I love travel, the exploration of new places and being immersed in different cultures. I truly believe travel expands the mind and is one of the best ways to learn.
As a child aged four, flying as an unaccompanied minor to India, and the subsequent twenty-four hour train ride from Bombay (now Mumbai) to Lucknow, are some of my earliest memories of travel. This pivotal trip brought me to India, which became my home for the next fourteen years, creating the foundation of my being forged in the cultural diversity that surrounded me. At home, we practised the Parsi traditions and customs of our Zoroastrian faith. After my Navjote, each morning I would wear the sadreh and tie my kusti as I recited our prayers that I had been taught and had memorised. I learnt about Christianity at the convent school I attended, taught by the catholic nuns. Also from Amma ji, Rebecca, who looked after me and my brother and had been with our family since my mother was born. We would join Christmas and New Years Eve mass with her at the local Church. I learnt about the philosophy of Islam from our Muslim friends, and celebrated Eid with them.
Hinduism was all around, from the temples at every street corner, the sadhu’s walking by, the Amar Chitra Katha comics that narrated the ancient mythological stories, which I read voraciously, to the story of Ram, Sita, Lakshman, Hanuman and Ravana that came to life each Dushhera and Diwali. The memory of my mother exclaiming that we held her responsible for starting the Mahabharata, the epic war between the Pandavas and Kauravas (as well as whatever was being hotly debated), “haan, haan, Mahabharata bhi humi ne karayi thi”, still makes me laugh! When I returned to London, as a young adult, I acquired my work ethic from the world of banking and finance I entered. The CEO of the first large international bank I worked at, instilled in me, and everyone who worked there, the ‘three ring’ policy! Telephones had to be picked up within three rings, as it could be a customer, who should not be kept waiting! To this day, if I hear a phone ringing, I rush to pick it up within three rings. London also gave me my love of fashion, latin music, and so much more.
Subsequently moving to Dubai, and living in the Middle East brought me back to a city with a diverse diaspora, where my culturally rich background helped me adjust and assimilate into the fabric of the city with ease. Travel to other countries over the years has introduced me to a variety of ideas and influences, which have stayed with me. The lavender sachets in my cupboards and drawers are from France, fresh frangipani or seasonal flower offerings at my altar I witnessed in Bali and India, yummy olive oil and zataar I enjoyed and brought back from Lebanon, a trip to Greece revived my fascination with Greek mythology, which has many of the same hero’s and anti-hero’s as Indian mythology. Most importantly, whilst my humour is definitely British, my values remain Indian! Thoughts and view from aboard a plane headed to Lucknow, India.