Kitab Khana and Sooni Taraporevala and Meher Marfatia's invite you to the launch of the book " Parsi Bol" on 20th December, 2013 at 5:30 pm .

20-Dec-2013
5:30 pm
Kitab Khana

Dear Readers,
 
Date: 20th December, 2013
Day : Friday
Venue : Kitab Khana
Time : 5:30 pm 
 
Description About the book and the Author:
 
The two women first collaborated a few years ago, when Taraporevala photographed yesteryear actors and technicians (who were still around) for Marfatia’s book Laughter In The House: 20th-Century Parsi Theatre and encouraged her to self-publish. Parsi Bol, self-published by Taraporevala’s Good Books and Marfatia’s 49/50 Books, was fortunate to find “a kind and generous sponsor in Cyrus Guzdar”. 
 
With parsibol@gmail.com set up and publications like Parsiana, Jam-e-Jamshed and Hamazor spreading the word, the Parsi community contributed to this book with generosity and gusto over wi-fi, through hand-written notes and of course word of mouth. Some contributions placed things in a situational or geographic context; others were just memories of things said or overheard. 
 
“Most of the contributions are from older people, because the younger generation is more Hindi-speaking than Gujarati-speaking. Of course, we did get contributions from the younger lot, things they had heard their parents or grandparents say,” mentions Taraporevala. 
 
Imagism, alliteration, wit and of course the predictable (or is it unpredictable) Parsi humour run through the book that they have been working on since February 2012, though Taraporevala can’t remember which person or incident triggered her message to Meher that they should work on this book. Husta gher vusta (laughter makes the home) — every good Parsi knows this. Marfatia points out how Parsis tend to not have much of an appetite for tragedy, and even when theatre greats like Adi Marzban strayed from the path of humour, the audience was not too appreciative.
 
“My father gets very irritated when he has to go to the movies and is expected to cry,” says Taraporevala. “Humour has a large part to play in the community and that’s reflected in the way the language has evolved.” Insults, anatomy, animals, money...in Parsi conversations as in this book, nothing is off limits. Putting together this crowd-sourced affair (which sometimes generated different interpretations of the same idiom), could have been tedious, if it weren’t for the sheer hilarity of some of the phrases that were unearthed. Rutty Manekshaw, Taraporevala’s octogenarian aunt, was the “pivot” of this book, serving as the authority when it came to translation, clarification and verification.
 
Sooni Taraporevala is a photographer, screenwriter, filmmaker, independent publisher. Parsi Bol is the second book by her imprint Good Books which published PARSIS A Photographic Journey in 2000 and 2004. She lives in Mumbai with her husband Dr Firdaus Bativala, children Jahan and Iyanah, dogs Toots, Wolfie, Kiki and their rescued Tom-Cat Timur. 
www.soonitaraporevala.com
 
Meher Marfatia, journalist and author, worked with The Illustrated Weekly of India and Marg Publications before going solo as a freelance writer and editor. This is the second title from her imprint 49/50 Books introduced in 2011. The first, Laughter in the House: 20th-Century Parsi Theatre, is now also a successful stage play. She lives in Mumbai with her husband Noshir and children Zarir and Ayesha.
 
What has the book added to Taraporevala’s and Marfatia’s lives? 
“Lots of fun and a little, no, a lot, of learning. We grew up with the language but the picturesque way it can be twisted is fresh.” says Marfatia. “And also the satisfaction of having done it despite the tedium,” adds Taraporevala. “At the end of the day it’s a good thing to have archived it, before it vanishes from people’s memories.” 
 
Is this a book of, by and for the Parsis? “Anybody, who is a native Gujarati speaker will enjoy this book, that includes, Boris, Khojas and Hindu Gujaratis,” says Taraporevala. Of course, Gujarati speakers may relate to it better than the rest; however some of the phrases sound familiar, making us wonder if the language has evolved through osmosis and if other non-Parsis will find parallels too.
 
What’s their next project? “Nothing to do with Parsis,” quips Marfatia. “We don’t want to be slotted.” 
 
Thanks
 

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