Our second author in the Everyday Parsi Series.
Kaikhosrow Oshtori writes:
Dear Arzan, how nice and kind of you to think of me for your new project. I would love to participate and contribute my mite. But I have a slight problem. My parents never involved us with such things as Death and Muktad etc.
Even when my Grandparents died, we were not told about it. I have seen my Mother cry out loudly when her parents died in the early sixties, but I was only 13 or 14 then and when I asked her why she was crying, she suddenly dried her tears and said that it was no concern of mine. I had thought then that my Dad may have scolded her and so I went and asked him, but he made me promise not to say a word to my Mom if he told me why she had been crying and then said that they had just received the phone call from Tehran that her Mother had passed away and within a month her Father too, who was heart-broken passed away.
My Dad’s father expired before I was born and so I was named after him. In all those years and until my own Father-in-Law passed away in 1978, I never knew why "Sirog" the sugar crusted Paratha and halwa was being made and distributed. We were never included in the Ceremonies and Prayers offered to the Departed souls.
My first experience with Muktad was after my F/i/L expired in 1978. I was very busy with running my Restaurant, but my parents insisted that I had to attend the prayers at Fountain Agiary and so I would go with my Mom and dad and sit with them, not knowing what was happening there. It used to be full of Iranian families and after the prayers, everyone used to be busy chatting, I used to quietly skip out and stroll down the road to the Car-Park, for a smoke, because I loved my father-in-Law very much and did not appreciate the picnic atmosphere that would prevail after the prayers were over on the last day.
But over the years and especially after my Dad passed away in 1986, I sat through all the prayers, including the Vendidad prayers that are prayed all night on the 3rd day and also for my dear beloved mother who expired in 2005. Since 1986, I have organised the prayers, every year, at Tata Agiary and family Lunch at my Father’s residence and after my Mother’s demise, at my own residence. At times I am told that there is no need to do this after so many years, but I will do the Jashan prayers during Iranian Panjeh/Muktad for my parents souls, for as long as I live. I owe everything that I am and have to them and while they were alive, they were my God, then and always will be.
I was by the bedside for both my parents, when they breathed their last and except for a silent tear, I did not cry for either of them. Because I knew that they had lived a full and purposeful life and would go straight to AhuraMazda in the House of Song and Light. They both lived productive lives with utmost honesty and gave generously to the sick and needy. I feel proud that the Iranian Zartoshty Anjuman thought it fit to honour my father’s life and achievements with a Flier that they circulated among the community in his memory. I try hard to fit their shoes, now that they are no more, but its a tough ask. There are many who remember my parents with great fondness and respect and all those who knew them, express their love for them till today. What greater inheritance can a son crave for, pray tell?
Wishing you a fortuitous future blessed with joy, May AhuraMazda shine his Light on you.
You can follow the entire series here: Everyday Parsi