Destiny|سرنوشت

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I remember there was an old ruined mansion in Bushehr where people could pay a little amount to go inside. We visited the wrecked house a few times in my childhood. The story behind it was so sad but more importantly, a life lesson which was probably why they took us to the palace several times.

roof-540835_960_720The story goes that the owner was a very rich merchant who was a profligate spender to show off how wealthy he was. People used to say he lit his cigars with burning bills instead of matches in front of others and when big politicians came to Bushehr from the Capital Tehran, he lit candles with bills to show how powerful and rich he was.burning-money-2113914_960_720He used to serve tea in gold tea cups and eat in silver plates and dishes. He was never friendly with anyone and found it disgraceful to talk to the poor.pots-186553_960_720

Eventually, he lost everything, went bankrupt and died without a penny to leave for his children. The poor people who now lived in the mansion with no windows or doors and partially no roof and walls, were his grand children who owned the land. They lived very impoverish lives.person-1172018_960_720They survived with general labors and the money people paid to see the ruined house. They never talked to anyone, nor answered any questions.  It was obvious that they were so ashamed of their grandfather’s past.

My father said that no one ever offered them any jobs because their grandfather was so cruel to the town, and never respected anyone as he saw himself as a superior.

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Private Property|ملک شخصی

 

Travelling was a big part of my childhood. We were originally from Shiraz.  My father loved driving long distances.

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He believed that all Iranians should see every spot in Iran first before travelling anywhere else in the world. Because of this, we’d gather in two or three cars along with our extended family and drive to different parts of the country one month of every summer to see centuries worth of history of Iran.

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Undeniably, Iran is an incredibly beautiful country with many historical sites to see and for us kids, every one of our road trips were the epitome of a dream vacation. There was no school or homework, only endless playing and freedom ‘til we dropped. I loved adventure and kept my eyes open to record every second of it; maybe I knew one day I would write about those days.

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One summer, we wanted to head towards the north. The north of Iran are the greenest parts of the country.  The weather is mostly foggy, rainy and the humidity is very high. Our eyes never got tired of watching beautiful forest and green lands.

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The trips were never tiring because we’d stop frequently along the way. This time, my father chose a green land beside the road which looked great for having a lunch picnic break. We all helped spread the carpets and lay out all the things we needed. As our mothers were preparing lunch, us kids didn’t waste any time and started playing while our fathers laid comfortably on the carpets and talked.

Shortly after, the sound of a man shouting came from a distance captured everyone’s attention. My father said that we might be on somebody’s land and made them mad. We then noticed a man running towards us. My father got up really fast and wore his shoes so that he could be ready to talk to the young man. As he got closer to us, we started to hear that he was yelling, “Get out! Get out!” My father started apologizing and explaining that he didn’t know he had stopped at a private property. The man got close to us and said to my Dad, “Sir, you are sitting on a snake land!” In that moment, everybody looked down and saw thousands of snakes covering the land. The snakes were so black and brown, many piled up next to and on top of each other that it looked like land.

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Everybody started screaming and jumping up and down. The scene was terrifying and at the same time hilarious. All the kids and mothers jumped into the cars while the fathers were scared as well, but they had to act brave and get all of our things off the land infested with snakes. The young man said, “Don’t worry these snakes aren’t poisonous.” And he helped us get our belongings.

It might have been a scary moment with no lunch, but an unforgettable day.

 

True Love|عشق حقیقی

I learned a lot in life from my mother’s bedtime stories. Here is another life lesson to me, that I would like to share:

Once upon a time there was a sweet and kind girl named Sahar who was engaged to a nice thoughtful young man named Anoosh.

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They both loved each other so much and were soon to get married. Back then, there were no vaccinations and if a very simple virus spread, many people died or stayed disabled very easily. Pox virus spread in the engaged couple’s village as well as all over the country.

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Unfortunately Sahar got the disease and it started spreading all over her face and body. Each pox created a deep hole which would stay for ever on the affected person’s body.

Sahar refused to see Anoosh because the disease was contagious and she was losing her beauty forever, no matter how hard Anoosh tried. After a little while, Anoosh claimed to his family that he was sick and he was sure that he had Pox as well. But no one saw any sign of Pox on his skin. After a short period of time Anoosh announced that he lost his sight because of Pox. It was very common to go blind because of Pox.

Sahar was so sad to hear that news. She was devastated and started to see him again. They didn’t break up their engagement and got married soon after.

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They lived happily and in love for thirty five years. All those years, Anoosh was still blind and Sahar had pockmarks on her face and body.

 

Sadly, Sahar died and left Anoosh all alone.

In Sahar’s memorial ceremony everyone saw Anoosh walking without his blind cane and seemed to be normal.

Relatives were so shocked. They had realized how truly Anoosh loved Sahar to pretend to be blind for 35 years. Sahar didn’t want Anoosh to spend the rest of his life with her being ugly, and Anoosh pretended to be blind so she would think that he couldn’t see her.

 

 

 

 

Honest Flower|گل راستی

 

The greatest moments of my childhood was all the beautiful fairy tales that my mother told us as we fell asleep. All the stories that I share in my blog are those memorable tales with important morals.

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Once upon a time there was a young prince who wanted to get married. He knew that every girl would marry him for his name and power, but he wanted to find true love. He invited all the young girls in his kingdom whether they were poor or rich, famous or unknown.

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One of the young girls invited was the daughter of the palace’s gardener. She saw the prince every day from a distance and loved him secretly like all the other girls in his kingdom.

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At the day of the prince’s party, he handed one seed to each girl and announced that he would wed the girl that could develop the most beautiful and healthy flower from the seed.

Like all the other girls, the palace gardener’s daughter planted the seed in a pot and took great care of it, waiting for it to grow. Weeks passed and the girl did not even see a sprout. She tried so hard and used different methods of nourishing plants taught by her father, yet there were still no signs of any growth.

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The girls of the kingdom had 3 months to grow their seed and bring their pots to the most important party, which was for the prince to choose his future bride.

All of the girls gathered with beautiful colorful pots full of flowers except the gardener’s daughter whose pot was just full of soil. She walked to the line with shame and disappointment.

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The prince greeted all the girls and saw their flowers carefully, and then announced, “My future wife will be the girl with the honest flower.”

All the girls got excited and looked at each other’s pots, hoping that the prince was talking about their flowers.

The prince pointed at the gardener’s daughter with the pot full of soil. He said, “I choose her. She is the most honest girl in my kingdom. The seed that I handed to each one of you was infertile and none of you could’ve possibly grown anything out it. You all lied just to be my wife.”

 

And so the prince happily married the honest girl.

The Snake in the Garden|مار درباغچه

 

It is part of the Muslim religion to believe that “Jinn” live among humans. In Iran, many people used to report seeing Jinn but these sightings eventually stopped in the last 70-80 years. Jinn are supernatural creatures who lived thousands of years between people secretly.

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They are capable of shape-shifting into animals. They look like humans but with hooves and tails. They hid themselves from humans because they were afraid of us and believed we could harm them. They are harmless unless they get indignant. The word “Jinn” means “hidden from sight.” Although normally we don’t see them, they are able to see us. Some believe that Jinn are able to time travel and that they come from different planets.

When I grew up in Iran, older generations from not only my family but many others claimed that they had seen Jinn. As a child, there were a few stories in particular that always sent chills down my spine and decades later, still do. I will share one of old family member’s memories of seeing Jinn.

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He claimed that he was shoveling in his garden when he accidentally hit a snake in the head. Instead of killing it with his shovel, he felt sorry for the snake and decided to let it go.

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The next day his doorbell rang, but he wasn’t expecting anyone. When he answered the door, somebody he didn’t recognize handed him an envelope without saying a word. When the strange man left, he opened the envelope and found a wedding invitation with his surname on it.

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Surprised, he showed the card to all of his family members and none of them knew the bride or groom. His family decided not to go since they didn’t know anyone but he decided to go alone out of respect. The wedding took place just a few days after he had received the invitation, he followed the address and found himself in a big garden with lots of lights, chairs and dressed up people like all of the weddings he normally went to. He couldn’t recognize anyone, so he just sat on a random empty seat. There were all kinds of fruits and pastries on the table in front of him.

When the bride and groom were walking around to greet guests, he got up on his feet like others. He noticed that the groom had a bandage wrapped around his head. The groom walked towards my family member and thanked him for letting the snake go the other day in the garden. He continued: “Thank you for not killing me.” This terrified him. In that instant, he looked down and realized that everyone around him had hooves.

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He fainted from the horror of the scene.

When he woke up, he found himself in an old graveyard in his town “Bandar Anzali.”

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A Memorable Friend|یک دوست به یاد ماندنی

Back then in Bushehr, there weren’t any big supermarkets or grocery stores. There was some local small shops or sellers on the sidewalks to sell vegetables, fruits, meat, poultry, baked goods, etc. It was common for maids to do all the grocery shopping. Therefore, my mother never went out to buy produce.2905503088_ac81ca4e73

However, Once a week my mother drove us to downtown Bushehr. We went to the bazaar to purchase personal needs or just to have fun. Bushehr is located south of Iran and has a desert climate. Its coastline is more than 700 kilometers in the Persian Gulf and is known for its old architecture.

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It is home to a Nuclear Power Plant, and also one of the important harbours for imports and exports of trading goods.  Many foreign engineers and technicians lived there to work in the Nuclear Power Plant. One day as we were shopping in downtown Bushehr, mother suggested ice-cream.  Even hearing the word ice-cream made us cheerful. We walked towards an ice-cream shop and waited in line. We asked for ice-cream cones and the sales person handed us our cones one by one. ice-cream-2562584_960_720

I got mine first as I was the youngest and mother was busy paying and counting. I held the cone and looked at it with eagerness to taste it, when I realized that a boy about my age with no shirt, ripped shorts and no shoes was staring long and hard at my ice-cream. I could see his mouth was watering and I could feel his deep desire to have it.pic 6

Without any hesitation I walked towards him to hand him my ice-cream. He got excited and dropped the the scoops on the dirty and muddy floor.3609598996_1af1b6c642

He bent and picked up what he could and in the moment that I was going to say “It’s alright, I will ask my mother to buy you another one,” he had already devoured the ice-cream with mud all over it.

In that moment I felt so sad for him and burst into tears. My crying got my mother’s attention and I told her what had happened. She smiled at me, showing me she was proud of me and handed her untouched ice-cream to the boy and said, “Here you go my son.” She then proceeded to get two more ice-cream cones for me and her.

That was a friendship with a boy who I never said word to nor knew his name, but would never forget for the rest of my life.