Painting by Parviz Kalantari, who is a master Iranian painter, and who has also written sweet and funny books. I met him during a display of his works in Tehran three years ago. A memorable artist and an interesting man, that Parviz-e-Kalantari.
Have you ever had friends and family who say they can do extraordinary things? Do you believe them? I had a co-worker in Tehran who meditated and said that he was a Flying Sidhi. I have a close relative who believes she has healing powers, always attempting to heal people around her of their pains and ailments by using some healing techniques. A high school friend and a distant relative of mine are now famous fortunetellers who have a large following. I believe and accept all of them. Though I might never want to learn about what they do, I never feel the urge to question or examine their claims, either. I just accept them as they say. I remember when I went on a work training trip with the "Flying Sidhi," (they are supposed to be able to "levitate," or rise and suspend in the air during their yoga meditation), another co-worker accompanying us kept arguing with this guy, trying to prove that he was lying. Several times I had to follow this other guy into the backyard of the place we were staying and haul him back inside when he tried to watch the other guy through the window, so that he might prove that the guy was lying! I wouldn't let him tease and insult the other guy, all the time telling him to be respectful. To this day, if anyone tells me a "miracle" happened to him or her, or some supernatural event took place in his or her life, I tend to believe and respect him, never doubting or ridiculing my friend, and honestly never wanting to challenge the notion. Is that normal? Not having any curiosity about the accuracy of a claim someone I know makes? Is it gullible? I thought I would ask. Before I go, though, I should tell you of a memory. A friend of mine who was very close to me, an artist, suffered a massive heart attack in Tehran a few years ago. My friend was a darvish and often told me about his "encounters" with spirits. I always believed him, though others around us were skeptical. The day he was taken to the hospital, I learned the news and rushed to his side in CCU. He was lucid and recognized me, telling me: "Chera zahmat keshidin?" The nurses were preparing him to hook him up to CCU instruments, so his wife and I left the room. His wife went to get his medicine. Several minutes later I heard him talking. I went in and found him alone. I asked him: "Reza Jan, are you talking to me? Do you need anything?" He said: "Na Nazy Khanoom, I was talking to the others. They are talking to me." My friend died that night, so I never got to ask him who they were and what they were talking about. But I believed him as I always did.