Thanks mom for thinking of me when it comes to exporting “Torshi”!

The night before last, I got a call from my now ancient parents, still living a quaint, quiet and dignified middle-class retirement in our ancient home in my provincial hometown in Iran.

After the obligatory boilerplate “ahvaal-porsi” and some “hashieh-pardaazi”, the real purpose of their call became apparent: A certain gal who grew up a few doors down from our house, is now thirty something and still single, and besides coming from a solid family, is rather shapely and pretty and has good manners, decent education and good independent spirit … Meanwhile, I, still being incomprehensibly “alone” and single in spite of being somewhat successful (living well in Manhattan, but in a smallish apartment…!!) … maybe I, could fly to Dubai to meet her and if all works out, god willing, initiate the process to get settled and make two tribes happy …

Interestingly, it slipped their tongue that at her age she is not getting any worthy suitors, certainly nobody with local status!! I figure the dashing IRGC hunks like them real young, hence a NY professional gets the privilege to look at their leftovers!!

First I thought: Thanks mom for thinking of me when it comes to exporting “Torshi”!

I did remember a few passing things about the girl and nstant attraction was not one of them. But nonetheless, as was our “tradition” we were not allowed to socialize and we were raised with essentially no meaningful human contact about 50 meters or so away throughout my childhood and teen years…

I can’t be sure if this separation was due to their their general privacy or it had something to do with the fact that my family and I, living in a more modest house than theirs, were not too hot for socilaizing. I knew that my well-known scholarly excellence must have put me on their watch-list, but they were of merchant class and would show me the goods only after I came up with the money!!


Frankly, all I can remember vividly from my teens was locking myself up in my room to study and ace exams, year after year, so that I could pull myself get out of the hellhole of boredom, repression and ignorance that was my hometown and get a life somewhere else. I can’t recall a time when in my youthful subcountious I thought anything more flattering of our my hometown than a “kharaab-shodeh”!

It did not have to be as such except for our dear “tradition”…

I surprised myself with a guilty burst of shaudenfreude as I thought how our culture’s hypocrisy and opportunism is second to none…

This is sort of how it works:

– Shell out obedience, depravation and repression to our beloved children in their most formative years and channel them into the “growing-up rat-race” to become doctors or engineers (a definite somebody!)…

– Wait to see how they turn up, looking for the juiciest low-hanging fruit!!

– Reward the qualified specimen with a proper marriage, to help them get over the grueling early life heartache and longing they endured.

– In exchange: Hit them with the never-ending demands of the bride’s entire clan!

I recall the existential isolation and loneliness of attending all-boys schools, growing fearful, helplessly shy and timid towards girls in my most formative age and then having to learn everything about survival, love and humanity at my own expense, essentially reinventing myself from scratch in my adult years…

At the end of our marathon phonecall, I politely said: Mommy dearest, I owe our neighbors, our “hometown” and our “great country” nothing! As per the law of consequences, you’re all on your own!!!

Soon after I opened up BBC persian on my browser to be hit with fresh images of the suicide bombings in Zaahedan … I remembered thinking as our “great country” is slipping before our eyes into the abyss that has already engulfed Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, it is ridiculous to blame our misery on Jews or Americans… From what I’ve seen, they don’t raise their children the way Iranians do in their precious “Muslim tradition”… If one can’t see the connection between how people raise their children and how they turn up, then one must be both deaf and blind…

“Az maast que bar maast” … 

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