|Out of the fog
Everything started and ended with Jamshid
By Reza T. Saberi
March 2, 2002
Excerpt from The
Vicious Circle -- the story of a young physician whose life becomes interwoven
with those who participated in the Iranian revolution. This is a novel about love
and revolution, betrayal and friendship, and the vicious circle that replaces one
system with another and brings everyone to the beginning. The author Reza T. Saberi,
is a pharmaceutical scientist born and raised in Iran. A former university lecturer,
research scientist, and editor of medical journals, he presently works as an editor
in a scientific publishing company and contributes regularly to the Persian literary
magazines. He has written and published several other works of fiction in Persian.
Under the dense fog and drizzling November rain the streets of London seemed much
quieter. Everything was enveloped in a curtain of ethereal screen. There was less
noise, a sort of humming and buzzing on a Saturday afternoon in Hyde Park. The green
grass was covered with a white carpet of moving fog and it seemed the trees had grown
from these moving clouds. Here and there suddenly somebody appeared out of this white
fog and walked by Ramin. He did not pay much attention; he was deep in thought while
trying not to run into anybody.
Ramin was going to the Speakers' Corner, the meeting
place of all the political activists, vagabonds, opposition groups, as well as tourists.
Ramin had both his hands in his pockets while trying to avoid stepping in the numerous
pools of water that had collected on the broken asphalt on this foggy day. There
were not many people in this time of the year in Hyde Park except those who needed
or had to be there, and Ramin was no exception.
He had been coming in this corner of Hyde Park ever since he left Tehran about three
years ago. That was his only contact with the Iranian exiles in London, a way of
getting informed and possibly meeting new Iranian tourists or anybody getting out
of Iran as well as to receive first hand news or recent political developments. As
he got closer to the Speaker's Corner he could hear the familiar shouting, laughter
and comments or objections of the crowds and speakers in the middle of the fog. He
thought perhaps it is the only place in the world that one could speak his mind,
although with objections and ridicule, but more importantly without being arrested.
Were they all fools?
In this rainy and foggy day of late November, what brought all of them into this
corner of Cumberland Gate and Park Lane? British policemen with their hands behind
their back were walking two by two while watching everything and everywhere. When
some speakers made a funny comment or even teased or ridiculed them or the Royal
Family, they did not show any reaction or expression. They just looked. It seemed
they did not hear or see anything, or perhaps they did not understand even English.
Ramin could not see further than a yard ahead of him. Then there was a white cloud
of fog. In spite of his careful walking he hit a big pool of water that penetrated
deep into his socks. He shook his foot a few times and walked toward the crowd. He
passed a young man in a blue raincoat who was preaching the Gospel. He had a Bible
in his hand wrapped in a clear plastic bag. A board hung from his neck reading, "For
Lord so loved the world, that begave his only begotten son. John 3:16."
He paused for a moment in front of a man who was fervently talking about the misery
of Blacks in South Africa. A few yards to his left was a man with spectacles who
was standing on a milk crate and was talking about the inferiority of Arabs and how
the Israel should expand to the Euphrates. Ramin had heard their arguments and even
talked to them a few times during the past few months since he came to London. The
cry of a dirty old man that stood barefooted in a pool of water did not even attract
Ramin's attention. The man had a bunch of old newspapers tucked under his arm and
was shouting unintelligible words every few minutes. Ramin walked directly toward
the Iranian gathering place.
Ramin recognized the speaker and most of the people standing around him. In this
kind of weather even the tourists did not bother to come. The speaker was talking
about corruption and the police brutalities in Iran. Ramin adjusted the hood to prevent
rain from coming to his face and looked at the reflection of surroundings into the
little pool of water in front of him. His feet were just started to feel cold. He
did not want to come this afternoon, but he came anyway. He was accustomed to coming
here every Sunday. People came out of this thick fog, stood for a while and then
disappeared into it.
Since he came to London he constantly thought about
his ordeal in Iran. Everyday he flashed back the time when he was arrested and his
time in jail. It scarred his soul, it scarred his mind and he was like an injured
man, injured psychologically. The speaker's description of police brutalities took
Ramin into Iran and into that little cell when he was beaten and humiliated. He was
living a quiet life with his parents and dreaming to go to the United States for
further specialization, before the SAVAK interrupted his course of life.
He went again into the past. He thought about how everything happened so quickly
and about the chain of events that had forced him out of the country against his
will. Whenever he remembered the past Jamshid was in the center of the events. Where
was he? What was he doing? Why did they want him? Was he arrested? Was he even alive?
Everything started with him and ended with him.
Jamshid was always quiet and little bit secretive, always careful on what he was
saying, not more than necessary. He was the sort of person you cannot ask many questions
from; an aura of secrecy was constantly around him. The past painful experience,
the rain, the fog, and the cold feet, were all condition to depress him in this cold
While Ramin was daydreaming while looking at the speaker, he saw Jamshid's face appear
from the fog behind the speaker. Jamshid was smiling while walking out of the fog
toward him. Was he really Jamshid or was he dreaming? Many times he had dreamed of
Jamshid looking at him with a smile, especially when he thought of the past. Ramin
looked around. It was real, Jamshid with a green military overcoat still walking
towards him while smiling with a wet face. Jamshid's mouth opened and he shouted,
Ramin was not dreaming, he really was there. Ramin was
thrilled. It was unbelievable for him. "Jamshid!" he shouted, and jumped
forward, knocking down a young man standing in front of him. He reached Jamshid,
grabbed his head with two hands and started kissing his wet face. Ramin pulled him
out of the crowd and asked him with excitement, "What are you doing here? I
was just thinking about you!"
Jamshid with the same usual smile asked, "What are you doing here?"
"I will tell you the whole story, but you should tell me first," Ramin
answered, then while walking away from the crowd said, "Lets go to the coffee
shop on the other side of the street. We have to talk."
Jamshid smiled and said, "Of course. We have a lot to talk about."
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