Written by Coomi Kapoor | New Delhi | Published: June 10, 2020 6:19:58 am
Bapsi and Fali Nariman were an inseparable couple, who almost always attended events together.
Bapsi Nariman, wife of leading jurist Fali Nariman and mother of Supreme Court judge, Justice Rohinton Nariman, was never overshadowed by the eminent personalities in her household. “Bapsi aunty was the rock of the Nariman household and an impressive and independent-minded woman,” recalls senior lawyer and friend Maneck Karanjiawalla.
Bapsi died here on Tuesday. She was 89 years old.
Unlike her husband, who made it a point of stressing that he was a Parsi from Burma, Bapsi was very much a Bombay girl, born and brought up in the city. Her father was a prosperous building contractor, and she was very involved in the social life of the Bombay Parsi community. She was an active member of The Time and Talents Club, which organised a variety of events and ran the famous Victory Stall restaurant near Apollo Bandar, which has now closed down. The club’s events were organised with a view to raise money for charity. In fact, Bapsi’s first venture into culinary writing was when she contributed several recipes for the Time and Talents cookbook.
Bapsi moved to Delhi in 1972, when her husband was appointed Additional Solicitor General. She supported his decision to resign when Indira Gandhi imposed the Emergency in 1975. Bapsi spent her remaining year in the national capital as her husband mostly practiced in the Supreme Court. She adjusted easily into Delhi’s social life and was involved in the Delhi Commonwealth Women’s Association and edited the association’s cookbook.
Bapsi had a natural flair for cooking and utilised her knowledge and expertise to bring out a series of bestselling cookbooks. Her books, including A Gourmet Handbook of Parsi Cuisine and Traditional Parsi Dishes, have become standard references for learning about the cuisine of the Parsi community. In Delhi, they helped popularise uniquely Parsi dishes such as Dhansak, Lagan Nu Custard and Sali Ma Marghi. Bapsi also authored Microwave Cooking for the Indian Palate and Cooking with Yoghurt. Her latest book was Rush Hour Cookbook: Great Dishes in 30 Minutes or Less.
The Narimans were an inseparable couple, who almost always attended events together. Even in her last years, when her deteriorating health prevented her from moving around freely, Bapsi tried to accompany her husband whenever possible.
Recalling Bapsi’s large-heartedness, Farida Chopra, a former neighbour who is close to the family, says, “She would always try and help the underdog.”
Chopra recalls that when she decided to set up a catering business, Bapsi was full of suggestions, and generously recommended her services to her friends. Other friends recall that Bapsi also painted and kept a beautiful house and in her younger days was fond of entertaining and writing articles on cooking.
She was a pillar of the Delhi Parsi Anjuman and attended all their programmes and contributed to their causes.
Bapsi is survived by her husband Fali, son Rohinton, daughter-in-law Sanaya and daughter Anaheeta.
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