Wednesday, February 25, 2004


When you live in Iran politic is part of your daily life. How can one avoid traffic or politics living in Tehran? Today (Monday February 23, 2004) Majlis or parliament had its first public session & Mrs. Haghighatjoo MP announced that the election had not been fair & the members had been elected by order. She is the first Mp whose resignation was discussed and her words caused chaos and you know what happened.... surprisingly the TV showed it all!!!!!!!
Somehow she is right. Ava told me in a mosque the preacher told people to vote for Abadgaran the right wing conservatives with hard-line Islamic point of views & they have won the election hands down. I didn't vote & I know some friends had voted because of the masc. exam and they had not written any names. It's been said that 28% of people in Tehran had been participating in election & the number for Poldokhtar (a city in west of Iran) is 101%!!!!!!!! You see....
Right now no one knows what is going to happen when the conservatives gain complete control over here. They already have the judgment system and they have won the parliament & basically it is predictable that they are going to win the next presidential election because the majority of people are who support reformists are disappointed due to "law framework" president Khatami insist on. One thing is for sure if conservatives try to restrict this already limited freedom we have, it will lead to a serious action. But what it would be? No body really thinks about that. Alright... let's hope bright future!

Is there anywhere like home?

My family always travel a lot more than what others do over here. While most of people I know had not seen more than 2 or 3 cities in Iran, I had the chance to visit at least tow-third of the country. Still there are so many places left that I want to visit.... Being a vast country, Iran got lots of sight-seeing; natural & historical. It's got amazingly diverse cultures & varied traditions.
Most of the time, we travel by our own car. It's more convenient & you got to see more sight-seeing. Usually we set a city as a base & then go around checking other nearby cities.... It's like we take short trips not long travels. & sometime we take the opportunity of a tow day holiday or just a weekend to visit a nearby city.
Like this weekend we set off to the north part of Iran to seaside. This is a four-hour trip from Tehran to Motel-Ghoo (a tourist-city by seaside) & folks often go there in summer & finding a good place to stay will be really hard. It will be packed with tourists.... But as in the winters, Motel-Ghoo is rather isolated & only local residents & few people who have mansions there could be seen around.
Although we had been warned that the weather might be gloomy & it may rain, the sun was shining for most part of the day & only it snowed on mountains.... So we had very nice (and cold of course) weather. And the sea was so beautiful & wavy; there was no chance of swimming however not even in the pool. Yet me & my cousin went for a walk along the beach & I took off my shoes & stood in the waves.... The only sound was the sound of waves crashing the shore & the only other creatures were a seabird hovering over the water & my cousin who had been on the phone whispering words to his ladylove. It was so peaceful & quite... it seemed nothing would be able to destroy the magnificence & magic of the moment. It is unbelievable how people ruin the beauty of places. In the summer time you just see crowded seashore & cars & there is no privacy at all... even in private beaches your privacy is invaded by the noise & ignorant people.
Great time still the joy of being back home is greater.... Take from me, Tehran is the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life.

Friday is the time for masc. exam

And there will be another one held in May. So I have to study if I want to get administered!

Windy days...

Well; we have this windy days that are some kind of strange for Tehran. I mean we are not used to strong winds which would blow everything & all. Tehran most of the time is caressed by gentle breezes like tender hands of a mother.... But lately it seems that the storm beats the city!
The other night the wind was so strong I thought my window would break into pieces; but I was too tired to get up & sleep somewhere else my bed is by the window!) & I figured if it actually breaks, I would stay in my bed till my dad comes & cleans the shattered glass... :D good it never broke!
And today while I was walking down the street, the wind was leading me.... And as I got home the antenna on a neighbor roof broke & fell on a car! I had never seen something like that! Fortunately there was no one near the car or inside... but the front glass was shattered & the hood totally damaged!
All these happenings don't make me love wind less. Windy weather is like my moody character: unstable; changing; & unpredictable.... It could be strong enough to move you or it might be too delicate for you to even feel it. You may fly with the wind or you may run away from it.... it doesn't really matter; wind is moving you anyway....
& now I’m flying away with the wind.... Where to? I have no idea... when I got there I will let you know.

Monday, February 23, 2004


Moharam is the first month of Hijri calendar. But unlike other new years, for Sheeiis it is the time of mourning.... Imam Hussein; third religious leader of Sheeii, had been killed in the 10th day of Moharam. So we have some kind of religious ritual during the first 10 days.
The saga of Imam Hussein & the way he & 72 of his loyal devotees had died on the battlefield on Ashoura (10th day of Moharam) is known to every 2 year old Iranian kid. Although it had been exaggerated over past 13 centuries it still holds part of the true story.
During this 10-day event the cities are far too changed from what they usually look like. There are so many places that give away food as vows (which we call Nazri) & some mourning carnivals will be going on.... The ritual had been derived from an ancient ritual of “revenge of Siyavoosh” in old pre-Islamic era.
Siyavoosh had been the handsome son of keykavoos the emperor of Iran. He had been beheaded by Afrasiab the king of Tooran (Rival country of Great Iran) who happened to be his father in law. & his son Keykhosro took his revenge by killing Afrasiab (myth of Siyavoosh; Shahnameh; Ferdowsi). He had been one of the most beloved mythic characters in Persian myths & the ritual of his revenge had been held widely before Islam. Then when Imam Hussein died, according to the fact that he himself as well as his father Imam Ali was widely appreciated, the ritual turned to some means of protest against the Arab Government ruling Iran at the time. (No offence to all those Arabs out there, but that's the truth historically & I personally don't have anything against them.)
In this event there is this play called Ta`zieh which narrate the saga of the battles on Ashoura & Tasoua (day 9th). It originally played by men & even the female role of Zeiynab (Imam Hussein's sister) or other ladies on the battlefield is played by men. But recently there are few plays which are played by women as well as men. Ta`zieh is played on the streets or in the mosques but there is no need to for any stages & sometime a whole street is the stage for the actors. They are not paid for the role they playing & most of the time there is no rehearsal for the play. They just learn the words through each year play. So this acting job is kind of art which must be learned since childhood. One grows from being a soldier to being Imam or Aboulfazl or Shemr.
Shemr is the wicked fighter who'd killed Imam... so playing his role is the most difficult one. I had been studying acting when I was teenager & I dare say this role is too complicated to be played by some newcomers... so the most experienced actor will play shemr. He is wicked, strong, and knowledgeable & at the same time he loves Imam & he knows what he is about to do... he even cries when he kills Imam.... I had seen some powerful overwhelming acts that made me forget all around me & feel that I'm looking really at the scene in Karballa - the battlefield.
The greatest play is the one for Ashoura's noon.... There would be all these tents & horses & it tells the story of Hussein being killed.... You won’t believe the atmosphere in this play. Every audience has his own role in this play. You may never notice but you yourself will be part of the play... you cry, you shout & chant... if you are interested in folklore, Moharam is the time to come over here.
The mourning carnivals would be chanting, singing battle songs, dancing grievous moves & there'd be all these flags & A`lams (the big metal or wooden big tree-shaped thing decorated with metal balls & cloths & feathers &... as means of signs)... it really look like old army troops setting out to fight! And at last at Ashoura sunset there would be the candle light mourning tradition where things are quiet... because the battle is over & the caravan of prisoners consisting of ladies & kids & sick Imam Sajad (the only man still alive though very sick) is moving to Shaam to meet Yazid the ruler.
Unfortunately I'm not a good narrator & if you are not acquainted with the tradition this post will not help you at all! I will try to find some links on this part but for now why don't you take a look at Borrowed Ideas; Persian Roots of Christian Traditions. You may find it amazing....

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Valentine in Tehran

Yes! It's valentine! Well, traditionally we don't have valentine day. But the tradition of valentine is growing really fast over here. I remember back at 5 years ago, guys would wonder when I would talk about valentine but now it seems every Tom, Dick and Harry know about it!
Well, I gathered its part of western culture that is spreading among my generation over here. I don't know if it's good or bad but it is what happening & we can't close the doors on other cultures. I only wish some day people around the world would celebrate MEHREGAN or YALDA or NOROOZ the way they celebrate valentine.
So what do folks do on valentine day here? Well, I really don't know! I mean I had never been on a valentine date before. Although when some old friends of mine had been in Iran they used to send me anonymous cards & stuff. & I used to do the same but as I said those days no one else knew about valentine! & to think about it we where only 14! Then 6 years ago they moved to France & we kind of lost contact. Still every birthday & valentine I got cards.
Yeah, folks... they tend to go on dates & you know if you want to make sure there is room for you in a specific place, then you have to book it in like 4 days time. & God knows that suddenly teddy prices sores up & flowers & candies become favorite part of shopping. Oh, yeah and the candle light dinner & all other things.... But as I said; it not my place to talk about it.
Any way happy valentine day.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

The hardest part is to say goodbye

One of my best friends P the Pampering is flying away to Germany for a six-month training course.... He had been waiting for this for at least 6 months and we had been talking about it endlessly. But now that it's happening; well, I kind of feel overwhelmed & I can't help but to think that I'm loosing a supporter & I feel alone. All through the last 2 years we have gone through so much together. I understand that it's time to let go & that I have to stand alone & face my own battle (as he is fighting his own).
The hardest part is saying the words.... It makes it so final, so real. As far as you have not said GOODBYE, there is hope to have him for another day. So we both deliberately avoid this moment of uttering the word. But then there is no choice, is there? He will be gone & the friendship will be changed forever. Let’s encounter it.... we're off to experience our life & that's a good point. Maybe when he comes back we would find it worthwhile....
Alright! Goodbye & let's keep the memories good or bad, happy or sad. And may God help us in our way....