Our sixth author in the Everyday Parsi Series.
Perzen Patel writes:
Memories of Muktad and Gatha days
The days of muktad and gathas have always been full of special memories for me.
As a child, my earliest memories of these days were the availability of pretty sweet smelling flowers outside the agiary. I remember my mom allowing me to take some for my teachers on the day of Pateti as a small thank you gift for them.
It was only after my navjote that my mom shared the significance of the gatha days and the belief that the departed souls come to visit us on these special days. After that, each year we would visit the four atashbehrams and seven agairies in Mumbai on one of the gatha days to pay our respects – not only was it some great bonding time with my mom but also a chance to learn more about our agiaries and ofcourse have some nice Parsi Dairy Farm treats at the end of the day!
As I grew up and learnt a bit more about Parsi-panu, another memory that stands out is my mama telling me what to do and what not to do during these days – how things such as cutting nails and shaving is considered a ‘naso’. While I know many Parsis that choose to not believe this, it is my opinion that what you believe in defines you as a person and it is such a simple thing to follow that it is really not worth debating over.
During my days in New Zealand, for may years we did not have a Dar-be-Mehr that we could visit for many years so mom used to put some flowers in a silver vase in our prayer room itself and pray – private as it was, I did miss our yearly jaunts of visiting multiple agiaries in one day. So, when the Dar-be-Mehr in NZ opened, we made it a point to go each year even though it was far away to pay our respects and absorb the peaceful atmosphere.
Even today as an adult, I love visiting the agiary on these special days. The visual treat of the agiary hall full of fresh cut flowers, the aroma of sandalwood and the murmur of dasturji’s and family members chanting prayers is a sensual treat that we Parsis in India are lucky to be able to experience. I love the idea that my departed family members come to visit me on these days and give us their blessings – a beautiful Parsi tradition that I am proud of (along with our Koyla parsi nataks and food feasting ofcourse!)
Perzen Patel is the @BawiBride. Bawi by birth and foodie by life, Perzen believes that great moments are born out of great opportunities.
This is why when she got married and realised she had no idea how to make her Bawa favourites for her man, she decided to start the Bawi Bride blog documenting her journey of cooking everyday Parsi food to feed fellow foodie souls. She also caters to Mumbai foodies and offers dips, desserts and Parsi delicacies for purchase each weekend.
During the week, Perzen is also Communications Manager at Ennovent and a marketing junkie.
Check out www.bawibride.com
You can follow the entire series here: Everyday Parsi