Saturday, October 21, 2006

This year when I was in Iran, I was told by an uncle (a few times removed) who looks a bit like Sloth from the Goonies (in a nice way) that on account of my great grandfather and a little sack full of screwed up pieces of paper that he was buried with, I will be going to heaven regardless of what I do in this world.

It’s a strange feeling knowing that you are going to go to heaven no matter what. It kind of makes me wish I enjoyed doing more bad things. At the moment the worst things I do are probably not picking up the phone sometimes, throwing away mouldy bread and not listening to the great advice of prophet Mohammad, ‘Stop eating at one bite before feeling full’
To top it off, I used to get these terrible migraines when I was younger that would stay on for hours and according to Prophet Mohammad suffering through one hour of headache is the equivalent of seven years of praying (or seventy? Ok, let’s say seven is correct) which means discounting the hangover pains (which I have a feeling will not count) I have many more years of praying banked up than I’ve lived in this world.

I’m thinking of putting some on ebay if anyone’s interested. I mean why not? Some people (who are very busy or simply can’t be bothered) employ others to pray for them. It’s true. If they go out drinking one night, the next morning they’ll call up their employee and say, ‘Fancy some overtime?’
Things could be a lot simpler if instead of employing someone and having to listen to their whines about holidays and raises and bonuses, you could just go and buy however much praying you needed on ebay. I’d always known I was destined to become an entrepreneur.
Now I’ve patented this idea so don’t you migrainy types think you can just go and start up your own business because I will sue your Nurofen-starved heads, not only in this world but also in the next.

Now back to the subject of my great grandfather and his little sack of screwed up pieces of paper.
My great grandfather was a man of god. He prayed. He read the Koran.
Every time my great grandfather…Aah I don’t know why I keep saying ‘my great grandfather’ it’s a bit formal isn’t it? I’ll just use his name from now on, Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam. That’s better. So every time Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam read the Koran from start to finish, he would take a little piece of paper, screw it up and keep in a little pouch. This was the pouch that was later buried with him.

Apparently there were so many pieces of paper in there that would make Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam the…well I was going to say ‘the king of heaven’ but I suppose a position like that has probably already been taken by someone like Prophet Mohammad or Jesus so he will be something like Secretary of State perhaps. Anyway even after becoming a high ranking heaven official, he will still have so many screwed up pieces of paper to spare that (according to uncle Sloth) all his children and all his children’s children and their children will get all their sins washed away and enter heaven too.
Great, isn’t it? It’s like having your name on the best guest list ever. While all you lot will be queuing with the rest of them outside the gates of heaven, putting your most holly faces on to try and get in, I’ll be pulling up in a white chauffer driven Bentley and waltzing in through the VIP door to pick up the keys to my three bedroom Victorian semi with a river of milk and a river of honey running through the bottom of its backyard.

Ok so maybe it’s a bit mean of me to rub it in your faces like this. But don’t worry I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be all milk and honey and Bentleys and Victorian semis for me either.
Think about it. First of all there’s going to be The Judgment Day where everyone (literally) will be present along with God and Gabriel and the Devil and lo and behold, Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam and his little sack of screwed up paper which I’m guessing the Divine Court is probably going to be a little offended by. I mean they’re supposed to be the biggest record holders ever. They’ve been keeping records since the dawn of time. They know exactly how many grains each ant has picked up in its lifetime and how many times you have passed wind and tried to blame it on your senile grandmother. And then my great grandfather for some reason has felt the need to take his own evidence down there.
I just hope their records match with his screwed up pieces of paper because what is he going to do if they don’t? Is he actually going to have it out with Gabriel? In front of everyone? Ooh, I don’t even want to think about it. You know how it’s kind of embarrassing when one’s parents get drunk and start doing karaoke or re-enacting scenes from Saturday Night Fever? Well I’m not sure but I’m kind of guessing your great grandfather quarrelling with Gabriel on Judgment Day in front of every creature that has ever lived in this world plus God and the Devil and all the angels is going to be quite embarrassing.

And then of course we will have the matter of my sentencing.

Gabriel: Shirin, you are hereby sentenced to shuffle excrement in Hell for all eternity. Any questions?

Me: Yes. Th…

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: What? She can’t be going to hell. There must be some kind of mistake. What about all those headaches she used to get?

Gabriel: Yeah well she was fine with those but then she started selling all her banked up prayers on ebay. Then when she saw what a great demand there was out there for prayers, with the help of a friend she opened up a praying sweatshop in downtown Tehran and started exporting affordable prayers to Europe and the US.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: I can’t believe this. This is terrible. So that is why she is going to hell.

Gabriel: No that’s fine. There is actually a legal loophole in Islam that makes it absolutely fine to buy or sell prayers but your great granddaughter’s problem is that she forgot to keep any prayers for herself.
Now dear I believe you had a question for us.

Me: Emm, yes… about what I’ll be shuffling for all eternity, do you know if that will be human or animal excrement?

Gabriel: Hmm, let’s see. Half burnt stakes, yada yada yada, getting ripped apart by angry dogs, yada yada yada. Oh here we go. Yes, pool of excrement. No that’s not it. Oh yes here we go: shuffling excrement… Hmm, no I’m sorry dear. Unfortunately it does not specify which type of excrement you will be shuffling.

Devil: Sorry to interrupt but can I say something? Now don’t take my word as Gospel but seeing that the act of shuffling excrement will be taking place in Hell, I would imagine it’ll be mostly demon shit.

Me: Oh, I should think that is quite acidic. Am I right?

Devil: Yes but you don’t need to worry about that; we will be issuing you with special protective gloves and boots…

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Ok that’s enough. You know I’m not going to let her go to Hell and that’s that. So let’s start our negotiations about how many Koran readings it’s going to take to keep her out of there.

Gabriel: Fifteen.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: FIFTEEN? You havein’ laugh? Is he havni’ a laugh? No way. I’ll give you one.

Gabriel: ONE?! ONE?! I know you’re haggling Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam but that’s ridiculous even by Iranian standards.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Two and that’s my last offer.

Gabriel: No way Pedro.

Devil: No way Pedro?!

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Ok then, three and I’m not giving you a Besmellah more.

Gabriel: What did you say? Because for a minute there I thought you said ‘three’ and I was going to get seriously insulted. Thirteen and I’m not accepting a Gholho vallah less.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Well tough because I’m not giving you any more than four.

Gabriel: Twelve.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Five.

Gabriel: Eleven and that’s only because you are a direct descendent of Prophet Mohammad.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Six or I’m walking.

Gabriel: Are you kidding me? No way. Ok I’m getting bored of this now. Let’s call it an even ten.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Seven

Gabriel: Nine

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Eight

Gabriel: Eight and a half.

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Eight and a quarter.

Gabriel: Done.

Devil: Halleluiah!

Me: Thanks for bailing me out Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam. I’m very sorry you had to…

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Come on young lady, we have a lot to discuss.


Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Now tell me. Have you thought of any new money making schemes suitable for this world?

Me: Seriously?

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Yes. Well we have all eternity here so we might as well do something.

Me: Well off the top of my head…a sewage system for Hell?

Mirza Mohammad Ali khan-eh Sahamnezam: Do you think there will be much profit in that?

Gabriel: Excuse me! Can the people who have already had their sentencing PLEASE move their talks of dodgy dealings out of this court?! We really need to get on with things over here!
Ok where was I? Oh yeah. May I have your attention please, may I have your attention please? Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? I repeat, will the real Slim Shady please stand up? We’re gonna have a problem here...


Tima said...

BRAVO Shirin joon ..... what an amazingly witty young lady you are. LOVE your writings... Boos boos - Tima (your Auntie once removed:-)

Anonymous said...

LOL, are there actually other ways to substitute praying, other than headaches? It would be handy since Ive forgotten the whole two prayers, maybe I get one or two words together. I can stil send a salawat, but there are hardly any tunnels in Wales and don't think the megabus bus drivers would get it...
In all seriousness, headaches are very evil and I think even 70years prayers are not enough to get rid of them.dont sacrifice yourself for keeping others from hell

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post Shirin,

Shadgoli said...

That was really good my dear. Especially the conversation.x

Anonymous said...

are u sure u've gone off Alcohol..

bijan said...

very imaginative and funny!

bijan said...

also, I love the idea about being able to purchase redemption on eBay. Very clever!

Minoo said...

This was so funny and I loved it. There is this old woman I go to for fresh orange guice on the mountain, she is so slim, but keeps fasting even out of Ramezan month. The poor thing was asked by her ever high on opeom husband, at his death bed to do his missed out fasts for him. He did not even bother to hire some one to pay. Why should he when he could ask his wife for free. "How can I not do Haji's last request?" she says. (What a marde rend).

Shirin said...

Thanks a lot once-removed-aunty Tima. You’re making me blush ;-) xxxxx

That is so funny M :-) I had totally forgotten about the whole Salawat after the tunnel thing. Unfortunately there are no tunnels in Oxford either. I should remember that for next time I go to London and get on the Underground train though.
On second thought that might not be such a good idea as I will probably end up getting myself arrested if not shot five times at point blank!

Thanks Amir :-) I’m glad you liked it.

Thanks Shadgoli. Hey cousin, do you think you are going to want to drive up there in your own Bentley or do you fancy riding up with me? I think we should go together. It’ll be fun.

Well for now I have Foulla. It’s worrying isn’t it? ;-)

Sounds like you have a good business mind Bijan. Unfortunately I can’t offer you partnership as I’ve suffered through a lot of headaches to build this business. But if you’re interested maybe I could offer you some shares.

Minoo, I think I know the woman you’re talking about. Is this the mother of Sheer-zan? It really seems like that poor lady has drawn the short straw in that family. If only her daughter was a little smaller maybe she could think about dumping all the fastings on her but as it is I think she will be lucky if once she has finished doing her husband’s fasts, her daughter doesn’t give her a smack around the head and say, ‘My turn!’

Shirin said...

Just had a thought Minoo. Next time you’re out there sipping your orange juice, maybe ask that lady how much she is willing to pay to buy her way out of all her husband’s fasts. She is my first customer and also your friend so I’ll do a good price for her. Actually maybe wait for a few days. I think I first need to find out the exchange rate for prayers into fasts and also if there is some sort of interest charged every time you exchange because that way it’ll probably be better to exchange them straight from headaches to fasts instead of headaches to prayers to fasts. Oh so many things to think about. I think I feel another headache coming up. Goodie!

Negar said...

your going off alcohol "for now" makes me think you're pregnant! but then i've been wrong before!!!

Moj said...

You really have a talent..I so enjoy reading all your postings...And vy I love the drawings...


amanda kay said...

i'll meet you in heaven. i'll be driving the bentley.

Minoo said...

Aide shoma mobarak. It is Fetr today and no more fasting, only for my old friend will never end. Darling I don't think she can afford to pay you in Pounds. May be her daughter will be your first customer. She is as you said the sheer zan. Never fasts and looks very healthy and wealthy. Nader loved your post,saw him last night.

Shirin said...

You know you might be onto something there Negar. Come to think of it, I feel kind of puke-y too. I thought my breakfast of two pieces of toast toped with Marmite, cottage cheese, tomatoes, olives and walnuts followed by a cup of green tea was to blame for that but maybe there’s another reason. Let me go pee on a stick and I’ll get back to you.

Thanks Moj :-) Hugs to you too.

No no Amanda Kay, you must join our party at the back. Kamyar and Shahin can take turns driving us. Actually it’s probably best not to let Shahin behind the wheels, he will only break it like that poor Mini. Somehow I don’t think we will look quite as cool if we end up arriving there towed by a breakdown service van.

Oh the poor little thing. Minoo, do you think she will perhaps be able to pay me in orange juice instead? Or maybe next time I’m in Tehran, she can give me a piggyback up the mountain. I’m not fussy really. Eideh shoma ham mobarak.

negar said...

hehe, i'll be right here waiting!

The Spring Breeze said...


I'm sittinga coffee shop trying to stop myself from laughing out loud! And the idea of real slim shady being right after you rocks... how do they organize lines on judgement day?

persianarchitect said...

Honestly Shirin khanoom, I don't know how you come up with these ideas, I just couldn't stop laughing. Simply hilarious.

Shirin said...

Spring Breeze, I’m not sure but I’m guessing it’ll be in the order of how well they rap. In which case there’ll be Dr Dre, Yours Truly and then Slim Shady.

Thanks Persian Architect :-)

GazanKhan said...

My dear Shirin, I have been out of here and there and every where and everything for some time; from a few weeks ago till now that is, and didn't miss anything except you and your stories and report. This last one is absolutely brilliant. I must tell you again Shirin, You are my favorite writer.

Shirin said...

I had really missed you too Gazankhan. I was getting really worried thinking you’d left blogsphere to become a fulltime cowboy ;-) It’s great to have you back.

child said...

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