BY Vani IN Book Reviews, Guest post
Book Review of Parsi Bol 2: A Wicked Wit Sums Up the Parsis (And This Book About Them) [Quint]
A couple of days ago when I started working on my third book, I asked a friend in Mumbai to help me straighten up a Parsi character. Having spent a good part of my life in Chandigarh, I had no idea about the Parsi community, except the bits I had gleaned from watching Bollywood movies and reading novels by acclaimed writers like Rohinton Mistry and Cyrus Mistry.
“It should not be too difficult,” my friend answered without a second thought. “Make your character swear as much as possible and you have your typical Parsi guy right there.”
This assertion was followed by an aphorism: “mummo chuchcho vugur seerpa nahi” (which means, “if you don’t swear you are not a Parsi!”).
My friend’s description of a ‘typical Parsi guy’ piqued my curiosity and led me to pick up a book, titled: Parsi Bol 2 by acclaimed screenwriter of Salaam Bombay fame, Padma Shri Sooni Taraporevala, and noted journalist, Meher Marfatia.
A first of its kind effort, the book compiles 1,058 insults, endearments and Parsi Gujarati phrases from 308 contributors across 200 pages. These phrases have further been grouped into several categories depending on what they relate to. What’s more, just as Punjabis are not all about balle balle, Parsis – or dhunsakias, as they are also called – are not all about mummo chuchho (BC/MC; swear words).
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