By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | May 4, 2017
You treat the Chicks right and they will always deliver… this could well be the new tagline of Zorabian Chickens who celebrate their 25th year. But chicks are not the reason for this celebration today at the Zorabian home.
May could well turn out to be the hottest month of the year, but for Firoza and Khoram Zorabian, this is one cool month. May 4th is Firoza’s birthday, while a day later, or rather, as Firoza brings down the curtains on her birthday, Khoram begins to ring his in, on May 5. May 4 is also the wedding anniversary of Firoza’s parents and a few days later, May 29 to be precise, the two celebrate their wedding anniversary.
“We are the sunshine people,” says Firoza. “Everything happens in May! Whenever we went out as a family, we would first sing congratulations to my parents as they celebrated their wedding anniversary (I was born exactly a year after their marriage). Then it would be Happy Birthday to me followed by another bout of birthday singing for Khoram. People thought we were crazy,” she laughs.
Theirs was a love marriage: after dating for a while, they married on May 29, 1970.
For the uninitiated, Firoza and Khoram Zorabian are the reason the city of Mumbai has Zorabian Chickens. They are also the reason for Bollywood chick, Perizaad, who decided chicks were what she wanted to deal with after a bout with the grease paint! “You always have the business, go and experience the world,” was how she described her father to me at her first interview way back in 1998. It was the time when acting was what she wanted to try her hand at. This was after she had just gotten back from the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, US. That Perizaad had to write the answers to my questions on a note pad was another matter altogether! Today, she has no time to respond to an SMS!
What was fascinating about meeting Perizaad Zorabian was not Perizaad—It was her parents, siblings, and especially her grandmother who passed away recently. If ever one were to see real beauty, it was her grandmother. Age at its splendid best!
Even today, nineteen years after knowing Perizaad, her mother looks forward to my birthday call. A few years ago, when I did not wish her, thinking I would be intruding into her ‘private time’ she rang me up the next day and said: “Martin, my birthday is not complete until I get your call.”
From that year on, I make sure I call.
And so, when I called today, we talked a little more than birthday wishes. I probed aunty to know a little more about this man she adores, and who I also know personally. I asked her to describe “Cocky” as the household call him, for obvious reasons.
Firoza begins without a stop… straight from the heart…
“He is very protective, supportive and respectful towards his staff. They are the back-bone of our organization. You cannot progress without the support of your staff. He’s an authority figure and at the same time has a generous side to him. He’s always at the ground level with them.
“He is very approachable, and at Zorabian, be it on our farms or at the office, it is a very personal atmosphere, not structured.
“He’s very impulsive about his decisions. He puts things into practice. He is a man of action; if he has an idea, he works on it. He’s a risk-taker. He first jumps into the waters and then swims through the tide!
“He’s very regular and disciplined. Time means everything to him. If he says 6 am and if you are even a minute late, he is off.”
Asked as to how many chicks Cocky started his business with, Firoza says, “It has been a very slow, disciplined journey. It has been a lot of hard work and we have survived all odds. Above all it is God’s Grace that has seen us through.”
Amen, to that! And yes, Happy Birthday to you both!
Footnote: One day, perturbed about a lot of water filling my utensil whenever I cooked chicken, I asked uncle why it was so. “Arre, try Zorabian Chicken, you won’t have any such problem,” he simply said.
I tried, and since that day I never had water oozing out into my utensil!
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