February 18, 2000
Things have changed
My principal Khanoom Momen iat Dr. Valyollah Nasr High School ordered
me in her office and asked me to take part in the Zan-e Rooz competition
for Ms. Intelligence (Dokhtar-e hoosh va daanaaee) competition.
In those years it was a must to be a lefty as an intellectual person.
A lefty never takes part in such nonesense. My principal has told me ,
this is a very important matter for her and the high school and I must
take part in this. So I said yes, like all other would-be intellectuals.
I took part in the match and won third place. It was not bad: I won
a motorbike and a sewing machine. A good woman must know how to ride a
motorbike and sew clothes for her kids and husband (ha ha!, it was the
70t's - old style feminism).
One year later, I took the university entrance exam and was in the university
(National University of Iran). Some months later, the revolution came along
and the universities were closed. I left Iran for Austri.a. I finished
my studies, got a good job, married an understanding sensible husband and
we have a sweet four-year-old daughter.
But I still think about those days. Just as Forough Farrokhzad says
in her poem: "Where did the littel girl from the streets of my memories
go?" I am not unhappy. I feel that this is not my life; it is not
me living here. It is just a movie and I am acting and when the film ends,
I and my friends from the old days go out together. We will go to the Shahanshahi
Park, or enjoy coffee at Chattanooga Restaurant, and talk about the world
and nothing significant. It is still 1978.
Last summer as I was in Iran, I went to Shahanshahi Park and visited
two of my friends from high school. It was not the park of my childhood
and I had nothing to talk about with my friends. Things have changed; we
One of my friends told me: you were not here in the past twenty years
and "you can not understand what it was like during the war and all
the other things". They said "you enjoyed your easy and unproblematic
life in Europe". It was useless to argue and tell her, it was not
easy to leave my friends and family, and the university, the get married
and raise a child alone in a strange country. So I kept quiet.
Now I am sitting here in my office in Vienna. It is coffee time. I hear
my colleagues asking if I would go with them for a break. Yes, of course.
We can talk about Christmas shopping, kids and so on.
A friend of mine used to say: "Maa mesl-e kaftar-e do boom hasteem
-- jaamoon nah injaast nah oonja (We are like pigeons with two roofs --
we belong to neither). So he left his wife and kids and went back to Iran.
It is a crazey world.
I hope my daughter, our kids, will have a better ghesmat.