Parviz Sayyad and Mary Apic perform a special version of The Swan Lake Ballet in the 1970's Kaaf Show. Watch this. This is one of the funniest things that ever happened on Iranian television, well, in my opinion. Simply priceless!
There is no mystery in the aging process. There is no fountain of youth drinking from which will keep us young. We grow old and our bodies fight and lose to gravity. Our skins develop wrinkles and sags, bulges and stretch marks. Yikes! This is no fun at all! We develop wrinkles around our eyes and if we have frowned too much, the wrinkles on our foreheads make us look permanently puzzled or angry. I am aging and developing wrinkles just like everybody else.
I am happy about the way my face has grown old and somewhat wrinkled, though, because my most profound wrinkles happen to be two lines around my mouth, what Americans charitably call "laugh lines." I am proud of my laugh lines, because I have earned them laughing throughout my lifetime! Laughing at the most obscure and ordinary things, laughing at things which only appear humorous to me, and most importantly and on a regular basis, laughing at myself! Some days I laugh so hard at myself, my sides hurt. I think the best approach to life is not to take ourselves too seriously. That means that we must laugh, boisterous, loud, and hearty laughs. At the end of the day, we all succumb to age and gravity. It is so much better to succumb enjoying ourselves and brightening our space with the sound and feeling of laughter. My approach to life on most days is: laugh like there is no tomorrow. My advice to you is: Do try this at home! And if you feel up to it, do leave me a joke or a funny memory in this post. I thank you in advance.
Poem by Ahmad Shamloo, translated by Joseph U. Freeman
A young Rashid Behbudov performs Kuchalara Su Sapmisham.
I grew up listening to Rashid Behbudov. He was an Azarbaijani musician with a heavenly voice. Iranians loved Rashid Behbudov, and he loved Iran and Iranians, traveling to Iran frequently, and even singing some Farsi songs. Though I don't speak Azari, there is something about the music, language, and people of Azarbaijan which tugs at my heart, and fills me with love and respect for them. I have countless Azarbaijani friends, some of whom in sheer moments of friendship and kindness to me, have pronounced me an "Honorary Azarbaijani!" I can't get enough of their music. I am listening to a wide variety of old and new Azarbaijani music these days, all of which are beautiful and worthy of sharing with you. I think it appropriate, however, to share this beautiful love song by the old master, Rashid Behbudov, with you. In this song, he talks about sweeping the street, setting up the samavar, and putting sugar in his lover's tea cup, in anticipation of her arrival! I think it is one of the most touching songs I have ever heard. I want to give this song to Marjan, who is a young Azari with a heart of gold, full of love and anticipation these days. Yashasin Azarbaijan!
P.S. Thanks to Bayram, here's the Farsi translation of a piece of the lyrics. See how sweet it is:
کوچه را آبپاشی کردم تا زمان آمدن یار گردوخاک نباشه... جوری بیاید و جوری برود که در میانمان حرفی نباشد... سماور را آتش کردم و در استکان قند انداختم... یارم رفته تنها مانده ام... چه شیرین است یار... چه عزیز است یار
And I fixed the song name to Kuchalara, based on Neda's recommendation (see Comments). If I still have it wrong, please do let me know.
The bird said, “What scent! What sunshine! Ah!
Spring has come
And I will go in search of my mate”
From the portico’s edge
The bird flew away; like a message, it flew away
The bird was little
The bird did not think
The bird did not read newspapers
The bird was not in debt
The bird did not know men
The bird flew through the air
Over red lights
At the altitude of nescience
And madly experienced
The bird, Ah, was only a bird
"Parandeh faghat yek parandeh bood," Another Birth, by Forough Farrokhzad, Translated by Ismail Salami
Ballet Afsaneh dance Persian dances. Music: The Hunt, by Azam Ali from her Niaz Album.It's Friday. My kids got dressed up in their nice clothes and went to a birthday party. Days ran one after another this week, and before I knew it, another Friday evening is here, when I catch my breath, relax, and write another Friday post. This was a good week. I made tangible progress at work, in my personal affairs, and in some of my relationships. With a reception and many meetings to start a new project at work, I talked entirely too much this week. I am so appreciating the silence of this cool and dark evening. I am a generally sociable and noisy individual. I talk a lot and laugh a lot. It may be a surprise to most people, then, to know how much I value my solitude and quiet. When it's quiet, I get to think and regroup. It took me years to learn this need in myself. Now that I know it, I exercise it frequently!
I leave you with a dance clip of Ballet Afsaneh. They are a local dance company, specializing in Persian, Central Asian, Tajik, Afghan, Uzbek, Indian, and Azerbaijani dances. Though they have some Iranian dancers in their company, their dancers are mostly Americans. They have won many perfoming arts prizes and are regarded as a respectable dance company. You can read more about them on their website. Though a bit blurry, I hope this video clip makes you happy and lets you forget some of your worries.
I wish you all a fabulous weekend. I hope your hours and days are filled with rays of light, winds of joy, and sounds of laughter. I hope you stay warm with the love of your friends and family. Return those phone calls, write those emails, send those photos, and visit the ones waiting to see you. Remember, at the end of the day, nobody really cares how many times you mopped your floors or how vigorously you vacuumed the carpets; they care whether your hands were wrapped around their shoulders, your voice soothed their souls, and your reassurances made them strong. Go get busy with the business of love, understanding, and peace. Please don't shout, don't hunk your horns, and don't frown. Open your hearts, your arms, and your eyes. You may feel, touch, and see things you hadn't before. You just might. And don't forget to pray for peace.
تصور کن، اگه حتی تصور کردنش سخته
جهانی که هر انسانی تو اون خوشبخت خوشبخته
جهانی که تو اون پول و نژاد و قدرت ارزش نیست
جواب همصدایی ها پلیس ضد شورش نیست
نه بمب هسته ای داره، نه بمب افکن، نه خمپاره
دیگه هیچ بچه ای پاشو روی مین جا نمیذاره
همه آزاد آزادن، همه بیدار بیدارن
تو روزنامه نمیخونی نهنگا خودکشی کردن
جهانی رو تصور کن بدون نفرت و باروت
بدون ظلم خودکامه، بدون وحشت و تابوت
جهانی رو تصور کن پر از لبخند و آزادی
لبالب از گل و بوسه، پر از تکرار آبادی
"You Need to Create What You Want", based on the law of attraction (as discussed in the book, The Secret) Presentation in Farsi; Friday, November 2nd, 6:30 p.m., FAZ Restaurant Ballroom, 1108 North Matilda Avenue; Sunnyvale; Members $10, Other $15. For more info call 408-236-2188. Truth be told, I am more excited about going out with my friends than the lecture! If I learn anything noteworthy, I will come back and share with you.
A few years ago, the Emamzadeh in Mashad Ardehal near Kashan, where Sohrab Sepehri is buried was going through a renovation. As a part of the renovation, the plan was to move Sohrab’s grave from where it was to another spot in the graveyard. In Iran and amongst Moslems, exhuming a dead body from the grave is considered a deep insult to the dead. There was a huge social uproar and the plans were changed to exclude the removal. The reconstruction and renovation efforts went on at the Emamzadeh. One day a truck backed onto Sohrab’s grave, and broke the tombstone. This was so ironic, considering on his tombstone, verses of one of his poems say:
I saw this picture today. A crack through the words "the thin china of my solitude" is visible. I wonder whether that tombstone was replaced and the new one is now also cracked, or this is the original tombstone. Either way, I think Sohrab would not be insulted by the irony. I think he is smiling about it, the optimistic, happy poet of our times. Photo by Behrang Barzin. See more pictures of his trip to Iran here.
If you come to visit me, Come softly and quietly, Lest the thin china of my solitude Is cracked.