Happy to Please You

If you ever thought that Parsi numbers were declining, then you should have been at the recently organised gambhar. A few weeks ago, the entire community—with their ancestors and offspring—was present. With attires ranging from traditional to tantalising, we all congregated with the sole purpose of celebrating benevolence; standing in the longest line in the world to get in and an even longer line to get high.

Two words that can amalgamate a race divided by innumerable differences are ‘free food’.


Three letters that do the same are ‘HPY’.


The Holiday Program for Youth, which started as a little fledgling in 1987, was already in full flight by the time I joined in 1997. In the one month that I spent as part of the programme, not only did it give me a bird’s-eye view of my future ahead, it also became the wind beneath my wings. When I returned to them, as their Guest of Honour last year for their 28th edition, the HPY flock had done so much for the community that it seemed that the only ones who could get the vultures back to Doongerwadi would be HPY. (I think I just saw Birdman before writing this!)


Growing up with HPY has meant a lot to a lot. To some it gave friends; to others, family. To some it gave direction, while for others, it helped them get lost—only to find themselves. It even gave some enterprising folks a purpose to set up other fancy organisations such as XYZ and ZYNG. In case anyone is planning to start other groups, they should do so immediately—lest they run out of alphabets to choose from.


It’s that one month of magical and meaningful May where every 15-year-old indulges in every conceivable activity. No pun intended. But if you look deeper, HPY ignites in you a flame, the radiance of which lights up the lives of everyone we encounter. It is the focal point in the life of adolescents from where they reflect or refract, depending on their insight of what the light means to them and, more importantly, does to them. Anatomically, it’s comparable to the human brainstem, where fibres from different parts of the brain converge in a tight, compact area and then diverge out again to carry out their assigned roles—chiefly to breathe and to move. For some of us, HPY is that breath and that movement.


After having returned to Mumbai after 10 years, I keep bumping into people who shout out my name from a distance, and when I remorsefully have no recollection of who they are, I point my index finger at their nose and with a huge smile on my face say the three letters that have saved me from so much embarrassment: HPY. And suddenly, there is an instant connect. Being a Parsi and not going to HPY is like being a Mumbaikar and not going to Phoenix Mills—which is, incidentally, where you meet most Parsis nowadays; while the Gujratis are sitting in NCPA.


What HPY plans to do now is to consolidate all that it’s done so far. We are going to give all social networks a run for their money. We will reconnect 4,500 minds that have walked through its doors, unsure of the world, and are now ensuring that the world runs on their terms. Housewives included.




So if you’ve been an HPY-ite and want to reconnect with an organisation that gave you so much, click on www.hpy.co.in/reconnect.html. If you do that on the newspaper, it won’t get you anywhere—if only we were all at Hogwarts! —So go to the computer and do it. We believe that the Jam-e-Jamshed has a viewership surpassing Twitter and Facebook, and hence the plea to reawaken here.


If, for any reason, you missed being part of HPY but would be interested in hearing from the team regardless, please go here to stay in touch: www.hpy.co.in/hello.html. This one is also for senior citizens who want to feel young once again. HPY can bring back not only the years in your life (which are many anyway) but the life back into your years.


HPY is also holding its annual alumni get-together on May 17—Ardibest Roj and Dae Mah. Please contact Rayomand Mistry on 9987056056 or 9820958761 for further details. Since he’s expecting a barrage of phone calls, he has kept two phones, or maybe a Chinese phone with a dual SIM. If, while talking to him, you can hear the battery blow out, you know it’s the latter.


So how does an organisation run with such intent, dedication, foresight and enthusiasm? While no great achievement can be had without a team, you have to credit the force that holds the team together, the spirit that binds together people in high-profile jobs, giving them a reason to meet week after week for the whole year so that the youth of the community can benefit from it. You have to applaud the character, courage, energy and resolve of a single person to effortlessly and exponentially propel the HPY movement year after year. You have to idealise the inspiration that brings in the best role models from every field who come and empower our youth, helping them dream with their eyes wide open—(on a lighter note) a skill that all HPYites have mastered session after session, year after year.


And when HPY turns 30 in 2017, she can proudly take a bow and then continue to work for another 30, persevering to ‘strive for excellence’ for her passion. To this spirit and to this force, we salute you, Diana Marfatia.


And what better way to do it than to have the entire community call you and wish you a very happy birthday today.