Music of Heart and Soul

Fared Shafinouri sings Arianaz in Tehran. This is beautiful music and I'm sure you would enjoy it! Look at the sweet video clip of my beloved Tehran. I found him on YouTube last October. Here's his MySpace page where you can find other tracks of his new album. His music is so sweet and refreshing.

Fared and his band, Tehranosaurus, will be performing in Berkeley this Saturday night. I am going to see them perform. The concert will be the entertainment segment of the IAAB conference. Here's the concert's Facebook announcement. It will be at the Pauley Ballroom of UC Berkeley on Saturday, April 4th, 2009 at 8:30.


The Year of Dreams

My wonderful friend, Kiomars, sent me a group of beautiful pictures of Tehran's Tajrish Square during preparations for Nowruz. I forwarded my gift to Iranian.com where they were published and shared with thousands of other people! You can see the collection here. This photo shows fresh baby almonds, chaghaleh badom, a spring time Iranian delicacy. Thank you Q!
I have been busy doing Nowruzi things! My older son came to stay for a week, during which we hung out nice and easy. He left for Santa Cruz this afternoon, and the house feels empty and too quiet this evening! Though he has officially left home since September, I haven't quite managed to get used to his absence. When he comes home and the house gets filled with the chatter and laughter of my sons and their friends, things feel so normal, and when he goes away, I have to get used to things all over again! Next year by this time my younger son will also be on his way out somewhere, and I will have to get used to that, too! Well, I have decided that the new Iranian year, 1388 is going to be a better year, that it will be my year! Forget about the economic forecasts, forget about some small and big sadnesses brewing in my and my friends' lives--this is going to be a great year for everyone, I can just feel it in my heart!
Come and dream with me, won't you? Imagine a world full of peace, where no one gets sick and all the sick people heal and recover, where pain is just a memory, where everyone will have enough money to enjoy life without fear or worries, where everybody makes the best decisions and everyone does the right thing, where nobody lies and nobody hurts others' feelings, where those who are in committed relationships wake up one day and think to themselves just how lucky they are to be in the company of somebody who loves and trusts and respects them, kissing more passionately and hugging more warmly, and giving more generously! Imagine those who aren't in a committed relationship, getting hit with the thunder of love and finding the one person who would complete and improve them for the rest of their lives! Imagine changes happening for the absolute better, and without pain! Imagine everyone growing more mature, loving, and forgiving! That's the dream I have for this year. That's what I am looking forward to seeing in 1388! Call me a fool, but I am almost certain in my heart that many of these dreams and wishes will come true, only if we keep believing in them. I believe. I do.


Football and Kalleh Paacheh!

I will be getting together with friends and family to watch the Iran-Saudi Arabia soccer game tomorrow morning. I become a soccer fan every time there is a National Soccer Team game and espcially if they are pivotal games such as this one! I wear my Team-e-Melli T-shirt and carry my flag to wherever there is food and people to share the excitement. My brother-in-law has been working on a Kalleh Paacheh breakfast for days. Though I'm not a fan of this particular food, I look forward to the gathering which brings pride, joy, and love to me every time. I hope Iran wins. I'll certainly be doing my part for cheering on the team! Go Iran!

Bay Area Events

If you live in this area, I would like to tell you about a few interesting events.
Tonight I'm going to City of San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi's "eid deedani" from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. It is a free art event and Nowruz reception sponsored by Beyond Persia, at the City Hall office of Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. City Hall; 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place; Room 244; San Francisco, Ca 94102-4689; Office of Ross Mirkarimi: (415) 554-7630; Beyond Persia: (415) 738-2182; Directions . I look forward to seeing my friends, having tea and shirini, taking a look at great art and listening to live music!
On Sunday there will be a concert by Namaad Ensemble at Berkeley's Julia Morgan Theater. I love their music and am delighted to see them perform here. Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704; 7:30 p.m.
Next Thursday, April 2nd at 7:00 p.m., scholar, author, poet, and my friend Persis Karim will be a guest of UC Berkeley's Institute of European Studies as a part of a year-long public outreach program on Women, Islam and the West. The program aims to place intellectuals, activists, artists, writers and academics in conversation with an informed public to explore the relationship between Islam and Western secularism, particularly as it manifests itself in the lives of women. Persis Karim's lecture is titled, Beyond Memoir: Women, Writing and the Making of Iranian Diaspora Identities, and she will be in conversation with my other good friend, Dr. Jaleh Pirnazar of UC Berkeley. Diesel Books, 5433 College Avenue; Oakland, CA 94618; (510) 653-9965; Get directions.
Next weekend on Saturday and Sunday, April 4th and 5th, IAAB (Iranian Alliances Across Borders) will have its fourth annual conference at UC Berkeley. "This one of a kind conference brings together academics, artists, activists, students, and community leaders representing some of the most prestigious academic and community organizations in the world to discuss the accomplishments and challenges of the Iranian diaspora community." I will be attending this conference and serving as a volunteer at the Association of Iranian American Writers' table.
Unfortunately, since I'll be at the IAAB conference next weekend, I will be missing a wonderful 13-bedar picnic at Tilden Park, organized by my friend, Enayat Katouli. I urge you all to go and have a good time with many other Iranian Berkeleyans! Enayat says: "Annual Sizdah Bedar will be on April 5th ( Sunday ) At Laurel picnic area at Tilden park again. Join your beloved friends and have fun as always as we have every year. Be there at 11.am and bring your share of food, drink, " Ash Reshteh..." , game festivities....... " Here's the Tilden Park in Berkeley map and location of "Laurel " site.
My other very good friend, artist Farrokh Shehabi and his lovely wife, Linda, will also be hosting a 13-bedar picnic on their ranch in Vacaville on Saturday, April 4th, 2009. If you can find the time to go to Farrokh's annual picnic, you will be sure to have a good time. Please drop me an email if you want to go and I will provide directions.
That's it for now! I will write a separate post to catch up with things. Have a beautiful spring everyone!


Eid e Shoma Mobarak!

My Beautiful Friends and Family:
I prayed for you and your health, and for love and prosperity in your lives at the moment of the year change just a few minutes ago. As the new year begins, I wish for peace on earth and for love in every single person's heart. I wish our beautiful Iran is safe and prosperous and that its decent and loving people are safe from harm. I wish all sadness to come to an end and for all the past wars to become a memory from which to learn and for there never to be another war. I would like to invite you to love your friends and family and to hug and hold them like you never have before, renewing your commitments and relations. I hope everyone keeps the flame of love and hope alive in their hearts throughout the year. I thank you for having been my friends over the past years and here's wishing that our friendships grow and flourish in the coming year. Happy Nowruz, and Happy New Year!
Your Friend,


Over The Fire!

Annual Charshanbeh Souri Celebration at Berkeley's Persian Center. Photo taken by Jahanshah Javid shows the 2008 Celebrations.
Tomorrow will be the last Tuesday of the Iranian calendar. As tradition has it, at sunset friends, families, and neighborhoods will gather to jump over open fires to throw away their sadness and ills, starting a New Year full of health and joy. As is our little tradition, my friends and family will go to Berkeley Persian Center's annual Charshanbeh Souri celebration. I am so excited to be seeing my friends there. The number of people showing up to the celebration has been growing over the years. The whole block of Durant Avenue between Shattuck and Milvia is closed to traffic and under the careful eyes of Berkeley Police and Fire Department, open fires are set up for the 3,000+ people, Iranians and Americans, who show up to celebrate. I'm going to be there, where standing on the few square centimeters I can find on the pavement, I'll wait to see my friends and family go by! If you are in this area, don't miss this fabulous opportunity to come and jump over the fire, eat Persian food, and dance the night away with hundreds of others.
Happy Charshanbeh Souri and I hope the following fire wish comes true for all of you: Zardi e man az to, Sorkhi e to az man!


The Mission

Isfahan in blossoms.
My house is shaping up slowly, but surely. It was a cloudy and cold day here today, momentarily shaking my belief in the coming of spring. Then I went out to take some of the mountains of garbage to the receptacle, and I saw them. The new buds on the tree just outside my house, which is as close to a "front yard" as I can have living in a townhouse. They were there for sure, the branches moving with the cold wind but not relenting their business of growth and the promise of spring. I felt tender love for the resilience and devotion that tree feels in the face of adversity. It has a mission and it won't give up, it won't retreat, and it won't compromise. If only I could remember that mission in my life, too, never giving up on what I think is the right thing to do. For the first time in my life I thought today that trees are wiser and stronger than people, and as such a lot more important and trustworthy. We need to work on hanging in there, too, everyday, and all the time. That's the only way we can carry out our mission and give others hope and strength. I want to be a tree.

A New Day

Something about how Nowruz translates into English has had me engaged over the past few weeks. I have been looking forward to a New Day for a while now! It seems like I have finally managed to start pulling myself out of a very stressful time, where for a few months I was focused and devoted to a very complicated volunteer project. I have also started working on something new at work which is a very welcome change. I am cleaning my house, my closets, my kitchen, my office, my head, and my heart of some clutter and finished business. I'm doing my khooneh tekooni inside and out, you guys! I can't wait for Nowruz! I hope you all have started a fabulous weekend with your family and loved ones. Have a good Saturday you all!


Salam, Salam!

My friend, Hamed Nikpay, sings Madhoosh, from his new album All Is Calm.

Salam, Salam! I must have worried you guys! I'm well and kicking! I've just been overwhelmed with my life, working too hard, and concentrating on some volunteer work I am committed to finishing. I am going to make at least a small entry every day now to give myself something to look forward to and to let my few remaining friends (yes, that includes you!) to know that I'm alright!

I have been writing some stuff, too, believe it or not! Some of my work is routinely published on Iranian.com. But blogging in my own blogs is where I write my personal stuff, and I miss doing that very much.

My sons are well and thriving. I see my older son every couple of weekends when he comes home to crash and eat and visit with me and his brother. We are all trying to get used to this new phase of our lives. Here's a piece I wrote about something that happened this past weekend in our household. If you can't access Iranian.com, let me know and I will post the story here. It's called "The Ghormeh Sabzi Thriller" and it's in two parts. Take a look. I promise to be back again tomorrow.

The Ghormeh Sabzi Thriller Part I, and Part II .

Be good everybody and have a good Wednesday!