In the words of Mark Twain, synergy is the bonus that is achieved when we work together harmoniously. With exactly this in mind, the Empowering Mobeds(EM) and Xtremely Young Zoroastrians(XYZ) programmes collaborated together to create a memorable Sunday for the lovely kids, who are the future of our community across 2 centres in Mumbai today.
The J.B.Vachha School in Dadar hosted 50 kids which included some students from the Dadar Athornan Institute, while the A.F.Petit School in Bandra had 70 of their boarding school girls participate in the same. 11 am ushered in and excited kids in the age group of 5-12 years clad in topis, scarves and colourful XYZ tshirts kickstarted the day by invoking Almighty Ahura Mazda with Humbundagis led by their respective Mobed sahebs. The Dadar centre was ably managed by Er Kaizad Karkaria, Er Khushroo Makihatana, Er Firdaus Pavri and Er Jehan Darbari while the Bandra centre was handled by Er Sheherazad Pavri and Ms Delphi Wadia. The core team members of EM – Mrs Binaifer Sahukar and Mr Dinshaw Tamboly weren’t far, cheering on the kids and amply applauding the efforts of the Mobeds while Hoshaang Gotla, the man behind XYZ made it a point to be around at both the centres to encourage everyone.
The kids were quickly introduced to the EM initiative and explained how the Mobeds intended to bring about an impact by increased interaction with the laiety, changing perception towards the priests, encouraging the future and empowering the preachers. The initial activity was an interactive questionnaire , a “Queen of Sheeba” parody termed the “Mobed wants to know” . Here, based on their personal experiences, the kids were run through questions about the name of their priests, Fire temples, what they wear etc intertwined with some melodious Ashem Vohu and Yatha Ahu Vairyo prayers in groups. The kids also learnt about the difference in a Dastur and a Mobed, the landing of the Parsis in India and the difference between Nirang and Taro. Questions were encouraged and the very thought of earning chocolates had the kids sprinting to the Mobeds present to answer questions and recite prayers.
A video clip of the young participants.
Creativity and young zoros go hand in hand, and to bring that out the kids were divided into groups and given the task of writing down any word related to Zoroastrian history, culture, religion, tradition and practices. While some of them cheekily mentioned O for orange and B for Banana as fruits used in prayer ceremonies, it wasn’t surprising to see the quintessential egg as E for Eedu. The girls at Petit School whose champion XYZ group is named Ketayun’s Conquerors quickly performed a Mexican Wave choreographed by Delphi , joyously screaming the letters E,M, X, Y and Z.
This was followed by a Word Search game where each child was handed out a grid to mark out words pertaining to the religion. With quite some words fresh from the previous round, it wasn’t long before the scramble to get more chocolates had started.
To learn about their understanding of Agiary Etiquette, the kids were made to enact scenes in each of their groups, highlighting a visit to the fire temple and pointing out the do’s and don’t’s. These were sprinkled with some jingles and Monajats to add to the “Parsipanu”. At the end of this, the Mobeds present added their valuable feedback based on their own experience emphasizing that the Holy Fire is a venerated entity. Keeping that in mind, it is the responsibility of every Zoroastrian to be educated on maintaining the decorum and dress code while visiting a fire temple.
Finally, the kids were run through a kusti prayer demonstration by the Mobeds. Equipped with more knowledge about their religion and prayers, the kids were deservedly treated to some lip smacking Malido and Papri, courtesy of Er Hormuz Dadachanji and Er Kaizad Karkaria.
It was truly a fulfilling Sunday morning for the organisers and the participants. The parent volunteers of XYZ were truly appreciative of the efforts behind this and suggested more of these collaborated programmes with the participation of parents and grandparents to make it more interesting and informative. KUDOS to the EM and XYZ Team for uniting together to make a positive change and we look forward to many more events like these. Kshnaothra Ahurahe Mazdao!