October 31, 2001
Halloween is here and once again I am delighted to reacquaint myself,
like I do every year, with thousands of elves and goblins, witches and wizards,
mummies and zombies. These creatures of fantasy and folklore, who have haunted
me many a night since my childhood, seem almost quaint and reassuring in
time of war, where human monsters are not imagined but a very real threat.
My favorite fantasy monster of all time has got to be vampires! This
half-human half-demon has remained popular for a record time, from the Middle
Ages legends to today's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But I am a bit
old-fashioned and my true First Love remains the unparalleled Mother of
All Vampires, Count Dracula.
As I think back now to explain this weird fascination of mine with old
Mr. Fangs, I wonder if it is because Dracula is the closest thing I have
to an honorary Iranian Monster, more than hobbits (too countryside), Frankensteins
(too monosyllabic), or Dr. Jekyll (too British).
Since I grew up far from my grandparents, I was not able to hear any
myths or folk tales that only grandma and grandpa can tell regarding a native
Iranian fantasy monster of the night. This is astounding given the propensity
in our culture for superstition, and the supernatural.
I am sure there are many readers who will hopefully share with me the
many Iranian tales they grew up with that made them pull the cover over
their heads at night and make sure no limbs were left hanging off the bed
for a boogie monster to snap from under.
But since I have not had the privilege of hearing any such tales til
now, I have to content myself with bestowing the honorary title of Favorite
Iranian Monster on Count Dracula, or as I like to think of him, Agha Dracula.
Are you doubting my vision? Then let me explain why I think Agha Dracula
makes the perfect candidate for an Iranian Halloween Champion.
First of all, he comes from an exotic and mysterious land far far away
and he speaks with a funny accent. He has thick black hair which he slicks
back with ooey-gooey hair care products to give him that Italian Gino look.
Also he really likes to dress up. Even on the most informal occasions, he
always has his tailored suit and shiny shoes on.
He favors black clothes, and dim places where he can romance many a beauties
in candlelight. Of course he is quite the ladies' man, never hesitating
to whisper sweet nothings in a damsel's ear or come knock on her window
at night to get her to participate in a moonlit tryst.
However, most of the khareji girls he flirts with, he does not really
care about. No, his one true love is a girl who reminds him of someone from
the Old Country... A girl named, for goodness sake, Mina! (Like my cousin).
Remind you of anyone?!
The best thing about my Agha Dracula is he does not shy away from garlic,
in fact he is quite into the spicy foods, full of piaz and torshi and what
not. Also, I really don't think a cross will terrify him although maybe
a molla or two will (Then again, who isn't terrified of mollas?).
Rather than sleeping in a coffin, I am sure he would rather catch his
Zs in the trunk of his BMW. Then he can just hop behind the wheel to take
him to his next feminine conquest instead of the irksome task of turning
into a bat. (We are in the 21 st century after all!)
So there you have it, all you poor deprived hyphenated Iranian kids who
grew up outside your land and have no Halloween monsters to call your own.
Perhaps Agha Dracula isn't the best option, but it is a start.
Warmest wishes for a Happy and Safe Halloween...