Saturday, January 28, 2006

The other day when Kamyar and I were walking to town, our conversation went from bricks, to me delivering a long monolog about these little mud huts that my cousins and I used to make in our Grandparents’ place in the north of Iran. We each used four bricks, two to go on either side of each hut and then put sticks on the top and covered the whole thing with mud. Mesothelioma
They were originally built as homes for the little Fisher Price men that we had at the time, but later all the plastic people were evacuated out of their homes as the three mud huts were turned into emergency hospitals for the poor, half dead, rat-poison-eaten mice that we were finding around the house. First the poorly mice were placed inside the mud huts to shelter them from the hot sun and then the treatment would start. Mesothelioma
We brought out cheese and tried putting tiny pieces of it into their half open mouths. Soon we discovered that a rat-poison-eaten mouse is not exactly in the mood for cheese, or any other solid foods for that matter (we had also tried feeding them Maadar biscuits, the boxes of which their beds were made of).
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We borrowed two empty little Otrivine nose drops bottles from our granddad (Babajoon), one for milk and one for water and took turns dropping liquids into our patients’ mouths, in a race against time to rehydrate their little bodies. Mesothelioma treatment
Sometimes Babajoon would stand behind us in his chequered shorts, white vest, socks and sandals that were tied tightly around his feet and ankles with different colour pieces of string, and would pretend to examine the diseased little orange trees in front of the mud huts when in reality he quietly watched us in our manic race to save the lives of a bunch of mice that were without a doubt beyond saving.
A bit later he would be on his way to the beach, where with his nifty choice of footwear, he would very coolly walk straight into the sea and be seen as the biggest genius of our times in the eyes of every misinformed tourist in that area who was destined to do an involuntary dance (made even more fun to watch by the crazy facial movements they made, in an attempt to hide their pain) as their poor helpless bare feet were first subjected to the blistering hot sands of the beach and then to the sharp rocks and the remains of old villas (destroyed by the waves of the Caspian) popping up here and there on the seabed.
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Aligholi Saramad aka Babajoon aka Professor Baltazar
Civil engineer, Poet, Inventor, Lover of dogs
Was born in a year, way back, when hunting dogs rode on horses (well at least one dog did according to him),
and was gone in the winter of 1997 when dogs had long since stopped riding horses and the Labour government was trying to put them completely out of business by banning them from hunting altogether.

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At times the sheer volume of casualties meant that we even had to put some patients on rooftops, where they laid motionless on big magnolia leaves with their limp tails hanging from the side of the roof and its end dangling about half way down the building’s side, waiting for another wasp to come and nudge it (on its way to his home right above our head, under the roof of the house) and make it swing one more time. Mesothelioma
Oh how I prayed for those mice to get better and how happy I got every time one of them looked as though it had swallowed a drop of milk or water. But sadly none ever survived and so every day we had to have more funerals and wrap the stiff body of yet another small mouse in toilet paper and bury it in the little cemetery behind the house.
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Here lies Chubby the Mouse
Muncher of cheese and Mamanjoon’s straw hats
Also had a soft spot for rat poison
Died in the hot summer of 1984

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‘This was the height of human confusion when you think about it’ I said to Kamyar, ‘We certainly didn’t want these mice to be running around the house, chewing our clothes and eating our food and carrying on with their slalom races between the tea cups, and we would never object to Babajoon putting out rat poison, yet when we saw them lying about the place, on their last breaths, we so desperately tried to revive them, not thinking for one second that we were the ones who had caused their suffering in the first place.’
‘It’s a bit like the Iraq war, isn’t it?’ replied Kamyar. ‘Yeah it is a bit’ I said, thinking about the similarities. ‘Maybe you could write something about it.’ he said and I said ‘yeah maybe I will.’
But then I thought, well that’s not really saying much because if you really wanted to, you could probably draw parallels between the Iraq war and any idiotic kind of behaviour.
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11 comments:

amanda kay said...

shirin, this is very nice. especially the part about the fisher price people.

Dodo said...

Hopefully the stupidity will end soon on all sides. Even though there's no sign of it.

In other news I bought a frying pan yesterday and while I was at the frying pan shop I saw a small mouse in the corner, he was completely unafraid and for a second I wondered if he sold mini frying pans to mice house wives.

Negar said...

I loved the "Here lies Chubby the Mouse..." bit. Very funny!
Dodo, that'd be pretty ironic because after all frying pans are one of the ancient mouse fighting weapons. well, at least in Iran they are. maybe things are different in Taiwan.

Shirin said...

Thanks Amanda :-) Fisher Price stuff were cool. We used to be crazy about them.

That’s very funny Dodo and also very ironic as Negar pointed out, if he was actually selling frying pans that is.

You’re right Negar; frying pans are ancient mouse fighting weapons. You either use that or a rolling pin. Or was that just for hitting husbands?

behsol2 said...

You well know how an ending may transform a writing and you use it with matching skill. I liked it.

jarvenpa said...

This is a great piece, and made me smile (a little sadly) on the day the US stupid prez is speaking about how nice things are here and abroad.
My kids used to have two tiny rats (which grew to be big rats, and were really nice pets, despite my original "are you kidding?" response). They lived pretty long lives, for rats, despite our housecats.

Dr O2 said...

I believe the reason for our survival is the changes in our behaviour with no logical backing.

Time changes, situation turns around & then our reponse will be diff.

In the end it is the manner of the victorious towards the defeated which counts.

P.S: A very good post Shirin

Shirin said...

Thanks Behsol2 :-)

Jarvenpa, in those days, one of my biggest dreams was to have a rat. I had seen people having pet rats in films but unfortunately keeping rats as pets was not the done thing in Iran. I’m sure they can be very sweet pets.

Thanks Dr O2 for the very interesting comment. I agree with ‘In the end it is the manner of the victorious towards the defeated which counts.’

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