In “It Can’t Be You”, Dinaz Dastur is my small tribute to India’s Parsi community. Every community has its stereotypes and the Hindi movies when I was growing up unfortunately showed the Parsi almost always in comical light. The men were doddering people with thick spectacles who were easily fooled and the women were stout and gregarious. In Dinaz, I have tried to characterize a young, beautiful and talented Parsi woman. Some of them are truly beautiful.
For example, many years ago, Meher Mistry became the first girl to become Miss India from the Lawrence School, Lovedale where I spent most of my childhood. The Parsis were also famous for their interest and patronage of the arts, music and theatre. In industry, the name Tata became synonymous with the old Parsi families who were business magnates even during the days of the British Raj in India.
They are a hard-working, cultured, close-knit community which is sadly dwindling quite rapidly. I was surprised to read that there are estimated to be only about 100,000 Parsis the world over and that in India their projected population by 2020 will be only 23,000. A pity that what was once a robust community that played a major role in the bustling cities like Mumbai is being marginalised over the years.
As I said, I am an admirer of the Parsi community and I hope Dinaz Dastur recreates some of the magic of the community in the minds of my readers.