I was in the railway station of a small village in Hungary to catch a train to Budapest the capital. Drawn in my own thoughts I heard two little Hungarian boys singing, “tike tike kardi del mano…” a song by Arash! The European radios play his songs a lot. I couldn’t stop smiling. It was very cute. They didn’t know what they were singing. I doubt they knew that the song was Persian. That scene soon took me to my own childhood days when Googoosh’s songs were heard from our radios …”Gharibe ashena dustet daram bia…” or “poshte divare delam ye sedaye pa miad….”
My childhood was a good one but I was thinking how wonderful it would’ve been if I would’ve sung suitable songs for my age and by that I don’t mean “Old McDonalds had a farm…”. No, not those kind of songs. More like songs that would penetrate to the depth of my heart and soul and help me gain insights and train my mind from that very childhood days.
Later in the same week I had the chance to visit a Hungarian friend of mine who is married to a Nigerian and is holding a children’s activity class for the kids in her neighborhood as a service. I visited that class on a Saturday morning and heard them singing, “we are drops of one ocean, we are waves of one sea, come and join us, in our quest for unity, it is a way of life for you and me….” This took me back to my teenage days. When I was 13 in our school in Iran we had some extracurricular activities and a revolutionary guard would come and teach us how to dismantle a J-3 gun. Well the country was in war and kids needed to be trained as warriors.
“All the earth is, but one country, Man is one, can’t you see …” The kids were still singing while I was deep in thought. What on earth? What did they do to us and what are they still doing to our children in Iran?
My friend asked me if I wanted a cup tea or coffee and I realized that the kids were doing some coloring. They had a drawing of few people and below the page it said, “That one is indeed a man who dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race”. She asked them to read the quote and didn’t tell them what it meant but highlighted a few words like dedicate and service, and asked them to put the words into sentences and let them understand for themselves what the whole quote meant.
And once again, my mind took another round to my childhood when we had to hear what the teacher had to say about certain verses of Quran (Soureh Nesa 23-24), “And those women that you have conquered in the Islamic wars and you posses ,you can use only in matrimony.” What? Come again? Who posses who?????
I accepted the tea and soon she called the kids to play a game. The left leg of one child tied by a scarf to the right leg of the other child and four of them were standing with their legs tied to each other. She asked them to run from one side of the room to the other side. Soon they all laughed and realized that the conventional way of thinking and running was not helping them. She gave them a hint, “you need to consult and cooperate!” They did and soon after they happily all made it to the other side of the room. My friend blew my mind with her way. She was teaching them to cooperate and help each other in a world where everything is about competition and survival.
I, then, asked her about the principle of survival? “That is for animals!” she said calmly.
Everything she said made sense and I thought to myself she is that “gharibe ashena duset daram bia…” that Googoosh used to sing and I used to sing it over and over again not only under the shower but for my family too.
My Hungarian friend is a stranger to me yet I feel so much love and respect towards her. What she says is so familiar yet so far from where I come from.
I left their home. Snow was falling like cotton pieces and don’t ask me how but my mind took me to those hot summers in the south of Iran. And I thought where my childhood friends and my primary school classmates were? Ever since the war I hadn’t seen any of them. Oh how I wished we had class reunions like they do in the Western World. I wished I could tell my friends guns are not for children and that there are new songs around, new games and new mindset.
When I arrived home I opened my facebook account and I saw a friend request. And there it was, my childhood friend, that little noisy, active, bright guy who always stimulated my mind with his interesting questions and had to be the first to buy the “Keyhan e Bacheha”(A children’s magazine) every week. There he was, married with children!
Did this come true because of a deep longing or a pure desire? Was there a genie around? If he is around I have some more requests. Yes, one million dollar would be nice, please! Can I go to Iran with that and meet my friends? No! This has nothing to do with money.
What would we ask from a genie if he was right here, right now?
“I would ask for a Talisman,” I thought.
I brows on facebook again and my friend who had the children’s class had posted a quote:
“Man is a supreme talisman….. Lack of a proper education hath, however, deprived him of that which he doth inherently possess. …. Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit there from.”
I have what I want from the genie. How odd is that! I am the supreme talisman.
My friend had told me that she has a 40 hours course and if I do that I can also hold that type of children’s class activities for other children. She had told me I could help the children of the world in this way.
I now know what I would ask the genie, “I wish millions of classes like this for the children of Iran.”
here is the video of the song: we are drops:)