The Journey Continues
How best can one describe Sooni Taraporevala? Other than the hat she wears each day of homemaker - wife to Dr Firdaus Bativala and mother to Jehan and Iyanah; she's easily the most accomplished face for a long while, that of an internationally acclaimed script/screenplay writer and as a professional photographer.
When she first conceived her book PARSIS: The Zoroastrians of India - a Photographic Journey she did so with not an inkling of the publishing business. But at the urging of celebrated photographer the erstwhile Raghubir Singh and the keen support of her husband Dr Firdaus Bativala, Sooni went ahead to create a niche for herself and her fledgling company Good Books in the publishing world. Good Books according to Sooni is a value addition to the Zoroastrian trilogy of Good Words Good Thought Good Deeds.
What went in Sooni's favour was that PARSIS was the first ever visual portrait of the community. Perhaps the real blessing came in the from of a guardian angel called Zarir 'Zed' Cama, then CEO of HSBC, who bought 200 copies and initiated corporate sales of the book.
What is appealing about PARSIS: The Zoroastrians of India - a Photographic Journey is that it is a faithful depiction of the community across ages, vocation and social standing. But most importantly it is an unbiased, informed chronicle which sometimes narrates, sometimes depicts and all the time informs the reader about the antecedents, the rituals and the social fabric of the Parsis as a community. A faithful and accurate depiction indeed.
During the interview Sooni Taraporevala averred that: " I have personal opinions about what's happening in the community. But have very consciously stayed away from putting it in the book, because I wanted the book to be a forum which united Parsis rather than fracture them because that's the need of the hour right now I wanted the Parsis to come together." Now that's a thought to follow.
Q: How was the first edition
For instance there is a picture of a very distinguished old man in a suit with his man Friday by his side; I wasn't going to put it the first time around. I wasn't sure if he was a Parsi, I had taken it at the Hanging Gardens. My husband Firdaus liked it very much and said he would find out for me who the man was. Firdaus is a dentist and has so many people come in and out of his clinic. He actually found a person who knew that gentleman very well and he got all the information which I included in the caption.
For a lot of the readers it was a sentimental experience as well. I was very grateful about the warmth with which it was received. Some mothers particularly liked reading the Introduction to their children.
Q: You have made some changes
in the second edition -- included Homai Vyarawalla in the second edition.
What was it like for you to meet her? After all she was the pioneer
woman photographer in India.
Q: The inclusion of the
cricketers - Nari Contractor, Rusi Surti and Polly Umrigar.
Q: You changed the cover
Q: Your book is really the
first of its kind. Now you have done a second edition and would you
consider a third edition?
Q: There is a vacuum of
writing too on the Parsi Diaspora. Is that something you would like
to tackle. Considering we have really a large number of Parsis living
in UK, USA and Canada.
Q: What are your plans now
for this book. This time you have a publisher too.
Q: How did distribute it
overseas last time?
Q: Who do you think this
book will be picked by? A lot of the younger generation?
Jam-e-Jamshed Weekly | 26 September, 2004
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