoda Ghadiyali, 67, says, “This man can do anything for flying kites. Before he officially proposed to me he asked me whether I like kites. I was stunned. I remember Homi stood top in an all-India engineering exam, just because I locked away his kites and threatened him that I would never give him back his kites till he passes his exams. Five days after we lost our 46-year-old eldest son, Homi was on the terrace flying kites. The eldest son loved kites like his father. This man has not changed a bit for the last 51 years.”

Homi’s son Khushru Gadiyali says, “My father starts his day by going to the post office and various banks. He brings back letters of all our neighbours, helps the postman arrange letters and deposits money for our neighbours. In the evening he makes sure that everybody participates in the kite flying jive on the terrace.”