Chapter 2: Merwan Is Born
Merwan Irani, age 5
On 2 January 1893, Shireen, at the age of fifteen, gave birth to a son who was named Jamshed after the Persian king. However, as she was too young to fully accept the responsibilities of motherhood, her older sister Dowla began caring for the baby. Dowla and her husband, Faredoon Naoroj Irani, were childless and lived in the resort town of Lonavla not far from Poona, where they owned a restaurant near the railway station. As was the common custom among Zoroastrian relatives, Dowla and Faredoon accepted complete responsibility for the child and raised Jamshed as their own son.
Some months after Jamshed was born, Shireen again conceived, but this pregnancy was experienced differently. From the beginning, Shireen felt the natural joy of an eagerly expectant young mother. She had been unprepared for her maternal duties with her firstborn. Whenever her sister Dowla would bring Jamshed to her, she would shy away from the baby. During her second pregnancy, however, she had matured and her feelings were quite the reverse. The young woman's heart longed to shower love upon her unborn child.
The exact details and dates of where the family resided when their second child was born and during his childhood are not known. But some believe Sheriar and Shireen were residing at the time at 816 Butler Mohalla (locality) in Poona. The house was called Bhopla (Pumpkin) House because next to its entranceway was a large round stone resembling the shape of a pumpkin. Across the nearby courtyard was a "wishing" well, which the locals considered auspicious.
During her pregnancy, Shireen would often have wonderful dreams and describe them to her mother Golandoon, who would interpret their meaning. From the day that she conceived, the young woman was convinced that her expected child would be extraordinary and remarkable. Sheriar shared his wife's expectation. He would read beautiful ghazals (Persian poems to God) to her from the Divan of Hafiz, explaining the poetry's hidden meaning. Sheriar was a poet and he would occasionally compose monajats (Zoroastrian prayers) and other spiritual songs on divine themes and recite these to Shireen.
As to be expected, the whole family and even the neighbors anxiously awaited the birth of Shireen's second child. Shireen was more lovely and radiant than ever and all anticipated a beautiful baby.
"The most wonderful event in 1400 years is about to occur!" Age declared. "God Himself is incarnating!"