Homi & Filly – A Friendship Beyond Boundaries

Soul mates are exceedingly rare; but when they do come along they blur confines of age, sex, religion, size and shape.

Homi, a plump Parsi bawaji, was the sole proprietor and owner of a printing press on Mohammad Ali road. He carried out jobs for a retinue of steadfast clients he had built over decades. In the early 1970s, he befriended a lanky but like-minded bawaji, Firoze (fondly called Filly) who ran a similar business at Fountain. After they started working together, Homi (to Filly he was always Bawaji) would visit Filly at his press everyday to discuss the jobs on hand and chat in general over various topics under the sun. In the late 1970s, Homi sold his press and joined forces with Filly in Fountain. They trusted each other’s judgment and respected their decisions implicitly.

Over the years, as what happens with most good friendships, families got involved. They started visiting each other’s homes for lunches and dinners. Although Homi stayed in town and Filly stayed in Vile Parle (out of town for the uninitiated), home visits on Sundays became sojourns and picnics for their families. Filly’s wife was an excellent cook and treated Homi’s family to some mouth-watering dishes, the signature item being boiled eggs garnished with homemade spices. Both the buddies could gobble up a couple of eggs at any time of the day; Parsi, thy name is eedu. Filly also fancied a fruit salad dessert made by Homi’s wife. So, every time the boys met, boiled eggs and fruit salad was always on the menu, such was their care and fondness for each other.

Homi’s wife turned critically ill in 1992. Filly would come home daily and uplift their spirits. Just before she passed, she urged Filly to take care of Homi, and not only keep him company but also keep the press running so they would have something to be preoccupied with. Unfortunately, soon after, in the event of labour trouble for all presses around South Mumbai, they decided to stop their own printing operations and started contracting their work to presses around Worli and Parel. They also sold their premises and moved into a smaller office at Fountain, as there were no machines or labour to house. Filly would open the office by 11 AM and then sit there until around 4 PM, when he would leave to beat the local train evening crowd. Homi would reach by around 1 PM and close the office around 6 PM. That’s how they shared responsibility and enjoyed their time with each other. They amplified each other’s goodness through a boundless generosity of spirit.

In 2014, the landlord sent them a notice for a massive increase in rent, which made it impossible for them to continue their business. They shut shop. Their ink faded but the friendship blossomed. Filly visited Homi every alternate day at home at 2 PM, and in case he missed a day, he would make up for it with an extra visit the next day, taking the train from Ville Parle to Grant Road well into his late eighties. They spoke about cricket, politics, TV serials, enlarged prostates, and bowel movements. Both of them underwent surgeries over 2017-18 but their visits never ceased. Being a daily Agiari goer, Filly would source out special prayers that would heal them sooner. Not only did they meet thrice a week, they also spoke to each other over the phone thrice a day which slowly scaled down due to fading auditory faculties to a daily call at 8.30 PM sharp. You could set the time on your watch hearing the phone ring in Homi’s home. They were two antique pieces polishing each other’s gold.

Is it rare in today’s day and age for two perfectly heterosexual men in their nineties to arrive at the centre of a deep friendship? They may not be 3 AM friends like our generation boasts about, but they were 8.30 PM friends– for five decades. They were committed to each other just by being there for one another. It was no earth-shattering friendship, no hero’s journey, no gallant acts of sacrifice. Just simple friends. Kind, selfless, committed ones. Their relationship was filled with love, connectedness, and mutual joy that was both wondrous and unbelievable. A touching serenade to the little things that add up to the largeness of love, harmony and devotion.

While most of us focus on committing to a vocation, marriage, faith, or philosophy, few commit to deep friendships. We often tend to get so tangled in mundane musings, Monday after Monday, that we don’t invest in friends because of family, work, and the routine prosaicness of life. But we should, because a great friendship is indeed one of life’s crowning glories. “For in the dew of little things,” says Khalil Gibran on friendship, “the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”

Last month, a few days before his 93rd birthday, Homi’s health started deteriorating. On the 12th of October, Filly had a fall. That day, the 8.30 PM phone call was longer than usual, detailing the events that led to it and questions to ask the doctor the next day. Medical notes were exchanged, and they ended the phone call wishing each other well. The next morning, Filly passed away unexpectedly. As Homi wasn’t keeping too well himself, the family decided to withhold the news from him until they returned from the funeral. The main concern discussed was what to tell Homi when the phone didn’t ring at 8.30 PM that day. He would be devastated. They decided to break the news to him gently, but when Homi’s son returned home from the funeral that evening, he discovered that his father too had passed – into the sunset and onto the clouds, somewhere over the rainbow, to be with his best friend, without putting the family in a dilemma on how to break the news to him because he already knew. No more local trains. No more phone calls. No more boiled eggs and fruit salad. Just an everlasting togetherness beyond time and space.

71 Comments on “Homi & Filly – A Friendship Beyond Boundaries
  • Supriya Correa says:

    Wow Mazda, cannot figure out whether the story is more beautiful or the way you have written it, is. Happy Diwali to you and yours

    Reply
  • Natwar Panchal says:

    Dear Sir, In this Kalyug hardly we get to see such friends.
    Have seen running away giving unbelievable excuses.

    Reply
  • Surama says:

    So beautiful!!!💐

    Reply
  • Clera Menezes says:

    Wow….very nicely narrated Sir.
    A very heart touching story …
    As you mentioned it is rare to see such friendship and love for each other between friends .

    Reply
  • Gloria Msampha says:

    Touching story of true friendship. We all need a Homi or Filly in our lives. Happy Diwali. Enjoy the festivities.

    Reply
  • Dr. gurudutt Satyendranath bhat says:

    Hey dr mazda this is really touching and marks another milestone in your journey to the authorship of a great book in the future.

    Reply
  • Debashree Turel says:

    Amazing ..amazing.

    Reply
  • Constance says:

    Indeed, a caring friendship without boundaries for Homi and Filly. A beautiful Romeo and Juliet story told so well. I wonder how the clock feels about the 8:30pm appointment it had grown to honour.

    Happy Holidays. Rest well too.

    Reply
  • Vipul Shah says:

    Dear Mazda Sir……

    Amazing Story of True Friendship……

    Fortunately I am Lucky to have one such college friend…..

    Is it true story of Homi & Filley OR Your imaginary characters??

    Enjoyed thoroughly reading……

    Keep on writing on all Subjects under the Sun …..

    God Bless

    Reply
  • Suresh Seth says:

    Very emotional & well written

    Reply
  • Suresh Seth says:

    True friendship a rarity

    Reply
  • Azmin Vania says:

    Dear dear Mazda,

    Only a person who fully understand the value of this relationship called friendship can write about it so beautifully! The good news is that there are many Homi-Falis in the world even today and some times they can begin their conversation from anywhere, as if they’d never parted! Thank you for reminding the many of us about the wealth that friendship is!

    Reply
  • P R Ramesh says:

    A beautiful ode to friendship, in these hate-filled times…

    Reply
  • Gool Kotwal says:

    It’s not only a connection of minds but also of hearts.
    This kind of bond survives all obstacles & comes out stronger.
    One has to be very fortunate to experience this kind of bond.

    Reply
  • Chandrashekhar says:

    Yes, a vanishing relationship indeed. We are either connected to our workmates today or a few relatives. Beautifully written and am happy you took a real Diwali break from surgical writing. Have fortunately seen a few such relationships but devotion to a non profitable pursuit is neither possible in a megapolis today nor is looked upon fondly by anyone.
    Keep it up

    Reply
  • Chandan Sanjana says:

    Amazing story of a great friendship. They both were lucky to have each other. We are not able to choose our relatives, but we are lucky to be able to choose our friends and to be there for them.

    Reply
  • Dr subhashchandra says:

    Very nice. Heterosexual friendship
    Homosexual friendship is also in india spreding like fire 😃

    Reply
  • Gulshan Kavarana says:

    Their ink faded but their friendship blossomed that’s such a poignant moment in their lives … such a simple story narrated so beautifully!!!
    Thanks for sharing it with us , we do understand the meaning of true friendships as we are blessed with such friends around us

    Reply
  • Marzin says:

    Brilliantly crafted, Mazda. Maybe you should consider splitting your time between being a Neurosurgeon and being a writer
    Both heal people in different ways!
    Happy Diwali

    Reply
  • Cecilia Modise says:

    Nice and inspiring story about friendship, nicely narrated 🤝👌🌹I thank God for caring friends he has given me 🙏

    Reply
  • T George Koshy says:

    Truly warmed the cockles of my heart..very encouraging and inspiring story which I think is based on true life..?
    Please continue the writing and seriously consider publishing at least some of your articles as a series of short stories or making them into a tele serial.I truly wonder how many of us have this Homi-Filly friendships now..we r truly caught in this mechanical,monotonous Monday to Monday cycle..

    Reply
  • MANEK DARA SUKHADWALLA says:

    IN 2DAY’S WORLD, RARE IS SUCH A FRNDSHP.
    MORE SO VRY RARE 2 FIND SUCH GENUINE
    INDIVIDUALS. LOVE WAS THE MEDIUM BETWEEN THEM & IT WAS ONLY LOVE WHICH
    HAD BONDED THEM 2GETHER, BOTH IN LIFE &
    DEATH! CAN STATE FROM HERE 2 ETERNITY!!

    Reply
  • Kamalrukh Khan says:

    Such a beautiful story! So well written! I got goosebumps by the end of it.

    Reply
  • Effbee says:

    This story can be made into a non commercial bollywood flick with anupam kher and nasserudin shah as homi n filly

    Reply
  • A. Dubash says:

    Dr. you hv excelled yrself writing this story about friendship. I eagarly look fwd to reading all yr musings which are funny vs this one which is sad but with an ending which can only be in a story book. I liked it because of its ending. Keep writing!!

    Reply
  • Shruti says:

    How beautiful!

    Reply
  • Minnie Avari says:

    What a superb bond between these two
    Friends. In these times when no one has time
    For the other this is indeed marvelous
    And heartwarming story of true soul
    Mates. Thank you Dr. Mazda.

    Reply
  • Hoshedar Cooper says:

    You missed your calling my friend. I take that back. You are such a skilled writer. You make putting pen to paper sound so easy. By the end of the article I felt that I knew Homi and Filly personally and their departure left moist eyes. May you find the time to write more such articles and be blessed with life long friends like Homi and Filly.

    Reply
  • Anil Navani says:

    Amazing to hear about such great friends and a thumbs up to Dr.Turel who has described their friendship bond in detail so articulately, a thought passed my mind and now I know what I’ve missed, and I’m guided on my path ahead in life.

    Reply
  • Mehroo Fitter says:

    Loved reading this beautiful story and brilliantly written by my favourite Dr Mazda.
    Thank you for sharing. ❣️
    My very best to you & Yours, always. 💕
    God bless! 🙏

    Reply
  • Kashmira Khambatta says:

    Loved the way the story was written. Yes these kind of friendships do exist. Rare….

    Reply
  • Zarin Bahmani says:

    Simple and Rare this story of true trust and friendship. Most partners in business are usually at loggerheads. Not Homi and Filly and we have to thank their wives and children too for understanding and encouraging this blessed friendship. Keep writing Mazda we love to read your musings.

    Reply
  • CMDE PCB Nair says:

    What a narration ! It touched somewhere deep inside me . Human life is indeed! fascinating and
    memorable because of such happenings
    Let our fantastic life go on and on

    Reply
  • Khatu says:

    It is not only touching but such thing relation
    Must inspire today generation
    That yet true friends n friendship
    Is alive

    Reply
  • Falee says:

    This is a true story !!! As always so beautifully written Mazda.

    Reply
  • RAJASHEKHAR PATRE says:

    What a wonderful story of a life long friendship between two warm hearted souls
    May such friendships raise in our world of today.Many thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • NOSHIR KAPADIA says:

    TRUE DEFINITION OF FRIENDSHIP…..NOT A STORY….ITS A LESSON….SPECIALLY IN TODAY’S TIME. THANK YOU.

    Reply
  • Hutoxi Doodhwala says:

    A brilliant piece Mazda!
    You have explained friendship so well.
    Keep on writing .We love all your articles !

    Reply
  • Khursheed Sidhwa says:

    Beautifully penned! Got goosebumps reading the end!! Your articles are always a Joy to read!
    Keep up the good work Mazda! God bless you and yours!!

    Reply
  • Khursheed Sidhwa says:

    Beautifully penned! Got goosebumps reading the end!! Your articles are always a Joy to read!
    Keep up the good work Mazda! God bless you and yours!!

    Reply
  • Veera says:

    It was so touching. My emotions swelled up.

    Reply
  • Unni kaimal says:

    Yes I too have a school friend somewhat similar and we have both entered the 60’s now.Hope….pray God we continue this way in times to come.

    Reply
  • Bilkis Arif. Reshamvala says:

    Mazda dear you write so well.so realistic, true to life…friends forever. Love reading your articles.

    Reply
  • Rita singh says:

    Really a wonderful narrative.It has made us nostalgic . remembering our own dear friends.Today we prefer going thru our phones rather than calling up an old friend. Thanx for this reminder.A very happy festival of lights for u n the Turel family.

    Reply
  • Tvisha Gopani says:

    Very Nicely Narrated! Freindship Goals! It is very rare in todays time , to find such freindships which are so pure Like Homi and Filli!

    Simply Wow !

    Reply
  • Aamir (Anis) Bohra says:

    Dear Dr. Turel,

    This is a fantastic narrative about what true friendship is. Excellent use of words. You have made the beginning of another year for me truly inspiring. Well done. Keep writing. You have the knack of weaving words to touch any reader’s heart.

    Reply
  • Dara Pavri says:

    Great Sir.
    Many thanks for writing such excellent article.
    Even otherwise we like all your articles.
    Please continue to spread wisdom by writing such articles.
    God bless.

    Reply
  • 007 says:

    No Facebooks, Tik Toks or Insta’s can ever be instrumental in developing that kind of bond.

    This is James Signing Off

    Reply
  • Amanda Vimbai Marufu says:

    A good story which teaches us the true meaning and value of friendship. Beautifully written and very inspiring!

    Reply
  • Nisha Savla says:

    Thank you, Dr.Mazda for sharing this inspiring emotional story..very beautifullly written…giving meaning to the most wonderful relationship–“FRIENDSHIP”.

    Reply
  • Hosie and Jeroo Mancherjee says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. True friendship and spending time with close friends is rare to find in the rat race living of North America.
    Wishing you and your loved ones Happy 🪔

    Reply
  • Lois Juma says:

    As usual, you captured the story of friendship so beautifully Dr. Mazda. More ink to your pen.

    Reply
  • Rumi Engineer says:

    You sir, are indeed a master story teller. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Reply
  • Vispi Gandevia says:

    Hi Homi n Fallis true friendship is like a sparkling pure diamond studded in pure gold or heads n tails the two side of coins undetachable for ever preserved its very rear to see in todays world thanks Dr Turel for sharing such n experience

    Reply
  • Mrs sooni homi daver says:

    Dear doc though staying in colony ive never met u heard lots abt yr medical talent. Brought tears rolling down i was choked so vvell written. Im sooni daver mancherji joshis grdaughter so delighted to meet a wonderful humanbeing lk u. Please mk me yr fan too thank u❣️🌹😍

    Reply
  • Jasmine Parekh says:

    That story is beautiful! It’s from a time when people valued such friendships Maybe now with mobiles and computers etc we have things we get involved in and don’t think we have the time to commit

    Reply
  • Paritosh Mehta says:

    This tale epitomizes what took me five decades of living to realize – the most beautiful things in the world are simple. Thank you, Dr. Turel, for a wonderful story. (You don’t know me; this link was shared on a WhatsApp group. One question, if you see this, and are able to respond: Is this a true story?)

    Reply
  • Suresh Pinto says:

    The two gentlemen were so very blessed to be each other’s best friend. Rarely does a close friendship withstand the demands of married life. So very well narrated by Dr. Mazda Turel.

    Reply
  • Surinder Khanna says:

    Good souls do not need to connect via telephone.
    True friends connect by their love in their heart when they leave their bodies.

    Surinder

    Reply
  • Zulfikarali Bahrainwala says:

    Touched every part of my being, what an emotional rollercoaster, gives a new meaning into the relationship we call broadly a friend

    Reply
  • Munira Banaji says:

    Beautiful true story, beautifully penned. A lesson to learn and and follow. The ending got tears to my eyes.

    Reply
  • Anushree says:

    To all the Homis’ in the world, I hope you find your Fillys’.

    Reply
  • Zubin Bhesadia says:

    Dear Mazda,

    A truly heart-touching & fantastic read this one!!!

    Reminds me of the quote from Winnie The Pooh – “If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.”

    True friendship is not just about words, but about action…true friendship is not just thinking for a time to connect, but making time to connect…true friendship is not just going out to fab dinners, parties & social gatherings, but actually being there for one another during both – the happy & trying times – no matter the latitude, longitude or effort.

    This narrative of your’s brings these elements out so well!!! And the traversing of a long mortal friendship to a heavenly immortal one of both the departed friends was so heart-wrenching an end – nonetheless, leaving a calm feeling of them both being u ited once again & remaining together in the Gardens of Heaven for time immemorial.

    There are many whom people identify as their friends – but the real ones are those who pass the tests of the Sands of Time & are there for each other through life…period!!!

    Looking forward to reading many more experiential articles authored by you. Best wishes.

    Reply
  • Jasmin katpitia says:

    Beautiful true friendship story which might not be possible in today’s world
    Looking for more story such

    Reply
  • Tania says:

    Soulmates indeed! Their commitment in the past brought them and kept them together in this life. Must be super special because they were not meant to wait long before they could continue their commitment n relationship on the other side too. God Bless them and keep them together always.

    Reply
  • Pinky Acharya says:

    Your Sunday midday sections are my favorite and rightly so. May your words always stir deeper insights. Amen.

    Reply
  • Vrushali Telang says:

    Simple things are most precious. The friendship as well as the writing – simple, precious and heartwarming

    Reply
  • Perviz Tarapore says:

    Very eloquent.
    I enjoy reading your articles

    Reply
  • Sushma Sowraj says:

    Just finished this beautiful journey, Homi and Filly, wow! Word’s can’t do justice with this story n like always written beautiful and rawness of all emotions are evident of their journey of friendship…

    Reply
  • Dr.Sukhmeet K Kalsi says:

    Dear Dr. Mazda,
    Your article on friendship touched my heart deeply. It beautifully captures the essence of a soulmate kind of friendship—one that goes beyond the conventional bounds of companionship.
    The love and cherishment that you describe are truly heartwarming
    Indeed, a soulmate friendship is a rare and precious gem that we should cherish forever. Finding someone who understands us, supports us unconditionally, and shares our dreams and passions is a blessing like no other.
    It’s a bond that transcends time and distance, nurturing our souls and making life’s journey all the more meaningful.
    Three Cheers to such a friendship forever.

    Warm regards,
    Dr. Sukhmeet K Kalsi

    Reply
  • Hemin Bharucha says:

    This is such a beautiful story.

    Reply

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