By Robinson Mistry
Robinson Mistry is a writer and a novelist who is an Indian-born Canadian. He was born in 1952 in Bombay, which is now renamed as Mumbai. In 1975, he migrated to Canada. He worked in a bank there and pursued his second graduate degree from the University of Toronto.
He was awarded two Hart Houses literary prizes and an Annual Contributor’s prize in Canadian Fiction Magazine in the year 1985. In 1987, Penguin Books Canada published his collection of stories, Tales from Firozsha Bagh. It has eleven stories which are all interrelated and explore the lives of Parsi people in Firozsha Bagh, a Bombay apartment complex. Auspicious Occasion is the first story in it. Mistry won two prizes for this story at Toronto University.
His writing is full of witty prose and the characters are lifelike. Their portrayal is very touching and easily identifiable. The small details about the characters in his stories speak about the sharp eye of the author in observing things and life around.
The author has peeled off the different layers of each character in the different stories beautifully. Firozsha Bagh, a residential society in Bombay is the background of the Tales from Firozsha Bagh.
This collection of short stories is a portrayal of the life of Parsi people, a small religious minority, in Bombay. Parsi people follow Zoroastrianism and belong to ancient Persia. Mistry in these tales probed the Parsi culture and analyzed the conflicts that arise among Parsi people. Although the backdrop of all the stories is the same but each story has a very distinct flavour.
Critics have compared Mistry to R K Narayana and his Tales is on the lines of Malgudi Days. The story, The Ghost of Firozsha Bagh, is about the narrator i.e. a Goan maid. She is obsessed with ghosts which become a major part of her life. But, the theme of this story is about the condition of a domestic servant.