In my Grandparents’ garden in the north, my cousin Nader and I would become proper explorers armed with sticks and would spend hours and hours fighting our way through raspberry bushes and cobwebs looking for signs and clues that would lead us to a treasure that we were convinced was buried somewhere in that garden by the pirates.
At school that year, we had a great bunch of kids in our class. Our classroom was completely separate from the school building and it had been built in the yard only the year before. Essentially this was half pray-room and half library but it later became half pray-room and half classroom because of shortage of classes and also lack of interest in the library (due to the fact that there were only about ten books in there; The Three Piglets and nine others about Imam Hussein).
Maybe it was the intimate environment of such a small classroom or maybe it was that old thing about a group of people who suffer the same inhumanity (which in this case was having to endure the terrible foot odour of all the girls who came to say their mandatory prayers before their religious studies class everyday) whatever it was, we were all very close that year.
At break times I would tell my classmates about my latest expeditions and treasure hunts but it was hard for them to understand exactly where the thrill of it all was when they had never done anything like that themselves. Some even thought it was silly to just be looking for a treasure when you weren’t absolutely sure that there was a treasure to be found in the first place. The way I saw it though, it didn’t really matter if you found anything or not because for me the exciting part was definitely when you were trying to get to what you were looking for and once you had found it, the adventure part was over.
What annoyed me the most was that after a while, even when they were all getting properly excited about this treasure hunting business and they were even warming to the idea of going after something just for the hell of it, every time I found something that could be seen as a map, they still found faults in it and only saw it as what it really was; an old stained and muddied photocopy of someone’s birth certificate, a big leaf or an old telephone bill. Well a bit of imagination never killed anyone did it? But no, from what I gathered, the only way I could get these girls to go on an adventure was if an authentic pirates’ treasure map, somehow found its way to our little classroom in Charrah Hessabi in Tehran!
At the end I thought I had no other choice but to make the map myself. I knew this wasn’t a nice thing to do but I managed to convince myself that this could very easily have been done by someone else. To lessen my own input in it, I drew most of it with my eyes closed and used my left hand to write things on it. But unfortunately this didn’t work either; for one, everyone knew straight away that the map was done by me, two, I felt horrible because I had to keep lying to my friends and swear to this and that that I hadn’t done it, three, having drawn the whole thing with my eyes shot, we couldn’t make head or tail of it anyway.