|All that jazz
A wedding in Lashkarak
By Syma Sayyah
December 13, 2002
It has taken me a few days to recover in order to find the strength to write
about the wedding of a close relative before Ramadan started. Like all other weddings,
there was so much talking and nagging about it before and afterwards. Some thought
it to be wonderful, others thought it would be messy, out of character, a waste of
money, disorganized, great, uninteresting, a show off, and so on.
We were told to be there at 4 p.m. for the proclamation of the wedding agreement
-- the aqd. So we were all dressed up and ready to go at a quarter to 3 when
the taxi came. The ceremony was in Lashkarak, outside Tehran, near an army depot,
believe it or not. The whole thing was arranged on ten days' notice, although there
had been talk of it since spring.
When we got near the place we were supposed to be, we were unable to find it. it
seemed to be in middle of nowhere. We asked a few locals who were enjoying the autumn
sun. Each one of them gave us a different answer. Eventually, after having made all
possible turns to no avail, we asked a child and followed his direction.
We finally got to the right place just about 4, but nobody was there, and nobody
came in except the workers who were putting the place in order.
We began to panic, worrying about what old aunt this and old uncle that would say
about this and that, but at the same time we did not know anyone and could not find
out who was in charge to even ask what the hell was happening or not happening. Worst
of all, we discovered that none of our mobile phones worked in that area; and there
was only one Iranian toilet somewhere in the back of the garden, behind the kitchen.
It was devastating.
The sun began to take its leave. It was getting cold. And we were all in desperate
need of large glasses of tea.
Our friends and relatives didn't show up until 6. The bride and groom arrived just
before an hour later, after taking their pictures in some nice park nearby. By that
time it had gotten not only dark but quite cold too. Since the ceremony was to take
place in a tent on a little patio outside, we put on everything we had brought along,
covering up all the special clothes we had put on.
Eventually the aqd took place and gifts were given, followed by very loud
announcements which pleased those who had brought "big" gifts and dismayed
others, like myself, who had brought something small. Then pictures were taken and
eventually we were asked to go inside the tent which had been warmed up with many
Other guests for the wedding started to arrive as did many huge bouquets of flowers,
one more beautiful and more glamorous than the other. Although one was aware that
all the flowers would be dead the next day - a great pity, let alone the waste of
There were two bands. one playing traditional music near the entrance, where they
had put up samovars and colorful qouris (tea-pots). The other band played
Iranian pop music. I must admit I had heard better music before. But it was nice,
for a change, to see people other than at a funeral, even though there were some
I might not have wished to see.
There was a cart serving baaqaali-pokheth (cooked broad beans), another one
serving ash-e-reshteh (a soup with pulses and Iranian pasta), and another
serving jigar (barbecued lamb liver). There was a huge mountain of fruit
between the two levels of the tent and you had to take small steps to climb up or
down in order to get to the other side.
We dutifully paid our respects to all those we should have, and many we shouldn't,
since we thought it was a wedding and we must all let bygones be bygones. Not everybody
felt the same. There was a nasty scene which thankfully came under control very quickly,
thanks to the groom's mother's quick response. But it left a sad mark on our beloved
groom which was evident for the rest of the evening.
was so much food that could easily have fed an army, and there were bound to be leftovers,
but I did not manage to get any since I was too tired to walk in high heels I had
not worn for nearly five years.
They cut the cakes, there was fireworks and, at about 3 am, the bride and groom were
driven to their hotel. But we were gone long before that. I am sure you join me in
wishing the young couple a very happy life.
The event was big and expensive. Not many people can afford to throw such a wedding
for their children, and that's why so many young Iranians stay single. Maybe some
day young people will change the customs and build their lives with their own chosen
partners, on the basis of their own values, without all this jazz.
Does this article have spelling or other mistakes? Tell
me to fix it.