The big Charkh-o-Falak was visible from our small kitchen window, where I would sit for hours during the long summer afternoons and evenings of Tehran in the 1980’s. I watched the kids on the streets play soccer or just look at the Charkh-o-Falak, be lost in its magic, hoping that my Dad would come home any minute after work and take me there.
I can still hear the happy screams of children who were riding the big Charkh-o-Falak.
At times, when the trees grew tall, the Charkh-o-Falak would hide behind their branches. At other times, especially during winter days, the Charkho-Falak was very openly naked, sometimes covered with snow. Of course, Fun-Faar–the amusement park as it was called– was closed in winter times.
I would sit there and just stare at the outside world, while my mom cooked in the kitchen. I would eat some kind of snack like pofak namaki, gojeh sabz or geelaas since it was summer and the best cherries were from those Tehran summer days.
Some nights, my Dad came home early and took me to Fun-Far. He would hold my small hands as we walked down the street, across the big Vali Asr Blvd.
My heart beat along the way. Although I had been there over and over in the past, each time it was a new excitement. We would usually go on about four to five rides. I specifically remember the Machine Zarbehy ride (of course, I am making up that name now), where you would drive this mini-car and try to avoid hitting other cars.
There was also one big ride at the end of the park which was high up, and when we were on top, we could see our apartment, on second floor of a building on 18th Street, Gaandi. At that point, I usually waved at my mom, pretending she was watching me from the same kitchen window.
As I got a bit older, my Dad would let me go on the more “dangerous” rides by myself. One ride, however, I never dared to go on. You had to stand up in a circular place, while it turned really really fast. Nope. Not me. Not even now.
And of course, some nights, Dad would come home late or would be just too tired to take me there. At that point, I just sat by the window and waited until the sun set behind the Alborz Mountains, and the small soccer players slowly packed up and went home.
Nothing in America has ever satisfied my hunger for those long, hot and lazy summer days of Tehran from 1980 to 1988.
And yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your classic nostalgia.
Did you ever go to Fun-Faar?