Saturday, June 13, 2009

Friday night

I hope I don't wake up tomorrow morning in a daze, with people milling around in my apartment and water standing on the floor and being told someone cut a pipe on my water heater. Knock on wood!

Was back at the gym tonight. (Lost five pounds.) Even did a shoulder exercise and not a twinge of pain. The shoulder is 100% functional again following the needle torture. Had a green tea and a big oatmeal raisin cookie at Starbucks afterwards. (Cookie was excellent.)

I was sitting there reading an article in the July Harper's Magazine about the Parsis in India. Parsis are Persian Zoroastrians who originally settled in India over 1,000 years ago to escape religious persecution. One feature of their religion is that they place their dead atop round towers, to be eaten by vultures, since they consider dead bodies unclean and to dispose of them otherwise would defile the elements. The problem is: with urbanization and its attendant elimination of the vultures' habitats, and with the vultures getting sick and dying after eating the bodies of people and cattle treated with a certain anti-inflammatory drug, the vultures have all but died out and the corpses are now rotting up on the towers. (See here.) From Wikipedia:

The loss of vultures has had a social impact on the Indian Zoroastrian Parsi community, who traditionally use vultures to dispose of human corpses in Towers of Silence, but are now compelled to seek alternate methods of disposal.[16]

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the article. One of my parents' friends, an architect, was a Parsi, married to a lady from Louisiana, who was a fabulous cook, by the way. (She taught me how to make an authentic curry, which she'd learned how to make for her husband.) As a kid, I was fascinated by his talk about his religion--the towers, etc. By the way, he was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesen. My parents got to know him and his wife when they bought my grandmother's house on Malaga Ave. in Coral Gables (and immediately started modernizing the outside).

Also I didn't know until surfing around tonight that Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara), the lead singer from the rock band Queen who died of AIDS in 1991, was a Parsi.

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