I have immense love for the old architecture. I love their authentic raw look. Almost two years back, I was doing a story on the architecture of Mumbai homes for a prestigious organization I was working with. That was the time when I truly explored Mumbai like a photographer/ traveler/ tourist. It was then that I came across this old Parsi architecture at Grant Road which is also a 103 year old restaurant.
For a very long time all that I knew about Parsi culture was from our typical Bollywood masala movies. But after a few stories and a couple of documentary projects I learned a bit about them. I came to know that they practice Zoroastrianism which is one of the oldest religions active. They worship at fire temple which are so beautiful. Parsis are big time food lovers. No wonder these old Irani restaurants are still functional in Mumbai and I read somewhere that B. Merwan and Co. is also known as the living museum of Bombay and Bombay food. The smell of their bun, biscuits, mawa cake and other bakery products will urge you to step inside their cafe. All the old Irani cafes like Kyani & Co., B. Merwan & Co., Kooler & Co. and many others have typical kind of set-up. The not so comfortable chairs, easy to clean tables, mirrors at the place of pillars, old hexagonal design on the floor, no doors are typical of the Irani cafe. They have everything at very affordable price. Dhansak, mutton and fish are few of their favorite dishes.
They have a great sense of humor. And one should learn the art of laughing on oneself from them. There is a sense of oneness in their straight forwardness, brutally honest and rigid behavior. They are unique and you just can't ignore one.
But there are mere 40,000- 50,000 parsis left in India. Most of them live in Mumbai.
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