Mercury was born on the British protectorate of Zanzibar, East Africa (now part of Tanzania). His parents, Bomi and Jer Bulsara,[a] were Parsis from the Gujarat region of the then province of Bombay Presidency in British India.[b] The family surname is derived from the town of Bulsar (also known asValsad) in southern Gujarat. As Parsis, Mercury and his family practised the Zoroastrian religion.The Bulsara family had moved to Zanzibar so that his father could continue his job as a cashier at theBritish Colonial Office. He had a younger sister, Kashmira.The house in Zanzibar where Mercury lived in his early yearsMercury spent the bulk of his childhood in India and began taking piano lessons at the age of seven. In 1954, at the age of eight, Mercury was sent to study at St. Peter's School, a British-style boarding school for boys in Panchgani near Bombay (now Mumbai), India. One of his formative musical influences at the time wasBollywood singer Lata Mangeshkar. Aged 12, he formed a school band, The Hectics, and covered rock and roll artists such asCliff Richard and Little Richard. A friend from the time recalls that he had "an uncanny ability to listen to the radio and replay what he heard on piano". It was also at St. Peter's where he began to call himself "Freddie". Mercury remained in India, living with his grandmother and aunt until he completed his education at St. Mary's School, Bombay.