Sunday, November 23, 2008

Flying time

I went to Toys R Us to buy his birthday gift. As I walked through the sliding glass doors two screaming brats cut me off and almost tripped me to the ground, 3 more brats were screaming and whining in front of the entrance and two grown men were running around chasing their spoiled and screeching brats. I started looking around at the monster cars and the action figures and that was when I realized that I do not know what he likes any more. I have been away from him for so long that I do not know what he is into these days. Instead of guessing I decided to call his mother to get the latest about his likes and dislikes. I was trying to have a quiet and adult conversation on my cell phone but the screaming babies, the pointless yelling, the stupid sirens, the out of tune guitar music and the obnoxious parents prevented me to do so. So I found a quiet corner (I guess board games are not very popular) to talk. His mother directed me to an item that is sold in Best Buy, so happy that I get to get the hell out of that crazy colorful place I sped off towards an adult store. Then it hit me, I was buying his birthday present at Best Buy not Toys R Us, this means that he has grown up! When the hell did this happen?
So I walked around the store not only shocked and depressed but also confused about what this damn DS2 was and where the hell they are. I had never heard of such thing and did not even know what they looked like, so I grabbed the kid who worked at the store and asked for help. He looked at me with a smile and informed me that we were standing in the DS2 section. I smiled back and defended myself by saying that I did not know what the games looked like. At that point I did not look like an idiot any more, but I looked damn old.
By this time I was feeling shocked, depressed, confused and old! But I got myself together and picked out two games (as randomly as possible) and headed to the register. The kid behind the register greeted me and rang me up with out raising his head to look at me until he was handing me the receipt. As soon as he saw me he said: "oh, would you like a gift receipt?", translation: "you look too old to be buying DS2 games for yourself or even know what they are, so this must be a gift".
When the hell did he grow up so fast that Toys R Us is not his store any more, instead he likes things that are sold at Best Buy? When the hell did I grow so old that I do not even know what the hell these new games and gadgets are? This sucks!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Women's revolution

I was sitting in a stretch limo, sipping sparkly Champagne and having a conversation with a young lawyer who I had just met. She was a strong, independent, smart and powerful woman who lived alone and worked as an attorney in Los Angeles. During our conversation I told her about my job and she told me about hers, the ups and downs and our likes and dislikes. I told her about how I am excited and happy each and every morning when I get out of bed to get ready to go to work. She looked at me with envy as she said that she wished that she liked her job as much as I did. As she explained why she disliked her job and that this is not what she would like to do for the rest of her life, I became more and more curious. So finally I asked her a simple question of what is it that she would like to do and what her plans for the future are. The answer that she gave me fascinated and surprised me, but most of all it made me really think about and analyze something that had been on the back of my mind for quite some time. She said: "I am hoping to eventually meet some one (a man), get married, have children and raise a family". When I asked her about her career she said: "Maybe I will work part-time".
Not too long ago women's roles in the society was to get married, bear children and to have a family. They were responsible for making and keeping a comfortable and tidy home for their husband and children and to raise a happy family. A woman's job was to cook, clean, wash, tidy the house and to discipline her children. A woman's job was to be supportive of her husband and children, providing them with wise advise and love. A woman's job was to give to the society by teaching her children about values of life and getting them ready for the world. On top of all of that the women always looked pretty for their man and the rest of the society, making the world a beautiful place. In those times no one was confused about their roles as the man went out to work in order to fulfill his role as the bread winner and the woman stayed home to take care of the children and their home. So naturally the man who brought home the money had the decision making power and the woman of course obeyed her husband. It made sense, people were happy as they knew their destiny and their positions. They were content with the life that they led and the life that was what was expected from them. They lived a life identical to their parents and to their grand parents, with out surprises, with out dilemma and with out confusion.
Then one day women woke up and decided that they wanted more, they were not happy with their lives any longer and wanted a change, they wanted a revolution. They were tired of staying home and dealing with the brat's spits, poop and screeching cries, the ironing and folding of their husband's shirts and draws. They were tired of slaving over a hot stove every day and night, having vacuuming and dusting as part of their day to day routine and not being included in the exciting and fast moving world outside. They were tired of being treated differently than the men whom they lived with, so these women started fighting for choices, freedom, independence, power and equality. They figured that possibly one day they could get excited for much more than a brand new washer and dryer set or a shiny blender. So they fought hard, they struggled and even had some casualties, but they did not stop. Strong women every where pushed for independence and equal treatment using willpower instead of tears and brains instead of seduction. It took many years and a lot of burnt bras, but eventually women accomplished what they were fighting for and achieved a level that they were trying to reach.
Even though there were many setbacks and disappointments, even though inequalities and lack of fairness continue to exist, our society came a long way and adopted change. Today independent women get higher education, have high powered jobs and live alone in homes that they own. Women are no longer expected to be housewives with the duty to take care of their children and to serve their husbands. Those women who started this revolution would be proud and overjoyed if they could see us now.
After gaining this equality and power women are now working alongside men in offices and corporations carrying similar responsibilities and putting in as many hours as their male counterparts. So we wonder about who is at home taking care of the children and the house? Who is cleaning the home with love, cooking food with old family recipes, packing the children's lunches? Well, these same women are trying to do these things along side working and having careers, but it does not seem to work out as well as they imagined that it would. But with out going into how the family life and family values of our society has been hurt through this revolution, lets look at the women themselves.
Day after day more and more women are complaining about their jobs, their busy schedules and the juggling of family life and work life. They are not able to handle what they asked for and are regretting the revolution! This is not saying that women cannot handle the work force, the demands and the jobs that they are performing out there, in fact they are doing an amazing job and performing in quite an admirable manner. What this is saying is that the women continue to still desire what feels natural to them, a husband, children and a nice home for their family, however, with their new found power and equality they are not able to achieve that desire as fully as they would like. So the women are confused, they want the independence and the careers as well as the family and the old way of living. They want to be included in the working world, yet they continue to have a deep desire to do what they were originally put on this earth to do.
We have to really think about this and then we will understand that nature has a reason for every thing, so there was a reason for women to stay home, raise children and to take care of their family while men went out to work. There was something about that system which worked for thousands and thousands of years through out all of the different cultures, communities and societies of the world. Then women decided to have a revolution, burn perfectly fine bras in order to make life harder for every one, men, children and themselves. Please do not get me wrong, I am all about progress, advancement, change, growth and bettering ourselves, believe me I am just as confused myself. That is why I am questioning this evolution that has taken place with our race. Is it right? Did all of those women in the 50's, 60's and 70's go through the revolution and endured all of that hardship to get us where we are now just so that in the future women would go to universities and obtain a fine degree such as law and medicine, land a 6 figure income job and buy a home and at the end all they would want is to quit their job, get married, stay home and have children? Now tell me that that is not crazy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Be aware

Imagine the feeling that you get when you come home after a hard day at work. You take your shoes off, change to your comfortable clothes, grab a nice snack from your fridge and plump on the nice cushioned couch and turn on your TV. The Air Conditioning is on if it is hot outside or the heather is on if it is cold outside, giving you relief. Imagine the sense of piece, comfort and security that you have at that moment.
When your children come home from school imagine the feeling that you get when you have fed them with a nice meal and tasty desert and have sent them each to their rooms to work on their homework. Imagine how you feel when you are washing their dishes in your kitchen sink and placing the leftovers in your full fridge. Then you open your kitchen cupboards and start preparing their lunch for the next day. Imagine your feeling of satisfaction, pride and accomplishment. You feel happy about being able to take such good care of your children and providing them with a nice, meal, home and life.
Now imagine if your "home" was a motel room with two beds, a one foot fridge and a small TV in one small square. Your bathroom sink is where you use to wash your face in the morning and the same one you use to wash your dishes at night. You do not own one piece of furniture in the motel room and can be kicked out to the street at any time. You cannot cook or store food as you wish because you do not have a stove or room in the fridge. Your children come "home" from school to a place where they have to do their homework, watch TV, have dinner, change clothes and sleep all in the same room. You are not able to provide the minimum and basic necessities for your children, yet they still have posted their drawings and tests on the wall in order to feel some kind of security. Imagine the shame and pity you feel when you have to look into your children's eyes and tell them that there is no more food to eat. Imagine the sorrow in your heart when your child is ashamed to bring a friend "home" from school.
I want you to imagine this because I want you to know that your life is privileged and that the other life really does exist, more than you could imagine. There are thousands of families who live in motel rooms that they struggle to pay for weekly. Children who know that smelly and old room as their "home" where they live with their family. Children who go to school with all of the other kids but know nothing of their own room, a kitchen table, a birthday party or a back yard. Mothers who take the bus to food banks in order to be able to feed their children at night. I want you to be aware that this style of life is in your neighborhoods, in your streets and in your community. So take your head out of the sand and at least be aware!

Monday, October 20, 2008


Tomorrow is my birthday and the same thoughts are running through my head as every year at this time. What amazing thing have I accomplished in my life? What extraordinary thing have I done so far? What big differences have I made in this world? What is so special about me? I have not climbed the highest mountain, I have not saved a life, I have not discovered a cure to a disease, nor have I managed to win a damn award for any thing. The years keep coming and going and my biography does not seem to improve or grow in any shape or form.
All of the things that I have accomplished in my life are those that others have done so as well. Obtaining degrees and a job, getting married and building a house, buying a car and traveling, what is so extraordinary about that?
I want to travel for the purpose of saving lives, I want to write a book, I want to climb mountains, I want to live amongst the underserved, I want to change lives, I want to make a legacy, I want to support a cause, I want to make a difference, I want to see the world. I can do so much more, I can be so much better, I can give so much more.
Tomorrow is my birthday and I am still at the same place that I was one year ago at this time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


When my older brother Shayan was 13 years old he took a trip to England. When he came back home, he had with him an array of new knowledge, experiences, clothes, toys and a little English turtle named Lucky (not lucky as in "luck" but lucky as in "LUCKposht"). Lucky was a small green English turtle the size of a large palm. Shayan played with Lucky, fed him, washed him and took care of him like any devoted master would of his pet. Shayan and Lucky laughed, played and lived Merrily and happily together. It was not until less than one year later when Shayan was sent to America for good and had to leave Lucky behind. And that is when I became Lucky's friend and play mate, I was 3 years old.
My family had shrunk down to my mom and dad, me and Lucky, so naturally Lucky and I spent many hours together. Through out the years I played with Lucky as he was a close friend and a confidant. He roamed around the house as he pleased and some times would get lost for hours.
I would fill up the bath tub with a few inches of water and place Lucky in there where he swam around and washed his face with his two little hands. I would put Lucky at one end of the room and I would sit in the other end holding pieces of lettus and carrots (his meal) and would watch him patiently and slowly make his way down to me. I would take Lucky out to the back yard and let him roam around in the garden while I rode around on my bike. He had made a home for himself inside of a little hole in the corner of the garden. At times we would leave Lucky in the back yard where he would roam around and sleep in his little hole for days. At other times he lived in a little cardboard box that my father had built for him (with cut out windows and a door) in the terrace. Lucky always kept his head, arms and legs inside of his shell when I picked him up and he would only come out when he thought no one was there. Lucky was slow and quiet, he was the most innocent creature that I had ever seen in my life.
One of the features that this adorable little English turtle had was the fact that he would sleep all through the winter and wake up when spring arrived and blossoms bloomed. One year my parents planned a trip for us to leave the city and celebrate the Norouz (new year) with our out of town relatives. Lucky was sleeping in a silent corner as we rushed out of the house to get to our destination, where we remained for over one week. While we were gone, Lucky woke up from months of sleeping and naturally he was hungry. However, this time his owners (technically that would be my mom and dad since I was still just a young girl) had forgotten to leave food for him. Sadly Lucky died of starvation. My parents found Lucky's lifeless body when we returned home from vacation and I was devastated.
Even though Shayan was Lucky's original owner and his first friend, I was the one who took care of him and played with him for many years. Lucky not only was my pet, but he was also my beloved friend.

I am sorry for not leaving food for you Lucky. I miss you.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Friendship is...
When I run inside your car and scream "GO", you stepping on the gas no matter how loud the person chasing the car screams.

Friendship is...
Driving me to Vancouver B.C. for the Dariush concert after I had a very bad night and listen to me cry and talk about one subject the entire way. Then sitting with me at the breakfast table the next morning for two hours processing and processing about the same subject again.

Friendship is...
Coming to pick me up from my house early in the morning and giving me a ride to my Physiology exam because I had too much wine the night before and cannot manage to drive myself. Then waiting in the car while I take the exam and driving me back home.

Friendship is...
Giving me rides to and from the airport.
(Shideh, Maryam B., Sanaz, Anahita)

Friendship is...
Flying from Maryland to Seattle to attend my wedding, and not saying a word about your less than perfect seating location.

Friendship is...
Being at the door of my house in 10 minutes after I call crying and needing to talk.

Friendship is...
Taking my clothes off (and washing them) and putting me to bed when I am not capable of such tasks.

Friendship is...
Being honest with me about my shortcomings and faults.

Friendship is...
Flying up to Seattle from Los Angeles to attend my wedding. Driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas at 2:00 a.m. to attend my wedding again. Finally driving down to Orange County from Los Angeles in the afternoon traffic after a short notice to attend my wedding again.

Friendship is...
Having so much history that even though it may hurt it, but a falling out will never break the original tie.

Friendship is...
Offering to fly from Toronto to California when I am feeling down and hopeless.
(Maryam A.)

Friendship is:
A treasured gift made up of ingredients such as caring, unselfishness and respect.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Let me introduce you to my little RAV4, she is a green four door Toyota mini SUV, born in 1996. My RAV4 has been with me through a lot in my life, even things that I may not have shared with people closest to me. My RAV4 has seen me through tears and laughter, through travel and work, through life changing events and through special moments; my RAV4 has seen me through life.
My RAV4 was there in those silent cold nights when I sat behind the wheel and shed tears over a broken heart, she was the one who hugged me inside of her and then took me back home. My RAV4 was there when my girlfriends and I rode to clubs and parties laughing and singing, playing loud music for us and witnessing the friendships and the fun. My RAV4 was there through four years of college, internships, jobs and interviews. She was the fist one to see me after an acceptance or rejection, taking in all of my feelings. My RAV4 was there as I mourned deaths in my family and as I celebrated accomplishments.
My RAV4 sheltered me and listened while I had long meaningful conversations and smoked cigarettes under her roof as cold rain poured hard outside. My RAV4 and I listened to depressing music when I was feeling sad, lonely or angry. She and I listened to happy music when I was feeling excited and overjoyed. My RAV4 was with me every single day traveling through the streets of my young adulthood, taking me to work, school, parties, parks, etc. My RAV4 not only protected me as she was hit by cars from behind but she forgave me when I backed her into other cars (and poles) without looking.
My RAV4 gracefully witnessed my joys, my sorrows, my fears and my happiness through different stages and events of my life. My RAV4 saw me puke my guts out during drunken nights and she saw me the next morning regretting that last drink. My RAV4 watched me admire my engagement ring with excitement as I held her steering wheel. My RAV4 came along to Vancouver B.C., Portland, Eastern Washington and California with me. My RAV4 was a silent witness to most of my 20's.
Even when I relocated to another state my RAV4 came with me, acquiring a new license plate and learning the new streets and highways right along with me. My RAV4 was with me as I got lost in the new cities and felt homesick for my old life. My RAV4 has always been one constant thing in my ever changing life, carrying with her my past, my memories and my sense of self.
Although I did not own her until she was two years old, my RAV4 was still very young and fresh, having only acquired 15,000 miles on her. On that August day when I left the house in the morning I was not planning to buy a car, I was not even planning to go into a car dealership. When I was signing the papers I knew that the payments were too high for my budget. When I brought her home, the next day my father sent me back to "return" the car because I could not afford it.
The payments were high for me and I struggled, but not one day did I regret my decision to buy my RAV4. Every single time that I sat in that car I enjoyed it as I loved the fun design on the seats, the cool CD changer, the moon roof, the all around electric features and how perfectly it fit me. She was ideal for traveling, going out, having fun and being me.
Even though there were times that I was not making any money, I still managed to make each and every car payment by myself, may it have been from student loans or from borrowing. After six years I was finally done with the monthly payments and became the sole owner of my RAV4, and that is one of the things that I am very proud of in my life. For this my RAV4 represents my hard work and dedication, my value to commitment and my underestimated strength.
When one day I brought home a brand new shiny white SUV, my RAV4 left her home in the garage and gave way to the newcomer, taking her new spot in the street. I still use my RAV4 at times (for a trip to Home Depot or to the "scketcy" parts of town), but she is not the witness of my day to day life any longer.
My RAV4 is not my main car any more, but she continues to have a special place in my heart as it is difficult to let go of something so heavy, not by weight in tons but by weight in feelings and memories. Every corner of that car carries a memory from the pages of my life during my 20's. For example the broken little red light in the back is from the time when I backed her into the neighbor's car in the early dawn before going snowmobiling.
My RAV4 sits outside of my house gracefully and holds with her so many years of memories and stories of tears and smiles, tales from the book of my life.
Now I am creating new memories and stories for my shiny white SUV to witness, but I know that the stories will not be as exciting, fun, dramatic and life changing as I managed to share with my RAV4 in my 20's.
So now that you have been introduced to my RAV4, you should know why even though she may not have been my first car or my most luxurious car, she is my most precious car.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Freedom: Pro Choice

One of the greatest things about this country is freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of choice. Freedom is one the top reasons why people from other countries dream about moving to America and would commit to almost any act to reach it. Freedom is also one of the top reasons why the citizens and the residents of this country love and cherish this land. It is the essence of what this country is based on and what it prides itself on, freedom is part of this country's identity. The United States of America has always been associated with freedom and that is why we love it.
What do we tell people who challenge our choices? We say: "This is a free country". I am sure that you have used this phrase many times in the past as I have, as it gives us a sense of safety and security. To know that we are the masters of our lives and the leaders of our own march we are provided with the ultimate goal of every human being, happiness. Yes, we live our lives with the peace of mind that we have the power to make our own choices, make our own decisions and hell, do as we please damn it! As far as I am concerned we have never taken this feeling and this privilege for granted, as every day we observe others who live in other countries that do no have this luxury. We thank the Universe for granting us such a precious gift that is so difficult to obtain; at least I do.
So what happens when the leaders of this country come and try to take one of our most important choices away from us? The choice of having a child, the choice so personal that affects the rest of our life. What happens then is that slowly but surely, little by little our right to chose in different matters will be taken away from us until we ultimately lose our so beloved Freedom. To chose to have or not to have a child is one of the most basic rights a human being could have and to take that away from her (him) in my opinion is a cruel act.
Our world has advanced and science has developed to the point that we are able to manipulate nature, and if we can use it to our advantage and to make our lives better, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I believe that the damage that an unexpected or unwanted child will cause to the parents as well as the society is highly drastic and very difficult to ease.
I want you to picture and think about these scenarios: Katie is 17 years old and has been accepted to the University for Journalism, she got pregnant by her high school boy friend. Tina is a housewife who's husband was recently laid off from his job, and she just found out that she is pregnant. Maria is a single mother of 3 and is barely making the rent and child care fees with her full time house cleaning job, she is pregnant again. Nancy who has Down Syndrome lives with her elderly parents, she was taken advantage of by a male neighbor and is now carrying his child. Ana is a 14 year old girl who's uncle has been molesting her since she was 12, she finally became pregnant by him. Susan is a married corporate lawyer who got beat up and raped in the parking lot of her office building, she is pregnant with the rapist's child.
Now some of these women could have prevented their pregnancies, but unfortunately they were either not educated enough or not smart enough to do that, however that does not mean that they deserve to be punished by having their lives turned upside down. On the other hand some of these women could not have prevented their pregnancies by any means, which clearly is the reason why they should have a chance for a possible healthy life and future.
By having the freedom of choice to terminate their pregnancies Katie will go off to college, get an education and obtain a job securing her success. She will become a positive member of our society and contribute to the economy. Tina and Maria will continue to struggle in order to barely make it and survive, however they will not have to worry about another mouth to feed or possibly becoming homeless. They also will not have to go on Welfare to take from the tax payers' hard earned money to pay for their expenses. Nancy and Ana can try to overcome their tragedies and have a full life with possibilities and opportunities. Nancy's elderly parents would not have to spend their pension and their old age taking care of an unwelcomed grandchild and Ana also will not have to use up the tax payers' money to take care of a child brought on by crime. Susan could try to forget about the trauma that she experienced without having to look into her perpetrator's face every day and forcing herself to love that child.
I understand and respect the beliefs of Pro Life supporters, which they are entitled to. There are no laws against having beliefs and living a life based on them, but to force others to follow anothers' beliefs and their ways, I do not understand, respect or support.
Now what does freedom mean if choices such as this are taken away from the people who live in this land and pride themselves in being an American? What is left for us if we do not have our beloved freedom and our right to chose? Pretense, Hypocrisy, lies and deceit.
I am a proud American citizen who lives on this land for the opportunities and the freedom that I am granted, that I am entitled to. I am scared that come November someone could take one of my choices away from me, opening the door for the rest to fly away as well.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Renaissance

It was the Renaissance era where there was an array of beautiful music, exceptional art, grace and elegance. I was wearing a beautiful ball gown made of shiny satin, silk and lace and my hair was up in the most elegant style. I had on big jewels made of diamonds and gold and my hands were covered in white satin gloves. I arrived at the mansion where the ball was being held with a private carriage ready to dance, drink and talk about Michelangelo's art.
The classical music, the ladies in exquisite dresses and the gentlemen in tailored suits, the sparkly champagne, the fresh fruit and the rich culture was breath taking.
It was not until I opened my eyes that I realized that I was sitting on the red double decker tour bus riding around in the streets of Florence in my short dress and my hair in a pony tail, camera in hand.
I must have lived in that time in one of my past lives since I have such a passion for that era's art, music, culture and wealth! Maybe I was acquainted with Michelangelo, who knows, maybe we were lovers.
I am closing my eyes again.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Then & now

I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds around me: the screams, the laughs and the cries of the spectators, the grunts and the moans of the wounded, and the roar of the wild animals. I heard loud cheers as well as terrified sobs. I smelled the scent in the air: a mixture of blood, sweat and dirt. I could smell death and agony along with the perfume of the privileged. I saw myself standing in the middle of a very large crowd, wearing a long brown corset dress with lace up boots.
When I opened my eyes I saw a different picture than what I had painted in my head. It was a hot day but there was no particular scent in the air. I was not wearing a long dress, but I had on leggings and a pink shirt. None of the sounds that I had imagined were present as I was surrounded by civilized tourists taking pictures of what used to be the Roman Colosseum.
As I stood there inside of that very powerful monument which has proudly survived thousands of years, I felt a deep connection between myself and the history that took place in that very spot decades ago. It felt surreal to stand on the same grounds where famous Gladiators fought each other and wild animals. A place where royalty and the commoners gathered to be entertained by barbaric acts decades ago.
I felt united (or possibly re-united) to the past as I put my hand up and touched the stones which had been touched by men and women from not only a time so far away, yet a world much far away.
I could not help but to wonder if in my past life I was royalty, sitting in one of the balcony seats cheering on the wild animal to shed the blood of the Gladiator (smelling of Jasmine and eating grapes), or a peasant sitting in one of the least desirable seats screaming at the Gladiator to fight (secretly and pathetically in love with him). As I closed my eyes I imagined both scenarios.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Goodbye Sarah

We met almost exactly a year and a half ago at a Petco in Irvine. I do not remember if I chose her or if she chose to jump in the scoop herself, but from that day on we became friends. I wanted her for my haftseen, not expecting her to stay with us for as long as she did. Even so, I bought her a nice bowl to swim around, water conditioner to keep her clean and of course food to sprinkle for her every morning. When I brought her home and placed her in the haftseen she looked beautiful and happy. I named her Sarah.
During the early times when she was still young, Sarah was scared when I approached her bowl to feed her or when we changed the water she swam in. She moved quickly, panicking and trying to swim away from my shadow or his hands. However, as time went by she became more comfortable with us, moving slower as I approached or as his fingers moved her to the side. She even started coming up to the surface as I walked up to her bowl. I guess you could say that she was hungry and was looking forward to the food, however I would like to think that she came up to greet me.
Time passed and to every one's surprise Sarah continued to remain healthy. She lived in her bowl, which now had some beautiful marbles that I had bought for her as decoration. She lived in our dining room where she witnessed many get togethers and parties as well as our mundane day to day life. She was a silent observer of our conversations, drunken laughs and quiet dinners. Sarah was a silent and elegant member of the family.
Time passed and another Norouz arrived. So Sarah was placed in her second haftseen as she was originally brought home for. This time Sarah shined in the haftseen as she was bigger, prettier, brighter and happier than last time. She had matured into a glowing lady who swished around the water with confidence.
Sarah was a part of our day to day life as we fed her, changed her water and found her a sitter when we went out of town. I some times would sit by her bowl after sprinkling food in there, watching her eat, swim and make bubbles.
It was not until right before we were getting her ready to go to stay at a friend's home while we would be on vacation that we noticed something different about her. She was not her usual self and something seemed to be off. As we dropped her off at a friend's home we did not know that that would be the last time that we would see her. Although we were not told until after we had returned two weeks later, she had lost her life two days after we had left.
Sarah had not only been part of my every morning ritual, part of our weekly ritual, and part of our pre-vacation ritual, but she was a big part of our life and our little family. She stayed with us for much longer than expected, grew and matured turning into a shining star, who then flew into the skies.
We will miss her.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


"Since I was in the company of an intellectual, I will quote from Plato. According to him, at the beginning of creation, men and women were not as they are now; there was just one being, who was rather short, with a body and a neck, but his head had two faces, looking in different directions. It was as if two creatures had been glued back to back, with two sets of sex organs, four legs and four arms.
The Greek gods, however, were jealous, because this creature with four arms could work harder; with its two faces, it was always vigilant and could not be taken by surprise; and its four legs meant that it could stand or walk for long periods at a time without tiring. Even more dangerous was the fact that the creature had two different sets of sex organs and so needed no one els in order to continue reproducing.
Zeus, the supreme lord of Olympus, said: 'I have a plan to make these mortals lose some of their strength.'
And he cut the creature in two with a lightning bolt, thus creating man and woman. This greatly increased the population of the world, and, at the same time, disoriented and weakened its inhabitants, because now they had to search for their lost half and embrace it and, in that embrace, regain their former strength, their ability to avoid betrayal and the stamina to walk for long periods of time and to withstand had work. That embrace in which the two bodies re-fuse to become one again is what we call sex".

Script from the book "Eleven Minutes" by Paulo Coelho.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


There once was a man who lived in a little village in a far far away land (Iran). Ever since he was a little boy he had a curse for spreading bad luck to the people around him. Even though he had a good heart and was loved by the residents of the village, they all tried to avoid him as much as possible.
One day there was a wedding in the village which all of the residents were going to attend. In order to keep bad luck away from the bride and groom the villagers asked this man to refrain from attending the wedding. He understood but was saddened.
As he was walking through the Meadows, thinking about the wedding and the celebration that was going on with out him, a thought came to his mind. There was a river that flowed through the village, this river would travel by the location where the wedding was being held. He thought that even though he can not be present at the wedding he could send his love and blessing to the new couple with a bouquet of flowers. So he picked some of the most beautiful flowers and made a wondrous and colorful bouquet. As he bent down to send the flowers down the river, he wished the bride and groom love and happiness.
The ecstatic and blushing bride was laughing and celebrating the most important day of her life when she spotted the luscious bouquet of flowers in the river. Happily she stepped toward the water to pick up the beautifully arranged gift. As she bent and reached out to pick up the flowers she slipped and fell into the water. Not being able to swim the bride drowned to death, proving that the man was truly cursed with bringing bad luck to others.

Years passed and the story of "the cursed man and the flowers in the river that killed a young bride" was told to the residents of the village and the neighboring villages over and over again. Slowly names were forgotten and details were omitted, until we were eternally left with:

"Dasteh gol be ab dadi"

Saturday, August 2, 2008


My favorite poem by my favorite poet.

Bi to, mahtaab shabi, baaz az aan koocheh gozashtam,
Hameh tan cheshm shodam, kheereh be donbaaleh to gashtam,
Shogheh didaareh to labriz shod az jaameh vojoodam,
Shodam aan aashegheh divaaneh ke boodam.

Dar nahaankhaaneye jaanam, goleh yaadeh to, derakhshid
Baagheh sad khaatereh khandid,
Atreh sad khaatereh pichid:

Yaadam aamad ke shabi baa ham az aan koocheh gozashtim
Par goshoodim va dar khalvateh delkhaasteh gashtim
Saa-ati bar labeh aan jooy neshastim.

To, hameh raazeh jahaan reekhteh dar cheshmeh siaahat.
Man, hameh mahveh tamaashaayeh negaahat.

Asemaan saaf o shab aaraam
Bakhteh khandaan o zamaaneh raam
Khoosheye mah foro reekhteh dar aab
Shaakheha dast bar aavardeh be mahtaab
Shab o sahraa o gol o sang
Hameh del daadeh be aavaazeh shabaahang

Yaadam aayad: to be man gofti:
"Az in eshgh hazar kon!
Lahzeei chand bar in aab nazar kon,
Aab, ayeeneye eshgheh gozaraan ast,
To ke emroz negaahat be negaahi negaraan ast;
Baash fardaa, ke delat ba degaraan ast!
Ta faraamoosh koni, chandi az in shahr safar kon!"

Baa to goftam: "Hazar az eshgh?! Nadaanam
Safar az peesheh to? Hargez natavaanam,
Rozeh aval, ke deleh man be tamanaaye to par zad,
Chon kabootar, labeh baameh to neshastam
To be man sang zadi, man na ramidam, na gosastam..."

Baz goftam ke: "To sayaadi o man ahooye dashtam
Taa be daameh to dar oftam hameh ja gashtam o gashtam
Hazar az eshgh nadaanam, natavaanam!"

Ashki az shaakheh foro rikht
Morgheh shab, naaleye talkhi zad o begrikht...

Ashk dar cheshmeh to larzid,
Maah bar eshgheh to khandid!

Yaadam aayad ke: degar az to javaabi nashnidam
Paay dar daamaneh andoh keshidam.
Nagsestam, narmidam.
Raft dar zolmateh gham, aan shab o shabhaaye degar ham,
Na gerefti degar az aashegheh aazordeh khabar ham,
Na koni digar az on koocheh gozar ham...

Bi to, amaa, be che haali man az aan koocheh gozashtam!

-Fereydoun Moshiri

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Every one is free to make choices and I am entitled to my strong opinion.

The pitter patter of little feet, the laughter of a baby, the sweet smell of their bodies and finally all of the other joys of having a child. It is one step of life which most people chose to embark upon and to be a part of. However, some people in the world are unable to experience the miracle of birth and the gift of a child. Unfortunately their bodies are not able to reproduce, due to different arrays of medical reasons. They try and struggle and at last after being examined by physicians they realize that they are not capable of having children. At that point these individuals are faced with choices, and in my opinion these choices that they make is an accurate presentation of the kind of people they are.
Some chose to remain with out child and eliminate the dream of having a family of their own from their life. They are neither saints or selfish as they accept what cannot be granted to them. They move on and continue their journey on this earth, taking a different path. Maybe they will find a grander entity to pour their energy into.
Others chose to go through medicine and science in order to force a pregnancy using multiple types of artificial insemination techniques. This is the group who I consider one of the most selfish groups of people in this world which we live in. Blind eyed, they live in a bubble where it only entails their life and have absolutely no consideration for other human beings.
The process of assisted pregnancy not only takes an insane amount of time and energy, but it also costs an unimaginable amount of money. This process could take up to 10 years and it could cost up to $150,000.00 with a possibility of a failed result.
My judgment comes from thinking about all of the orphan children who are in our world with out parents, with out food, with out shelter. When I hear tales about couples spending this time and money to get pregnant, I can not help but to wonder about these unfortunate and forgotten children for the life of me. I can not understand how selfish one can be to just turn their back on these children and try this hard to have their own when obviously it was not meant for them to do so. If only a fraction of this time, energy and money was spent on one of these children by adopting them, little by little the world would be such a better place for every one.
Now I understand that people like to have a child from their own flesh and blood, one that carries their genes in his or her body. I get it, it is hard to accept, but this fate can be viewed at in such a positive way. I would like to tell those people that the universe has not granted you the privilege of having a child biologically, and you should think of it as a calling. This should be looked at as an opportunity to be a saint, an opportunity to save a life, a chance to help the world just a little bit, to save a child. This is the cards that you have been dealt with and instead of fighting destiny so hard flow with it and make it a positive one. This is your one chance to be honorable and to save a life, do you know how big that is? Should you even think twice about it?
The number of children who live as orphans in every single country is extremely high and if we look at the big picture, we can see how disturbing it looks. We will realize how ugly and uncaring the human race looks.
If a couple who is able to have their own biological child chooses to adopt one in need instead, I bow my head to them, I highly respect them and truly admire their integrity. It takes a very special and selfless type of person to do such a thing, and not many people have that amazing sense of giving and purity. They have committed an amazingly generous deed, even though they did not have to. On the other hand when a couple is not able to have children biologically, and if having a family is something that they truly wish for (so much to pour all that they have into it), I believe that it is their duty as human beings and as citizens of this earth to adopt a homeless and parent less child.
There are also other equations to this issue that get my blood boiling such as homosexual couples who use the artificial insemination methods to have children. Adopt a child and save a life instead! Women who go off of their cancer or diabetes medication and risk their child and their own life to get pregnant. Adopt a child and save a life instead! You have to remember that a child is a child, they will love you no matter where they come from. They will eat, drink, sleep and grow up just the same as any other and you will enjoy them the same. So stop being so damn selfish!
With the increase of all of the different methods of artificial pregnancies and their side effects we see a flow of twins and triplets up to six or seven babies at once. Can you imagine the energy, the time and the money it takes to raise these children, when others are begging to have a life? It boils my blood to think of the level of stupidity and selfishness of the people who do not see outside of the bubble that they live in.
Look outside of your own world and you will see so many in need, and when you have the power to help them for god's sake, do it! This should be a no brainer!
It makes me sad to see that I live in a world where we have absolutely no consideration for one another. A world where we flip the channel when the image of starving children with flies on their faces come on because it disturbs us. A world where our own happiness and dreams are the only driving forces in our lives. A world where we have the power to save a life but we chose not to.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good times

A cool night in Seattle a few years back, riding in a metallic blue car.

Anahita: Have you heard that new song? It's really cool.
Shabnam: What song?
Anahita: I don't know what it's called.
Shabnam: What are you talking about? Who sings it?
Anahita: I don't know, its a guy.
Shabnam: What's the name of the song?
Anahita: I don't know, it's a great song.
Shabnam: Well, how does it go?
Anahita: I don't remember. But he is talking about going to a train station and asking a girl what time it is and then they have sex.
Shabnam: Never heard it. So they have sex, just like that?
Anahita: Yeah, he asks the time first though. I really wish you could hear it.
Shabnam: Interesting.
Anahita: I want to listen to it now!
Shabnam: OK, lets call the radio station and request it.
Anahita: OK.
Radio Station Operator: Kube93 how may I help you?
Shabnam: Hi, I wanted to request a song.
RSO: Sure, what song?
Shabnam: Well, we don't really know the name of the song.
RSO: Who is the artist?
Shabnam: Well, we don't know the name of the singer either, but we were hoping that maybe you could help us.
RSO: That's difficult, why don't you sing it to me.
Shabnam: Well I've never heard it before myself. Anahita can you take the phone and sing it to him please?
Anahita: Nooooo.
RSO: What's the song about?
Shabnam: Well I guess this guy goes to the bus stop and asks this girl what time it is and then she has sex with him.
RSO: Huh.
Shabnam: Anahita can you please talk to him, I don't know.
Anahita: Noooo.
RSO: Just let me speak to this AnaPILA.
Shabnam: AnaPILA he wants to speak to you.
AnaPILA: Nooo.
Shabnam: Ok, you know what, never mind. Thanks for trying to help. Bye.

P.S. "7 Days" by Craig David.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pop out Swatch Watch

It was the summer of 1993 when I went back to Iran for my first visit after four years of being away. I was extremely happy, excited and emotional to be back in my old city and my old house, to walk in the old streets with my old friends and to see my dear relatives. At the time it felt so right to be back there that it did not seem that I had been away at all.
Nazila was my best friend from elementary school who I had kept in contact with by letters, so naturally we were mutually excited to see each other and to spend time with one another. One day Nazila and I had gone to Meidooneh Mohseni to walk around, look at the shops and eat my favorite ice cream. We were deep in conversation on our way back home heading down Mirdamad, when we heard a commotion. As a mini bus suddenly stopped in front of us, Nazila became fully aware of what was going on immediately and I remained unaware and confused. She told me to keep my head down and continue walking, but it was too late. Before I knew it we were being thrown into the mini bus by a group of women covered with black hejab like a dark cloud and men in ugly green uniforms carrying machine guns.
We were pushed to the back of the bus where a number of other ladies were sitting who had been picked up prior to us. The next scene immediately brought me into the land of fear from the land of confusion. The black hejab women and the gun carrying men were trying to pick up another lady after us, who was resisting them. She was screaming and yelling trying to stop them from taking her while the black hejab women were pulling her toward the mini bus. When their struggles did not avail they asked for help from one of the men (with guns) who eagerly stepped forward to assist. Due to not being either the lady's brother, father, nor husband, the man could not touch her in any way, so he used a blanket to carry out his task. Yes, he used a blanket to place a barrier between his hands and her body (which was fully clothed) to keep his "decency"! As the lady was pushed into the mini bus crying and screaming, the driver pressed hard on the gas and the mini bus took off.
While the drama with the lady and the blanket was going on I was desperately seeking answers as to what was happening? What had we done wrong? Nazila explained to me that we were going to be arrested for "indecency" by the authorities, however she could not give me answers as to why. We were fully covered with modest clothing and were wearing minimal make up. I was wearing a simple pair of blue jeans, black lace up flat shoes, a long and loose black robe and a good size head scarf. Nazila was covered head to toe with black loose clothing, although she did have just a tad bit more make up than I did (I had just started wearing light makeup). Nazila told me to quickly take off all of my rings (I was wearing four), which I did in a panic and placed them in my pocket. We made sure that our hair was covered fully under the scarf and did not know how els to "accommodate".
At some point I looked back at the row behind us where the other ladies were sitting. One of them calmly smiled at me and said "you girls will be OK, it is us who are definitely goners" as she was wearing a bright pink lipstick, green eye shadow, small colorful head scarf and other "improper" clothing. I gave her a reassuring smile.
As the mini bus was speeding off one of the black hejab women sat on the seat next to Nazila and I. Immediately Nazila started asking her questions as I was frozen in fear/disbelief/confusion. She inquired about why we were picked up and all the woman kept repeating over and over was: "I do not have to tell you as you know yourself what is wrong with your appearance". Really, neither one of us was aware of what we could have done differently to be more "proper" and "decent".
After many prompts the lady finally confessed on where our "indecency" lied. She told Nazila: "The only issue with you is that a corner of your neck was showing, but if you cover it with your head scarf you will be OK". Then she looked at me with disgust and said to me: "But you, you are wearing blue jeans. That is western clothing and a decent girl would not wear such a thing. And what is this watch? (it was the new big and colorful pop out Swatch watch that was in style those days) Have you no shame? This is far from the elegance of a lady which you should be displaying. How dare you?". I started to argue and defend my elegance, decency and propriety and my status of being a lady, when Nazila interrupted and apologized for my shameful display of ugliness and foul taste. I followed her lead and took my watch off and promised the woman that I will not wear blue jeans again.
Nazila continued to plead with the woman to let us go before the arrival at the dreaded "jail". So finally either the woman's heart softened or she became completely annoyed wishing to get rid of us and asked the driver to stop the mini bus. The man with the gun did not like the idea and tried to convince the black hejab woman that the trashy girls (Nazila & I) must learn our lesson and be punished for walking around town like whores. The woman laughed and assured him that we have learned our lesson and will reconsider our wardrobe. So the mini bus stopped in the middle of some street (by now I had no idea where we were) and as the man was grumbling and the woman was laughing at our fearful faces they let us go. We jumped out of the mini bus and started walking away as fast as we could.
On our way back home I entered the land of anger as I was cursing the city, the country and all of the people living in it. I wanted to get out of there and never go back. Nazila was listening to me quietly and not quite grasping why I was so utterly furious.
The reason why we were picked up by the authorities that day was not because they spotted the corner of Nazila's neck or my watch, it was because we were two young girls happily walking in the street. Who knows what would have happened to us if we had not been dropped off of the mini bus before they reached their destination. Jail sentence, calling of the parents, signing a document promising to "change", payment of a large sum of money would have been some of what it would entail. However, a greater part of it would have been a bigger blow to our dignity and pride, slashing of our happiness and joy and killing our zest for life.
I thank the Universe for taking me out of that dreadfully awful environment, yet I can not help but to feel guilty for leaving the rest of the dignified, elegant, decent ladies of my country to go through this injustice day after day. Women like Nazila who did not even grasp the fact that you could be angry about such treatment.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Third time is a charm

Last night I got married again; For the third time; Within the duration of four years; To the same person!

First marriage:
The Wedding - August 2004 - Kenmore, Washington

It was a beautiful ceremony in a Golf Club. I was wearing the most beautiful white sparkly dress, a crystal tiara, long satin white gloves and I felt like a princess (how often do you get to wear a poofy dress, tiara and gloves and not be considered crazy? So I took advantage). Almost all of our loved ones were present and watching as we sat on two satin chairs. There were pictures being taken from every angle, beautiful music, honey, sweets and drinks being served. The gentleman who performed the ceremony was one of my father's dearest friends, he was sweet, a poet and I loved him. He said the most beautiful words with his tender voice that brought tears to every one's eyes. There was laughter and bubbles in the air as we said our "baleh"s. We were now socially married.

Second marriage:
The Chapel - May 2005 - Las Vegas, Nevada

It was 1:00 a.m. I was in tight jeans and a party top. My dear brother and a loyal friend were the witnesses/photographer/videographer. We stood in line at the 24/7 courthouse (at 1:00 a.m.!) to get our license. (By the way, in movies where people get drunk and "accidentally" get married in Vegas, they never show that you have to go to the courthouse first, stand in line, pay, fill out forms, then drive to the chapel, pay, fill out forms and then say "I do". Wouldn't they become sober by then?). At the Chapel we chose a "package" that included the wedding ceremony, music (cassette tape player operated by the minister himself), a single fresh red rose and an 8*10 photo of the couple. The minister who had about 30 keys hanging from his belt performed the ceremony as every one giggled and we said our "I do's". We were now legally married.

Third marriage:
The Mosque - July 2008 - Costa Mesa, California

Stopped by the mosque after work to get married. I was wearing a long sleeve shirt, long pants and a head scarf. The Mullah was a real live actual "akhoond" (one of the most charming and handsome "akhoond"s I had ever seen in my life). Our loyal friend (same one from Vegas) who was accompanying us was denied the role of a witness, because she was a woman (how could I forget that women do not count as a full human being in my religion?). So we were granted a nice man instead ("akhoond" in training) to sign the witness line, who left the room in the middle of the ceremony because his cell phone rang (with an Arabic prayer ring tone). The Mullah said words in a language that we did not understand, but we said "baleh" anyways. We were now religiously married.

To get married for the first time is a big deal. To get married a second time one year later (after realizing that he must watch football every freaking Sunday and she does not even know how to operate the dish washer) is a bigger deal. To get married a third time three years later (after at times experiencing the urge to break the television set with a hammer and the feelings of confusion as to why she is so furious) is the biggest deal. I guess this means that it is really really really sealed now and we really really really DO!

Marriage #1: $Thousands
Marriage #2: $210
Marriage #3: $250
Getting married to the same person three times within four years: PRICELESS!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Finding love in 2008

High gas prices, sky rocketing housing market, the possibility of a black American president, same sex marriages and Madonna's affair with A-Rod. These are all highly important current affairs, the hot topics in the public conversations and day to day lives. Yet, what fascinates me the most and what has occupied my mind recently is the evolution, the progress and the process of finding love or human mating in 2008. What has happened to easily meeting, falling in love and getting married?
Every where I turn I see single people who are searching for love and being unsuccessful at finding it. Speed Dating,,,, Just Lunch are to just name a few agencies that have become super rich with more and more members. Friends setting friends up, family members introducing single adults to one another. And finally you have your good old Clubs, Bars, Lounges and Hot Spots. There has been books written on this topic, How-To books, books analyzing the subject, Self-Help books. What the hell is going on? Why has it become so difficult?
All I hear around me are horror stories, tragic date tales and reports of odd behaviors. The guy who disclosed to his date the fact about "hating" his mother, the guy who rented a high-end car to impress a girl on their first date, the guy who married his ex four weeks after a really great first date, the guy who seemed so interested during the romantic dates and the late night phone calls yet never managed to call again. And finally all of those 40 year old guys who STILL do not know what they want in life and STILL are not "ready" for the next step yet! (I am only aware of "guy horror stories" due to only having girlfriends who confide in me, however I realize that there also exists many many "girl horror stories").
Let me analyze this for you as I have spent hours pondering it. It used to be so easy, people met in high school or college and after a short period of time they were married. Some would meet at their first jobs or in social gatherings and shortly after were married, as the age of marriage was early twenties. What happened was that girls and guys became more and more independent and happy with their young and single lives (making money, partying, living alone, dating, having careers, etc.) that they postponed marriage until a later age for "when they are more ready". That later age is where the problem lies.
When you are young you do not have many "requirements" or expectations for your "mate" as you do not consider their job, car nor education, because they are too young to have acquired all of that. You do not consider their family, their friends and their hobbies because you do not care at that time. You do not consider their little quirks, their beliefs, their substance and their character because for one they may not have any of that yet, and two you feel that Love or Lust will conquer all! It is so much easier to fall in love with a brand new, fresh and clean heart when you are young and yes, love is all you care about. So you get married and you grow together. You are flexible and open to change, because you had not previously become so set on your ways. You build your life together, learn together and merge with one another.
When you do not get married young and continue to remain single (due to reasons mentioned above) you learn things on your own, become used to your way of doing things and yes, you get set on your ways. You have to sleep on the left side of the bed, you do not like to talk to any one in the morning, you have to travel three times a year, you have girls/boys night out 4 times a week, you have to go to the gym every Saturday morning, you have to wash your clothes a certain way, you have to watch TV before bed, you spend most of your money on clothes and you have to attend all of your Fantasy Baseball Team meetings. The list of likes and dislikes, the "have tos" and "can not dos" go on and on and on. You lived by yourself for so many years, you have become used to having things your way and having no one to answer to or to discuss things with. You and the others your age have had adequate time to acquire a high education, buy a home, buy a nice car and become "successful". You now care about much more in a "mate" than you used to 10 years ago as your expectations have sky rocketed where love has dropped significantly down on your list. So you still wonder why it is difficult to find love?
Here are some barriers to finding love in an older age in 2008: 1. You are too picky 2. You play too many games 3. You refuse to be flexible. You let go of a guy because he is too short, you dismiss a girl because she does not have long hair. You have to be with some one who makes over $100,000/year, you want some one who has higher education. You feel that you should not look eager so you do not call her for 3 days, you feel that you should not look desperate so you screen his calls. You pretend that you are busy, therefore you do not come clean about how much you would love to see him. You stay 100% true to your 25 item list of what your "mate" should be like. You do not stay out late with her on Sunday night because you have to go home to complete your Sunday night rituals.
Guys and girls (men and women by this point) are having difficulty finding love because they have high expectations and are not willing to change. Also because "marriage" has become such a big deal to them by now that they are looking for perfection! The women want to be swept off of their feet, wined and dined, men have become jaded and refuse to do that. The men want some one honest and sweet as the women have also become jaded and can not bring themselves to be that way. By the time people are in their thirties every one has had their heart broken at least once, been cheated on, lied to and have been disappointed so many times that their heart is no longer open nor inviting. You have a "do not enter" sign hanging from the gates of your heart and you still ask why it is hard to find some one to love?
If you are in your thirties and are desperately looking for love, first of all stop looking so hard, second, loosen up, third stop nit picking on every small thing, fourth be willing to give up some things and be a bit flexible, fifth stop playing games and be yourself for a change, sixth do not be scared by what you see in other people's relationships, seventh open up your heart and throw away the "do not enter" sign from the gates, eight open your mind and finally just have fun out there. It will come to you, I guarantee it!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Dar gozareh roozegar, forsat ra ghanimat shomar va be khatoun biandish. Ou ke dar keshakesheh dahar baraye residan be mashoogh va maghsood yek taneh be mobarezehee miravad ke vojoodash ra be faramooshi mikeshanad. Va az khod ostourehie misazad bavar nakardani. Shayad ke digaran ba khondaneh sarneveshteh ou dars begirand va ba azmi rasakh be sooye meidaneh mobarezeh ba sarnevesht gom bar darand.
Khatoun tanha yek dastan nist balkeh chekidehi ast az vagheiat. Vagheiati ke shayad ou yek ghatreh az daryaye bikaraneh on bashad. Ba ou bash ta manaye eshgh ra be haghighat daryabi va be khod beghaboolan ke khastan tavanestan ast va man mitavanam haman basham ke khod mikhaham.
Taghdir ra joz khodavand va eradeh ostovar, hich kas nemitavanad taghir dahad va in manam ke dar saye e sh gh in se harfeh por mani ke dar amikhtegi ba ham loghateh eshgh ra mana mibakhshad be darjateh ali miresam va be khod va digaran sabet mikonam ke man agar khod bekhaham, hastam va mitavanam baraye hamegan olgou basham.

Mojgan Ehteshami

Sunday, July 13, 2008


I left the house at 10:46 this morning with a mission: to buy a few pairs of men's summer Shorts. I knew what style, what colors and what size I wanted, I was going to come back with bags full of men's shorts. I returned home around 4:47 with a new colorful Purse, a new fancy Key Chain, the cutest little Ring, a fabulous big Watch, a very necessary striped Cardigan for me and left over Salmon Salad from lunch with a girlfriend. Not one pair of men's Shorts.
I have to say that I was proud of myself because I remained strong and demonstrated restraint by not purchasing the pink Coach Sandals that were on sale, the very expensive Burberry Watch that looked amazing on my wrist and by not even entering Bakers Shoe Store for damage control. Still, how did this happen? What is it with women and shopping?
If you are a woman then you know what I am talking about. Shopping provides us with the sense of satisfaction, gratification, completion and just plain pleasure. By attaining stuff as unnecessary as they may be, we feel joy. Could I have lived with out this (totally gorgeous) clutch? Of course. Would my current key chain be sufficient for the purpose it serves? Absolutely. But the high that I experience when I replace it with the new one is unexplainable. I feel fulfilled when I leave the mall with bags in my hands as opposed to completely disappointed when I get into my car with nothing to put in the trunk. Why?
If you are a guy then you must relate with these questions as you probably ask them all the time. Know that one of you is wondering that now while checking the bank account and realizing that he still only owns two pairs of summer Shorts!
Brand new stuff, shiny pretty things, more clothes, more shoes, more accessories. Do these things make us happy? Absofuckinglutely!

Friday, June 20, 2008


When I was a little girl, my mom and I came to America to visit my sister and brother, and our trip lasted for an entire year. The year was 1983, the year of Cabbage Patch dolls, My Little Pony, Scratch & Sniff stickers, head bands, Break Dancing, and of course Michael Jackson. In 1983 Michael Jackson had a great year as he released Billie Jean, Beat It and yes, Thriller. And here is my memory of this brilliant song and video.
My memory starts exactly as we were arriving home from a party one night, my mom, my sister, my brother and myself. I remember that my sister and brother were in such a rush to get home all night because "the show" was going to start at a certain time. Hurriedly they unlocked the door and ran inside the house, me following them, very curious to see what this thing was that they were so excited to watch. I remember hearing them say that this is the premiere of "the video", the first time that it will be aired on television and such an important event which cannot be missed. So I followed them and watched as my sister ran to the TV and pressed the power button.
What I saw next was far from what I had expected and what glued this memory to my brain. As the image came on the screen my eyes widened, my mouth opened and I froze. The video had started a few minutes before, and where we came in was precisely at the moment when Michael suddenly raises his head and looks up towards the camera, his eyes are yellow with a black line in the middle and wide open, his teeth are large, pointy and sharp, and with a monstrous voice he screams "GO AWAAAAAAAAY"! My heart jumped into my mouth as I screamed and ran to the bedroom, jumped in the bed, hid under the covers and started shivering/crying/moaning. This definitely was not how I had imagined my night would turn out. I can not recall what happened next, I certainly do not remember any one coming to my rescue as they were engrossed in the hot new Michael Jackson video, Thriller.
The next few days I vaguely remember holding my ears with my little hands and hiding in the kitchen with my mom as she was cooking, while my sister and brother watched the video on MTV over and over and over. I would complain to my mom that I am scared and she would ask them to turn down the volume to spare me (and herself). They would yell back angrily that they want to listen to the song and that I'm ruining this for them. I especially hated the ending where the continuous monstrous laugh echoed in the entire house. Maybe if I had a little warning and the image had not appeared to me in such a sudden form, my reaction would not have been so intense. Who knows?
Years have passed, my sister has not watched MTV in over a decade, my brother does not know who Jessica Simpson is, and I am not that little girl any more. But the funny thing is that to this day, when I hear the song Thriller, shivers run through my back as I become that little scared girl under the covers, waiting for the video to end.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cell Phone Etiquette

It started only a little over a decade ago but it has spread like wild fire, the Cell Phone. It used to be only for the Very Important People (a.k.a. VIP), but now every living and breathing individual owns one. From the homeless person sitting under the bridge talking on her cell phone to the 11 year old boy holding the shiny hand held devise while he is riding the yellow school bus, they all have one. It took us such a short amount of time to go from not having this luxury to becoming completely hooked on it, and that is the miracle of technology. The cell phone is a great invention, from being able to call for help in case of an emergency, to being able to find our passengers from the baggage claim curb of the airport, to giving each other a heads up on where the cop on the motorcycle is hiding to get the bad drivers. We often wonder about how we were ever able to find each other before? How did we ever manage to set up meetings, cancel appointments, find out what size our friends are while shopping for them at the mall or oh my god tell each other that we are going to be late? Could it be that we actually used our ever so capable brains and planned ahead? Damn, how hard we must have worked back in the stone ages (80's and early 90's)!
Yes, we have become lazy, spoiled and stupid with this invention. We continue to gradually lose the powers of our natural senses as well as our intelligence with the improvement of this devise. But what we have become most of all is Rude!
I am amazed at how the simple rules of common courtesy just fly out of the window when one has a cell phone in hand. There are some appalling acts related to the cell phone that are committed by people, which I find completely offensive. When people answer their cell phone and start a completely non-emergency conversation with the person on the other end, while they are spending time with you. Think about it, you are riding in a car, sitting in a coffee shop or at home or shopping at the store with a friend who you have decided to spend your precious time with. Yet they not only answer their cell phone but have the audacity to just chit chat and shoot the breeze with the person on the other end, while you wait for them to get off. What the hell? Are they that blind to not notice that that is completely rude? Some times they say "oh it's my sister" or "oh it's my boyfriend" like that makes it OK. Is your sister on her way to the hospital and needs you to go turn off the oven in her kitchen? Is your boyfriend experiencing a drug overdose? If the answers to these questions are "no" then hang the damn phone up and have some respect for my damn time! Also, if you are the person who is calling, when you realize that the intended receiver is with another person or in the middle of a transaction, do not just say "so what els is new", hang up the damn phone and let them call you back at a more appropriate time!
How about when people go up to the register to pay for an item in the store and they are talking on their cell phone? This way they are blatantly telling the clerk "Not only you are not important to me at all, I do not give a shit about what you say. My conversation with my buddy about my baby's diaper size is so urgent right now that I am willing to treat you like crap". Hang the damn phone up for freaking 5 minutes and treat the other person like a damn human being!
And what is up with people's volumes going up 7 notches when they are on their cell phones? OK, maybe not every one minds people on their cell phones every where like I do, but I am sure you all become extremely annoyed when they are loud. I do not want to hear about your freaking drunken night or the way you celebrated your stupid child's birthday or what color your new curtains are when I am shopping. Either shut the hell up or bring down your volume or hang up the damn phone and save your annoying conversation for when you are in your damn house!
And do not even get me started on people talking on their cell phones while driving (oh I'm starting). For god's sake how stupid can you be? Read my lips people: You cannot talk on the phone and drive like a human being at the same time. It is so common now that I can easily tell when people are talking on their cell phones while driving, even if I do not see their ugly faces. The freaking car is going all over the place while driving below the speed limit. And I bet that the conversation is far from any thing urgent, emergency or a crisis. I bet that they are talking about how they are on their way to see their stupid child's teacher to discuss his retarded drawing, or how they are so bummed out because the guy from the club has not called yet. Hang up the damn phone and drive you stupid bitch!
I understand that the cell phone has taken over our lives, people are addicted to it and cannot live with out it. But please people have some freaking courtesy! I understand that setting some time aside at home to make a nice phone call to your mother or friend does not happen any more. These days people run around and chit chat their stupid chatter on the road, in the grocery store and at the hair salon like headless chickens. At least keep it to your damn selves and understand that even though you may be the center of your own universe you are not other people's. I also understand that 2008 is not the age of etiquette and class, but the last time I checked having respect for your fellow human beings was still expected.
When you are interacting with some one, even if they are the coffee shop cashier, give them your attention and do not order your damn latte between your stupid cell phone conversations. When you are spending time with a friend, a neighbor or your brother give them your time and full attention and save your meaningless cell phone conversations for another time.
The rise of technology and the growth of our conveniences are great, believe me I am a fan myself, however I think that each one of these new gadgets should come with an etiquette guide to remind us about common courtesy. Lets not forget about respect and other human beings who still exist in the world around us, Please!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Master Piece

Lyrics assembled with a team effort by a group of talented and drunk individuals inside of a Jacuzzi in Tahoe. Music borrowed from the song "Goleh Goldoon".

All rights reserved. TM.


Manzur az goozidan
Fargh dareh ba ridan
Ke daram high misham to in Jacuzzi

Vali in ghofleh dar
Andazeh kooneh khar
Shodeh moshgeleh man
Amaan az in dar

Koone khar pareh misheh
Ba goozeh se picheh
Miram pishe Sepideh
Behem mirineh

To ke be hameh midi
Kooneto tekoon midi
Chera be man nemidi
Too in Jacuzzi

Vaghti koonet ham miad
Aabe Jacuzzi kam miad
Midi be olaghe dar Aab.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Tree in the Forest

When a tree falls in the forest where no one can hear the thump, does it make a sound? When two people fall in love and that love does not last, does it remain? What happens to that love, does it merely disappear or does it stay with them? The love was real, strong and true, but somehow did not make it to eternity. Where does the love go?
When I was in High School I knew a couple who were madly in love, to me they were the vision of real love and the essence of what it should look like . Their love was so strong that even though I had never felt the feeling myself in my heart I could feel it between the two of them. I remember that I used to think to myself that if their love does not last I will never believe in love again. I thought that if they do not make or keep the love eternal between one another no one will. Their love did not last, they traveled onto different roads and the love was "lost". Being angry, hurt and disappointed I then believed that their time together was a "waste", because of their lost battle. Was their time really a waste? Does "real" love necessarily have to last?
I think that it is commonly agreed that when two people fall in love and experience the magnificence of this majestic feeling, but fail to keep that bond, the special time together was not a waste. Because true love, real love, passionate love is a rare gem that is a blessing in one's life. One should treasure and savor it, not take it for granted and know that it is not awarded to every one who walks on this earth. So even 4 days of true love is a gift from the Universe. I am sure that it is also commonly agreed that for a love to be considered real and true, it does not have to necessarily last. We have proof such as "Bridges of Madison County" and "Casablanca" showing us that love is love, even if we lose the battle to keep it. Undoubtedly the precious and beautiful feelings are there at that moment, however due to many many different causes the love spills over. But my question is where does that love go?
Some say that the love that was felt so deeply and wholeheartedly will continue to remain in a special place in the heart that was created in. They say that the love for the other will be with you forever. Some say that the love will end and cease from existing. They say that it will be nothing but sheer memory. And finally some say that the love will become dispersed and returned to the Universe (recycled).
My personal belief is that the love that was shared between the couple who introduced me to this concept continues to remain, however it exists in a different time and space. The two individuals are completely different people now, having nothing in common any longer. They are merely strangers to each other as they own none of the same feelings from the past. The current characters do not love one another at this time, however the old love remains. Her old self still loves his old version, the one from the time when she used to be in love with. He does not love the person who she is now, but his old self loves the person she used to be to him and for him. The old feelings still exist, but they are in another time and another parallel Universe. If they could go back in time and look each other in the eyes as who they were then, they would still be in love. They would still be the same two people who lived and breathed for one another and their old selves would still contain the heart warming tenderness as they once did. So no, I do not think that the love is lost, it continues to remain, but not in the same way, shape or form. Not even in our current hearts, not even in our current minds, but some where out there in the world it remains. It would be such a damn shame for a concept so special and beautiful to cease from existence. I believe that when a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear the thump, it still makes a sound.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Education or Wealth

In elementary school we had an "essay" class where we learned about the art of writing. The way it worked was that each week the teacher would provide us with an interesting subject to write about and the final draft had to be ready by the next class. Some times we would get lucky and turn our work in to the teacher for her to read in private, and at other dreaded times we were picked out to recite our master piece for the entire class. One of the most popular subjects that teachers picked for us to write about every single year was "Which is better, Education or Wealth?". And every single year one after the other all of the students wrote their essays stating that education is better than wealth. Their reasoning was that education has a higher value than wealth as well as with education you can attain wealth and with wealth you cannot attain education. I do not remember one single student who wrote otherwise and designed their essay pro wealth as the answer was a given.
This is an interesting question which we still ponder about at times and continue to contemplate it (especially single girls out in the dating world who are looking for a life partner). When we were children sitting in a classroom we knew what was expected from us, we knew which answer we had to pick, not giving it much thought. Picking wealth would have landed us on the hot seat across the scolding words of the teacher and the rest of the students. We knew that the point of this assignment was to teach us the value of education over wealth, so we complied. Also, we did not have the life experiences which could help with exploring the topic and making a decision. But now we have both, the freedom of our own choice, decision and answer as well as the extra dash of life experience to go with it. Would we still choose the same answer if the question was presented to us now?
I have learned that education has nothing to do with wealth as we see filthy rich Entrepreneurs who have acquired a High School Diploma as their highest level of education and Master's level Social Workers who are broke as a joke. We see daddy's boys who run their father's stores or businesses and earn as much or more money than a hard working Engineer who received a College Degree. We see spoiled daddy's girls who drive Porches and Bentleys with out a Bachelor's Degree and we see good hearted Lawyers who work in Public Law and are trying hard to pay all of their bills. It is obvious that you can have wealth with out education, but can you have education with out wealth? No. Between $15,000 to $30,000 per year is the price for higher education in this country. Medical Doctors and Lawyers are deep in debt between $150,000 to $300,000 by the time they leave school. Does this mean that with wealth we can attain eduction and with education we can not attain wealth? Could we have been wrong all along? The two things, education and wealth, are so separate yet so intertwined. But when it comes down to it and the drum is beating which one do you chose? Do you marry the guy with a Doctoral degree in Rock Analysis or the guy who is running a successful Bowl Shop? Do you apply to college, work hard to pay a tuition and go to classes or do you accept the bad ass position at Vogue? I am so confused!
Which is better, education or wealth? As a free adult with a mind of my own and a dash of life experience I refuse to choose one and would like to take both. I do not understand why we have to chose one as they are completely unrelated and can both be attained separately. Yet, you can not have one with out the other. Yes, we would not have had a nice topic to write about in the "essay" class in elementary school if it was not for this fascinating choice, but if you ask me it is a no brainer. Yet no one even thought about choosing both from the presented tray in their essays. I guess that is when the dash of experience comes in, grab both when presented to you I have learned, grab it all for that matter.
In conclusion I would like to purpose a new topic for the elementary school teachers to give to their students to write about, "Which is better, Wealth or Class?".

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ground Zero

As I was standing there looking at the big hole in the ground I could not help but to imagine the dead bodies lying around on the street, the screaming, sheer terror and utter disbelief. When I looked up at the sky I imagined people jumping out of the buildings one after the other, dark smoke and burning fire. After almost 7 years the feelings and images were still there, like they had never left. Even though the area has been cleared and the buildings were not there any longer, the emotions and the spirit of what happened in that spot has remained. Even though I had never been to the World Trace Center I could feel the Twin Towers' void, the emptiness and the silence around where they used to stand.
We all watched it happen on the television, we all felt the shock and we all grieved. But standing there that day staring into the nothingness where it all came down made me realize the magnificence of it that we missed as distant spectators. The thought of that day gave me chills as I saw the pictures and names of the victims displayed on the walls. The victims who got up that morning and went to work just like any other day. The victims who got on a plane for yet another fligh. Little did they know that that day would go down in history and they would end up with the title of "victim".
I know that the human race has always been barbarik, but I had imagined that we have evolved from the days when men charged into each other with sharp swords. I had imagined that with experience, brain advancement, growth and realization of mere substance of humanity we had passed the days of bloodshed. It must have been naive of me to think that the days of uncivilized murders are over.
To be able to murder thousands of innocent people purposly to prove a point to another could place some one in the Psychotic band, but what if an entire group of people have that thinking? That thought is terrifying to me.
I guess not only have we not evolved from hundreds of years ago when men went to war and people were hung for their beliefs, but we have advanced our techniques for doing it. We still go to war, kill each other and feel no guilt or shame.
I wonder if the world still would be the same if there was no religion and women ran the show instead of men.

Friday, May 23, 2008

American Idol

Although I cannot stand most reality television one of my favorite shows is American Idol. I am officially hooked where I watch every episode religiously each season, I even manage to vote here and there for my favorite performer. I see the puzzled look on your faces so I'll explain why that is in order to help you sleep soundly tonight.
The reason why I believe that American Idol is a great show, other than the fact that it is entertaining, is that it is the best way for us to chose our own entertainers. Think about it, did we ever have a say in people like Paris Hilton, Carrot Head, or Hassan Shamaeizadeh's claim to fame? No. If we did, would we have committed such a crime? I would hope not. Most people achieve fame by either having a lot of dough, having great connections, or just plain luck, and a few number reach fame through actual talent and hard work. But here through this show we as the public, the intended audience have the power to chose who our next singer is going to be. We decide to not chose the screeching voice, the big ego or the no personality get through the doors as we have the power to pick our next entertainer. I so wish that we the tax paying citizens of this country had the power to choose all of our entertainers with our own hands (fingers in this case), so that we would not be forced to look at, listen to, hear about another like Tara Reed or Britney Spears.
Another reason why I love this show is that we can witness our next entertainers when they are humble, grateful, simple and real. We can see them before their egos grow to the size of a country and before they become too good for their music. We see their transformation as they are mutated from a simple country girl to a diva, from a nice boy to a hard core egomaniac. Now these kids remain their true selves until the season finale, cute, nervous, excited and wide eyed, but we all know that after the season ends it is over as they are on their way to Egoville.
I love the show because I am entertained by Ryan, the judges and the basic intensity of it. We are not just entertained in the evenings in front of the television set, but we are also entertained the next mornings when discussing the performances, the results and what Paula was wearing with coworkers, the cafe lady and the car wash dude.
Now that the show is over for this season the big question that we (the A.I. fans) are faced with is what the hell are we going to do with ourselves on Tuesday and Wednesday nights?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Phantom

Half of his face is hidden behind a white mask covered from brow to chin. The exposed half of his face is beautiful and enchanting as his big brown eye, strong nose, high cheek bones and full lips drew me in. His broad shoulders and tall strength determines his power, confidence and exuberance. But what captured me the most and put me in utter awe was his voice, his strong, big, beautiful and liberated voice. He gave me chills when he sang, pulling me to him with the mesmerizing notes. His confession of love through song made me weak in the knees as the words made my heart flutter. Through soft notes, majestic sound and hypnotizing words he overpowered my senses putting a spell on my entire body and soul.
He taught me all I know, he taught me all he knows, he taught me lessons of song. I learned how to utter a word, how to produce a note and a way to capture the rainbow of my inner soul. He was my savior from the dark as he gave me the gift of song. He loved me so as he presented me with the gift of voice.
Though kind to me there are demons inside of him taking over his body. His cruel intentions and hurtful actions are frightening, isolating him from the world he lives in, from the world I live in. He is trapped in a dark space unable to see the light, unable to feel his heart. He hurts others as he is so deeply hurt within himself. To live a desperately hurtful life, to be attacked and harshly trapped by the lucky souls, to travel on the most tragic journey will make a man mad. How can I love a mad man?

I am sorry for leaving you. Although you gave me the gift of talent and fame I am in love with another. You are a monster and evil, leave me, leave me. Go to your dark space and rot there as others have sent you before. Your tragic story, your hideous being shall remain unseen and unheard, as is the other half of your face that is hidden under the white mask.
You shall love me forever, yet I will live a life of beauty and grace without you. I will leave you in your misery as the rest have, even though you gave me the world. I will sail into the sunset with my lover and with the gifts you gave me as you shall die in your misery. Though as long as I shall live I shall never forget you for you have showed me life.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Statue of Liberty

I was on the boat going from Manhattan to Staten Island when I walked out on the deck in order to get the best view of the Statue of Liberty. It was raining hard so the deck was deserted as every one had found shelter inside the boat. I being such an adventurous person that I am walked out to obtain the best angle and view closest to the symbol of freedom.
As I walked toward the edge of the boat to the rails and as we sailed closer and closer to the green lady I imagined what the immigrants had felt as they sailed toward the symbol of a new life. A new life full of hopes and dreams, a life away from all of the misery, poverty and disgrace in which they had left behind. For hundreds of years this lady holding a torch led the path for millions of lost soles who left their homes, families and past behind for a better future. So many life stories lived where I am now, so many new adventures started right here, so many emotions were felt here, and so many endings and beginnings took place here. I felt closer to the people who had watched this lady decades ago as I watched her now.
Suddenly my utterly poetic and romantic thoughts came to a screeching halt when my attention was caught by a familiar however odd sound. For the first few seconds it did not dawn on me because it was a familiar sound, however on the 4Th second I was taken back. It was the sound of the Islamic prayer, rozeh khooni. Was I imagining things? Was I hearing things that were not there? After I looked around I noticed a young man crouching against the boat rail with a big coat holding a small devise where the sound was coming from (damn, it was not a sign from god). He was dark, had grown a good size beard and his eyes were looking up while his head was bowed down and listening to the prayer. He was standing exactly where I was standing, across from the Statue of Liberty, having the best view of the monument. "I am dead" was my first thought.
"That is it, I am dead. This is how I am going to go, on a boat in New York while getting a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. A victim of a suicide bomber. I did not even see the sunshine on my last day on this earth". The thoughts ran through my head as I stood there in shock. "Could it be? Is this happening? What if I tell him that I am Muslim too, would he spare me? No, it must have taken a lot for him to get here, he is not going to stop. This is probably ashad that he is listening to, I should probably listen to it as well if I am going to go with him. What dumb luck".
I still took a picture of the Statue of liberty in case if I did not die that day, at least I have my picture. And if I did die, maybe some one would find my camera (I should have bought the waterproof camera). "Man, out of all these ferries I had to get on the one that was going to blow up".
The boat sailed on as we passed the Statue of Liberty. I watched her get smaller in size as we sailed away and she remained in one piece. I thought "Maybe his bomb did not go off, maybe he changed his mind, maybe he chickened out. Maybe this was just a practice run". However, it seemed as though I would not die that day.
Yes, I did not die, the boat did not blow up and we reached Staten Island and walked off the boat alive and in one piece. Now to this day I do not know if that man was a real live suicide bomber or a random person who decided to listen to rozeh khooni on the deck of the boat (while it was pouring rain) which was passing by the Statue of Liberty. Who knows?
Putting aside stereotyping (oh we all know that it is them) and assumptions I just want to thank the universe for keeping me alive as I still have plans for my life (I have tickets to Wicked). All I know is that I could have been a victim of a terrorist attack and az beekheh goosham dar raft. Hal eh loo ya!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Spider Killer

While surfing the net a few weeks back, I stumbled across an interesting fictional story called "The Spider Killings" by Laleh Haghighi. After reading "part I" I was so utterly hooked on this story that I made daily visits to the website in order to find the next entry. I eagerly and impatiently awaited for each part of the story in order to discover the fate of the characters who had intrigued me.
This writer has the very special gift of being able to grab the reader tightly with her amazing use of words and her detailed description of the plot. She also has the wonderful talent of tying numerous scenarios and separate small storied to one another making one great assembly. I for one was completely impressed by her writing and the way she was able to take the reader into her story and to provide them with the related feelings and emotions. Even though at times the story took us to such dark, gruesome and disturbing places (decapitating and mutilating bodies, murder and evil dreams) I could not take my eyes away from the monitor as they were widely glued. The story was told so realistically that it felt as though I was reading a documentary. I later discovered that though fictional, the tale is based on a true story. Then I was even more intrigued!
The story "The Spider Killings" is about what happened in the holy city of Mashhad where a serial killer roamed the streets killing prostitutes. His goal was to rid the city of the unholy evil that was spreading with great rate. He was guided by the voice in his head encouraging him to wipe the infested streets clean by taking the drug addicted molds off of it.
The killer would lour the women to himself by pretending to be a "customer" (like a spider), then choking the poor souls to death using their own head scarf or veil when opportunity availed. And that is where he received his title.
The writer not only told us about the killer and his victims but she also took us to the lives of the police officer and the detective on the case, the reporter, the city officials trying to keep the killings under the raps, and many other little stories around town. She then brought all of those stories together at the end making a beautiful conclusion, tying them all with one another with great tact.
As I had imagined I was not the only one following this story as many comments floated in for the conclusion piece. In response the author directed us to a documentary ("And Along Came a Spider" by Maziar Bahari) based on the real events of the Spider Killer which had inspired her to write this.
His name was Saeed Hanai, a 39 year old construction worker living in Mashhad. When a taxi driver mistook his wife for a prostitute he decided that he will take cleaning the streets up from the scums into his own hands. He accomplished that by brutally murdering 16 women from the summer of 2000 to the summer of 2001. After choking the women to death he would either bury their bodies or leave them where they could be found. He was interviewed while in jail awaiting his sentence, and I watched this killer talk.
He was calm, smiling and speaking with great confidence while describing with such detail his tactics of killing the women, down to their last breath. He did not like to be called a murderer, but some one with a mission of good deed. He did not believe that he committed a crime or an act of disgrace, as he called himself a martyr. He would usually return to the sight where he had discarded of the victim's body the next morning to watch people's reaction when they discovered it. He said that watching the people around the body gave him encouragement, satisfaction and motivation to continue his deed.
The documentary also talked about the women, the victims of the Spider Killer. Poor unfortunate souls who mostly were married off between the ages of 10-12 to men who were either addicts, abusers or possibly both. Some were forced to sell their bodies by their own husbands for extra income to support their habit. Some had become addicted to drugs themselves and had to find a way to buy their fix. Some had 6 or 7 children with a husband who was too busy with his other wives and children, so they had to "work" to feed their family. They were uneducated, unhealthy, underprivileged and the lowest one can go as far as class and power. They were mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. They were defenseless, weak and forgotten, results of a failed society. And they were the ones who received the blow.
Saeed Hanai was a disturbed and sick individual who heard voices and could have easily been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. So what amazed and disturbed me the most was not hearing the murderer talk about putting his foot on the women's necks and pressing hard, it was seeing the rest of the residents of Mashhad who were interviewed in this film react to him. They praised this man for what he did, calling him a hero and a savior who dared to clean up the city. One individual said that Saeed did not kill people, as they were not human, they were dirt and evil. Another said that Saeed did not do any thing wrong, he merely took on a responsibility that they all wished they could take up but did not have the courage to act on. Saeed's wife believed that her husband was a good man who would never hurt a "decent" individual, as she was awaiting his return from prison. Saeed's young son was the one who defended his father the most, wishing that he could be granted the courage to continue on his father's work and mission. He said that because the authorities were unable to take care of this problem in the city people like Saeed had to do the job for them and for all to know that there are others out there like his father who will take this responsibility into their own hands.
I am disturbed because these are not people from 100 years ago, these are people from 2002 living in our world. These are people who will never change their thinking and their beliefs as they are set on their ways. These are people who will raise children and teach them right from wrong and good from bad. I am disturbed, but most of all I am frightened.