Locked in and bonded

Forty-two online events have been held between Jamshedi Navroz (March 21, 2020) and April 26, to bond the minuscule community in Calcutta. Entertainment head of the city’s Parsee Club Behnaz Bulsara Dugar enumerated these for Parsiana on May 7. "We are still going full steam ahead …In the early days of the lockdown we had more than one event each day,” she said. Events are held on networking platform Zoom and broadcast simultaneously on the Club’s Facebook page. These have ranged from quiz shows, talent competitions, talks on Parsi cuisine, religion (by Dastur Khurshed Dastoor), interviews with leading sportsmen (Sunil Gavaskar, Bhaichung Bhutia), business leaders (banker Zarin Daruwala) and stalwarts of the Club.

"Drama Kids,” a play by community children directed by Club member Yezdi Karai on May 5 was watched by 120 families, said Bulsara Dugar. (The community in the eastern city numbers about 380.) Daruwala was interviewed jointly by Calcutta Zoroastrian Community’s Religious and Charity Fund’s senior trustee Numazar Mehta and journalist Bachi Karkaria. This was equally popular, said the enthusiastic head of entertainment. In keeping with its 111-year-old sporting tradition, past sports veterans of the Club were interviewed by Karai over two days. They had people logging in from Canada and other places for this event, affirmed Bulsara Dugar.

Everyone chips in with ideas to keep the community bonded, she said, specially singling out Ratan Postwalla, Feroza Mogrelia and her son Urvaksh. "Ratan specially held sessions for those not familiar Zoom and Facebook to teach them the basics of how to participate,” she appreciated. Club president Prochy Mehta has done a lot to popularize this online initiative, she added. Prochy stated "Everyone who is interested is welcome to participate... Watch our Facebook page for announcements."

"We plan to continue with our online events even after the lockdown is formally lifted. Maybe we will have events three times a week,” she signed off. Indians are housebound since March 24 under a government directive, to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Video: "We are the Calcutta Parsee Club"