A journalist for almost 40 years, Meher Marfatia is a freelance writer-editor, besides being a publisher in recent years. Her independent imprint, 49/50 Books, focuses on lesser-known aspects of communities and cultures. Once Upon a City is her most recent book, inspired by the ongoing Sunday Midday column she writes on Bombay local history.
With a Masters’ degree in English Literature, Meher Marfatia is a former Assistant Editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India, and Text Editor of Marg Publications, the country’s premier art history publishing house, as well as the founder text editor of leading journals of international repute such as The ART India Magazine and Verve.
A long-standing interest in researching lost communities, ethnic diversity and the performing arts has seen her author extensive feature stories and freelance articles on these themes in newspapers and magazines in India and abroad in leading newspapers and magazines such as The Times of India, Indian Express, Crest, Hindustan Times, The Week, Man’s World, Rolling Stone, House Calls and Outlook.
As a publisher, her independent imprint, 49/50 Books, focuses on lesser-known aspects of communities and cultures. Its first title, Laughter in the House: 20th-Century Parsi Theatre, went on to spark a successful revival of the traditional Parsi naatak with Adi Marzban’s veteran actors starring in two popular seasons of the stage production titled Laughter in the House, based on her seminal book. She has also co-published two editions of the popular Gujarati phrase book, Parsi Bol, with photographer-filmmaker Sooni Taraporevala. Once Upon a City is her most recent book, inspired by the ongoing Sunday Midday column she writes on Bombay history.
Acknowledging the power of oral history, Meher’s passion for Bombay sees her engage extensively with its locals, documenting their lives in considerable depth and detail. Because, she believes, the stories people tell hold the key to understanding the past, in order to appreciate the present, and better the future of a city which richly deserves more attention and care.