Mani Mistry & Aban Desai


As mother and daughter, Mani and Aban are eternal reflections of mothers and daughters across time, age and race.  The latter, daughter of Mani Desai is a successful entrepreneur from Kolkata, credits her mother being the one standing pillar of strength, continuity and inspiration for her. The mother and daughter duo are often discussing quintessential Parsi dishes or their latest read.  

Reflections Of Past & Future

On being asked about the fondest memory Mani Mistry has of her daughter Aban, she reminisces about the moment the nurse put her in my arms, she continues to describe the moment, “that instant of holding your newborn stays etched in your mind”.

Aban recollects having my mother’s best friend’s daughter as her own best friend. “We used to take the longer route home so we could chat more”. When we asked if the mothers were annoyed, Mani chuckles a bit before replying, “We found it so amusing”, even when they meet years later in another country and another time, it cracks them up.

  1. Young and elegant Mani Desai with Aban and her brother at a family event
  2. Aban and Mani always had similar sense of aesthetics in clothing, simple, understated and preferably handmade


Understated Elan’

When the Parsis arrived in India during 8th -10th century, they brought along with them a refined taste in aesthetics. Though they’re incredibly simple, their sense of style remains idiosyncratically enchanting and enduring. “My aesthetic flair has directly been influenced by my mother and mother-in-law” admits Mani, and Aban too has a respectful sense for the things that are handmade and one should not be surprised with her collection of ‘torans’ and ‘borders’ from the days bygone.


  1. Parsi Gara sari exquisitely hand embroidered by Mani’s mother is the coveted heirloom of the family
  2. Bundles of Parsi hand embroidered borders passionately collected by Mani, reminiscent of industrious Parsi women

Aban’s pick is Weavers Studio’s Handcrafted Shibori Tussar Sari.

Mani is weaving Galang Gabaan Handwoven Linen Sari.

Handcrafted Legacy’

On being asked what little relics she holds from the past, Mani emotionally talks about her family’s humble background and the Parsi Gara sari exquisitely embroidered by her grandmother herself, which reflects characteristic Parsi tastes. Made of pure Chinese silk, Aban’s grandmother gave Mani the sari with a hope that she’ll always keep it with her and keep the family heirloom going. “I’ll definitely hand it over to Aban, and give it with the same piece of advice which I got when I received it from my mother” She adorns this piece of family vestige once every winter, much to the envy of the people around. “These relics from the past let you love and cherish one’s lineage,” she says “just wearing it gives me a sense of attachment, a sense of family, a sense of history.” Aban relates to her mothers feelings about heirlooms and says, “I cannot really say how much it means to me”.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

From being a lass three-feet-three, to a family with grandchildren of her own now, Aban realizes how important it is to be rooted with family.  She values her upbringing, and defines it as ‘simple but infused with strong ideals’. Married to a Gujarati, she celebrates the differences that only compliment and enrich the lives of her and her children. Mani explains, “Aban now understands the tribulations which I went through, which greatly contributes to our understanding of bringing up a family”. Aban resonates similar emotion, “People matter more than things, and it should always remain that way.”