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Diary

Khatoon Khanoom
Part 2: Jafar
Part 1 / Part 3

October 28, 2004
iranian.com

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 when we 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 place.

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 would say.

... 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 were asleep.

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 not right.

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 me 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 checking 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 infections!!!

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 3

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