Category Archives: Neville

Being a Parsi Zoroastrian

Of all the emails and questions I get from maintaining this blog, I every once in a while get this one from the curious:

What ethnicity are you?

I get this question quite frequently in real life also. Technically the answer is: I’m Indian.

Most people think I don’t look “typical Indian” whatever that means….and I’m not.

I’m a Parsi Zoroastrian.

  • Zoroastrianism = My religion, one of the oldest known religious in the world.
  • Parsi = A Zorastrian from India or Pakistan. Both my parents are from India.

I won’t go into great detail about the religious aspects of Zoroastrianism, you can read the Wikipedia entry for more info on that.

I will however discuss the cultural aspects which I think are far more interesting. This is a widely debated number, but there are less than 150,000 Zoroastrians in the world (and that’s one of the higher figures). That means we’re only .0025% of the world population. Not big.

Whenever an inquisitive person begins questioning about the religion and I’m not in the mood to engage in that conversation, I quickly end it by stating, “We’re kind of like the Jews of India.” I see a lot of similarities between Zoroastrians and Jewish people:

  • We have historically been business owners, lawyers, bankers, doctors, accountants etc..
  • We have big noses and are stingy with money. OK OK, that might be a little stereotypical…although for me it’s pretty on the nose (pun intended)!
  • We’ve gone through long periods of religious persecution (in fact in Iran it’s still particularly bad).
  • Had our own version of the Holocaust.
  • We have a Navjote before we’re teenagers which is esentially the equivalent of Bar Mitzvah.

Now one of the main differences of Zoroastrianism compared to the major faiths of the world is that you cannot convert into Zoroastrianism. Whether or not people should be allowed to convert in or not is a harshly debated subject within the Zoroastrian community .

I honestly try not to get myself entagled in this incessant debate, but with such dwindling numbers and a birth-t0-death ratio of 1:5, it’s a mathematical certainty the numbers will be reduced to nothing with the current system.

Anyhow, those are longer term predictions. Within my lifetime it’ll still be around.

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I think it’s been an inherently very positive influence on my life to have grown up a Zoroastrian with a large base of Zoroastrian friends.  Some of the things I like about it:

  • When you meet another Zoroastrian person, it’s highly likely you’ll know some mutual friends.
  • The bond between a newly met Zoroastrian person is automatically extremely high.
  • No matter what part of the world you meet in, it’s very likely you’ll see that person again.
  • People help each other out in tight-knit communities.
  • Very high sense of belonging.

So if you ever meet another Zoroastrian….drop my name.  There’s actually a strong chance they’ll know me!

Alpha State of Mind

Somewhere in my adventures in reading random books at the library I came across this little trick:

Getting into a hypnotic-like, Alpha state of mind.

The steps were:

  1. Wake up in the morning.
  2. Quickly go to bathroom if needed.
  3. Immediately get back into bed.
  4. Lay down, close eyes, and slowly count down backwards from 100 to zero (2 seconds between each number).
  5. BAM! You’re in the “alpha state”!

It seemed like a pretty easy process and was worth a try…just for fun.

I gave it a try the next morning, and the damndest thing happened….IT WORKED!!

After an almost excruciatingly long count down from 100, I realized that (and yes, this sounds a little weird), that I was kind of having a conversation with myself…in my head.  It was like I could ask a question to myself and get a very quick, non-censored answer instantly from my subconscious.

Wow…that sounds like I’m on drugs!

I do it every once-in-a-while, and it’s actually been a pretty useful tool for helping me sort out my day before I officially wake up.  I can also “ask myself” a question about a problem I’ve been having, and the mind generally spits out the answer you already know is right…but might not want to admit.

Doing Handstands with Tim Ferris

I don’t consider Tim Ferris a HUGE celebrity like Elton John or Lance Armstrong, but I do consider him a big celebrity in certain circles.

Most of the people I know have heard of Tim Ferris, or at least occasionally read his blog….and if they’re even semi-nerds, they DEFINITELY know him.

Ok, typing this is boring, I’m jumping to the pen:




It was actually pretty fascinating to hear him talk about his quick rise to fame…and how it was no accident.  He used a lot of VERY CLEVER and untraditional ways to get his book out there…and it’s amazing how well it worked.

I have a new found respect for him.

It was also  very cool that some very high up people at the conference during their speeches said how The Four Hour Work Week changed their lives! I previously thought the book was meant for not-very-big-time people…but I was very wrong.

Me go China

March 23rd through April 1st 2007 I’ll be taking a trip to Shanghai, China!

There’s no real purpose to this trip other than to have some fun and check the place out. In my lifetime, China will be a major player on the world stage, so checking out the economic situation first hand would be beneficial.

After some special fares and discounts, the total round-trip ticket cost me $750…not bad!

It would be nice to meet up with some locals from Shanghai while there…preferably somewhat English speaking….so if anyone has any leads let me know.

I don’t know a single word of Chinese or Mandarin, so that might be a small problem. Please send me any blog posts written by other people who’ve gone to China and written about it.

China will probably be a pretty big cultural shock. I figure I might start looking like this: