At first, I thought to write each of the well-wishers individually and thank them for their kind words, encouragement and the reminder about some fruity object not falling far from the tree. I owe much to father and there is not a day that I do not think of him. I do not miss him in a sad way: I miss him as a player in my life’s situational comedies, who is no longer there to deliver the lines that only he would or could. I am working on my son, the wise ass, to take up where father left off. In time, I will report on the progress of that venture.
In thanking each of you, I thought also share with you a bit of philology – which is the study of “phil,” the elephant. My buddy “Literary critic” made a reference to my huge dabbling in an area in which I have no training, even though he knows training is not a prerequisite for being or becoming knowledgeable. He was kidding of course.
For today’s fare I have chosen the name “Guive” and the last name “Mirfendereski” to do a little phil-shenasi. After all, the name is pretty “big,” just like an elephant! This will expand on Ajam’s response to Abbasi, who had questioned if my looks or name were Iranian. So, we will kill to elephants with one phil!
As for the looks, I apologize, for the confusion. So that you know for sure that I too really belong unmistakably to the Nation of Pashm, I would like to attach a picture from the 1970s, in which I am taking turns at stirring the boiling rice that would eventually become lubia (lovely) polo (chogan: is that like shogun, hmmm?) for our regular Friday night into Sunday afternoon dowreh get-togethers at Afshin and Amirhossein’s. Yes, yesterday, was much pashm; and today not even a bit of pileh. What was pileh that is no more? Is it fat or flesh (like in pi), or is it baby elephant?
Long before Guive (Guiv, Giv, Gev, etc.) made it into the Shahnameh, where he is the son of Goudarz and father of Bijan and son-in-law of Rostam, “Gev” or “Ge” existed in Sanskrit as a noun meaning “the courageous one, brave.” The ancient Greek/Roman histories refer to an Iranian commander in the Achaemenian era named Eri-Gyius: the name translated as “Iranian or Aryan Gyius, brave.” Notice, please, the sound “eu” in the name, which is distinguishable for the hard “v” in Guive. That “v” sound is so because Ferdowsi (or Perdosi) needed to rhyme the name Gieu with words like niv (courageous), div (demon) and khiv (spit). I believe Gyius of the Greek/Roman eventually became the Gaeus in Celtic/Irish and even the French “Guy.”
For the last name, Mirfendereski, here is the breakdown. The prefix “Mir” in modern Persian, or Farsi, as the natives call it, is a title of respect, like master, chief, or commander or a learned person. My ancestor, who was a sufi, physician and philosopher, received the title from Shah Abbas in the 16th century; he was a royal tutor at the court in Isfahan. He was from a village called Fenderesk, in northern Iran, some 40 miles from the Caspian Sea, north of Gorgan in the Gorgan (now Golestan) province. After he got his title, Mir, he came to be known as Mir-e Fenderesk, which means roughly the “Noble one from Fenderesk.”
Where does “Fenderesk” come from, you ask? Here is the skinny on that. Long before there was a Fenderesk, there was a place called “Fendri” or “fandariyyah,” which referred to a mountain-hold near Amol. The name was derived from fend, or fand (Old Persian, vand, band), which meant “mountain.” The term fandariyyah simply denoted the place or seat of the one who held or ruled the mountain (fand-dar, like in farman-dar). When the people who lived in fandariyyah packed up in the 15th century and moved east to Gorgan, they settled in an area that eventually became known as Fandar- or Fender-rustak (rustak, meaning a small village). Add a few hundred years of the name getting butchered under various influences, and it became Fender-resk.