2/27/2008

Confessions

Flowers of Iran by Shahireh Sharif.
My cousin Mahtab was two years older than me, so when I was 15, she was a voluptuous and daring 17-year-old, expert in the arts of makeup, hair styling, and fashion. She kept failing her classes, and seemed to have no worries about this. The only thing I, the scrawny, late-bloomer that I was, had to show for myself was a loud mouth full of words and smiles and a good pen. Mahtab and I who had grown up together with our other siblings, became partners in crime around this time of our lives. Well, sort of.
Mahtab had met a boy a couple of years older than herself on the street, when she had been looking for a coin to call home on a public phone. The two of them had started a secret courtship which lasted for several years. I used to run to my aunt's house to find a quiet, private corner where Mahtab and I would smoke cigarettes and she would tell me about her boyfriend, Bahman. She seemed so grown-up and worldly to me! The whole concept of a real boyfriend, a stranger, was so awesome to me! A year or so later, on one of my almost daily visits to Mahtab's house, I found her in bed, crying her big black eyes out, telling me that Bahman was leaving Tehran to go live in London, where he was to pursue his education. Mahtab was inconsolable, missing the love of her life already.
A few days after Bahman had left, she called me and asked me to go visit her immediately. I obliged. She showed me a blue aerogramme (do you remember those? A piece of long blue paper which would be folded and sealed to comprise both the letter and the envelope...I am so old!). It was a letter from Bahman. She begged me to read it. It was a love letter, written in a beautiful masculine handwriting, confessing undying love for Mahtab, asking her to write soon. I handed the letter back to Mahtab, asking her if she would like to use some nice writing paper I had with matching envelopes. She shook her head, crying. I asked her what was wrong and she showed me a hundred balls of crumpled paper--letters she had attempted to write to Bahman, hating every one of them because her writing skills were so poor, both in composition and in spelling. She begged me to write Bahman a letter from her. I told her I couldn't oblige, because a love letter was from the person who loved the other person, and I didn't love Bahman in the same way she did, so I couldn't write a love letter to him! She said she would tell me what to write, and all I had to do was to shape it up and make it sound beautiful. For good measure, she told me if I accepted to write her a letter, she would curl my awfully flat straight hair in curlers and style it for me. I pulled out a paper and started writing: "Bahman-e Aziz Tar Az Janam....."
Two years went by like this. I wrote Bahman two or three letters on Mahtab's behalf every week, where she would tell me: "Tell him I love him and I can't wait for him to come home and marry me," and I would write: "Bahman Jan, not a night goes by when I don't dream of you, and not a day when I don't see your handsome face in my mind, and not a second without dreaming of our union one day soon." With Mahtab's reciprocal help and my own eventual growth spurt, I had started to look pretty good, if I may say so myself! My hair was always nice and fluffy, my eyebrows had started to vanish and take shape, much to my mother's chagrin, and Mahtab was teaching me how to use makeup.
Eventually, Bahman came home and came to Mahtab's khastegari, and the lovers got married. I never forget their wedding day. After the formal ceremony, aghd, someone asked the bride and groom what had convinced them to choose each other for marriage. Mahtab said her "certainty of Bahman's love," and poor Bahman said: "all the love letters I received from Mahtab in London, which kept me sane and helped my resolve to come home and marry her." I had to leave the room and go die in a corner with laughter and shame!
This is how I learned to write about other people's feelings. Sorry, I wished I had a more honorable tale to tell, but the saving grace of this confession is that it's true and it was for a good cause--love... A very good cause indeed.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

ها ها چه با نمک
مردم از خنده.. چه کار جالبی کردی بلا! اونا هنوز با همند؟
بهمن فهمید کی اون نامه های عشقولانه زیبا رو می نوشته؟؟
آره مهم اینه که 2تا دل رو به هم
رسوندی
مرسی که برای ما هم تعریف کردی.

مرضیه

Anonymous said...

راستی بهتر شدی؟
خواهر رو دیدی؟

مرضیه

نون جیم said...

That was veryyyy funny nazy joon!
Did she ever confess to him?

Nazy said...

Salam Marzieh Joonam.

I was replying to comments in the other post, but decided to come and reply to yours first!

Well, the story of Mahtab and Bahman had a sad ending, which I deliberately ommitted. They loved each other very very much and went on to have two beautiful children, but Bahman died a very sad and sudden death twelve years after their marriage. Mahtab lives in Germany now.

Yes, I saw my lovely sister and kissed her to my heart's content! I am much better today, thank you my sweet friend.

Have a good evening.

Nazy said...

Salam Bar Noon Jim-e-Azizam!

Happy Happy Happy Birthday! I hope your new year of life is filled with joy and happiness and love, my young friend. I hope you have a brilliant day.

You know, I don't think Mahtab ever told Bahman about my hand in the love letters! Though I am sure he knows now, looking down at us from heaven and smiling.

Be good Noon Jim and have a Happy Birthday.

بی‌تا said...

نازی جان این داستان عالی بود از اون هچی اندینگ ها که به دل آدم میشینه.
ببینم بعد از ازدواج هم شما سرویس مجانی آرایش میگفتید یا بعد از رسوندن دو دلدار به هم تموم شد؟

بی‌تا said...

happy ending

Nazy said...

Salam Bar Khanoom Hana-ye Azizam, Bita Jan,

Salam Salam. How wonderful to see you in these parts! Ha Ha, no, the free services ended after their wedding, come to think of it! But that was O.K., I guess, since I can't remember any particular devastation as a result of it! My mother wanted to kill Mahtab for helping me "steal" my eyebrows day by day! Hee Hee. I was a handful to my parents to be sure.

Mahtab is coming to visit me this summer after many many years. I can't wait to renew our memories.

Thanks very much for coming to visit Bita Jan. I hope you and your beautiful family are well and thriving in Japan. Come and visit one of these days, how about that?

نون جیم said...

Your story ended sadly...
Tnx Nazy joon. I'm happy that this year is a leap year. I don't know what I can do for the next 3 years!!

Nazy said...

Noon Jim Jan:

No, my story didn't have a sad ending. It had a happy ending. The other story had a sad ending.

You see, each individual's life is made up of many many stories, some happy and some sad. The storyteller can choose to say the sad ones or the happy ones. When we tell our own life's stories, too, we become the storytellers. We can tell a happy story or a sad one about our lives.

I'll share a thought with you. I am contemplating writing a book. Many people close to me think that I should write about my life. They believe that there have been enough twists and turns in my real life to warrant a book! To that I say, thank you, but no thank you. The reason I have is that what my friends think should be the center of my story, the events they have in mind, are very unhappy and awful events, indeed! I don't want to tell an awful story, even if it's true! I want to tell a happy story, so I will have to write about other things. This is a choice I even make about my own very real stories, I believe, let alone others'.

So, you have a birthday once every four years? How bizarre is that? I'm sure you cheat and celebrate one day early each year, no? Happy birthday doost-e-man.

Mohammad said...

Dear Nazy,
I hope you feel much better now. This was such a nice story .How funny! I guess having a "ghost writer" is much more important than we have ever thought! Good for Mahtaab! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Nazy said...

Salam Mohammad Jan:

Just as I got up to go to bed, your kind comment arrived and I decided to reply before I went.

Yes, much better, thank you! Hee Hee, it was very funny, because Bahman was a poet, and he also cited much poetry in his letters. I had to learn to consult poetry books to write back some poems, too, which was a big feat for someone that young, now that I think about it! But it made me become interested in poetry as a result! The funny thing was that in the years to come, Mahtab would talk to me sometimes and talk about her life. I found myself as "knowing" about Bahman as if he were a member of my family, because I felt so close to him through his letters to Mahtab! It was weird and funny at the same time! I have written many different letters, articles, statements, resumes, and such for other people through my life. Never love letters again! If I were asked to do it again today, I would refrain! The lucky thing was that in this case it worked and didn't cause any harm.

Be good and happy Mohammad Jan. You are one man who would never need help writing a letter conveying a sentiment!

nima said...

I can just say: "ajab!"

Soshiyans said...

Dear Nazy

I am amazed, you remember me! Thanks for your words about me! (smiling)
You said "if I may say so myself!" Of course, you are. I never forget the gal's face in the picture with polices you posted here. Besides, I am living with your posts here, friend. You have deep conception for life and profound experience of being. OK, about your judgment:! "Do not judge about someone whom you know him/her within a few words" I am sure you remember this sentence, too. (smiling)
I would be delighted if you take look at my blog. I am not a diligent writer like you. I just write for my own sometimes. To avoid misunderstanding I should say this blog is a place to ideally have a new insight and definition for some meanings, dictions, etc; something like different note without any explanation. I would be glad if you can correct me with your massages.
All the bests;
Mahdi

ali said...

beautiful story indeeeeeeed :-)

Ahmad said...

Wow! What a tale, what an adventure! That's where you started; no wonder your writing is so good ;) Well, that was a joke.

Once I decided to joke with three friends of mine in high school and wrote fake love letters to them seemingly from some girls (and I did whatever I could to make it real). One of those came back to me for help and guidance. He was going through some spritual prcoess and was so sure that the love letter was a test by God for him. One of the remaining two had figured out that was a game, and I did not hear anything from him. A year later, I told these two friends about what I had done: one of them laughed and the other one was so frustrated because he had thought the letter was a test by God! To the third friend I had not yet confessed.

Your story and after-story details in the comment section have many interesting points: the fact that you had to consult poetry books to reply back, and that you got to know Behman well through the letters... And the good part is that you got good service for being "kateb-bashi"! This story must be an entire chapter in your book!

Anonymous said...

Salam! I am back again!... It was a very interesting story! And shows you had an excellent talent in writing (it is also obvious from your posts : )
I wish you a very nice day and hope I get the cahnce to come back soon!

Shahrzad

nasim said...

that was such a funny and cute story Nazy joon!! I loved it :)
does Bahman know now that you were the writer?!

I hope that you are feeling better. take care of yourself and enjoy this sunny and beautiful day. by the way, if you are free sometime, do you like to go for a coffee or so..?

Leila said...

Nazli Jan,
It was wonderful. I am happy for its happy-ending.
You are great in writing the stories, of course the true stories. I read your work in Zamaneh. it was so good.

نیلوفر said...

Amazing!!! It was a lovely story .

Shideh said...

Lovely story. I laughed really hard. thank you Nazy joon.

You are right about out lives being composed of different stories, some apparently sad and some apparently happy. To a large extent though, it really depends on how we look at events in our lives; our moods, personalities, standards, sensitivities, backgrounds, culture, etc. have a lot to do with it. I think that we can really focus our energy on the positive in every thing if we spend enough energy to overcome the desire to be sad. It seems to me that is what you do in your stories;

I think no matter how hard it is to find the positive some times, it's always there if we look for it. I wish you start writing about your life, even if it’s full of apparently sad events.

thank you for the beautiful post again

Anonymous said...

بامزه ساده زیبا
میتونه سناریوی یک فیلم باشه
مرسی
"نق نقو"

SERENDIP said...

What a delightful story of coming of age. You're never cease to amaze me and I understand Bahaman's infatuations with your writings; no surprise there. I would marry you in a second if I were a guy,,,LOL

SERENDIP said...

typo alert:

should read you not you're.

Anonymous said...

I remember aeorogram Nazy jan...you are not old at all.
I used to buy them for a dollar or less, 14 years ago...Internet is a BIG technology!
I will write to you more later.
Best wishes,
Pardis :)

P.S, new year is close... I bought a SONBOL today (Purple)... Pisha pish happy spring!;)

bayramali said...

ha haaaaa . what a sweet story . I love that. it seems like a movie. To tell the true I used to do same for my buddies in high school and as you said . it is very good help to improve in writing skill . I was writing for one of my friend same ESHGOOLANE letters for 6 months . once when I was in a trip , a emergency happening occurred that made my buddy to send a mail. I was,t available and There weren't any cell phone and e-mail that time !! my friend wrote a letter himself but it didn't work and she understood every thing . She never forgave him for that lie!! and I was blamed for a long time!!!

p.s I remember Aerograms . It was a good NOSTOOL :D

نون جیم said...

Dear Nazy,
I love whatever you write, no matter it is sad or happy, gloomy or bright. I love the way you use the words and I always - in fact, after each of your posts - ask myself how you learned to write in English like this. I don't ask you because I'm ashamed of this question of mine!
I will be so happy if you write a book. I'm sure that I will love it and I'm sure that I will be proud, telling everyone that the author of this book is a dear friend of mine.

Daisy said...

Salam Nazy jon,

What a sweet and wonderful story. Also the way you add humor to it, it made it just prefect. I smile throughout the whole story. Such a nice memory to share and such nice cousins you were for each other.

I just thought that some people- including me- whose artistic skills in make up and these sorts of thing are poor and their writing is at the same level of their artistic talent, they need two cousins to help them to get marry :)

P.S. I hope you're feeling better.

Nazy said...

Salam Nima Jan:

And what I can say to you is:

Cheh Ajab?!!

I hope you are well my friend. So, the thing I didn't say in this post, though I have said it before, is that in my eighth grade composition, ensha, class, I had a very good teacher who helped me learn and practice writing in Farsi. He was a young poet with political tendencies who encouraged me to read and read and read, and then write and write and write. He gave me books to read and would give me 25 words each week, asking me to work them into a story. That's how I learned to write stories, I think.

His name is Ali Moussavi Garmaroodi.

I hear he is famous and dear now. I knew him when he was unknown and a political dissident, and not very dear! A fantastic teacher.

Have a good day Nima Jan.

Nazy said...

Soshyians-e-Aziz:

Salam. Thank you very much for that very kind comment, honoring me to no end.

Where are your blogs? Come on, come on, give me the address! I want to come visit you! Though if you write your blogs like you write your comments for Alef Shin, I doubt I can make any contnributions (diplom-be-bala!). But I can certainly read them and try!

Come back again soon my friend.

Nazy said...

Salam Bar Ali:

Welcome to my blogs. Have you been here before (or I should ask: had you left me a comment before?). I don't remember if you have, so I welcome you just the same. Tell us something about yourself whenever you feel comfortable, Ali Jan.

Thank you for your compliment. I am glad you liked the story. Please come back again.

Nazy said...

Salam Ahmad Jan:

So, you were very naughty when you were very young, too! Ha Ha, that's really heartwarming for me to know! So, I wasn't the only one playing games. Of course your game was a practical joke on your friends, which sounds like it received mixed reception, funny all the way.

I'm getting ready to tell another story about my years of coming of age. See if you can spot this one in your nostalgia repertoire! It has to do with boys and girls, and you will identify with the sentiments in it, I'm sure. I'll tell it this weekend if I feel better. I had started feeling better with my cold and I overdid things yesterday, having a relapse and having to come home in the middle of the day today. If I can't do it this weekend, I'll tell it soon.

Be good Ahmad Jan.

Nazy said...

Salam Shahrzad Jan:

Are you the same Shahrzad who came to visit me last March (shab-e-eid), after reading my article about the movie "300?" That Shahrzad was from Bethesda in Maryland.

Welcome back my friend, whether or not you are that same Shahrzad (let me know if you are and I will tell you why I asked!). Thank you for reading and for your kind comment. It's so gratifying to see that people do read my writing sketches! It also keeps me on my toes to make sure I don't slack off too much, as there is a pretty decent, educated, and compassionate audience following it!

Have a brilliant weekend Shahrzad Jan and come back soon.

Nazy said...

Salam Nasim Jan:

I hope you are well my friend! I would love to have coffee or lunch with you soon. I'll write to you about a potential date!

As I wrote in my replies to earlier comments, sadly, Bahman passed away many years ago. I don't think he knew about the letters when he was alive, but now he does and I don't think he minds, because those letters were written with good intentions. I chatted with my cousin not too long ago and we laughed like lunatics reminiscing about our shinanigans!

I hope you have a good weekend my friend! My best to Jay.

Nazy said...

Salam Leila Jan:

I am so glad you enjoyed the story. I think the story is a good one, no matter who says it!

I am now blogging and writing for fun and as a hobby. My friends and co-workers all around the world have also known me to tell stories in gatherings and meetings and in work setups, specially when I am trying to convey an important message. I would simply start by saying: "let me tell you a story," or "bezarin baratoon ye ghesseh begam!" Of course they are all true stories, but stories just the same, my growing passion in life.

Thanks again for your kind words my friend. Come back again soon.

Nazy said...

Niloufar, Niloufar,

Salam, chetori? I hope you are well and happy my friend. Thanks for coming and for your kind comment. I hope before the storytelling mood leaves me (you know it is not a constant thing in me), I find the time to tell a few more, recording my stories in the process!

Have a good weekend Niloofar Jan.

Nazy said...

Salam Bar Sensitive Shideh:

Thank you for that sweet message. Yes, indeed, it all depends on how we look at things.

I have known a few very brave women in my life who have raised and cared for their retarded children themselves, my oldest sister one of them.

To outsiders, it looks like such a sad life for a woman to care for a mentally challenged child, one who would never do things normal people do, will never graduate from college and will never get married and have children. To these women, though, it is not hard at all, because those are their children whom they love and value very much, bringing their own brand of love and contribution to a family. Even a retarded child can express love and happiness and dismay and other emotions. I have learned that in fact these special children of God also could have a very keen sense of humor, joking around in their own special ways, if only people were to spend enough time with them, figuring out those humor spots in their personalities.

I remember when my nephew died at the age of 24, some crazy, insensitive people at the memorial ceremony at the mosque were actually telling my sister: "rahat shodi." My sister would look at them and say: "Man narahat naboodam keh rahat besham. Alan narahatam." To those people, her life seemed like it was lacking something. To my sister and the rest of us who loved Reza, his very special existence had added so much to our lives. The beauty of life IS all in the eyes of the beholder, Shideh Jan. Reza was not my family's sad story. His was a happy, albeit short, story of the triumph of human spirit and love.

Thanks again for your thoughtful comment. Be good azizam and have a happy weekend.

Nazy said...

Salam Negh Neghoo Jan:

Say, I left you a question on the Abgoosht post! Did you see it? It was about Chelo Kabab!

Thank you for your vote of confidence! For now I am just happy for the occasinal chance and the time to work on getting my stories written, happy to have an audience! I don't know about movies! Basheh talabam!

Be good and have a good weekend talented and funny Parviz. I am coming to visit your blogs soon to see what clever and funny things you are saying these days!

Nazy said...

Salam Bar Serendip-e-Azizam:

Ha Ha, that's so funny! Well, nobody is knocking down the door to come and marry me! I tried the dating business briefly, and had to abandon it for the grief it was causing me, as I'm no good at it! Now, this might cause an uproar among some of my readers (that is if this reply doesn't get buried among all the others as I should hope it will!)! But I think the day I give up on Iranian men I might actually start having some good experiences in that department! You have read my sentiments about the issue, so you know that it has to do with how most Iranian men put so much value on age, always looking for women a lot younger than themselves.

Thank you for your vote of confidence and your supportive comment, Serendip! Have a fabulous weekend my fabulous friend.

Nazy said...

P A R D I S...P A R D I S:

Where have you been? I have missed you so much. Not too long ago, I wrote in one of my blogs that I was missing you and I was wondering where you disappeared!

How are you? Are you well? Are you happy? You must come back and stay this time, because I really love hearing from you, my daydreamer Shirazi friend!

I am so relieved you remember aerogrammes, too! I'm relieved somebody so much younger than me knows about them, too! See, this is why you simply have to keep coming back!

Be good Pardis Jan and have a good weekend.

Nazy said...

Salam Bar Bayramali-e-Azizam:

I'm so glad you have experienced writing ESHGHOOLANEH letters for others, too! Ha ha, it was really funny to learn that your friend held you responsible because you took a trip! It is a big responsibility, which is why I would never do it again!

I'm so glad you remember aerogrammes, too, that's a relief for me!

Have a good weekend Bayram Jan.

Nazy said...

Sweet Noon Jim:

Hee Hee, I doubt I will actually get to write the book, let alone a publisher taking a chance on it, and its appearing on a bookstand! But since I am daydreaming with your comment now, if and when there is a book, the names of my friends will already be in it, so no need to tell anyone about our friendship, just highlight that page!

Ha Ha, that made me happy in a very silly way just now! Have a good weekend my sweet friend.

Nazy said...

Salam Daisy Joonam. I was better and than I had a relapse. I am going to take it easy this weekend, hoping to recover by Monday.

You are artful and insightful and full of love for life and the arts! You need no help my dear! Please just don't rush it and enjoy our young life to the fullest, gathering valuable experiences which will enrich a permanent relationship later.

Have a good weekend my friend.

مسعود said...

سلام نازی خانم
اگر بپذیریم که هر کس صورتی دارد و سیرتی، و اگر بپذیریم که سیرت هر کس شامل اخلاقیات به معنی الاعم و افکار اوست، و اگر بپذیریم که آنچه به رشته تحریر در می آید نشات گرفته از افکار اوست پس از این سه مقدمه نتیجه می گیریم: آن عاشق دلخسته عاشق دو نفر شده بود در یک نفر. منتها چون صورت به عیان مشهود است ، عاشقی به همان منسوب می شود.من یک نفر را سراغ داشتم که حقیقتا عاشق سیرت معشوق خود بود:جبران خلیل جبران که از طریق نامه با می زیاده نرد جان می باخت
این روزها سریال شهریار را می بینی؟
هم تاریخ است هم موسیقی است هم شعر است و هم همه چیز .شهر یار هم یکی از عشاق بزرگ بود
با سپاس

Nazy said...

Masoud Jan:

Salam. I have heard about the Shahryar series in Iran. Unfortunately, I don't watch much television these days. Perhaps once it's over, I can catch it on the internet sometime. I hear really good things about it.

About the letter-writing: well, you are looking at that story through your years of life experience. We were just children or very young adults. I don't think that was the case at all. I wrote what Mahtab told me, only with a better pen than she had. Mahtab and Bahman did really love each other and had a good life together for the time they were given the gift of love.

I love Gibran Khalil Gibran. I keep his book, prophet in my desk at work and at home and read passages from it frequently, never tiring from it. I'll have to go look up those love letters you said to see your meaning.

Thanks for your as usual thoughtful comment. Have a good Sunday my friend.

Anonymous said...

... and they lived happily ever after.
Thanks for the story Nazy joon. It’s also a good time to thank you for using my photos for some of your fantastic work.
ba’es-e eftekhar-e mane.
Anyway, I wanted to give you this link as well:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shahireh
It’s so nice to read your work.

Shahireh

Nazy said...

Shahireh Jan:

Thanks so muchfor coming to visit and most importantly for your fantastic photographs. The honor of using them is all mine. I love the eyes that see and the heart that behinds behind your camera. Thanks for the link, too, my friend.

Anonymous said...

nazi jaan,
Ali was me ;)

Anonymous said...

ali e songsdaily :D

Nazy said...

Ali Jan:

Ay Dad o Bidad! How very embarrassing for me not to have recognized you! I don't expect blogger friends to show up without their blog id's. I am so sorry Ali Jan.

I must have appeared as such an ingrate to a friend like you. You are dear and important to me in a very special way, and you already know that yourself. You must just come and visit me more often, so that I don't think it is a "brand new Ali" when you come and say something! Just kidding. Please forgive my temporary insanity!

I hope life is treating you well my fabulous, artistic, and peace loving friend. My best to your lovely wife, my friend.