Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kaveh and Geroge Michael!

Why not approach with less defiance?

Friday, August 24, 2007


Dar e meykhaaneh bebastand, khodaayaa mapasand
Ke dar e khaaneye tazvir o riyaa bogshaayand...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I just learned something new about myself. I like going through old records and discovering things. Strange for someone who is not particularly a fan of reading history books. I think the nosiness I have combined with "Johnny Dollar" genes from my grandma work to my advantage.
I found a document I was looking for in a Newsweek magazine, year 1955!!
This brings me to my second idea. Ok, I'm absolutely blown away by the diligence and motivation of people who manage libraries and collect records. I mean, they are UNBELIEVABLE! If you just feel like knowing what people in the British Parliament were talking about on a specific date, boom, it's there. Someone has organized it such that it's easy to use. Oh, and I love control F too. What would we have done without it? (I guess what I did for finding this document, checking page by page through 52 issues of a magazine..Can you believe my good luck? It was in the 4th issue out of the 55!)
You could drown your days into learning nuances of making bibliographies and working with their softwares. It's literally a world of information, and you'd be surprised to know how much people actually care about the seemingly unimportant issues of formatting and font and such...

Umm, George Orwell is a great writer by the way. He is not exactly sentimental, but his account of poverty makes me shiver. I have never heard such a believable story of poverty as he gives in his book "Down and About in Paris and London". Every time I'm throwing away food, I think of Boris. Colorful character, he is, That Boris.

Consulted Hafiz, as usual, when I was disappointed in myself for not being ideal.
this came out:
Chon maslahat andishi door ast ze darvishi
ham sineh por az aatash, ham dideh por aab ola

Monday, August 20, 2007

Smooth Criminal

You know when you hear a pop song that you don't like much, but then there is a catchy line in it? You know how it feels when someone else with a sense of humor similar to yours all of a sudden sings that same exact line at EXACTLY the right (appropriate) moment?

Aha,that's what happened to me, just recently....

You've been hit by
You've been struck by
A smoooooooooooooooooth criminal...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Afraa Takhte

Everywhere was green.
Underneath our car, an unpaved road.
Tall trees on both sides of the road, and smell of the village, as we drove up the circles, up the mountain. Anticipation in my heart for the number of honks needed to inform those already "up" there how many of us were going. That was our contract. No phones to inform them, you know.
In the green land rover, underneath our feet, big bulks of ice we had bought from the local store. In our hands, bottles of "Canada Dry" or cones of ice cream.
Day dreams, non-stop, about the horses I'd ride, walks I'd take, little mud statues I'd make, books I'd read lying down under the sky, warm underneath heavy comforters when it was windy outside. Long nights of "Mosha'ere" or "Ranjesh o Tahseen". That was something. They'd sit someone down and criticize them for their bad behavior so far and praise them for what they had done right. You didn't have the right to defend yourself right then; had to go think by yourself before you're allowed to say anything.
Where was I? Oh, the drive. In my small world, which of course didn't seem small at the time, it was crucial in whose car we drove up; who came along?
Those were exciting times, plans for working my way into my favorite car with my favorite passengers. That "sigh" of relief after I succeeded!
And Readings of "Arash e Kamangir" in the car. JOY.
This is Alborz mountain, the mountain the poem is about. Looked around myself. Was it really Alborz? Did it really matter? It was a bog forest. Looking around, I was amazed by the grandeur of it all.
Last night, I was in my bed, very early, reading that poem to myself. Loudly, I read the entire poem to an imaginary audience. Surprisingly, I broke into tears, yet again, while reading it. Then, I put it down, and decided to think instead about the green road and all the anticipation it brought about...

Marzhaye molk,
hamcho sar haddaat e daamangostar e andisheh,
bi saamaan
Borjhaaye shahr,
hamchoo baaroohaaye del,
beshkasteh o viraan
doshmanaan bogzashteh az sar haddo az baaroo.....

Friday, August 10, 2007


I don't want to say much.
Instead, I want to post what a dear friend of mine wrote to me from Africa. I have asked for her permission, and she gracefully allowed me to post her writing on my blog. She has a beautiful way of explaining her experience traveling as a woman(quite a pretty woman, I must say) in Africa:

"...Traveling Africa is difficult for a woman, especially for a white woman – you get so much attention (including marriage proposals on the bus station), that even despite animosity for guided tours, I am considering signing up for a couple – to blend more with human surroundings – in this case, other tourists ;)

Some of my truly African experiences include: a visit to a crocodile farm, waking up at 4:30 either because of chanting in the nearby mosque or a sermon with loudspeakers from a neighboring church (it is not too bad –the sunrises are breathtaking), and, of course, a ride in a matola (open pick-up truck, infinitely extendable – they are never considered full – if another person wants to jump in, passengers just get more tightly squeezed inside).

Erica (another girl working on this project) and I mounted one in sincere hope that we can handle 10 kilometers ride. Big expectations!
First, after circling the city in search of passengers for a while in vain, the driver stopped to wait for them. Waiting was more fruitful – in just about forty minutes enough people jumped in for us to get up – one occupies much less space standing. Another half an hour – I have never had such a tight physical contact with strangers – we are literally squeezed into each other. And then a true test of compressibility of human body comes – a
woman with a basket of tomatoes! The driver opens the back door – placed horizontally, it provides additional space – enough to regroup and accommodate the tomatoes for safe transportation. We literally fled the vehicle at its first stop..."

That's it for today...and as for poem of the day:

Malool az hamrahaan budan tarigh e kaarvaani nist
Bekesh doshvaarie manzel, be yaad e ahd e aasaani..

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

for Amoo Shari

Khonok aan ghomaar baazi ke bebaakht har che boodash
benamaand heechash ella havas e ghomaar e digar

Ey aanke ghamgenio sezaavaari...
I read to myself, trying to sound like you when you'd sing this for me. I clearly remember the day you taught me this poem.I don't think you do.
You had me recite it over and over again, in the green land rover you drove. I was sad and worried about maman gorgani. I thought she may never recover. And she did; and she lived for much much longer.
The poem, I thought was unfair, as I still do. But I just wanted to seek comfort in you and in some absolute wisdom as, again, I still do today.
And you know, there may be a bug in my system in general, but I never liked the "Chonaan namaand o chonin niz ham nakhaahad maand" remedy. It never comforted me. I need more stability, you know?

I'm having hard days. What is this amoo shari? How come my logic doesn't help?

It's now that I miss ,even more, the lovely feeling of sitting with you and Fariba joon, eating pomegranate until we can't breathe any longer...
You know, having family like you makes me feel like things will be ok again, some day.
I mean, there is always del o jegar and good poems and interesting advise with some sense of humor waiting on the other side of the line, right?

ey aanke ke ghamgeni o sezaavaari
vandar nahaan sereshk hami baari
raft aanke raaft amaad aank aamad
bud aanche bud, khireh che gham daari?
sho taa ghiaamat aayad zaari kon,
key rafte raa be zaari baaz aari?
aazaar bish zin gardoon bini
gar to be har bahaane biaazaari
Hamvaar kard khaahi gitee ra?
giteest, key pazirad havmaari??
gooyee gomaashtast balaayee oo
bar har ke to del baroo bogmaari...

Monday, August 6, 2007


1. Attended a very interesting panel discussion at the Business school in Stanford. It was about politics and energy and oil. Very good conversations moderated by the chief editor(online)and business column writer of the Wall Street journal. Balanced panel, smart audience, interesting discussions.

2. In the personal realm, things are tough. Can't seem to talk(here) or even clearly think about them. Lots of mood swings, endless anxiety attacks that thankfully do not last too long. Last night, I woke up at 3 am because my whole body was itching. I literally was scratching myself in sleep, and that woke me up. Turned on the light and realized my hands are entirely red and irritated. Like an itch attack, or some sort of a breakout! It was crazy. I couldn't sleep for a bit and was thinking of putting gloves on so I won't scratch myself to death! Anyhow, I forced myself to sleep, and in the morning, everything was all right. The redness, the breakout, everything was gone. I guess my body is just extremely connected (and sensitive) to my emotions. The first time when I went back to Iran, I was so extremely happy and excited, that my cheeks burned; they literally burned, as in 1st degree burning. You know how when you are excited your cheeks become hot? well, mine became so hot that they burned. I had red marks on my cheeks for a week or so, a sign on my absolute excitement about being back home.

3. There are good moments too; when I have ambition; when I am relaxed and hopeful. They have just become few and far between. Thankfully, I have not COMPLETELY lost my attention span and am still able to read; JOY of these days.

4. Watched a movie by Kiarostami that I liked. Except, it was set in a place just like "afra takhteh" and I cried through half of the movie because I just would give ANYTHING to go back there again, and what if I can't? Plus, I was just sad that day anyway.

5. I keep telling myself "bar oo taazim o bonyadash barandazim, bonyadash barandazim...barandazim, barandazim..." . Let's hope I will.

6. I think I still like to become a journalist

7. (I'm talking to myself here) You know what, it's fine if you think I ghor too much or look for things to be depressed about. I am aware of it and try not to do this, but it's not helpful to think of people who may read this and think, oh, yeah, there she goes again. I don't like censoring myself, and I do that QUITE a lot here. For fear of unfair judgment or being passive aggressive.

7. I'm going to cherish all those little moments when I'm happy and keep them for use when I feel like this. I'm too sensitive, and it is hard. I mean, it gets unbearable at times, but I also feel even the simple joys of life in an exaggerated way. Thinking about that helps.

8. Sa'diaa hobb e vatan garche hadisit sahih
natavaan mord be sakhti ke man injaa zaadam


Wednesday, August 1, 2007


I came across this article yesterday. It's not mind blowing in anyway, nor does it present a brand new idea. But it's a clear, to-the-point article about an interesting topic.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Schizophernia among other things

1. Knowing you have to do something, not doing it almost intentionally, and then worrying constantly about it. This, I think runs in my family. At least, Kaveh and I both have it. I even see it in paying bills. I leave them sometimes, and then I feel bad about having left them. As my "bad feeling" keeps getting worse, I am less and less able to deal with them (i.e. pay them). Instead I imagine them away...but there is this anxiety that is always in your heart about things being overdue, apartment being dirty, running out of clothes because you have not done laundry. The drama of it appeals somehow! Am I crazy?

2. Am I truly non judgmental, or does the fear of confrontation run so deep, I'll simply allow ANYTHING in my presence?

3. Had a horrible nightmare last night. People were trying to kill me and were following me everywhere. At some point, I went to my mom and dad's bed and asked them to let me sleep next to them. The fear wouldn't go away. I went back to my room, and people came and put a knife in my body 3 places. I was speechless and frightened. Woke up and found myself in my apartment in downtown SF. Can't begin to explain the relief I felt in the minute after this realization and before realizing my real location, geographically and emotionally.

4. I'm reading a book about Schizophrenia. Sad, but also very fascinating. Somehow, this topic has always been of great interest to me. It's informative and fun to read this short, blue-green, book. It's amazing how some of their concerns are just extremely magnified versions of psychological struggles of us seemingly normals!
Here are some lines from it:

From a patient: I am more and more loosing contact with my environment and myself... I cannot picture anything more frightful than for a well-endowed cultivated human being to live through his own gradual deterioration fully aware of it all the time. But that's what is happening to me.

About a patient: This man seemed to go about his day to day affairs in the ward reasonably happily, dressed normally, and could conduct a conversation on everyday matters reasonably appropriately. Nonetheless, he expressed the belief that there was a fish on his shoulder all the time. He'd say "How could a cream possibly help with a fish? It's a fish. it's the place, not PLACE but the PLAICE on my shoulder. It's there all the time"
How the play on words between place and plaice came into all of this, we could not determine.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

And Again...

Goftam ke nush e la'lat, maa raa be aarezu kosht
Gofta to bandegi kon, ku bandeh parvar aayad...

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Shaah neshin e cheshm e man, tekyeh gah e khiaal e tost....

Thursday, July 26, 2007


The book was great. The Passion.
As I was reading the very last pages, I felt anxious and sad(!) over "coming to the end"! I felt like the tone of the book started slowing down.
I was in Caltrain. It was a familiar feeling. As I looked out the window, I remembered that it EXACTLY felt the same as when I was on a boat on the Caspian sea coming back from "Ashooradeh", a port(or an island) on the Caspian.
We went there for good fish, and for showing our little town to outsiders. We rented a boat to get to the island. It was gorgeous, windy, and usually cold; there was always a subtle fear of falling into the dark blue water; and that proud look of the boatman calling himself "Naakhoda Ali" or something to that effect.It was fun and scary getting on and off the boat. It moved constantly. I always proudly demonstrated my talent in getting in and out of the boat. It felt good to be from the hood!
Anyhow, when we came back from the restaurant, we were a fun boat ride away from our car.
And when we got close to the shore, "Nakhoda Ali" would turn off the engine. The boat would slow down and move to the rhythm of the sea.
slowly, we got closer to the end. Everything slowed down; you had time to enjoy (noshkhar) the last minutes. Calm, and somewhat sad.
I loved those short lunch trips, and Nakhoda Ali, and the way you got to hug everyone because you were scared.

Did I mention, people no longer live in "Ashooradeh". It went under the sea.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Now and then

Khaamosh maneshin khodaa raa,
Pish azaanke dar ashk gharghe shavam
Az eshgh
Chizi begooy....

Aay eshgh, aay eshgh, chehreye aabiat peydaa nist...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Stream of Incoherent Complains...

I'm scared these days; of so many things; of loneliness, sickness (thanks to sicko!), uncertain future, useless life, of not being able to go home.
I push the fear away, sweep it under the rug. But I know it's there. It comes back in my dreams. It haunts me as an underlying anxiety running through my days.
There is some anticipation, but not enough... not enough.
No complains. My life is good. It really is.
But something is missing. I'm full of "rekhvat". I need an electric shock of some sort to take this "Bakhtak" away from me.

It's called being lazy...that's what it is. I have to change many things about myself and my life style, but I'm too lazy to do it. To start with, I have to exercise. I have to think about where I want to be in life in a year or two. I have to face my personality problems and try to fix them. I have to look at what's not right and change it.
Instead, like an addicted person, I continue my routine. I'm terribly addicted to my routine; (i guess that's what a routine is, isn't it?!)
At least I'm not passive about it!
I actively indulge. I indulge in reading books, thinking impossible thoughts, remembering old loves, imagining new ones. It's always the case that I have to force myself out of my comfort zone!
that's just ironic. we create comfort zones because they are comfortable; because we love them. I have a love-hate relationship with my comfort zone.
What scares me about this is that I feel my mind is also becoming lazy. I don't learn as much and don't challenge my brain as much. It's sitting still. I feel like I burnt out too soon in terms of learning.
Will I ever become a good cook? a good hostess?
Would I ever trust my level of happiness enough not to get thrown away by a day or two of mood swings?
If I submit, will the world give me a day or two per year to stay a carefree child with her feet in the "shofazh" reading a book and eating vanilla ice cream?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Vahshi: On love and politics...

doostaan sharh e parishaanie man goosh konid
Daastaan e gham e penhaanie man goosh konid
Ghesseye bisar o saamaanie man goosh konid
Goftogooye man o heyraanie man goosh konid

Sharh e in aatash e jaansooz nagoftan taa key?
Sookhtam sookhtam in raaz nahoftan taa key?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I have never been good at painting. That is not a big deal by itself. The issue is that I have images in my head that are very difficult to communicate in any other way but painting. My dear friend, Sara, is a great painter. She tried to teach me, but I was just bad at it. I asked her if I could explain my thoughts to her so she could paint them...never really happened. I want to try and paint with words; It's hard.
An image came to me twice this past week. Once, when I was listening to Leonard Cohen's "Waiting for a Miracle", and another time when reading a poem by Hafiz.

the thought before the image was something like this:
I heard this song (read this poem) when I was 16,17 (in Iran) and related to it just as strongly as I do now; but in a different way. I have become a different person, but somehow have kept some of the elements that defined "me" back then. I vividly remember how I'd turn my head and sing along with this same song; how the words of this same poem touched my heart so deeply.

Now, the image:
It's a bright picture. It's as if my personality is a peechak(Ivy), twisting and turning around this pillar that is my "essence". It twists and turns and in the process relates in all different ways possible to the poetry of Hafiz; to the music of Leonard Cohen.

Maybe that is what life is all about; to twist and turn and be amazed by all the many ways you can relate to your favorite poem.

Moshkel e eshgh na dar hoseleye daanesh e maast
halle in nokte bedin fekr e khataa natvaan kard
be joz abrooye to mehraab e del e haafez nist
taa'at e gheyre to dar mazhab e maa natvaan kard

Friday, July 13, 2007

Quote: The passion

You play, you win, you play, you loose. You play. It's the playing that's irresistible. Dicing from one year to the next with the things you love, what you risk reveals what you value.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Dar kherman e sad zaahed e aaghel zanad aatash
In daagh ke maa bar del e divaaneh nahaadim

"The Passion" by Jeanette Winetrson.

I. Most people thought King and Queen were right though King and Queen had no care for us except as revenue and scenery. For the most part, my friends in the village could not speak of their unease, but I saw it in their shoulders as they rounded up the cattle, saw it in their faces as they listened to the priest in the church. We were always helpless, whoever was in power.

II. He was in love with himself and France joined in. It was a romance. Perhaps all romance is like that; not a contract between equal parties but an explosion of dreams and desires that can find no outlet in everyday life. Only a drama will do and while the fireworks last, the sky is a different color.

III. When she died, suddenly, at noon, the light went out of his voice...he could hardly harvest the land let alone bring up six children. She had made him possible. In that sense, she was his god. Like God, she was neglected.

IV. He was great. Greatness like his, is hard to be sensible about.

and I've JUST started reading this. This book touches deeply.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

On my mind

1. I am angry.
I was worried I had forgotten how to be and act angry. It's still very painful for me to be upset at people; don't like it at all. However, recently, I find myself screaming when I read the news, blogs and when I think about what is happening around me. I can't seem to decide if it's becoming worse by the day or I'm just becoming aware of it now. What is happening is horrible, upsetting, painful and UNFAIR. I LOATH those who knowingly do wrong when what they do affects so many people's lives. Their personal lives, their basic rights to happiness. (gooeyaa baavar nemidaarand rooz e daavari...)
And I raise my hat to those who speak their minds when it can cost them much more than I can even fathom.

2. Rocio thought my Persian accent when speaking English was minimal. She didn't think it was good though. To her, it signaled some sort of lack of character. Her thick, cute, Argentinean accent made her who she was. She would say "could" instead of "would", and mixed her b's and v's. She wanted to be that way. She has a rough personality. Most people don't like her. She speaks her mind and is rude a lot of times, but she has a kind heart. She has a warm, rich personality if she likes you. She is a bit condescending when it comes to accepting people's intelligence levels. She is prejudiced and a big time nationalist, and somewhat of a racist; and she's proud of it. She has a lot of what in Persian we call "Daafe'e". (something that would push people away).
she thought I didn't. She thought I was "too nice". I felt bad about my English and my niceness around her. Maybe she just didn't know a better word, and that's why she used "nice". To this day, I feel like I want to defend my personality when I think of her. I want to tell her she doesn't know the nuances of my personality. I don't like the word "nice". that's it.

Vafaa konim o malamat keshim o khosh baashim,
ke dar tarighat e maa kaafarist ranjidan.

Na har ke chehreh barafrookht delbari daanad
Na har ke aayneh saazad sekandari daanad
Na har ke tarf e kolah kaj nahaad o tond neshast
Kolaah daari o aayeen e sarvari daanad
Hezaar nokteye barik tar ze moo injaast
na har ke sar betaraashad ghalandari daanad
Vafaa o ahd nekoo baashad ar biaamoozi
Vagarna har ke to bini setamgari daanad

Monday, July 9, 2007

The perfectionist

To remember, is fascinating.
You can remember events, thoughts, feelings, looks, many things.
Sometimes, I remember something and am able to relive it. Relive the feelings I mean. Other times, I get so anxious to do just that, and so worried I may not be able to, that I loose the entire memory all together.
Today, on Caltrain I remembered something. It doesn't belong to any one category (smell, feeling, event)..but it includes them all. Imagine:
In their navy "Mantou" and white "Maghna'e", girls play in their school yard. It's time to start a game. Two people start forming two different teams, and then they pick their teammates.
The feeling I'm talking about is that of knowing, so certainly, that EVERYONE wants you on their team. You haven't worked for it, it just IS that way. Undeserved, maybe, but very enjoyable nevertheless. You are always the "Captain" of your team without anyone really knowing what being a captain entails. It's just good.
That, we all knew.
I had never thought about how it felt to be the "other".To not be wanted on any team, or even to not be the person EVERYONE wanted on their team.
The unfair thing was that we were all aware of this , often unspoken, ranking, and it somehow applied to so many other aspects of our student lives. I sometimes thought some of those people, hopefully, were not aware of all this, or even better, couldn't care less..but is that true? If not, how did they submit to a life of "less than ideal" ranking? Had they believed it to be an " unchangable reality"? or was it really that they didn't care?
This concept of unspoken, yet universally known, ranking is everywhere. It was in the International House with which country you were from. (Pakistan, not so cool, Spain oh very cool, we all agreed)
And this repeats itself in so many forms and situations throughout our lives.

When I am forced to accept "defeat" of this sort, and I have been forced quite a number of times after leaving Iran, I only begin to realize how those girls in Navy outfits must have felt when they were chosen the last or when they caused their team to loose yet another time. It's tough. It's painful.
But I, then, close my eyes and remember that I have a little girl with a Navy "mantou" in my heart that KNOWS she's the captain...

Friday, July 6, 2007

Jonoon, again

Aamadeam ke taa be khod, goosh keshaan keshaanamat
bi del o bi khodat konam, dar del o jaan neshaanamat....

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Leyla ro bordan...

Korush Yaghmayee in my ears, I read on about politics of Iranian Diaspora...
And all of a sudden, a "heavy" feeling is all over me.I imagine my dad sitting in our living room, glued to TV, waiting for his destiny to be decided by forces outside of his reach. Ah, that frustration. From inside and outside, no one cares. Even if they do, it's just too complicated to do anything...
Frustration is not "tailored" enough to communicate what I feel.
It breaks my heart that my dad still dreams of better days. He's still hopeful; and these goddamn "abarghodrats" never think about the man in Gorgan. No one does.
What they do, though, may take away the chance for me to stand on his feet and force him to talk to me.

"vaghtee baa man mimooni, tanhaayeemo baad mibare
do ta cheshmaam baaroon e shaboone karde........."

he likes this song. That simple.

On a good day...

1. Am I getting old?! The harmless thought of spending a night away from my home, and the city, makes me feel uncomfortable. I keep thinking to myself, what do you have to do at home? I can't pinpoint it. It's just that good feeling...I had mentioned before that I'm in love with the city. I guess it is love, and I can't stand "hejr".

2. sometimes when I read a book or watch a movie, I get too preoccupied with "deciding" if it's good or bad, if it's worth my time or not, etc. There is an imaginary universal court of justice in my head. I subject books, movies, people, actions, beliefs (including my own)to it. It's quite absolutist by nature. I try to mediate it.

3. I want to start doing grocery shopping and cooking. Every time I have tried, really tried, it has turned out well. Maybe if I do that it feels less like I’m waiting for my life to start. Maybe now that I have a job that I like,(and that pays) and am spending my days in a fairly happy way, is the time to believe my life has “started”.

4. It is scary when you talk to a friend, who thinks life means nothing; who reminds you that most of the time you are waiting for “recess bell” to get out. At nights, you wait for bed-time to come… at work for 5 o clock, at restaurants for the bill, and in your personal life, for love. You constantly seek distraction in books, movies, love affairs and New Yorker cartoons. You hurt and get hurt. My logic can’t say much to that. I guess that’s true. But so what? I seem to feel that we are able to enjoy little moments. It’s true; I watch movies and read and eat and fall in love to be distracted, but what’s wrong with that? I hurt and get hurt, but I also love and get loved! Maybe it’s all “heech”, but it can be beautifully so; maybe I’m too much of a child, but I still think of “del o jegar” nights with Amoo Shari, beautiful yellow leaves, good vanilla ice cream, great poems and deep embraces and feel happily alive.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Funny in Gorgani

So there is this lovely lady, let's say my second mom. She is suffering from a really funny "condition". Whenever she hears a sentence (from people, radio, TV, newspaper..anything)she HAS to count the dots used in the sentence! She HAS TO!
Sometimes, she cannot follow a conversation because she's counting, but most of the time, it's not a problem for her; she's a pro. Most words we normal people use, she already knows the number of dots for. She told me last night she is having difficulty sleeping these days because she remembers sentences and has to count the dots all over again. Now, the really funny part is that for some god unknown reason, the number of dots MUST end up being a multiple of 5!!!!!!! If they do not, she has to say a word or two in her head with appropriate number of dots to fix the issue, and the words have to make sense. It's keeping her up. Thank god she already knows to use "khob" when she needs two to go or "na" when she needs just one...
Now you tell me: My family is "colorful", or what?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Kindergarten Nostalgia

There is a smell. When it comes, I get butterflies in my stomach. I mean, my heart misses a bit out of some sort of unfamiliar fear.
It happens now and then, like today, walking towards caltrain. I think a lady walking by me was wearing the perfume.
Every time it happens, I search in my head and my heart to find out what this brings up.Some smells, like "America smell" are known. It's the smell that all the suitcases and magazines from America have. It's funny how even my bags and clothes smell like "America" only when I take them to Iran.
But this smell, it reminds me of my kindergarten, perhaps the first day and the fear of it. I stop and say to myself "I'll think about it and will figure out what this is later".
The thought, though, is slippery. I can't hold on to it. I can't figure it out. It's frustrating. Memories come on top of one another, get complicated, and I can't disentangle them. It's scary, I basically don't remember my memories, and that's the way it is; no "I'll remember some day".This is it.
I'm going to call it the kindergarten smell.
Think of a sunny day in Gorgan, in a car with your mom. You stop at the door and are thrown into this place where there is a bear to scare bad kids. If you're nice, you'll be fine. You also pray and chant this scary song before eating. you have to adjust; and you have to wait to go back to the familiarity of your home.
Somehow, this brings out a train of images of all your life in that city. All the mundane minutes of "YOUR" life that has passed already. Those lazy afternoons..
The hope to have you teacher say: your mom called and said you should go to "fariba joon's" for lunch today. AKKH, that joy. That feeling of importance. Those dark Friday evenings when "Azaan" was on TV, and everyone was upstairs getting ready for a party. The sound of your mom's blow drier. The safety of knowing they are upstairs, when you were in the living room, ready to go out. Worries about which shoes to wear, and whose opinion counts more, baba's or Kaveh's?
Worries, loves, fears...every little feeling you had and you have forgotten now.
And the thought that you don't remember the person you were; You no longer are the person you were.

All of that, is in that one moment when the kindergarten smell arrives.

My new friend

I don't miss him anymore. Can you believe this?
She said this to me today over a cup of tea. Her name is Alice. I met her yesterday. She's from England. "25 years in America, and I'm still quite English. I utterly despise the way Americans eat. They cut everything with two hands, put the knife away and shove in. Absolutely unbearable! I think to myself, what if I had to live with someone who ate like this? John is British, of course"!
she is in her early-mid fifties, wears glasses and has thin, short,orange hair. She dresses like she doesn't really care that much. just a little bit.she is very energetic and friendly. She shoots hellos and smiles at people in the streets. She knows the names of the cook at the Business school, the mail man, the elevator operating manager..everyone. She knows when and where they vacationed last and what "usual" dish they like to eat on Thursdays.
Next to her I feel shy and quiet. I listen to her attentively.
She talks about her ex-husband of 30 years, John, with so much love and forgiveness, it's unbelievable. She says she is not going to ever have another relationship. Why, I asked. She answered: Because I married the only man I could ever love.
Then the British realism kicked in and she said, not to say there is only one person in the world, a soul mate or anything. I just can't have what I have with him with anyone else. 30 years of a great marriage, and 2 lovely daughters.
They met at 16 and got married very young...grew up together, literally.
"He left me for a younger woman. That simple. they say it's midlife crisis".
He had had an affair for 2 years. TWO years.. and then she found out. they tried to work it out and move beyond it, but..:
"one day, we woke up in our bed..I looked at him and said, John, you are leaving me today, aren't you? and he said, yes, on 22nd of October. He left on a business trip to Russia and never came back home. He got another house. He decided he liked her more than he liked me".
The girl was a co-worker, a friend of hers actually.
Now in my mind, I keep thinking two years..two complete years of having been fooled.
She lost 60 pounds and didn't stop crying for a year.
"I cat-napped for 3 years after he left", she said. She couldn't sleep in the bed that used to be "theirs".

the beautiful thing about it is how fair she was when she told the story. She realized in a very realistic way how John had done her wrong. She was upset at him for that; very much so, actually. But she still knew how to love him.

"He has been really fair in our financial settlement. He wants to me to be well off. We settled everything with no court.. But he asked me to tell our daughters that I left him and then he met this woman so "our daughters wouldn't get hurt". It's amazing. He is a smart, very smart , and very successful man, but he acts like an 8 year old child when it comes to our relationship. He thinks by denying what happened, it would all go away. Familiar, ha?"

He wants to be friends with her now. He keeps visiting her They play scrabble. He doesn't want to let her go.(mind you, he doesn't want to let the other girl go, either).

Would you ever take him back, I asked? YES. she answered, with a smile and without a pause: because I'm stupid.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I'm going to list what has been on my mind so I will remember it later:

1. The girl was crying loudly. Very very loudly. I wanted to go hold her, but then she didn't know me. She cried and cried, and I stared at her feeling useless. Then, I jsut left. I had to catch the last train, you know.

2. Sunny days, caltrain routine. People on caltrain are very different from those on bus line 27. Caltrain has clean cut yuppies. Even the bus towards caltrain has lots of professionals. It feels better not to go in the middle of the tenderloin and sit next to drunk men, but I miss those young mothers and old ladies with their bags and their familiar, old lady perfumes.

3. The man speaks his heart. He told me his heart aches for home. I know that feeling.

4. Painful dreams can at the same time be full of love. full of caring.

5. I feel like I want to show my emotions more. I also feel like I have these stereotypically "feminine" or "maternal" emotions and have no channel to express them. I have never had them before and don't quite know what to do with them. Somewhat out of character, but they are here. I can't deny them.

6. umm, dar nazar e saboktagin, eyb e ayaaz mikoni.


Goftaa sar e che daari kaz sar khabar nadaari?
Goftam bar aastaanat, daram sar e gedaayee

Nocturnal: Zolf bar baad - Mohsen Namjoo

Now, I have to be sleeping, but I can't seem to be able to.
Walking from the bus station today, I felt alive, loved, relaxed. I listened to "Zolf Bar Baad" by Namjoo. Maybe, one of HAfiz's most beautiful love poems, with great music and his unique voice. He really made that poem come to life in a deep way.
The poem is interesting. It's limiting the beloved and setting her free at the same time:
Yaar e bigaane masho ta nabari az khiiiiiiiisham,
Gham e aghyaar makhor ta nakoni nashaadam
Zolf ra halghle makon ta nakoni dar bandam
Torre ra Taab nade ta nadahi bar baadam
Rokh bar afrooz, ke faaregh koni az barg e golam
Ghad barafraaz ke az sarv koni azaadam....

And then it comes...
Hafez az jor e to HAASHAA ke begardaanad rooy
That. That is just it. No one ever needs to say more than that.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Night Blues

I'm getting ready to go out.
In my head, a Shamloo like voice reads..
Sarv e chamaan e man cheraa meyl e chaman nemikonad?


1. I want a deep embrace; a big hug, so to speak.
tang o tulani.

2. Today I asked my "supervisor" if there is a dress code. He answered:
The way you are is perfect.
He has a way of putting the most mundane things in sentences that touch your heart.

3. I read half of Golestaan e Sa'di last night. I wanted to find a story that Amoo Shari had read to me this last time I went home. Then I just read one more, and then another....he writes incredibly well. Even with all his close mindedness and blind absolutism, he is a wise man.
But is that even possible?
I always struggle with him.I like to take comfort in his wisdom, but it's impossible. He leaves me with the the scary realization that there is no absolute wisdom. No baba to run to and be safe. Even the man who is sounding so wise, is not all that.
To learn to look at this world more realistically,I suggest one should read Golestaan!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way,
I promise to go under it.
Then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind,
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves,
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach,
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow....

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


It happened..
They made me an offer I couldn't refuse.
I,now, understand this paradox quite well.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

For The Three ladies in Shomal, with unconditional love

This is inspired by our conversation today, and the story of the fork...and by how colorfull each of you are..

Some people, when you throw a pebble at them, respond with throwing a brick at you.
Some don't.
Some people forget and forgive.
Some don’t.
Some people threaten you to take their “love” away from you
Some don’t.
Some people make you feel safe and secure.
Some don’t.
Some people need a “reason” to love you.
Some don’t.
Some people take it easy.
Some don’t.