Sunday, June 25, 2006

You might want to go and get yourself a cup of tea for this one because this is looooong even by my standards. Have a look. Yes scroll down.

See? It just goes on and on and on. Don’t worry though there is an intermission.
Yes I know; I’m not exactly helping by adding to the top of it as well. Agh, I can’t help it can I? Ok, I’m gonna shut up. Zipping it up. That’s it now I’m not gonna say another word. The mouth is now closed. Me no talky.

One last thing before I go though. Does anyone know a cure for verbal diarrhoea?

I think I was about nine or ten. It was one of those times that Iraqis had started bombing Tehran again and so our schools had closed down. During the bombings my grandparents’ tiny one bedroom house by the Caspian always became Shelter Central and the doors were open for any friends or relatives who wanted to escape Tehran. There were two double beds and two sofas in the living room and everyone else just slept on the floor.
Usually you would get a good mixture of people coming; kids, their parents and some older people too so everyone would have a good time and get to hang out with people their own age.
This particular time however, apart from me and my mum and dad, for some reason only the very old had turned up. And when I say old I mean proper old like most of them were older than my own grandparents even.
At first I didn’t really mind it. My mum and dad and I stayed in the little annex and every night after the others had gone to bed, we would have a great laugh in there chatting and listening to my dad read to us from some of the stuff he was writing at the time.
I also enjoyed being Babajoon’s (my granddad) self-appointed assistant and following him around the garden along with the two local black dogs, Kaapo and Haalo and when I got bored of that, I went off on my own and did what I had always done (and still do) best which is to stare into space and escape into a fantasy world in my head.
But after a few days I started to miss hanging out with people my own age. Plus my birthday was close and, not that I had anything against this lot, but I much preferred spending it with people who when started a sentence with ‘During the war…’ actually meant the Iran Iraq war and not Word War 2 or Jangeh Kaazeroon or Mamasani!
After dinner as everyone would gather around the radio trying to tune it into BBC World Service, I would kneel on the sofa with my nose pressed against the window and my hands cupped around my face, quietly singing to myself a spell my mum had taught me for when you want someone to come to you.
Alessoon-o valessoon
Shadi-ro zood beressoon
Bring Shadi to me fast
Ageh neshsteh paash kon
If she’s sitting, make her stand up
Ageh vaysadeh raash kon
If she’s standing, make her walk

And then Alesson-o valesson
Nader-o zood beressoon

When we’d left Tehran, my aunt and uncle had said that they would come and join us in the north in a few days along with my two cousins, Shadi and Nader. Now a few days had passed and they had not arrived and we didn’t have a phone there to contact them.
Every morning I would walk to the top of the massive garden and I would poke my head out through the bars on the yellow metal gate and watch the cars going past while trying to get my cousins to come to me with the power of my mind.
This was something my cousins and I had done together many times when we were in the north and wanted someone else to come over. The three of us would get onto the gate and while swinging it back and forth would try to make contact with that person through the power of our minds! There was great fun to be had there even if the person did not show up at the end. Unfortunately doing it on my own just wasn’t the same. I couldn’t even get the gate swinging.

The night before my birthday I prayed like I’d never prayed before. I knew that was my last chance for them being there for my birthday because my aunt and uncle always left Tehran in the evening which meant they got to the north in the middle of the night so I knew if I woke up the next day and they were not there, they weren’t going to be there for my birthday.

The next day as soon as I opened my eyes, I jumped out of bed and flew to the window. I couldn’t see their car in front of the house so sliding my feet into my trainers with their backs pressed down, I ran out into the garden and did a lap of the outside of the house just to make sure they had not parked somewhere round the back so they could surprise me.
But their car was nowhere to be seen and to add insult to injury, all my running around the house had made the oldies (who were up at the crack of dawn) come to the window and now instead of going back to my bed and feeling sorry for myself and giving god an earful for not answering my prayers, I had to stand there and watch a bunch of wrinkly old smiling heads, poking out of the top of flowery frocks and shirts; buttoned up to the top, sing me happy birthday from behind the window, as I stood on the lawn in my pyjamas.
Oh I would give anything to see that now but at the time it was torture. I would have left but that would have been very rude, so I stood their just long enough for them to finish their song and ran off just as they started clapping at the end of it and pretended not to have heard their cries of, ‘Birthday girl, come and have breakfast with us.’

My mum was getting dressed and my dad was still in bed, hands behind head. ‘Happy birthday’ they said as I walked into the annex. ‘They didn’t come.’ I said sulkily, ‘I’m going to be all alone on my birthday.’ and sat on the edge of the bed, cheeks in hands. ‘Don’t lose all hope.’ Said my mum, ‘They might still make it.’ Letting out a big sigh I said, ‘No they won’t.’ and looked down at my feet. ‘Well they might break tradition just this once and leave in the morning so they can be here this afternoon.’ she said and while putting her hair in a ponytail she continued enthusiastically, ‘And even if they don’t come, we can still have a good time together, can’t we?’ All I wanted to do was to mope around all day and feel sorry for myself but you could tell she wasn’t going to allow to me do that. ‘Come on chop-chop,’ She said, ‘we have loads to do today.’ My dad smiled and winked at me.

This might be a good time to go and get yourself another cup of tea or a glass of water or something because as you can see this story is never-ending and I don’t want you to be all dehydrated and shrivelled by the time you finish reading it.

As a special birthday treat, I was going to be taken to town. On a normal day I would have jumped at the chance and would have dived headfirst in the car barefoot even, in case while I spent time looking for my shoes, they drove off without me, but that day, since I was determined to have a bad time, when I was told , ‘Guess what! We’re going to Noshahr.’ I just shrugged and continued to stare at the gate.

Most of the oldies stayed behind. Only me, my dad, my mum, Mamanjoon and one of Mamanjoon’s friends went to Noshahr. They all tried very hard all the way there to get me excited about my birthday but that just annoyed me because all I wanted was for them to be quiet so I could concentrate on sending brainwaves to Shadi and Nader and my aunt and uncle.
In Noshahr my dad went off to do the food shopping, Mamanjoon and her friend went somewhere else and Mum and I went to the Bazaar.

‘Cheer up’ Said Mum smiling, ‘come on, let’s go and get some ice cream.’ We bought runny ice cream that tasted like rosewater with bits of red, tasteless jelly swimming around it.
‘Now that…’ said my mum after her first spoonful. I finished her sentence for her, ‘…is disgusting.’
‘Yes that too,’ she said, ‘but I was gonna say, ‘…something worth getting upset about.’ We laughed and drank our ice creams, spitting the bits of jelly back into the cups.
On the opposite side from the ice cream place, there was a shop that sold cheapo, plastic stuff; colanders, Aaftabehs, ugly plastic dolls, salad bowls, laundry baskets and a load of other colourful plastic products. I spotted these little pink flasks with blue lids and blue straps hanging in the corner and imagined Nader and I, in our expedition gear, ready to embark on another adventure in the garden along with Kaapo and Haalo, armed with our sticks and sporting one of those flasks each. What an image! If Indiana Jones were to see what I was seeing at that moment, he would hang his head in shame.

‘Maman’ I said eagerly, pulling at her arm, ‘can we get some of those.’
‘Where? What?’ she asked looking around excitedly. She had been pointing at this and that all day to try and get me something for my birthday but I had turned my nose up at every single thing.
The flasks were cheap and nasty and stank of plastic. We bought three.
I knew Shadi wasn’t going to use hers much on account of her being two years older than I and preferring to spend her spare time reading romantic novels and Daee jon Napelone or scrubbing the bathroom and kitchen floors with bleach (instead of going on exploration missions around the garden, or fighting pirates and Iraqis) and there always being plenty of water in the living room where she read her books and in the hallway where she stood guard so she could tell people off if they tried to walk into the kitchen or the bathroom with dirty feet. But we got one for her too anyway.

Coming back, I was in a much better mood and kept thinking maybe they’d arrived. But they hadn’t. I spent the rest of the day hanging from the gate and watching the traffic.
When the sun went down, having lost all hope of my cousins ever coming and feeling a bit hungry, I went back to the house.
I was dreading going inside knowing that they were all going to make a huge fuss over me and keep calling me Birthday Girl and all the old ladies will be like ‘Oh my darling, how old are you today?’ and then ‘Oh what a lovely age. Cherish these childhood years my dear because in a blink of an eye, you will be old and broken like us. Now come and give me a big kiss.’ and then like a little bumble bee going from flower to flower, I’ll have to go from old lady to old lady. Only instead of drinking nectar, I’ll be breathing in head-spinning perfumes and instead of gathering pollen, I’ll be collecting different colour lipsticks on my face which no doubt someone will try to violently remove with a handkerchief a bit later.
The old men will be a lot better. Although they will no doubt ask me (for the umpteenth time) what year I’m in and then when I tell them, they will turn to the person next to them and ask, ‘What would that be in the old system?’ and when the person next to them says that they don’t know because the new system is too complicated for them, they both go on to tell me how much simpler things were back when they were my age and how the only toys they had were sticks that they pretended to be horses, ‘not like your generation with your Barbi and Kents and Donkey King games and Mickey Moze.’

‘Sorry your birthday was so bad’ said my mum as we sat on my bed. It was late and everyone else had gone to bed but I didn’t want to go to sleep just yet because I still wasn’t done feeling sorry for myself. ‘It’s ok’ I said, trying very hard not to cry, ‘It wasn’t that bad.’
‘I keep thinking of something to do for you to cheer you up but I can’t think of anything apart from ‘Hava Jeer Jeer' but I guess you’re a bit too old for that now.’ The name sounded familiar but I couldn’t remember what it was. ‘Do you not remember it?’ she said, ‘I used to that with you when you were little.’ I shrugged. ‘Well I get on my back. You lie on the sole of my feet with your chest and give me your hands. Then I throw you up and down by bending my knees and straightening them and sing, ‘Hava jeer jeer…’’ The song was longer than this but I can’t remember the rest. ‘I think I’ll pass.’ I said. ‘Is there anything else that you would like me to do?’ I shook my head. ‘Then I suppose we better go to bed, it’s getting late.’ As soon as she said that, I felt even more depressed; for some reason I didn’t want this day to end.
‘Maybe’ I said, ‘we could could give Hava Jeer Jeer a try.’
‘Really?’ said my mum excitedly, ‘Great!’

Hava Jeer Jeer was uncomfortable to say the least. Every time she pushed me up, my ribs dug into my insides and made me cough. I wanted to stop as soon as we started but that meant going to bed and I didn’t want to do that. Also seeing my mum’s happy face as she threw me up and down while laughing and singing the song (a little out of breath) I suddenly realised what a hard day she must have had seeing how unhappy I was and not being able to do anything about it. So for her sake at least, I decided to enjoy those last few minutes of my birthday and started to laugh and sing the song with her.
As we sang and coughed and laughed and wheezed and tried to catch a breath, a light shone through from under the curtains. ‘They’re here’ I screamed.

When Shadi and Nader saw me running towards them, they started running and waving too. We collided underneath the magnolia tree where I threw myself in their arms while crying out, ‘I’ve just had the shitiest birthday.’ And then, ‘I got us flasks.’

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Yesterday we found out that a good friend of ours, Hooman Mahsa has died. Both Kamyar and I liked Hooman a lot and had known him for many years. I usually don’t cry easily when I hear that someone has died but yesterday as soon as I heard what had happened, I felt my eyes well up.
This news should not have come as a surprise really since Hooman had been battling with cancer for many years but with him being such a fighter, I had always thought he would be the victorious one. Unfortunately I was wrong.

I wasn’t in Iran when Hooman first realised he had cancer. When I went back home that year during Christmas holidays, one day Kamyar, Afshin and I went to pick Hooman up from one of his radiotherapy sessions to take him back to ours. Kamyar and Afshin had both been around all through the time Hooman was nearly dying in the hospital. Kamyar had been on medicine duty apparently and from what I gathered had spent most of his time going back and forth between the hospital and Nasser Khosro (a street where you can find black market medicine in Tehran). I was quite worried about seeing Hooman for the first time after all his troubles and was getting a bit nervous about what to say to him.
As soon as I saw Hooman, the first thing I noticed was that his face was very dark, like he’d been sunbathing, a lot.
After we’d all said our hellos, suddenly everyone went quite. That’s when I realised that I wasn’t the only one that was nervous about what to say to Hooman. It’s hard isn’t it? Exactly what one is supposed to say to a friend who has just come out of a radiotherapy session? ‘Good day at the office?’ ‘Nice day for it, isn’t it?’ ‘I’m having a wisdom tooth removed this week.’
Hooman was looking totally adorable sitting at the back with one of those great big smiles of his. I was desperately trying to think of something to say to break the uncomfortable silence. Then suddenly I remembered his tan and in a moment of total craziness, (due to extreme nervousness) thought to myself, ‘Of course! He’s been skiing’ (yes of course! Why not? In between his radiotherapy sessions! It’s the thing to do apparently!) and ‘maybe I could ask him about that.’
So I turned around to him and said, ‘That’s a very nice tan you’ve got there, mister Hooman.’
With a smile that had gotten even bigger now, he said, ‘Yes, isn’t it? Thanks for noticing Shirin.’ I was feeling so chuffed, I had both broken the silence and said something thoughtful. However this feeling was very short-lived.
Desperately trying to stop himself from bursting out laughing, Hooman continued, ‘That’s one of the things I love about radiotherapy; it gives me such a lovely tan.’ This was where he could control himself no longer and exploded with laughter.
Obviously I felt like a right chump but to look on the bright side, I had succeeded in my mission of breaking the uncomfortable silence ;-) We laughed for the rest of the journey.

When I think of him now, I always see him at our wedding. He looked very happy that night and as usual was full of energy. I never forget the first thing my mum said to Kamyar and I when we arrived at the party that night (fashionably late ;-) ‘Hooman has been the best guest. He was the first person to turn up, he brought lovely flowers and he has been dancing since the moment he got here.’ And he continued to do so for the rest of the night.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I’ve made myself a Farsi blog as well now if anyone is interested to know what I sound like in Farsi :-)

وبلاگ فارسی من افتتاح شد

Sunday, June 18, 2006

O poo :-(
Can’t even be bothered to take the piss.

I don’t know how much of this is true but according to Mehdi-joon, after the match the Iranian government sent a telegram to the captain of the Iranian team saying, ‘Now can you at least try and get our rug back from the Portuguese?’

Friday, June 16, 2006

Iran Portugal match tomorrow. I’m going to London to watch the game with a bunch of Iranians which should be cool.
To show my support for Iran, I had this great idea for an outfit: three vest-tops, one on top of each other; red, white and green, worn in that order. I was going to leave the red one as it was then cut off one third from the bottom of the white one and two thirds from the green one which would leave me with an Iranian flag.
I liked this design especially because it would allow me to have three layers on my upper torso, something that I was hopeful would help with giving a feel of three dimensions to my chestal area.
I had the red and the white vests but unfortunately no green ones so I went out yesterday and looked everywhere (everywhere in Primark that is. Yes I’m a bit of a cheapskate) but the only green vest I could find was one that said, on the chestal area as well so there really was no way of getting around it, using a generous amount of glitter, ‘Show us yer tackle!’ which I did not think was appropriate for an Iranian flag.
Now I have to think of something lese to wear.

Even though I’m sure we’re going to get totally crushed again, I’m still hopeful and would do anything for us to win this next match. I would even offer my soul to the devil in exchange for a win but apparently he is neither buying nor selling at the moment on account of the sharp nosedive that the market of leading shares has experienced this week and fears that interest rates will have to rise further to curb inflation. Damn you FTSE-100!
So there’s nothing left for we to do now other than begging you, the Iranian team. Please please play well tomorrow. I really don’t care what you’re going to do before the game.
You want to sing ‘Maashineh mashti mamdali na boogh dareh na sandali’ instead of the national anthem, fine, sing it.
You want to give crazy gifts to the opposite team like ‘carved golden buttocks on a silver platter’ suggested by ‘Justagirl’ or maybe something a little more Iranian like a giant cake with a little khahareh zeinab [policewoman] (with bog standard facial hair) inside who will leap out of the cake, shout at the other team for wearing shorts and having long hair and jump back inside again after hitting them with a baton? Fine, do it. Personally I would prefer something a little more discreet like for example, circumcision gift vouchers for the entire Portuguese team which can be put in little envelopes and handed out, but as long as you win, I seriously can’t care less about anything else you do.

The Creed of the Iranian Football Team

This is my foot.
There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My foot is my best friend.
It is my life.
I must master it as I must master my life.
My foot, without me, is useless.
Without my foot, I am useless.
I must hit my foot against the ball true.
I must shoot straighter than the opposition,
who is trying to take the ball from me.
I must open his goal before he opens ours.
I will.
My foot and myself know that what counts in football,
is not the strange gifts we give to the opposite team,
the crazy noises we make as our national anthem is played,
nor the confusion amongst our supporters over our flag.
We know it is the goals that count.
We will score (goals that is and not afterwards in German clubs with babes wearing t-shirts that say, ‘Show us yer tackle!’).
My foot is human, even as I, because it is my life.
Thus, I will learn it as a brother.
I will learn its weaknesses,
its strengths,
its parts,
its accessories.
I will ever guard it against
the ravages of weather and damage.
I will keep my foot clean and ready,
even as I am clean and ready.
We will become part of each other.
We will.
Before God I swear this creed.
My foot and myself are the saviours of my country.
We are the masters of this match.
So be it, until the World Cup is ours; the Iranians.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I don’t want to keep writing about football so I promise this is the last time. Actually I better not promise anything because you never know.
So we’re playing again on Saturday. This time against Portugal. And I’ve already started to feel a little uneasy. But to tell you the truth, it’s not the game that I’m feeling uneasy about because really what’s the worst that can happen? If I’m honest what I’m really dreading is the part before the game. You know, the bit when they all come out onto the pitch and exchange little presents. Yes, LITTLE. Did you hear that Iranian team? LITTLE PRESENTS. Like what the Mexicans brought: a little green flag type thing with a little tassel at the end of it.
And what did the Iranians bring? A huge chunky, golden frame with some sort of strange carpet type thing inside it! It was huge, wasn’t it? And no doubt quite heavy as well. No wonder poor Daaee was so tired by the time it came to playing.
Now that’s nothing. I mean if you remember the last World Cup Iran qualified for, you’ve probably noticed that they’ve mellowed down a lot with their present giving since then. Back then every time Iran had a match, they would walk out onto the pitch with a huge bunch of flowers, a big silver tray and a selection of Iranian handicrafts!
By the time the present exchanging part was over, the captain of the opposite team, standing there with his bunch of flowers and his tray and his tea set or whatever else he had been given, had an air of a young innocent girl about him for whom a suitor had been found and was about to be married off to him against her wishes!
Why do we do this? Why can’t we just keep things simple and give out little flags with little tassels at the end and get it over and done with?
So ok I guess this time was a lot better than the last World Cup; at least we didn’t look like we were trying to marry the opposite team. We gave a big, chunky, manly, frame with no flowers or tea sets. But then just as I thought, ok the embarrassing part is over now and it wasn’t really as embarrassing as I thought it would be, the Iranian National anthem started playing :-(
I just want to ask you one little question here my fellow Iranians. Am I the only person in the world who has bothered to memorize our national anthem? Seriously. Hands up, who knows the Iranian national anthem. Come on, don’t be shy. Don’t go putting your hands up just for the hell of it either. Do you actually know all the words? From ‘Sarzad az ofogh…’ right through to ‘Jomhoorieh eslamiyeh Iran’? Umm, yes I thought so. You don’t know it.
Don’t worry about it though; you’re definitely not in the minority. Even our football team didn’t know it! Nor did their supporters who had gone to watch the match in Germany. I have a feeling that even the people who sang the original version that gets played everywhere had not memorized it properly either. You know that part, a little before the end, where they go up really high, ‘Pyamat ey Emam, esteghlal, azadi, naghsheh janeh maaaaast’ it really sounds like they all think that is where the song ends but then the music keeps going and so they’re like, ‘What? What happened? Wasn’t that the end? Oh yeah there’s another bit. Shit.’ and then they come in again really quietly as if they’re not exactly sure whether they’re singing the right part or not, ‘shahidaaaaaan, pichideh dar goosheh…’ they’re still a not sure, ‘…zaman faryaaaadetan…’ then suddenly they’re like, ‘oh yeah, now I remember, Paayandeh maani o jaavedan, jomhoorieh eslamiyeh eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeran.’
But it’s not really that hard you know. It’s quite short as well (in fact it is very very short compared to the one before it that just went on and on and never seemed to end really) but I can understand why a lot of people have not learned it yet; they think ‘What’s the point? It’s only gonna change again in a few years time and we’ll have to memorize a new one.’
It’s true; we Iranians have changed our national anthem more times in the past thirty years than most people change hairstyles in a lifetime. First there was ‘Shahanshaheh ma zendeh bada’ (Long live our king) then there was ‘Ey Iran ey marzeh por gohar’ (Iran, my prosperous land) then there was ‘Shod jomhoorieh eslami beh pa’ (The Islamic republic came about) and now we have ‘Sarzad az ofogh mehreh khavaran’ (From the horizon, shone the kindness of east ‘,:-\ or something like that. If you think you can do a better job of translating these lines, please be my guest.)
So I can understand why most of you are reluctant to learn this and of course I can’t promise you that it won’t change again next year but please, if you won’t do it for your country, do it for me! I’m serious. I think I might end up having a nervous breakdown if I have to sit through another one of those horrific national anthem experiences with some of the guys from the Iran team going, ‘Oh yeah I know this part, Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey doshman ar to sangeh khare-i man aahanam…’ with the guy next to them elbowing them in their side going, ‘Shut up. That’s not it.’
‘What is it then?’
‘I have no idea. Don’t sing, just move your lips and pray to god that some of our supporters at least know the words.’ and with some of the supporters singing ‘Shod jomhoorieh eslami beh pa’, some singing, ‘I will survive!’ and the rest just standing there, scratching their heads and picking their noses going, ‘Is this still the Mexican’s national anthem?’
[Blogger sighs] I mean it’s bad enough that we don’t seem to know what our flag looks like with some of us waving a flag with an Allah in the middle, some carrying one with the lion and the sword in the middle and the rest (the agnostics) carrying plain red, white and green flags (apparently they do not deny the existence of some sort of symbol in the white part of the Iranian flag but rather hold that one cannot know for certain if the symbol exists or not)
[Blogger sighs again] Well I know I’m just wasting my time putting this here and you lazy lot are never gonna learn it but here it is anyway in case anyone is interested.

Sar zad az ofogh mehreh khaavaran
Foroogheh dideyeh hagh bavaran
Bahman farreh imaaneh maast
Payaamat ey emaam, esteghlaal, azaadi, naghsheh jaaneh maast
Shahidaan, pichideh dar goosheh zaman faryaadetan
Paayandeh mani o jaavedan, jomhoorieh eslaamieh Iran

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Monday, June 12, 2006

‘It’s not the winning it’s the taking part that counts.’ Yeah right!
Iran 1, Mexico 3, Shirin and Kamyar £10 poorer.
Ok the first half was good. It was really good in fact. They were playing so well, weren’t they? They were fast on their feet and passed the ball around really nicely and altogether it really looked like they were playing a much better game than the Mexicans. But then the second half came and [blogger blows raspberry]. Well we all know what happened then, don’t we?
It looked as though during the halftime our team had indulged themselves in a three course meal of Mast-o khiar and then Chelokabab with doogheh mabsoot followed by a big bowl of Sholeh zard and a ghalyoon while the other team had been injected with large quantities of Red Bull and Lucozade, while someone shoved bags of coke up their nostrils!
What happened to our boys? Well I say boys but you know…most of them are knocking on a bit aren’t they? They just couldn’t be bothered or simply couldn’t play anymore. They were all just hanging around by their own goal probably thinking, ‘Oh don’t pass that to me. What am I gonna do with it…Shit, the Mexican got it again. Oh well never mind.’
At times it was even painful to watch. When that poor goalie was trying to get them to go back a bit so he could pass the ball to them on the other side of the pitch, you could see they were taking a few steps back going, ‘Is this ok?’ then he would be like, ‘No back, back.’ and motioning them to go back with his hand and you could tell they were all like, ‘Uhhhh, do I have to? But then I’ll just have to run all the way back again, don’t I? What’s the point?’
Well it’s not the players’ fault I guess. Some of them are well past their sell-by date and should really be left alone to sit in their cardigans and comfy slippers and watch the game from the comfort of their homes, rather than play in it.
Let them go for crying out loud before one of them ends up having a heart attack on the pitch!

But seriously what is this fascination we have with old footballers? I guarantee you, Ali Parvin would still be playing too if only his belly was a little bit smaller. And I have my suspicions the only reason that poor guy had to go and make such a huge belly for himself is because there really was no other way for him to get out of playing football until he was well into his nineties.
Isn’t it about time we stopped treating our footballers like pickled garlic? Baba, be peer, be peyghambar, be ee sooyeh cheraagh, [swearing to this and that] up until his mid twenties, like pickled garlic, a footballer might get better with age but from then on it’s all downhill for the footballer whereas pickled garlic not only tastes better, but I have a feeling it might play a better football as well.

Well there’s no point crying over spilt milk but what can I do, I’m truly disappointed.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Last night our cooker blew up. If you’ve never had the pleasure of having an electric cooker blow up in your face, take it from me; it’s quite frightening and really annoying as well especially if just moments before you have been saying, ‘I’m so happy. Hey isn’t summer great?’ while dancing around the kitchen, chopping up vegetables for you pasta sauce.
Kamyar said, ‘Yeah it’s great, isn’t it?’ and we pulled some very extreme happy faces for each other; arms up in the air, eyes bulging, mouth wide open; screaming style only soundless with jazz hands to finish.
Ok we were a bit merry from our one can of Becks each after having been out in the sun all day.
‘Look; I’ve got a tan just from walking to town and back today.’ I said. Kamyar agreed with my statement on further inspection, ‘You have as well. Nice.’ and then said, ‘I’ll just go and check something on my blog. Be back in a sec.’
And that’s when I noticed it. A most dazzling light was shining out from underneath the frying pan.
Naturally I thought what I presume any normal tipsy person would think when put in a similar situation on the night before their thirty first birthday; this was God, trying to make contact with me.
I felt quite chuffed of course but then I thought, ‘I really hope he’s just come to say happy birthday and be off on his way.’ because Kamyar and I were having such a nice evening together and we were both tired and fancied just lying on our sofa and watching Walk the Line and if god was to suddenly turn up, we would probably have to sit up straight and make polite conversations with him about the Koran and the Old Testament.
‘Maybe I’m going to be a prophet’ I thought. If that’s the case I hope I’m a fun prophet with a nice easy religion that says things like, ‘If you want to go to heaven, eat strawberries.’ and ‘But if you’re allergic to strawberries or just don’t like them, eat cherries or bananas.’ and that sort of thing. I didn’t really fancy having to go to wars and preach and all that.
‘I wonder if he’ll be willing to give me this week’s winning Lottery numbers as a birthday gift’ I thought, ‘or pull some strings and make Iran win the World Cup or at the very least, cure my eczema.’
And then it happened, as I bent down to see how much longer god was planning to illuminate the kitchen from underneath my frying pan before saying happy birthday, Booooooooom; the hob blew with a loud bang, sparks went flying and for the first time in it’s very long life, our old electric cooker had a nice little fire on it (which by the way god failed to come out from).
Happy birthday to me :-)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Ro-more trouble than it’s worth-mance

Part Three

In the last two parts of Ro-more trouble than it’s worth-mance, I have talked about two romantic disasters. In this third and last part in this series however, I want to talk about when romance (in its conventional sense) goes O so totally, perfectly, Hollywoodily right and exactly what that leads to in Shirin’s world.

Picture this if you may: a lovely summer’s day in a beautiful meadow/forest (well like a meadow with a mini forest just behind it) birds tweeting, blue skies with a few little white fluffy clouds, sun; shining warm, a breeze blowing; just about strong enough to make the daisies and the buttercups of the meadow dance to the rhythm of the forest and the birds. O how glorious it was. And there we were; my friend and I walking through meadow on our way to the forest.
I was babbling on about this and that. My friend was not saying much and looked as though he had something on his mind. I kept thinking he was getting flustered because it was too hot and he had this big coat on but he kept saying he was ok.

This is many years ago by the way and this boy was a good friend of mine that I got on with really well. I can’t remember if I’d had a crush on him right from the start or if I had developed the crush after we had been friends for a while but what I’m certain of is that I was a bit angry with myself at the time because I had done it again; I had gone and got too pally with this guy and again I was finding myself in that really awkward situation where I fancied my “friend” and was at a constant struggle with myself about whether to tell him or not. ‘What if he doesn’t feel that way about me? The thing is I don’t want to lose this friendship and if I say anything to him about that then we can’t really stay friends like this anymore. Maybe I’ll say something and if he looks too shocked I’ll pretend I was joking. No that’s silly. But I have to do something…or maybe not. No but I think I have to say something. Ok, if that flying pigeon lands on the ground before I finish counting to ten, then I’ll tell him. 1, 2, 3, 4… o-ok, I guess I’ll have to tell him then. Right then, here we go. Hang on a minute; is that a pigeon or a woodpigeon?’
You get the picture I’m sure. It was just so difficult and I didn’t know what to do.

Back to that day now. As the meadow ended and we entered the forest, my friend suddenly pulled his hands out of his big coat’s pockets and produced a bottle of wine and two glasses.
You would think any normal person that fancied her friend and was constantly thinking to herself if he liked her as well or not, would take one look at her friend who had kept his big coat on under the sun and had walked for about an hour with his hands in his pockets to stop the glasses from clinking, only to be able to surprise her with a bottle of wine in such an amazingly romantic setting, would quickly put two and two together and work out exactly what was going on. Sadly however, Lady Dumb-dumb here was no normal person. So she took one look at the situation and thought, ‘Wine? But it’s not even noon yet! And it’s so hot as well; I bet I’ll get a migraine. Well at least that explains the big coat but why didn’t he just put it in a carrier bag? I just hope he hasn’t forgotten the bottle opener.’
Of course he hadn’t forgotten the bottle opener but even if he had I’m sure we would have found one in front of us right there on the path. I mean everything else about that day was so absolutely perfect and looked as though someone had arranged every single thing about it from the temperature right down to those tiny purple flowers that had popped up all over the place that I’m sure a bottle opener would somehow have found its way to us too.

Two hours, some wandering around the forest talking about this and that and one bottle of wine later, a bit tipsy and very happy, we made our way back through the gorgeous meadow with me half dancing, half skipping in the front thinking ‘should I tell him should I not’ and my friend walking behind.
Suddenly my arm was grabbed and I was pulled back; gently but firmly. I don’t know if we kissed first and then fell to the ground or if we fell first and then kissed but the next thing I remember is looking up at that perfect blue sky with one little fluffy cloud going across it which I swear momentarily turned into a heart-shape before escaping my viewpoint.
I wish I could tell you exactly what was going on in my head at those moments after the kiss as I stared up at the blue sky but unfortunately there’s nothing to tell as for reasons unbeknown to me, my brain had suddenly stopped working.
I really wanted to say something but due to a very inconvenient brain shutdown, could not think of a single thing to say. Talk about awkward, the poor guy had gone through all that trouble; done all the work so to speak and now I couldn’t even say one little word to him. God only knows what was going on in his head at the time.
It was terrible. It felt like I was doing a movie scene and had forgotten my lines but unfortunately there was no one to shout out ‘Cut’ and then ‘Ro-more trouble than it’s worth-mance, Part 3, Scene 4, Take 2’

I’ve been racking my brain about this for the past ten or eleven years but unfortunately still have not been able to find a logical explanation for what happened to me that day. Was it romance overdose? Some kind of rare brain virus? A mild stroke? Or maybe it was destiny, galloping onto the scene, shouting, ‘What’s going on? Stop everything at once. You can’t do that. She’s not supposed to fall in love with him.’
‘Why the hell not man? It’s all going so perfectly well. Look at this super romantic set we’ve created here; forest, meadow, flowers; yellow, purple and white, blue skies, sun shining warm, heart-shaped clouds, (do you know how long it took me to persuade Cupid to do that for us?) we’ve even brought in the award wining Amazon Birds Orchestra. They’ve been practicing all morning with that cow that does an impression of Barry White, for the grand finale…’
‘I know, I know; I can see you’ve done a lot of work here but I’m sorry; this is not supposed to happen. Look I’ve got her chart over here. She can’t go and fall in love now, it’ll ruin everything.’
‘Let’s have a look’
‘What’ this; August 1996, Makes wrong choice after smartly dressed date slips in…what’s this?’
‘Sorry my handwriting can be a bit hard to read sometimes. Its says ‘…after smartly dressed date slips in cow manure and falls head first into the river.’’
‘Nasty! July 1997, Date ends when she runs off after being attacked by a swan who had taken a liking to her purple trainers! This girl really needs to stay away from rivers.’
‘Tell me about it.’
‘July 1998, on a camping holiday in France an Argentinean man named Eduardo DOES WHAT?’
‘Hey, give me that. These are personal. Ok let’s see, some boyfriends, break-ups, la la la…now here we go; September 1999, falls in love with the man with one eyebrow who goes by the name of Kamyar…’
‘Hey doesn’t he look like that guy that played the crazy roommate of Chandler’s in friends and was also in Saving Private Ryan and A Beautiful mind? What’s his face, you know…’
‘Adam Goldberg’
‘Yeah that’s it. Man he really looks like him.’
‘Have you quite finished?’
‘Yes sorry about that. Please do go on. Do they live happily ever after?’
‘Let’s try and sort out this mess you’ve created here first, shall we?’
‘But how?’
‘The only thing I can think of is to restart her brain and hope that she will just get up and walk off without saying a word.’
‘As much as I’d hate to see all this go to waste, I quite like the idea of her and the Adam Goldberg guy so I’m having my fingers crossed that’ll work. Hey maybe I could get the Barry White impressionist cow to sing at their wedding.’
‘You could try but they probably won’t even notice it since they’ll be far too drunk. Plus they will have their wedding at the ninth floor of an apartment building in Tehran; I think you might have a hard time trying to get your cow up there.’
‘Yeah you’re right…hey maybe I could persuade the cow to get into a cage and then sing for them suspended outside the ninth floor window. What do you think?’
‘Sounds like a cunning plan my friend. Good luck with that.’