Our sixth author in the Everyday Parsi 2014 series
Ervad Kobad Zarolia writes
My impression more than memories would be the right title. I became Navar at the age of 11 and prayed as a hired Help at the age of 12 . I was hired by the Dader Agyari for 18 days performing ceremonies from morning till evening . This would be my first Memories of Muktad. The Agyari was packed with people praying and attending ceremonies performed by the Mobeds. First few days the smell of Sukhad and Loban was good as the days passed all the smoke irited my throat and made me chough a lot. The effect of the smoke was most on older Mobeds . The best part of these 18 days was the food and the stories told by the older Mobeds. At the end of 18 days 100 rupees I earned looked like a million rupees to me.
Year after that I did not take part in praying as a hired Mobed but visited the Agyari just to do my personal prayers . After few years being in college I needed money and MUKTAD was the best opportunity to make some money. I joined Poona Agyari and had a good time serving the community. Number of ceremonies performed per Mobed was very less and I could take my time to pray. I had a very good feeling for all 18 days of Muktad as I was doing good for my fellow Zoroastrians.
I still remember praying for a young school girl from Poona who had died tragically while picnicking at Val Val Dam. These are my memories of the first few Muktads.
When I moved to Toronto Canada and after a few years, we started Muktad ceremonies only for 5 Gatha days. We made rules that we will only perform a single ceremony for the whole Anjuman in the (prayer we will name all) names of Departed souls submitted by the members of the Anjuman. This made Muktad ceremony very meaning full for Mobeds who are performing the ceremonies and the whole Anjuman . This type of praying made a lot of sense to me. The Muktads has become a communal prayer for all the departed souls. After evening Satum ceremony the Mobed will speak on a religious topic and then all present will do a humbandagi. This way all have taken part in the day’s prayer.
We are Parsis so the Good Food at Muktad continues in North America. Any person present at morning prayers enjoys a communal breakfast. Lunch and dinner cooked by volunteers and donated by families.
So personally I think the way we do our Muktad in Toronto should be adopted by the Bombay Agyaris as it makes Muktad more spiritual and meaning full for all.
Ervad Kobad Zarolia migrated to Canada in 1969. He ran his own Insurance Brokerage for last 42 years in Toronto and is now retired. Kobad is an active priest in the Greater Toronto Area community. An avid cricketer, he was the founding President of the Zoroastrian Cricket Club. Kobad served as the President Zoroastrian Society Of Ontario for two terms. Kobad is the Founding President of North American Mobed Council and the Founding President of Ontario Zoroastrian Community Foundation.