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Real pahlavans
May the FARS be with you!

By Babak Khiavchi
August 16, 2002
The Iranian

Whether we roll around the room laughing after seeing Siamax Maximus's workout video, or gasp at the sight of Julius Javidius in his birthday suit, I consider both of these hairy gladiators real Pahlavans. They felt a disturbance in Fars, and boldly set out to once and for all conquer the evil Cholestrols and Carbohydrates still reigning from the Kalleh Pacheh era. [Kopol vs. Topol: Parts (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)]

Ironically, while the media spends billions of dough-lars enhancing digital special effects and creating assorted flavors of "Chesh-Kolat" (eye-candy!), viewers are becoming increasingly fascinated with reality themed shows and events. Quick list: "The Ozbournes" (my personal favorite), "The Bachelor", "Fear Factor", "Survivor", "Celebrity Boxing", etc. So I was not at all surprised to see Jahanshah and Siamack start an online onslaught in line with their thin-lines!

Light to your eye-ranian.com (cheshm Iranian.com shomaa roshan!), we kept up with the reality theme-show trend in our own creatively conservative way. There was no blood spilled, no insects swalloed, no one voted off the e-island, no sponsorship by any political party, no religious mudslinging, and no radical cultural reform. We just watched two cuddly guys compete to lose.... as much fat as they could!

Hmmm, so in this case was the loser the actual winner? Doesn't make much sense. But when you think of it, for those of us who have somehow managed to drag our lazy asses over to this side of the world, it does make some sense. We have given up the warmth of having that extra "fat" layer of family and friends around us, in exchange for a lightness of being and the freedom to move faster and take longer strides in life.

Remember how we used to have haleem for breakfast, hike in Darakeh, mid-morning snack, see art gallery, heavy lunch, afternoon nap, afternoon tea, jam with the gang, home cooked dinner with the whole family, and still had time to feel bored and decide to drop in on friends without prior arrangement at 10:00 pm?

Remember the thicker-than-blood friendships, the caring, the support, and the honesty? Well, now we have a hurried latte for breakfast, a quick snack for lunch while still working, overdue deadlines, half finished tasks, insomnia, no clue what the neighbors name is in case of an emergency, and we have to plan a week ahead for a coffee with our best friend. Yet we are moving at warp speed up the corporate and academic ladders into the obscure clouds of capitalism above us. So in a sense, we have all lost weight to gain height -- or at least we look taller by being thinner!

But how many pounds will Jahanshah and Siamack have to lose before they feel totally satisfied with their being? And how many emotional leisures and cultural pleasures has each one of us left behind to be were we are today?

To me, it's just one of those things that has no global measuring unit. It all depends on your bone structure, on the ratio of height to weight, of expectations to resources, of dreams to reality, and whether we call it a "loss" or an "exchange". Granted, not all of us came here out of our own free will, and I sympathize with those who were unwillingly forced out of the country. But I think if you reach a material, spiritual, and emotional balance that feels right for you, you are a winner in the human race, regardless of your nationality.

Yeah, I miss the real people and the real relationships in the real world in Iran. But right now, I prefer to work my ass off 60-hours a week fixing software bugs, worry about layoffs and next months mortgage payment all night, but be free to get wasted at a weekend rock concert and party till dawn without being insulted on the way home by a machine-gun toting Baseeji kid trying to measure the infidelity percentage in my breath by demanding to smell it.

True, you can get jailed for drunk-driving in both the U.S. and Iran, but being charged with endangering public safety actually makes sense, compared to being fined and whipped for showing signs of questionable faith in God and his gang of 124,000 prophets. (I learned that in Taaleemat Dini class in high school!)

So while Siamack and Jahanshah "raised" my interest in watching them bring down their "inflation" rate by updating me with their weekly "axis of evil" scale readings, I think both of them are already way passed the winning line. These guys have looked at themselves in the mirror, from all different angles, and understood that despite their accomplishments and their "growth", they still need to lose those love handles, to handle their lives with more love! To me, striving for improvement alone, makes them champions.

May the Fars be with you!

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Kopol vs. Topol
Battle of the bulge
Parts (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
By Siamack Salari &
Jahanshah Javid


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