A few days ago Varinder finally decided she’d had enough.
“We’re going, we’re leaving … all three of us.”
I reluctantly helped her pack her bags and those of the twins. I collected together their favourite toys and books. And finally I put together a small bag of medicines suitable for toddlers. At 19-months old they are teething with a vengeance. [See what I mean >>> video clip]
“Honey, it doesn’t have to be like this … ” I pleaded.
She kissed me tenderly and said it was for the best, and that even a purifier wouldn’t help.
Let me explain. The builders are back and extending our already large kitchen into an even larger one. The reason why V and twins are leaving to spend the next two months with her parents is that dust is everywhere. Dust is in my mouth, between my teeth when I bite, in my nose when I blow into a tissue and in my underpants — don’t ask. The last thing we both wanted was for the boys to be subjected to so much dust. Dust which has been shaken off 120 year old brick work, horse hair plaster and mortar can take months to work its way out of your system.
So here I am, all by myself having dropped V and the boys off earlier today at my in-laws. It’s not too bad by distance — only 70 miles away — but when they aren’t around and the house is so lonely and silent, they may as well be 1,000,000 miles away.
An eternal ‘look on the bright side’ kind of person that I am, to distract myself, I have listed all the good things which will be happening to me in the next few months. Read on …
1) Since I left Iran for the last time in 1977 aged 12, I have harboured a dream to go back home. I have never needed an Iranian passport since I was born in the UK and spent most of my 40 years here.
I got my assistant to write a letter on headed paper (anything to add weight to my request) explaining that I had to visit Iran for urgent personal reasons and that I only held a British passport. A week later I received a call on my mobile phone. It was an embassy official asking me to ring him. I felt so elated I began looking up flights to Tehran.
The next day I shut myself in my room and called the embassy. After a few attempts a laid back voice answered. I politely explained that I had written in, needed a visa, was Iranian by parentage, etc. He replied that without a birth certificate I would never be able to visit Iran again. Never? I repeated breathlessly. Never, he assured me. But I am Iranian, we are speaking Iranian. I need proof, he replied. A birth certificate or a passport, he replied.
So the next day I set about looking through all the ancient paperwork I could find. I did have a birth certificate (my parents obtained one for each of us when they took my sister and I to Iran when we were aged one and two). But where was it? My mum who lives 200 miles away didn’t know. It was not to be found in any of my dad’s old briefcases. And It was in none of the boxes we had kept full of paperwork from our last house move 8 years ago!
Finally, this weekend, after taking all the books off a shelf near the new kitchen wall, it dropped into my hands. It was crumpled and still in its caramel coloured plastic cover. I tried to read the words to see if I could recognise the way my name is written (I can’t read or write Farsi) and I couldn’t. But I know it’s my birth certificate because it can’t be anything else.
Beside myself with excitement I revisited the embassy website to download the passport application form. It was all in Farsi. I now have to visit the embassy in person because I am officially illiterate. The net result, however, will be an Iranian passport in around 3 months — I pray. And with V’s blessing I will go back to the land of my ancestors. I shall keep you posted with my progress.
2) I have a work trip to Louisville, Kentucky in a couple of weeks. I will also visit our LA and spend a weekend with my wonderful cousin who with his wife has just had a little boy. My final whistle stop will be to San Francisco to meet a new colleague who is based out there. I can’t wait.
3) We are going on another holiday we can’t afford — to Portugal this time. We couldn’t even afford the kitchen extension so Portugal will stretch our credit limit beyond anything we have experienced before. But we will, as always, pay it off by hook or by crook. And it will be worth spending two wonderful hot weeks in a villa with a pool with our German friends.
4) V’s dentist cousin has organised for 20 of us (17 Indians including V and my twins and me who are either part Indian not at all Indian) to spend a weekend in Euro Disney. I will be interested to see how I cope with large groups of Indians (who are no different to large groups of Iranians, in case you think I am being racist).
One other thing, I will be meeting JJ in San Francisco for a Chelo Kabab! And all this before July!
But do I feel cheered up?
Not really. Nothing in heaven or on earth can replace Kourosh shouting for me at 6:30 in the morning or Siavash waking me up by trying to pick my nose for me, and whispering, ‘No’ because he knows he shouldn’t. Hello lonely weeks ahead.