Parimal: A man of few words but much action

Rashmi Varia

Having been and brought up in North Indian milieu, Rashmi did her graduation and post graduation in Economics from St Xaviers College, Ahmedabad. Rashmi joined the Customs department in 1979. She got married to Parimal in 1984.

Besides playing basketball till Inter-University level, Rashmi associated herself with the NSS for six years. She also organised and participated in motivational and leadership camps. These days, Rashmi is busy learning to be an anchor.

Thrilled by his action, amazed by his perfection, the man of my life – the most disciplined, full of energy, doing the usual in unusual ways, my husband and my dost – Parimal.

After marriage I realised that Parimal was passionate about life. His zest for life was obvious. But it took me time to uncover his thoughtful and compassionate self. He began his journey in a humble way but his determination made him easily cross many insurmountable frontiers. I became part of his journey to gain acceptance in the privileged society. Yet he remained tied to the moors.

His persona over the years remained wedded to his childhood goals: Be thoughtful. Be compassionate. Be humble. These goals remained with Parimal throughout his steady rise to the top.

His education in a small Gujarati medium school in Jamnagar was a mere prelude to his unfolding passions. Around age 13 Parimal developed a unique fervour – an obsession to learn new words every day. Soon, Parimal realised, that words held power. Greater knowledge entailed greater recognition. He began learning new words in English.

Parimal's collection of dictionaries on various subjects.

Parimal's collection of dictionaries on various subjects.

It was a huge challenge. But he was methodical in his approach. He decided to pick 10 new words everyday from Cambridge Advanced Learner. He learnt new English words in a wholesome manner. Not just the meaning but dug deeper: noun, pronoun, adverb, gerund and whatever else. Etymology: origins and usage.

The passion for learning new English words led him to selecting English Literature for his graduate studies.

And that journey led Parimal to start collecting dictionaries on subjects as varied as botany, astronomy, science, biology, economics, sociology, etc. He very soon had a collection of more than 500 dictionaries. He slept surrounded by the dictionaries. He became famous as ‘Mobile Dictionary’ man amongst his family and friends.

His passion and love for the dictionaries soon spread, far and wide. Many newspapers and magazines wrote stories about his strange obsession.

Press coverage of Parimal's hobby collection of dictionaries on various subjects.

Press coverage of Parimal's hobby collection of dictionaries on various subjects.

Parimal with Dexter.

Parimal with Dexter.

In 2006 the children, Hardik and Anshita, introduced a new member to the family. Dexter was his name. He soon came to be loved by the family but became the apple of the eye for Parimal. Puppy and Parimal became soul mates. It was a unique bond. Parimal experienced so much happiness in Dexter who shared space with the family for nearly five years.

The death of Dexter left a void in his life but Parimal was up for the challenge. He started taking care of strays on a regular basis. In fact his passion for dogs and their looking after made him neglect his duties in the Bank.

He would buy 40 litres of milk, 50 packets of biscuits and mawa for distribution amongst nearly 250 strays. Dogs. He would feed the strays in the morning and in the evening. He chose his feeding spots carefully. Near our home. Near the Drive In Road. And near his bank branch in Mithakali.

Parimal took special care of the wounded and the newly born. His passion for dogs made him choose his social service ahead of his personal needs and desires.

He justified his passion by often stating “Humans can ask for food and help but not animals.” His life began to revolve around the strays. His work was recognised by the society which heaped praise on his commitment and dedication. This spurred him on to do even more.

But on 22nd November 2016 Parimal suddenly passed away in a bizarre road mishap. It was a great loss to me and the family but his Story lives on as his well-wishers continue to carry on the good work started by Parimal.

The family misses Parimal. The dogs certainly do. And I suspect the society misses his effervescent presence too.

Rashmi with Parimal, Hardik and Anshita.

Rashmi with Parimal, Hardik and Anshita.



Wow!! Very glad to see you in a new Avtaar of a writer. Really a fitting tribute to late Mr Parimal Varia. Keep it up.

Indeed, what a story! And his story parallels the rise of India. By the way, this story totally demolishes the anti-English propaganda that is ongoing these days. He was a wonderful man - who decided that a true Indian should learn English on his own!

What we can leave is the kindness and our noble acts.. I have heard about parimal uncle a lot... Aunty is a live example of enthusiastic and a great human being.. The way Anshita is it speaks volumes about her upbringing.. May the legacy lives long

He will always be missed. I have seen this journey very closely and I know how strong you have been, specially like a pillar to Hardik and Anshita. Beautifully written!

Really gr8 personality... Mr. Parimal

A great friends and great couple too. I proud to be the friend.

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