Parsi teacher turns her life into a book of funny, quirky stories

Khushnoor Asif, author of MocktalesWhen Khushnoor Asif finally got a chance to receive an award from her principal at the age of 6, the crowd had already dispersed and the photographer’s camera had died just as she reached the stage. She wept that day, but in that moment, an idea was born.
Since then till now, Asif has been turning her frowns upside down by documenting instances in her 40-year-old journey as a Parsi, in her latest book called Mocktales, set to release on January 9.

Celebrating community
“There’s something about the Parsi culture and people. We really love to laugh at ourselves. This book celebrates that. But I think, after the book launch, I may have lost all my relatives,” laughs Asif, who has taken real moments and experiences from her own life and turned them into short stories.

“I have looked at things from a very Parsi perspective. Even the non-Parsi characters have been turned into Parsis, just so I can give an essence of how it would have been like had everyone been a Parsi, a kind of satire,” added the teacher. Talking about the book’s title, Asif says, “I love drinks and I love mocking as well. I thought it would be a perfect combination.”

The book, instead of an index, has a drinks menu, with the page numbers.

Served real
Asif has compiled several short stories on the community through a not-so-fictional colony called Jehangir Baug. “Jehangir Baug is a small, well-planned colony in the heart of the city. Its members make up an interesting study in human nature and the Parsi culture. They live together, feast together, occasionally sulk with each other, and even fight. As is normal in large families, they gossip about each other and pray at the same fire temple, asking for forgiveness,” she says.

Mehreen Aunty, a character in the book, is one such example. “Her English is legendary in Jehangir Baug. When asked during the annual dinner if she was ‘veg or a non-veg’, she would reply in English: ‘Other days I am non vegetables, but on Thursday I am vegetables only.’” narrates Asif.

Published on Mid-Day