Missing Rasht Tonight

Someone shared this video clip of Rashti music with me tonight. I am sharing it with you. I miss Rasht. Salam beguftam tera, javab nadaee mera... Lovely old Gilak song and full of memories for me. I hope you enjoy it! Have a good Friday everybody!


The Persian Jam

Hooman, Shari, Behzad, and Niloofar, making music.
Behzad, Bijan, Dr. Zari, Shari, and Reza.
Anahita, Hooman, Dr. Taheri, and Manouchehr Khan Ghanbari.
I went to see my Persian Literature teacher, Dr. Zari Taheri, in Berkeley last night. She has been living in Tokyo at for the past several years, where she researches and teaches Persian literature at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Once or twice a year she returns to her home in the Bay Area and during the summers she teaches a Persian poetry class for a few weeks at UC Berkeley, which is attended by her adoring students (more like fans!). This time she had a short visit and we only had a chance to see her last night for a few hours at one of our classmates’ home in Berkeley.
Of course, Zari is always equipped with Persian poetry to disarm us and we were willingly ready to abandon the “party” to join her in another “class” as she pulled out her little Khayyam book and started to read Khayyam’s poems for us. But what happened instead was a lot of fun! People pulled out their musical instruments and assembled a small, but complete musical group who picked up on the Khayyam poetry and started playing and singing for the rest of us. Someone even danced to the tune of the sweet jamming session!
What is it with Iranians and poetry and music? I don’t think anyone can adequately define a “Persian Jam,” where everybody joins with whatever talent they have (and even without it as in my case!), to fill a small corner of time and presence with an age-old tradition, something which feels very pagan in nature?
I mean even when there are no musical instruments and no scholars in attendance, even the smallest of Iranian gatherings could spontaneously turn in the direction of a night-long musical event, so very sweet and so nostalgic.
I suppose other nationalities and ethnic groups engage in spur of the moment musical activities like this, too, but nothing feels as right to me as this, The Persian jam. Has this happened to you, too? What songs do you sing? It’s all music of love to me.


Coming Back

I went to be with my friends tonight after a very long time tonight. I also spent time with my family last weekend. I took some important steps at work this past week, too. I think I'm on my way back to my beautiful life again.
P.S. I wrote and erased thousands of words here tonight. No words seem to do justice to the way I am feeling right now. I think what I already said is representative of how I feel. I'm on my way back.


Chop Chop!

The scissors moved quickly and expertly, chop chop, I could hear the work in progress, but I didn’t wish to see. Past that early jolt when my ponytail was cut off in one move, I didn’t want to see. I kept my eyes closed and instead, I heard the sound of the comb running through my wet hair and the chop chop of the scissors.
I travelled through my thoughts and my reflections, memories and wishes, longings and sadnesses, hoping to organize my head as it was being relieved of all the extra weight. I didn’t want to think about turning ugly or undesirable, because I didn’t want to think “for whom?” Chop chop the scissors went.
I remembered my friend Soussan in the last days of her life, bald, missing her beautiful eyelashes and eyebrows from round after round of chemotherapy, drugged up and unreachable.
I thought of Hadi’s sister in Montreal who is also going through chemotherapy to deal with Leukemia.
Chop chop, I listened, and thought about life as it is and as it goes on, about how much fault we find with here and now, how we worry more about what is missing than what there is. I thought the sad thoughts of loss and longing.
I thought about the tears that had been building up in a pond just behind my eyes, unpermitted to move, unforgiven if disobedient. I thought about the young love happening in my home, and the twinkle which keeps surprising me in my son’s eyes. I thought about opening that audio file and my unexpected delight at hearing my son sing a complete song in it. I thought about the delightful taste of pomegranates and yogurt on my tongue, when he encouraged me to “just try it.” I thought about all the last gazes and kisses, embraces and unuttered words of goodbye, repeated a million times in my life. I could feel the disobedient pond moving forward and sliding on my cheeks, catching the snippets of hair on their way down. I couldn’t hear the chop chop anymore, but I didn’t want to open my eyes to see.
I looked in the mirror. It was still me, with short hair. Life was intact. Hope was still around. My face needed a good washing.
I donated my hair to Wigs For Kids today.