Part 2: Jafar
1 / Part
October 28, 2004
Also down the street from us and next to Ashraf khanoom's,
lived the neighborhood nightmare, Jaafar, a boy who would put Dennis
the Menace to shame and Dennis' parents proud. I used to
call him Jaafar JeerJeerak because he was always shouting in this
endless pre-puberty voice, asking other kids to pass him the ball
played football in the streets in the afternoons.
He would even shout when we had passed him the fucking ball.
These afternoon games obviously coincided with when all the dads
were taking their afternoon siesta naps. You understand our predicament
and how stressful it was to play with this jeerjeerak, particularly
because we were supposed to be resting like the dads ... <I
hated those afternoon naps.>
Every day we would decide not to let him play with us because
he shouted too much, and he was too loud and we could no longer
afford dads shouting at us. Imagine a bunch of 6, 7, and 8 year
olds having a "Shora" (conference meeting) to decide
to oust Jaafar. We would tell him that, which would make the matters
worse because he would then argue, off of the top of his lungs,
endlessly and we had better been off letting him play in the first
We went through this process, everyday, nonetheless: "Jaafar,
BaBaamoon Khabideh - Inn Ghadr Jeegh Nazan vagar neh Bazeet
Nemideem", we would beg him. "Bashe! Be Khoda Daa'd
Nemi zanam. Beh Joone madaram", he would promise. "Beh-Been
, Gofti Beh Joone Madaram, Yaani Nemitoonee digeh jeegh bezani.
Agar Daa'd Be Zanee Madaret Mee Mireh ha", we would
warn him. "Mee Doonam, Bashe be khoda - ghol dadam" he
... And then again the moment that ball was kicked, so would
Jaafar Jeerjeerak's howling engine.
We had seriously considered taking our games to another neighborhood
without telling him. We could, for instance, go to my grandmother's
which was literally minutes away from us with a lot less kids than
in our neighborhood. But it was against every rule in the universe
to ever take your afternoon games to another neighborhood, UN-Invited.
No one would ever do something like that and we never, EVER, went
to play in the streets in another neighborhood unless we were invited
for a game.
My dad, I even think all the dads in the neighborhood, would
never refer to him as just Jaafar. It was always Jaafar Haroom
Zadeh. Aside from his JeerJeerak voice, He was bacheh (kid) Goh
(please put extra emphasis on both G and H in GoH - He was
that GOH). Aside from poor school performance and bad grades which
apparently everyone somehow knew, he was obnoxious.
His never changing pre-puberty screechy voice, was painful to
the ears. He shouted all the time, not only during street games,
everywhere even inside their house and not only in the Koocheh
during our games. He was annoying.
He would also bother people. For instance we all knew that if
someone rang our door bell in the middle of the afternoon and ran
(e.g. Zang e Dar e Khoonatoon ro zadan va Darr Raftan), particularly
when our dads were asleep, it would be Jaafar GoH. I did ring the
doorbells and ran myself, but never in the afternoons or when Ba'Ba' ha
I always did it in early evenings when the kids would be able
to come to the door quickly and chase us, which was all the fun,
and I also did it in other neighborhoods. Jaafar jeerjeerak e harroom
zadeh did it in our own neighborhood.
Sadegh, Shahnaz's brother, beat him up one day because
Sadegh's dad was sick and Jaafar rang their doorbell and
ran but dropped one Dam Payee (sandal) behind in his haste (e.g.
Sometimes, we decided impromptu to ring the bell. If we did not
have our shoes on and had sandals on, we would wear the sandals
in our hands, and ran barefoot - it was much faster. Wearing
sandals on your hands was also protective gear in case you fell,
like the Rollerblading wrist guards). That day Sadegh followed
him, dragged him out of his house and in front of his own dad,
beat that kid. His father didn't seem to mind.
I never played with Jaafar unless we were playing football as
a group, and hardly ever spoke with him but we always whispered
pleasantries (e.g. Khar, zer zer, chosoo, Khak Bar Sar, amale,
gov, etc) every time we passed each other in the alley, or when
shopping from Ali Torkeh, BaghGha'li sareh Koocheh, or Noone
Vaii, and on occasion, we tripped each other or pulled each others' purchases,
though not to the point of damaging.
Let me explain. We would never pull Noon (Bread) - Agar
Noon Mi Oftad zameen, Gonah Dasht va Kheili bad bood. But we would
definitely pull the bag of potatoes, or the bag of onions. We would
never pull the bag of tomatoes, or god forbid, eggs, if we knew,
and if we accidentally did, we quickly apologized (okh okh be bakhsheed)
and helped pick up the stuff because Tomatoes break and it was
With eggs, we would shout from a distance: "Tokhme Morgh
daram, khodeto choss nakon".
Anyway, I did speak with Jaafar and was nice to him on two different
occasions that I remember.
First time he had an upside down box, like summertime kids' lemonade
stands in America, with a few Ghaa' Oot on the box (e.g.
Ghaa' Oot was also Foo Teyna - It was powdered Garbanzo
beans mixed with sugar in a small plastic bag and a small straw
to guarantee you'd choke on it! It was Aa'rde Nokhod
Chee va Shekar in a bag - I remember my grandmother would
get fancy and sometimes add Hell - cardamom - to hers, and
my aunt would add Cocoa! Hmmm ... Wow?!?.)
Anyway, he was selling
them for 1 rial. He said if I gave him 5 rials, he will make
5 more and will split the profits. I asked my mom for 5 rials for
ice cream and instead of buying the ice cream, the entrepreneurial
me, gave it to Jaafar. My uncle (Daii) came to visit my mom and
when he saw me in the streets talking with Jaafar, he dragged
inside and after a major threat and a long lecture, he warned
me that I should not be playing with those kids. I was sanctioned
to stay home for the rest of my childhood life - he would be
on me, he said. After a few days when I went back to claim my
money and the profits, jaafar completely denied any such transaction.
Second time was when he got circumcised. You see, traditionally,
most Iranian boys were circumcised at birth. Jaafar was circumcised
in the summer of when he was ready to go to the 2nd grade, when
he was practically 8 years old. You cannot imagine how fascinating
it was for me to see a boy in a white skirt, stained with Merkor
Korom (Mercuro Chrome).
I asked why he was wearing a skirt, which I thought was for some
religious thing - you know, I had seen other kids in other neighborhoods
on occasion with their white skirts - He said "Khatneh
Kardam", which I had no idea what it meant or what it was - So
I asked my dad to which he replied "Hamasho mibordand ke
ye Goh lengeh inn heech vaght donya Nayad" - he did briefly
explain that they had to Cut his DooDoole. Ouch, Ouch, OUCH !!!.
So that's why he is wearing a skirt, they cut his doodoole
and now he is a girl?! If they cut it, how can he Jeesh now?
I could hear him asking for the ball - So I went to the
alley and there he was, playing football with his skirt and in
the dirt - I sometimes wonder how we ever survived all the
Anyway, I offered him to ride the bike that I had inherited from
my sister, something he could ride easily because he was a girl
now, wearing a skirt, for a peek at his recently cut doodoole.
He said he will ride the bike first, then he will show me and I
agreed. After he disappeared for about 15 minutes, which felt like
a million years during which I think I aged as much, he finally
came back and never showed me his cut doodoole - He said
he did not like the bike. We stopped talking and never spoke again.
What now ties everything together, Me, Jaafar JeerJeerak , Ashraf
khanoom and Naneh is noone e sangak. Stay tuned >>> Part