Archive Sections: letters | music | index | features | photos | arts/lit | satire Find Iranian singles today!
Travelers

Eh eh eh
Outsight and inside out, Part 4: A travelogue on an outer and the inner landscape

 

 

Vida Kashizadeh
May 3, 2006
iranian.com

Lendas is full of cats. There are a few hanging around in every café. They are all slim, almost skinny. A lot of them at present look around 7-8 months old.

The ginger beauty and khaalmakhaali are now playing around the small unused bar on this side. Their fur have exactly the same pattern, but in different colours; definitely siblings of the same age.

The ginger prefers the height and strives towards it; he occasionally comes to me and asks for his dose of tenderness owed to him by nature.

Khaalmakhaali prefers to sit under a winter garden’s arm chair and to pick up the music together with the erratic sounds of the marble tent over our head caused by the wind.

The sea has been very restless since...

‘this could be heaven or this could be hell’ California Hotel is playing.

 khaalmakhaali got scared by the unusual sounds over our heads and went for a ground with a solid ceiling I will assume.

‘such a lovely place’ , ‘ what a nice surprise bring your alibis’ , ‘check out anytime you like’.

I went for a swim in the restless sea -- though only in the bay area -- but when I came out it looked like I had gained the respect of the villagers.

They were trying to secure their boats which were moving up and down. Later quite a few fishers passed by and smiled at me. And so did the German woman on the beach, sitting nearby.

It reminded me of the fact that Germans admire strong people, whereas the British try to ignore them, and as the British are more charitable than other Europeans (actually when the British say Europe they mean the main land across the channel and not the British Isles) they prefer it if they can be of help to you.

In fact there was a couple who ignored me completely, which made them distinguishable from the other tourists as being British, but I am sure that if I happened to be drowning they would have been the first to jump in the water in order to rescue me. Well perhaps I’m just being hopeful. In fact I have hardly read or heard of any heroic acts of individuals in the UK since the beginning of 21st century if not earlier.

So when you feel weak go to Britain and when you feel strong go to Germany.

If you stay in Britain when you are strong and go to Germany when you are weak you will have a hard time.

Interestingly the stronger characters in UK - lets say amongst politicians - know that they should not come out strongly or even sound too sure of what they are talking about if they are to survive in their profession.

When these are interviewed on the radio they always start with a consecutive sound of eh eh eh... before each sentence, which means I have a strong opinion about this but I don’t want to put it strongly or be seen as too strong or too sure, because I know it would mean I could end up needing your help desperately, which of course would please you, especially if there was nothing you could do about it but nevertheless made you feel needed.

Now this eh sound before each sentence might work on the TV with the help of non verbal communication -- that is body language -- but on radio it is damn irritating; it sounds like they are sitting in the toilet while the interviewer is handing them the paper (toilet-paper or newspaper, depending on the question or the answer) impatiently without listening, while busy thinking how and at what moment of a chance given for an interruption to shove the next question in.

This eh in fact is like a sudden break at an inner red traffic light. For instance if there are 4 eh..s in a row the person is in the fourth gear and is breaking fast. One eh means I am on a wavelength suitable for the public’s ears. There was only one occasion I believe whereby someone uttered more than eight eh..s which indicated he was on a plane heading for a crash. In fact I never heard of him again.

On the other hand some politicians who really need help but have landed in a strong position for reasons not even obvious to their own party members, make the mistake to get training by foreigners who teach them to sound very sure in moments of absolute doubts. This might work; let’s say in the USA, but in Britain, noooo.

My advice if you still insist to be re-elected: No interview on the radio, and start every sentence with one to three eh..s only, otherwise people will gradually pick up the fact that you have been speeding.

In fact Hitler would have had no chance of succeeding in the UK unless he would have been trained to say: Eh eh.eh heil.. eh eh heil me, thank you.

The British are the most deeply Christian nation I have come across up to now. Never mind if they hardly visit a church, they are religious nevertheless. Even for secular people or intellectuals in the UK discussion around religion and god is an avoided subject.

In general it would be impossible for an intelligent person to discuss god without becoming critical or doubtful. Hence the avoidance to discuss god is not really about tolerance to other people’s beliefs but rather a precaution against the possible intolerance of an outdated god.

An important part of Christianity is the feeling of guilt for the inborn ‘sin’, for which the Christ had to suffer. But suffering is a prerequisite of most religions because it makes religions necessary.

Although Buddha as an exception seems to have believed that suffering was not necessary and one should remove the cause, I have not seen any evidence of Buddhism having reduced sufferings of larger societies. It must be faced that Buddhism has been around for long enough to have caused grand social changes by now if it was able to.

For this reason the Buddhist masters must accept that although they may be in the position to help to reduce the subjective suffering of their individual monks, they lack the skill, the knowledge and the necessary socialistic know how for the reduction of sufferings of larger communities with earthly desires.

It is not poverty that should be shared but wealth. So the answer may be an eclectic approach inclusive of the best parts of all spiritual and earthly related needs.   

There is an indirect relationship between the suffering due to ‘sin’ and the charity work, which is mostly popular in the UK.

Of course awareness of other people’s suffering also reduces individuals’ obsession with their own suffering and leads to humanism. But for a world already systematically damaged, a humanism that is only focusing on the symptoms of the suffering and not on the cause as well, will only fuel the fire of hell on earth like the other attempts in the last few millenniums.

Regardless of being employed or unemployed over a third of the UK population -- 20 million -does voluntary work (eh including me). In fact the system would collapse if they didn’t (imagine starting a volunteers’ union. Wow, and then a volunteers’ strike)

As for Germans it is not that they won’t do charity work, but it will be more in an abstract way. Somehow they wouldn’t want to see so much the ones who are receiving them.

There was a time that the Germans admired the fact that the British politicians resigned instantly after causing any scandals. But since this tradition has been out of the window in the UK - following the training with the foreigners - I haven’t heard Germans making any comments anymore.

For the politicians of both countries as well as all the other politicians throughout the world, who do really care about their people hence the whole humanity, I recommend the use of another sound before each sentence, namely om which means mother in Arabic, but it also indicates ALL when used in yoga meditation -- usually in form of a long aum which is a stretched om making the vibration of the sound last longer throughout the body. Or it can be used as the starting word of the most important mantra of Tibetan Buddhism.

One cannot talk about cultures without generalisations. In fact culture generalises people.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule but they are always a part of a greater rule.

6 p.m.

I am back to the Internet Café. The sea is a bit quieter. The music is jazzy and Latin. There are a new couple now sitting at the next table.

I have landed on the same chair having a glass of wine this time.

Ginger wants some of my mazedes (mazeh / meze / mazza / tapas /nibbles) but I’m not ready, so he gives up, to my relief.

There is a bunch of mint with lovely faint purplish colours in a beer glass on the table. This seems to be the only table on this side having this delightful bunch.

Nah, I can see another empty table in the front of the café with a mint bunch.

I eat one of the leaves; this sort is thicker, more leathery and pungent.

The singer has got carried away. There was a time I really liked jazz. The times of being particularly into this or that has certainly passed. Can all tastes be given up depending on time? What of it if I don’t belong anywhere really. My immediate family sees me as belonging to them or do they? I mean continuously, do they?

This couple speaks English. I can be sure they are a couple because they hardly talk to each other, but they have started giving some comments about the shops etc. The fact that they don’t look at each other while they are talking shows they have been together let me say for 8 years. The man is Irish and she occasionally reflects his accent in hers.

There is something in solitude that is not in coupledom: It’s the freedom of being alone without being lonely.  But not everyone is capable of solitude. One has to have arrived there as a child. There must be a moment when one as a child becomes conscious of oneself and the world; something like ’me and the world’ or ‘me in the world’.

A kind of fear or anticipation which calls for adjustment to the fact that parents may die; and one even cries of the thought as if it has already happened doing perhaps a mental exercise in feeling the loss, awakening ones own coping mechanism.

We are back to reggae, which doesn’t last. This one is a groovy off beat calling for a snaky dance - guts on a wave.

And the same high notes of electronics which makes it tiresome and predictable.

I shouldn’t actively listen and then I will like it better.

I would say this one now is a Mediterranean groove with a pinch of jazz.

The older modern women in Greece seem to bleach their hair like Iranian women do.

The non modern - when widowed - wear black for the rest of their lives and have silvery hair overtaking the black ones with time.

The music changed again, this is more George Michael like, although I am not sure at all.

The widow in black has a walking stick; we looked at each other for a brief moment.

Oh, lovely, Coldplay ‘spider web and I’m caught in the middle’.

‘Oh, no I see it’s spider web and me in the middle. They spun the web for me’.

The couple has left and I didn’t notice when.

The next song doesn’t sound so good. That’s the problem; singers sing all their songs in one or two keys only and usually one or two songs would work out well the rest will sound almost the same. This is because each key relates to a particular mood and element. But some listeners want the sameness; it gives the illusion that life is controllable/predictable no danger of a shock.

Music is usually there to be heard and not listened to. It is not like visual art that you acquire a taste for later in life. It is there all the time. From childhood on you hear it on the radio, TV and in public places; you are being fed a taste.

So by the time you are grown up you can only relate to what you know and has become a part of you.

Could I say that I am an artist who is tired of art? If anything would make me a stranger that would be it.

In his latter years of life before his untimely death at the age of sixty my father used to quote this line from a poem by Sa’di: barg-e derakhtaan-e sabz dar nazar-e hooshyar har varaghash daftarist ma’refat-e kerdegaar (To the wise, each leaf of the green trees is a page that is a book about the knowledge of the creator).

So have I reached the point of being completely content having mint leaves decorating my table at a bar like heavenly gardens in the middle of Lendas?

Give me a mint leaf and I will love you for ever.

I can hear the sea; still strong waves; this side is empty, but on the other side a few Greeks are having a conversation; youngish generation male and female.

If I had a choice to be born again in a place also of my choice I would choose Greece. But I would choose my own parents again, not because my childhood was perfect but because I miss them so much and it is a hopeless missing with no chance of reclamation. Death is so final.
>>> To be Continued
[Part (1) (2) (3) (4) ]

COMMENT
For letters section
To Vida Kashizadeh

ALSO
Vida Kashizadeh
Features

RELATED
Travelers

Book of the day
mage.com

A Man of Many Worlds
The Diaries and Memoirs of Dr. Ghasem Ghani
by Ghasem Ghani, Cyrus Ghani (Editor) and Paul Sprachman (Translator)
>>> Excerpt

Copyright 1995-2013, Iranian LLC.   |    User Agreement and Privacy Policy   |    Rights and Permissions