Parsi Magic

Amit Chaudhuri

  • Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry
    Faber, 339 pp, £13.99, March 1991, ISBN 0 571 16147 2

The Parsis of Bombay are pale, sometimes hunched, but always with long noses. They have a posthumous look which is contradicted by an earthiness that makes them use local expletives from a very early age; and a bad temper which one takes to be the result of the incestuous intermarriages of a small community. The Parsi boys in my class had legendary Persian names like Jehangir and Kaikobad and Khusro. Their surnames, however, can be faintly ridiculous in their eloquence, like ‘Sodabottleopenerwalla’.

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