UNVEILING OF SCYLLA VATCHA’s PORTRAIT AT BAI MANECKBAI P. B. JEEJEEBHOY SENIOR CITIZENS CENTRE, NAVSARI & GENESIS OF THE INSTITUTION
– TEAM WZO TRUST FUNDS
WZO Trust Funds unveiled a portrait of Late Mrs. Scylla Vatcha at their Bai Maneckbai P. B. Jeejeebhoy Senior Citizens Centre at Navsari on 20th October 2023 in the presence of residents, trustees, administration & staff.
For us at the Centre, we consider Mrs. Scylla Vatcha to be our patron Saint. She was also philanthropist and benefactor to thousands of Zoroastrians, a legend in her lifetime who will never be forgotten.
After the portrait was unveiled, Mr. Dinshaw Tamboly spoke to the gathering and informed all about the very interesting sequence of events that led to the establishment of the Centre.
In Dinshaw Tamboly’s words:
“It was sometime in 1992 that a Parsi gentleman, working with Central Bank of India, came to meet me at my office and conveyed that he was single, had no relatives and due to retire in 1995. He mentioned that upon his retirement, he would seek my assistance to help him locate a suitable house at Navsari that he would purchase from the terminal benefits that he would receive, where he could spend his retired life in the company of five to six healthy Parsis of his age group, who like him were single.
I conveyed to him that I would help him in his quest; he was so keen that he began to visit me at my office ever so often and kept on reminding me of my commitment. Finally, in 1995 when he did retire, he asked me to begin scouting for suitable premises. After a bit of effort, a suitable house was located and he was informed to meet the owner and finalize the terms.
That was the last I heard of the gentleman; he seemed to have simply vanished into thin air, not accepting the few reminder ‘phone calls that I made to him.
It is truly said that wonders are performed by Divinity in mysterious ways. Just a couple of days after we had given up on the gentleman and his project, Bachi & I were invited to a social gathering at the residence of late Thrity & Homi Taleyarkhan, where Scylla was also present.
During the course of our conversation, we mentioned to her about our experience with the concerned gentleman. Scylla being the dynamic and vibrant person she was requested us to meet her a couple of days later at her residence.
At that fateful meeting at her residence, Scylla informed Bachi & me that she saw merit in what the gentleman had conceived and conveyed to us to prepare a project for a facility that could be established at Navsari where ‘Zoroastrian Senior Citizens’ who were healthy and active, capable of looking after their biological needs could reside with self-respect and dignity.
She made it very clear that the concept she had in mind was not that of an infirmary, as such facilities were already available at Mumbai, Surat & Navsari.
Scylla laid down three basic conditions, viz. that the facility should be planned in a predominantly Parsi precinct, should be close to a shopping area, and be near to an Agiyari.
Providence is known to create opportunities for things done with good intent. Within a few days, we were fortunate to locate suitable premises that met all the three conditions laid down. We prepared a blue print for the project, had rough architectural plans and costs prepared and presented them to Scylla. In true style, in keeping with her dynamism, Scylla approved the project within a fortnight and gave us the green signal to go ahead with purchasing the property, appoint an architect, float tenders, obtain quotations for construction, and put the project in fast forward mode.
The entire project from purchasing property, constructing the entire building, bearing cost of furniture, fixtures and furnishing were all borne by the Trustees of Bai Maneckbai P. B. Jeejeebhoy Deed of Settlement Fund.
Construction of the Centre began in mid-1995 and the magnificent structure spread over ground + five floors (20,000 sq. feet) was ready for occupation by end 1997. The Centre was formally opened on January 06, 1998 in the presence of large number of guests and media in attendance.
Scylla being the visionary she was, had foreseen that some residents as they progress in age would become bed ridden and unable to continue residing at the Centre and their families too would not be able to look after them. She therefore whilst the Centre was being constructed arranged for construction of a separate building at the Parsi Infirmary at Navsari, where our residents could be shifted under their care. Such was dear Scylla – A Woman of Stature & Substance”.
After the unveiling of the portrait and the genesis shared by Dinshaw Tamboly, some of the residents spoke about their life changing experiences at the Centre and showered their appreciation upon Scylla Vatcha, who was the visionary behind the creation of such a vibrant institution
The Centre has since its opening been a vibrant institution, blessed to be generally running to full occupancy, filled with positive energy, where residents reside in comfort, enjoy a very stress free pleasant life style where they mingle with each other, their needs being catered to the best extent possible.
Our residents are encouraged to go out in the mornings and evenings, a chemist visits them every day to take their orders for medicines that are delivered to them. Physiotherapy and yoga sessions are held every alternate day, residents are taken on outings to our Sanatorium at Sanjan, and from there to Iranshah at Udvada.
Frequent outings in evenings are arranged at various places of interest at Navsari and at times residents are treated to dinner at popular restaurants that provides a change of scene.
In case of illnesses requiring hospitalisation, we have arrangements with D. N. Mehta Sarvajanik Hospital, a leading hospital at Navsari, where we have created a WZO Trust Funds Ward where our residents are provided treatment.
The icing on the cake of the eventful and fulfilling journey that has completed 25 years has been solemnization of two marriages between our residents, one each in 2015 & 2016 which makes us feel proud that their marriages planned in heaven were solemnized at our Centre.
Our merry wagon continues on its journey that puts ‘life in to the days of our residents and not just days into their lives’. We repose confidence that Divinity will continue to bless our residents and our Centre for decades to come
Atha Jamyad, Yatha Afrinami.