Most elementary-school boys spend their free time playing videogames or hanging out with friends. Zerkxis Bhandara’s childhood was a bit different. He started training to become a Zoroastrian priest when he was 9.
Mr. Bhandara, whose family traces its lineage to a 12th-century Indian cleric, was born into the role. But the 25-year-old graduate student from Irvine, Calif., pushed back on his early religious obligations. “Oh gosh, I was a bad student,” he recalls. There were classes. Homework. “Like every 9-year-old, I would rather do any other thing.”