From Karkheh to Rhein
It's Friday. My week was filled with new meetings and experiences of new and old feelings. I shared some of them with you. My relationship with my children is transforming again, putting us on a more adult track yet again. These transformations only mean that the list of topics we can easily and maturely discuss with one another grows. We are now past talking about the physical relationship of men and women and we are talking about "relationships," and how men and women might regard a relationship differently, with different expectations. To surprise you, I should say that I am not at all the only one who has opinions and experiences about this, and they are not the only ones who have questions and doubts about it! It is always a good day for me when I receive a beautiful sentiment in the form of an email from Iran first thing in the morning, and a couple of hours later an SMS from my older son, saying simply: "i love you mom." I want to tell you a short story, a memory. I met Majid Entezami, the famous Iranian composer and his lovely wife, one of the few Harp players in Iran, in a family gathering several years ago. We talked about life and music and our children. He is truly a charming man who loves his family. I told him I knew him most prominently through his masterpiece film score, Az Kharkeh Ta Rhein. He said "You know, what happened to that score has been a source of bafflement for me." He explained that it is one of two pieces of music Iranian Radio and Television air during mourning times in Iran (the other is Hossein Alizadeh's symphony, Neynava), and this music has come to be known for sadness and reflection. I asked him if he minded. He said "No, I don't mind it, as I wrote it to be reflective and sad, but sometimes when I hear it unexpectedly played on the radio, I turn to my wife and ask her: 'It's not a national mourning day. Did someone die today?' Anyhow, it is a really beautiful piece of music and remembering how many times I heard it on the radio during Tasooa and Ashura, I felt nostalgic about it today. We are at the beginning of a three-day weekend in the US. Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, and I will write about him a little later this weekend. I wish you all a relaxing weekend, whether or not you are reflecting. Get together with those who matter to you, sit around a fire, talk, and embrace each other. You know, we must never underestimate the power of human touch. Holding hands, hugging, and touching our family and loved ones can have extremely powerful benefits for our souls. Iranians touch each other a lot more than Americans do. Believing in and observing "personal space" is the reason Americans refrain from getting too physically close to one another; this is intended to respect people's individuality, a value most prized in American culture. Iranians touch each other more, believing it conveys messages of closeness, brotherhood, and affection, a much more tribal approach to human interaction. I am very Iranian, very tribal, and when not in professional settings, I touch the people around me a lot! Have a good weekend y'all.